Of one thing I know, this time of isolation within the Bormeas’ compound will mark me. While I am surrounded by other life forms as soon as I walk out my door, most of my time is spent confined to my room to rest, consider and ruminate what it is that I’m doing and who it is that I am. My time here, my stay in this place might be more pleasant if I was more sociable. Doing so though, would mean taking a risk and leaving this place of solace for a hostile environment with other Bormeas, whose main purpose is to cut each other down with very little reward gained in the process. Even though I recognize it as just an act, and can choose to participate or not, or even how to participate if I want to further myself here, it holds no desire for me to do so. Much like taking on any life form, it is all false.
All any life form wants at the core of its being is acceptance for who it is. We spend so much time and effort having to prove ourselves to others who in turn are doing the same, that we take on a personality, a character, that is no more our real self than a mask would be over our face. All this from the one who has the most to lose if true identities were exposed. Truth from the one who has made shifting from one identity to another a way of life, an identity in and of itself when reality is just as ironic.
I desire … crave … to be real with another. I would drop all pretense to have that closeness with just one other. To sit back now and know that I’ve had it, even at some level not with just one other, but with more than one, makes me wonder at that time and what I experienced in doing so. If I could have stayed there and then with the Caysas, would I have? Did I leave because I knew inevitably there would be pain and loss with such relationships? Or did I realize that there was the potential for an even deeper relationship, more than what I was prepared to invest in, even given the chance?
So I left and my life went in one direction and their lives in another and everything changed because of it. If I didn’t have those memories, if those experiences had never happened what would my reaction be to my current situation now? Would there be an acceptance or merely an empty longing for something that had no name? Would there be such a sense of … loss?
To pull back the heavy drapes in my room to view even the rooftops and tangled alleyways, does little to raise my enthusiasm. It is as though I’ve already concluded that it’s too much effort for too little gain and so I remain trapped in this room, in this chair, in this body, as the darkness encompasses everything around and within me. Is it a part of the role that I’m playing, an unexpected offshoot of the character? Do all of the other Bormeas feel the same as I do –- so morose that all of life seems pointless? Or, have I reached this conclusion on my own, letting my own … feelings take over?
What is this darkness that has come over me? Not that I had a clear grasp of emotions and how to incorporate that into my life form to begin with. This though is something different. This is something I am feeling, or not feeling. There is no joy here. The deep shadows of the room have merged together and fallen heavily upon me. I cannot shake the mantel of … pain that is upon me. It is something that I appear unable to fix as I don’t know the source of it. If it were a gaping wound on my body I could simply fix it and it would be done. But this, where is the hole within me in which my life, my will to live, has seeped out, that I could block it and stem the flow?
* * *
“There may come a time when you experience a heavy loss,” Elder informs me as we walk away from a funeral pyre.
The young one, that I sensed was ill when I first joined the Caysas, died last night from an illness they couldn’t cure. I observed their loss and grief, detached from the emotions involved, though still curious about their reactions.
“You will have two choices before you,” Elder continues. “You will need to choose between them, perhaps even within a moment. One is letting everything go and falling into despair, buried alive in the pain of the loss and suffocating from it, never to live again. It is like a manter which burrows through you creating large gaping holes in its wake until there is nothing left within you which cares to live.”
Elder’s voice fluctuates with so much emotion, I imagine he must be speaking from experience and wonder at it.
“The other choice is living through the pain,” he tells me as we arrive at the far end of the outcropping, void of any other Caysas. “Sometimes using it like a weapon – like plucking a thorn out of your flesh and jabbing others with it. When you rise up from the pain there is a rebirth, the emptiness inside is filled with something else –- hope. It breathes new life and vigor into you, enough to do what needs to be done, repairing the hurt in the process.”
I am momentarily stunned into silence by Elder’s words, confused by them as much as his motive for sharing them with me. Knowing so little about emotions, I decide to put him to the test while in this vulnerable state of sharing.
“How do you explain grief then in comparison to loss?” I ask.
Elder sighs as he leans back against the rock face. “What is loss but the moving on from one thing to another. Grief is at the heart of loss. It visits us in different ways -– sometimes as a darkened cloud that hovers for a while and then slowly drifts away, sometimes as a sky blackened by turmoil that overshadows everything for as far as the eye can see. While the loss will always be there and the memory of it will linger, eventually grief does pass. When it comes to you, in whichever form, remember it will pass. Eventually it will clear however slowly and one day you’ll find your smile again. One day you will laugh again and your heart won’t hang as heavy in your chest. Hang on until then, because when the grief passes the joy that follows is even sweeter than before.”
We continue to stand there for a time without talking. As the sun moves across the sky, the place where Elder stands darkens in shadow. With his colorless appearance in both body and garb, Elder appears to blend in with the rocks behind him. His word still haunting me, I watch as he seems to meld into his surroundings and disappear from my sight.
* * *
Despite my best efforts to stay awake and investigate all that I can from this vantage point, I nod off, waking sometime later. It’s not that my body needs the rest –- I am doing very little physically to warrant it -– it’s that the lack of stimulation to my senses which depletes my energy even more. The less I do, the less I want to do, the more tired I become.