ANTHOLOGY COMPLEX


COMMON COMPLEX (1:1:4:36)


Standing at the door of the life you choose to lead is a demon who is calling you over, ready to let you in. The demon gives you no warning that what comes next may be accompanied with addictions and obsessions. Physical compulsion. Psychological compulsion. This demon doesn't even open the door for you, this demon just simply stands there with a large grin. The demon doesn't open the door for you so that when you realize you've made a mistake, you have no one else to blame but yourself for opening that door.

Last night, I had a dream. I'm in my kitchen, and I notice that the garbage bag is full. I take it out to the trash bin outside and throw it inside the bin. As I turn around to go back inside a little girl who is riding her pink bicycle almost runs into me, but she panics and instead rides into the fence and falls off of her bicycle. I go to see if she is okay, and she is bleeding at her knees. I ask her if it hurts because she isn't crying. She says yes, and I tell her that I will go inside and get a bandage for her.

When I get inside my apartment I head for the bathroom and I find a box of bandages. On my way out, I go through the kitchen and I see that the garbage bag is full yet again. I look through the door that I opened to go throw out the trash, and I see the little girl still sitting there waiting for a bandage.

I look at the garbage bag one more time, it's still full, and then I go back outside and put the bandage on her knee. I tell her that her knee is as good as new, and then I watch as she walks her bicycle across the alley. I look back through the door that is still open and I see inside my apartment. I'm thinking about how I just threw out the trash, and how the trash was filled back up again. I walk a few feet and I open the garbage bin that I just threw the trash into, and it's empty, as if I had never actually thrown out the trash.

So I go back inside, take the trash bag back outside and throw it in the garbage bin. Now I know that I've thrown out the trash. However, when I go back inside my apartment, the garbage bag is full yet again. I go back outside to see if the garbage bin is empty. It is. I repeat the process one more time to see what happens, and when I come back inside to see if the garbage is finally thrown out, I see that not only is it not thrown out, but that there are now two garbage bags in the house; one in the trash can and one on the floor next to it. I think to myself, this must be a joke from God.

I pick up both garbage bags, and instead of going outside to the trash bin next to my apartment building, I go to the next one over and throw them in there, but it doesn't make a difference as when I return back home, there are five garbage bags resting on the floor of my living room. I start to laugh angrily.

As I'm laughing, I hear the engine of a large vehicle. When I look outside, it's the garbage truck collecting garbage from our neighborhood. I run outside and catch up to them and tell them that I have four more garbage bags to deliver as I throw the one I was carrying inside the back. Because they are patient and kind gentlemen, they wait as I throw the remaining four garbage bags into the truck, and not to your surprise, when I return home I can't see half of my living room because of the garbage bags that have magically appeared out of nowhere.

Two by two I fill up my car with as many garbage bags as I can, and then I drive down to the downtown area of the city and find a city dump where I toss all twelve garbage bags over the fence. I drive back home, and to my surprise there are as many garbage bags in the living room as there were when I left, so it must be working. I take the remaining bags to the city dump and toss them over the fence, and then when I return home I find that I cannot open the door.

As I continue to try to open the door I feel something pushing back towards me until the door finally breaks and a mess of garbage bags come flowing through. My laugh becomes a bit more angry.

I kick one of the bags out of frustration, and then pick it up to take out to my car. After my car is filled with garbage bags, I start the engine, but the car won't accelerate. The car just sits there, parked, but running. I take one of the garbage bags out and decide to walk to the transfer station instead. Maybe I might see one of those garbage men and they might be able to help me with this problem.

I'm halfway there, walking across the city with this bag over my shoulder when the bottom completely rips open and the contents fall out. A mess of black and white notebooks. As I stare down at the composition notebooks, my knees begin to feel weak and I can stand no longer. I find a bench and sit down.

As I sit, reflecting on the path I have avoided, I see a familiar face. It's a man who lives on the first floor of my apartment building. Tall, skinny, middle aged white male who doesn't seem to notice the people around him. I have walked by him many times in the building but he has never acknowledged me. In some ways I am the same.

The first-floor man walks up to me and hands me a box of matches, and he tells me that I have to destroy it before it destroys me completely, because the next time I might not be so fortunate, and then he walks away. I look back at the mess of black and white, and I go to kneel before it, but I can't find the courage to set it on fire. If I'm not willing to destroy my problems, then I will have to carry the burdens where ever I may go. I cannot just simply pass them on to someone else for them to handle.

The dream ironically reminds me of the story about a man who constantly had nightmares for dreams when he slept. One day he visits a church in Africa at the request of a stranger, and he realizes that his dreams are not actually dreams, but memories of horrible things he'd done in the past. He hadn't really slept for years, not until he realized what he was carrying. In the same distorted context, the story reminds me about a quote that implies that "dreams are the answers to questions we don't yet know how to ask."