Sabbath

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Idolatry – Pt. 5

Suspended in white, swimming blindly until my limbs give out and I sink like a stone and brace for impact…

A gentle arm embraces and holds me close, enveloped in tender warmth. Embryonic comfort dispels my vertigo and I twist to face my invisible savior. An intimate dance in the ether, wings enfold us in a twirling cocoon of polymorphous release as a distant chime intensifies in tandem with the orgasmic signals broadcast from my every nerve ending until I’m nearly pulverized by the rising crescendo of perfect euphoria —

— my iPhone rattles against the wood of the nightstand blaring out its insistent ringtone. Awake, all dust and sharp edges, I hoist the phone to my ear.

“Mmph~ello?”

“Hi, Sammi.”

It’s Melinda and her characteristic Sunday morning voice of contrition.

“How you doing this morning, Mel? You alone?”

“Yeah. I don’t remember how I got home but my car’s not here. Must have been one of those guys buying me drinks.”

“It was an Uber driver, Mel. I called him for you on my way home.”

“Oh. Right. Thanks, Sammi.”

“Why are you up?”

“I don’t know. I think I felt guilty. You always have to babysit me. Maybe I have a problem…”

“Mel, lay back down and go to sleep. We all have problems and yours won’t seem half as bad once you sleep it off.”

“Yeah, I know. Thanks, Sammi. I’ll call you later.”

“Sweet dreams, Mel.” Now kindly stop fucking up mine.

I drop out of bed and throw on my robe. Filling a glass with tap water from the bathroom sink, I down it in a single gulp and saunter out to the living room. A mosaic of interlocking rain patterns slides down the glass of the back door and I can see Akaaneh braving the elements with bucolic disinterest from his muddy sentry post. Though there’s an awning over the patio, I opt to take my coffee indoors today.  I need to collect myself. For the last 24 hours, the only thing that’s served to dilute the alarming effects of this enigmatic little effigy upon my psyche has been a nagging embarrassment at my own lack of logic in allowing him to take on the characteristics of anything but a piece of decorative statuary.  So while Mel ponders whether she’s approaching the threshold of alcoholism on the other side of town, I sit here cradling my coffee mug and wonder if I’m approaching the threshold of madness. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the majority of suicides are performed on Sunday mornings. Maybe that’s why so many otherwise spiritually bankrupt people keep showing up to church each week. It’s not so much devotion as suicide prevention.

I thought about how I’d designed my whole life to be perpetually frivolous and carefree, a devil-may-care attitude that I justified and mantrafied as a celebration of freedom and spontaneity. Two years at Monmouth University yielded a reliable network of weed connections and a cavalcade of one night stands but precious little in the way of credentials or direction. That was eight years ago and I’m no more motivated by thoughts of practicality and responsible adulthood than I was during my senior year of high school. I had never given a second thought to this seat-of-my-pants approach to living until yesterday.  Suddenly, my lack of a reasoned template for the future has transformed from a source of smug satisfaction to one of shame and panic. Yesterday, a 30 year old single woman working as a receptionist in a dental office seemed a perfectly wonderful thing to be. Today as rain pelts the skylight in arrhythmic thuds, I wish to be anyone but the aimless party girl imprisoned by her own misinterpretation of what it means to live authentically.

A thunderclap breaks my brooding reverie so I get up from the table and walk outside.

“You’re too hard on yourself, Samantha. You can’t manufacture your destiny.”

I crouch to eye-level with Akaaneh and run a finger over his smooth pate.

“How are you speaking to me? Is there some kind of telepathy between us?” I ask in a foolish attempt to rationalize the incomprehensible.

“Something like that, yes. Our energies are intertwined. For now, I just need you to accept that and stop questioning your sanity.  Our friendship won’t get very far if you’re constantly second-guessing its veracity.”

“Why did you ask me if I knew how long you’d been waiting for me? How could you have known about me before I found you in the greenhouse?”

“Our energies are intertwined, Samantha. We’ve always known each other but at the moment, you’ll just have to take me at my word. When you’re ready, you’ll remember things. In the meantime, I’m here to guide you through the gauntlet of voices that will try to dissuade you from living your truth – including your own litany of doubt that just prevented you from enjoying a perfectly good cup of coffee.”

“Did I have coffee?”

“Exactly. Go get dressed and embrace the day, Samantha. When your mind clears so will the sky.  It would be foolish to waste such a beautiful day talking to a ceramic gargoyle in your backyard.”

