OPERA OMNIA (1:1:5:46)
A few years going in the opposite direction, I had a dream which mainly dealt with sanity and survival. After a large percentage of the world population had been defined as "civilized," I had run into very few others who were considered outsiders, or "uncivilized," and who were also hiding from the firm grip of the civilians.
Among one of the strangers I'd meet who would later become an ally was a young boy named Sterling. No more than seventeen years old, no less than six and half feet tall. On his own after his entire family had been taken by civilians, he looks for guidance, he looks for someone not to show him where to go in life but where to find good fruit to eat.
Normally I would travel alone, but on a particular day in a particular place which used to be known as the city of Cape Town, Sterling saves me, as well as two others, from being captured by civilians.
If you are living the life of an outsider in the eyes of the civilians, the first rule of that life for the outsider is to run whenever he or she sees a civilian, we all know that, but Sterling doesn't run. Sterling, he laughs as he taunts the civilians as if this were all just a game. As if he doesn't fully comprehend what is going on. Sometimes a lack of sanity can be the most powerful weapon, and Sterling proves that as he tears the civilians limb from limb, one by one.
A few seconds after the last limb is torn, there is a cry for help from another outsider in the area. Sterling and I rush over, and we find a woman kneeling over a man. Unfortunately the man's life is lost, but Stephanie's must go on. Sterling extends his hand to her, and he helps her up. "You can come with us."
Not only does Sterling invite himself to travel along with me, but he invites another person who is another stranger to me as well. Things get a lot more merrier when Stephanie asks if we can help her find her brother. Sometimes the word "civilian" can be used to describe someone as "not belonging." For a while I feel as if I am a civilian when I travel with the both of them.
There's a knock on my door, and as firmly as I believe it will be Tao, I find my beliefs are incorrect when it is Lynne instead. Lynne tells me about how Kathleen told her she's been diagnosed with diabetes. I ask her what type, but she says Kathleen never mentioned it over the phone.
Now Lynne is laughing while she looks at the ceiling. I ask her why she is laughing and she pauses. It was a nervous laugh.
Lynne says that Kathleen didn't call me and tell me herself because she thinks I find her to be annoying. Kathleen is more observant than I've given her credit for. Lynne looks at a small device she is holding in her hand and realizes that it is beyond time for her to go, and she says goodbye. After she walks away I am left with the visualization of what used to be Joe's door. A truly empty home for a man who is truly undefined.
I get a feel of nostalgia and decide to go to the hospital to see how he is doing, or maybe I'm actually hoping that Kathleen is there and I can pretend that she isn't annoying. I get on a bus that is almost completely empty except for one young man who looks as if he is coming from school. As I pass him by he looks up at me and gives me a light greeting.
As far as I travel, I still end up getting off before him and once again he is a lone traveler. The night will do that to you sometimes.
When I get to the hospital, Joe is still in the same room and looks exactly as I last saw him when I visited with Tao. Kathleen is not present, but considering she has just been diagnosed with diabetes, type unknown, there's always a chance she's not too far from here. For a moment I want to ask one of people who works there if they have a Kathleen White in the building, but I quickly come back to my senses.
Clothes. I haven't seen Joe in clothes that he has chosen himself in a long time. Appearances may be deceiving, but they might also play a role in discovering the type of person someone is. The way a person styles their hair, or even the way they don't bother with it. The colors they prefer, the colors that they don't. The kind of smell they want to give off, the size of their shirt or pants, the shoes they wear in a certain situation. Some people try to appear pleasing one hundred percent of the time because they never know who they might meet, others only try to appear pleasing when they are trying to meet someone, otherwise it's not as big of a deal.
A nurse walks by and and asks me if I am family or a friend. I lie and tell her that I'm a friend. Either answer would be a lie I guess.
She tells me how he's been here for a long time, then I ask if he is getting any better. She tells me that he hasn't really changed at all, for better or for worse, then goes on to tell me that it's really up to him if he wants to get out of it or not, then she gets a call and is needed elsewhere. Not to say she was needed here.