22 thoughts on “Sabbath

  1. I’m feeling this on many levels. I am actually freaked out about the “going to church as suicide prevention.”
    I said that precise thing to my therapist this morning. I told her that I was into Buddhism and meditation now, so we found a spiritual center near me. I need some spiritual help right now, I’m struggling.
    As for your writing…refer to my last comment, Paul.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. People do not become friends through a shared interest in blogging. We do so because our energies are intertwined. With that in mind, what at first glance seems like astounding coincidence reveals itself as the perfectly natural outcome of two energy fields guiding each other. As for spiritual help, I’m no guru but I know what works. Let’s talk soon.

      Liked by 5 people

  2. This is just packed with atmosphere, the dream sequence leading almost seamlessly into it’s counterpart in the real world, with the phone conversation acting as as the barrier of “reality” between the two. Very nicely done.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Even if you didn’t express such gracious compliments, I’d still sincerely appreciate the very fact that you’re reading this at all. In the most literal sense, I’m winging this one and just hoping that it may somehow work.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. First off, righteous job.

    ~~~

    There’s a couple of things I’d correct, in a moment.

    I get the feeling that I’m experiencing the Curmudge in the middle there. Which works, well. The whole questioning life’s path at this woman’s specific place and time. It came across as utterly heartfelt, which made me wonder — is this you? (If that is not anything like you then, let me pick my jaw up off the floor cuz that was incredible. If it was, then I’m in awe of your ability to tap your own reflective self.)

    The Amulet of Samarkand — If you haven’t read it, then good. Don’t. Not until after you finish this novel.

    [https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Amulet_of_Samarkand_A_Bartimaeus_Nov.html?id=T4bM47p5aEUC&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=onepage&q&f=false]

    Here’s the thing, if you could sit down and keep writing this, for the next 60 days (1k words/day), you would have a story that I’d gladly buy at top dollar. And I’d parade it around insisting others did so too.

    ~~~

    1) nerves don’t need endings in your second paragraph.
    2) In your first soliloquy, you have one hellacious sentence (For the last 24 hours) which doesn’t quite sound genuine — yet.
    3) And one out of context reference to Mel which would be better broken out into a thought statement (So while Mel ponders…) That feels like author-speak. I get the gist, but that paragraph needs some de-curmudgeoning.

    The next paragraph, though, is all you through her (I’m betting) and works.

    ~~~

    So, this is 870 words. Which, I’ll bet took at least 2 hours to write and perfect. Could you do this everyday for two-three months?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! It’s amazing to me that you aren’t just reading this, but reading it with such care that you even notice a slip into a more habitual style of writing. And you are correct about that — however, there’s a reason for it. My protagonist’s existential crisis is the diametric opposite of my own which lends itself to an equal but opposite form of expression. I’ve recently and deliberately shed meaning and motivation from my life like a dog shaking off fleas and if I were to buy a statue that tried to re-complicate my lot in life, the thing would find itself in the trash very quickly. Regarding your suggestions, let me turn those around on you: the fact that you approach writing that way makes you a much better candidate for publication. I don’t worry about word count, develop outlines, or even flesh out a vague plot before blindly tapping away until I have something self-contained enough to post. In other words, I just write whenever and however brings me satisfaction and as soon as it’s done, I move on to the next thing. Am I capable of more? Sure. But I would guess that the kind of attention to writing technique as you employ works best in the hands of those who want and deserve to be published — like you, for instance.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I see, shrugging off the mantle of thematic responsibility. I’m not buying it. Little by little my breadcrumbs laced with ambition will poison your nonchalant ways such that you feel compelled to, someday, produce a published work your admirers will relish and herald (as they should). Just you wait.

        Liked by 5 people

  4. I am kind of with Anthony on this one, Paul. You should be published, and I have no doubt that one day you will be, soon. While the rest of us struggle to find the right words, they so easily flow from within you and are extraordinary. You are always handing out compliments to me and others, but you need to sit down and look at all of the things you have written and say, ‘Wow, I did that, and it’s fucking brilliant.’ Because it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it speaks more to who I am then what you are writing that this, at the end, turned into an origin story for
    a Shayera Hol-type awakening. We will soon see the return of an ancient hero to the modern world, who will save us all from the headlong plunge into doomsday that we have wrought! Akaaneh is just a twisted Shazam.

    Or … probably not …

    Either way I find myself scooting back into my chair at the end, thankful you didn’t write one more paragraph and throw me onto the floor. 😉

    Whether you ever seek publication, or just like to share, is fine with me. I’m hooked, at least. I’ve cradled my coffee and questioned my sanity more than once, and my church surely saves me on Sunday mornings from wretched thought. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

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