What she says gets me thinking, thinking if a person's will to live plays a role in their identity, but enough of that. I need to go back home. I make my way out of the room and then make my way to the first floor of the hospital. I begin to walk down a hallway which leads to the building's exit, but along the way there will be a woman named Julia sitting in one of the hospital's many waiting rooms. She will be reading, waiting to hear about a dear friend who was mildly injured.
I will have to walk pass her without her noticing me in an effort to avoid any type of communication. If that fails, I will either have to run, or pretend I am someone else. I get closer and closer to her and try to stay in a position where I can see her but she can't fully see me. At the end of it all, I manage to get pass her, but as I'm at the exit door, I begin to think about shopping at the Chase Mart. How I haven't been there in so long and how if I don't confront her eventually I will never be able to go there again. How I hate going to that huge grocery store two miles away with the lousy employees.
"Hey Julia." She looks up at me surprised. After she completely recognizes me, there is no anger or anything of the like in her expression. Maybe the events that brought her here made her too tired to be angry.
I realize that it's safe to converse and that any ill feelings or wills she has towards me are temporarily suspended, so I ask her what she's reading. She tells me it's a collection of all the works by her favorite author. Interesting.
I sit down and she begins to tell me about how her boyfriend injured himself at work, and how she is waiting to hear about his condition. She asks me how I've been and I tell her that I'm the same as I've ever been.
I ask her about her job, and she tells me she hates it. She talks about how she hates computers, how she hates her boss, how she hates all the paperwork. I try to imagine what computers and paperwork would have to do with being a clerk at a convenient store, but I can make no connection. I guess she must have detected the confusion in my face because she then says that she doesn't work at that store anymore, that she got a new job. This is some of the best information I have received in a long time.
Just before visiting hours end, a doctor speaks with Julia, and then we continue our conversation outside as the Moon watches us.
Her first words catch me off-guard as she begins to talk about how losing me forced her to become stronger. How she had to stop herself from using drugs and making bad friends. Ultimately, she says losing me played a large part in her getting to where she is now; not exactly having her dream life but having a life that she can accept and call her own.
I, on the other hand, am not full of words, so the conversation ends and we part ways. That is until we realize we are going to be taking the same bus. There are a few people on the bus we get on, but we manage to sit near each other and end up talking about trivial matters the entire way. She gets off before me and after she leaves the thought of definition comes back into my mind. Most of the time, the audience of a book defines the book itself. If Joe ever wrote a book, is it possible that the people who end up reading his book are like him? I need to stop thinking about this.
I get off the bus and begin to walk home. As I'm crossing the parking lot for my apartment building, I see that Lynne is in her car, exactly like how she was some nights ago, and she is just sitting there looking down as if she is doing something with her hands. After a second she notices me and waves, I wave back and then go inside. On my way in I see one of the other tenants who is on his way out.
Sarah's grandmother tells her that moving isn't so bad, that she will go to a new school and make new friends. Emily's attempt to comfort Sarah seems to work a little bit, but the same attempt has no affect on David at all. He cannot be reached.
Across the hall, in the kitchen, is Lynne who is making Sarah and David lunch. Desirable sandwiches. After she finishes, she walks into the living room and gives them both the food she has prepared, and just like her own mother, she attempts to relieve the children of any discomfort they have about moving to a new home.
Moments later the children are eating and watching television while the two elder women speak about how a life without Silvio will be better for everyone. After the night has fallen and after the children are sleeping, Lynne sits down on her bed and takes off her prosthetic foot, and then lays down to sleep, thinking about how the next coming days are a chance for her to start over.
After days of packing, the moving truck arrives and is ready to be filled with possessions. The truck driver is a long time friend of Lynne who says yes to her when she asks if her and the kids can ride in the front for the trip to the new home.
During the drive, the truck driver says that a pair of jeans and a t-shirt are more comfortable for moving, especially when you have to walk a lot. Lynne says that she will be fine, and then notices that they are driving pass Chase street and tells the driver that they are nearly there. When they get there they began to unload, and after a certain amount of time the moving process is complete. Due to an emergency, the movers had to leave a bit early which resulted in them bringing in the last few possessions less professionally than usual, one of them being a television that was left in the middle of the living room.
Lynne, with only one foot, does not attempt to move the television alone, but instead eventually gets help from one of her new neighbors who she hopes would become a long-time companion.