Wednesday, June 4, 2014


the lights are on, people are home.


Marcio would cry at everything: breakfast, tending the garden, the drop of a hat, washing plates. it wasn't the things themselves, it was the state Marcio was in in the monastery. he was so keenly aware of his own being that it killed him. he realized he was not in an ideal situation, he was struggling for his life at every second in here. it was good, it was secure, it was holy, it was noble, it was deathly boring, it was death, it was waiting to die. at first he smiled through the pain because this is what the trio had decided and Marcio was loyal above all else to the only two people who would ever get him, but actually he wasn't smiling at all, he never learned to smile, it was just an awkward twisty contortion on his face, he was always too busy thinking while smiling that he never really smiled, only winced. that's why everyone thought he was continuously in pain, which he was. now Marcio couldn't even fake it.

that first year was extremely difficult, the transition from the comfy mental hospital to a grueling work schedule of getting up at dawn for prayers and tending to a garden that refused to grow anything but broccoli was taxing, strange, and unusual. it was harder than the transition Man made from hunter-gatherer to agriculturist. if it wasn't for Calvin's silent strength as example and Karl's big-brother act, Marcio would have killed himself on these very monastic grounds. suicide is not a good look for a monastery, you don't want to see a noose hanging from the same tree a brother uses to climb to the top of to read like Thomas Merton. the graveyard here is supposed to be a holy place, a place to reflect on the beautiful men who literally gave their entire lives to living in this cramped area praying and hoping and dedicating and not fucking and not fucking up.

not that this coming second year will be easier simply because it's the second year. Marcio is having doubts, so is Calvin and Karl. Calvin misses the smoking, at the hospital his smoking caused the layer of black to hover on the ceiling, black as his soul. the cloud reminded everyone and Calvin that he existed and was the cause of this. at the monastery, Calvin's stogie puffs disappeared into the mountain air with nary a viewer. his cool smoke rings lasted seconds. Karl was the one who tolerated the new conditions the most, he made do as he always did, that's how he survived. inside, he was a boiling cauldron of flame, but he had the precious ability to be able to channel and harness that rage into productive things, books and art and growing a garden. perhaps this is why Karl was so zen about everything. he realized his mind was diseased but he took a longview to everything, a very very very long view, he focused on the novel he would finish ten years from now, not on the childish tantrum fit he was having now. Marcio tried to pattern his life after Karl, except he didn't have Karl's tools. then again, maybe it was just the numbing medication.

it was fucking hard, a life without women, without luxury, without pleasure, all in the pursuit of some nebulous idea of heaven and the afterlife. the three were fidgety and agitated from their troubled minds, and they had weird outbursts and tirades, but they tried their darndest to have them when alone in their cells. they knew they couldn't be troublemakers or they'd get kicked out and be on the streets. there is nowhere to go when you are crazy, no one wants you for long. being in the monastery solidified Marcio's atheism, for now he really had the time to think think think about outer space. Karl was able to take up painting which he did surreptitiously after tending the garden. no one ever saw his pictures but the other monks who did would rave about them at the communal spaghetti dinner table and ribbed him about selling them online and earning some money for the main building repairs. Calvin ascended the ranks quickly and was soon Abbot.

time stands still here, or rather it goes by in a flash. already it's Christmas summer the next year. it was on a certain unknown unmarked day in the calendar when Lysander walked up the dusty trail, so cute were his little legs, lugging a briefcase and looking quite out of place with his suit amongst the robes. he entered a room none of the trio had been in but not before waving at the three of them with a fatherly gesture that immediately took them back to the intimate hospital. a father acknowledging his boys. his smile was a real smile but he was too far away for Marcio to learn how a genuine smile should come off. Calvin said he had already gone and it was Karl's turn to see the doctor. just a routine visit to make sure things were steady, stable enough that no stress suicides would occur.

Karl leaves the office in a huff, storming out, breaking the door down as he rolls off the southern hill into the stream. Marcio's next, he brings a couple of his favorite books along with him as some sort of armor against the unknown passage of time society has ridden without Marcio's presence in the world, time represented by the doctor who never left life like Marcio did, who continued the journey everyone else takes. but Marcio is special, he does things apart, he is not like the rest.

Marcio enters the room, but Lysander isn't there. Rya is there. too much.

Marcio: don't ask me how i am. because that's a stupid question.

Rya (lovingly): okay, i won't.

Marcio: this is. why? i'm uncomfortable now. i don't like surprises.

Rya: i missed you.

Marcio: don't say that. i can't do this.

Rya: sorry. i just thought if you saw a familiar face...

Marcio: yeah, Dad, not Mom! i should go.

Rya: no, please, was it something i said?

Marcio: yes, it's everything you say, you remind me of terrible things.

Rya: i just want to be your happy light.

Marcio: terrible things within me. lust, hornball, what could have been. what i will miss. tragedy. because i am not normal. will never experience normal pleasures.

Rya: but what is normal? there is no normal, there is only life, life lived in a myriad of ways. there are no more rules, anything goes, we are simply two people, right here, right now, breathing, living, we can do what we want.

Marcio: i'm special, everyone is unique and special, but i'm just special, not in a good way. there's a burden in me, a darkness, a blackness, a blankness. i can never be happy, i can never get happy no matter the circumstances or the people i fill those circumstances with. it's like when you don't cut your fingernails for two weeks, they start to grow imperceptibly while you sleep but just enough that you feel them prick on the tips of your fingers, you feel that extra weight, it's heavy enough that you do but light enough that you also don't feel it.

Rya: what are you reading there? i bet it's something interesting.

Marcio: this was supposed to be for Dad! i talk philosophy with Dad, not you! with you i talk, i talk...(Marcio begins to bawl uncontrollably), love, meaning, certainty, existence, happiness...

Rya: i'm right here, that's the beauty of it, the wonder of it, i'm not a heroine in your books, not words on a page, i am real, flesh, here, actually here, and i can give you a real hug, real nerve endings, and so much more if you want it, if you'll have me, if you just get your nose out of the book and touch your nose with mine.

Marcio enrages and with a runny nose and red eyes he begins to throw his books over the head of Rya, crashing them onto the wall with a thud. he never wanted to hurt Rya, but he also wanted to make a flashy point.

Marcio: so a cute little Eskimo kiss solves all the world's ills? it's not that simple, nothing is ever simple, nothing ever works out like it was nothing, i learned the hard way that life is hard, to always accept the hardness of everything, the hardness of people, the hardness of wills, the hardness of an illness which saps the good out of a person like me and replaces it with only the hard, the hard sap, the hard realizations and rationalizations, the hard way, the hard highway, the long way, not the shortcut.

Rya tried to say something to counter and to continue the conversation, but Marcio recognized that this conversation was like the rest, like all the other conversations he had ever had with anyone, meaningless words spoken back and forth like a tennis match which never added up to anything but zero-zero, never love-love. nothing was ever solved after a conversation, only stances made known, philosophies steeled, and both parties leaving the talk knowing for sure they were right all along.

instead of talking, Marcio needed action. action was always better than talking. action talked loudly without words. words were just that, words in the ether carried by the mountain wind to oblivion. in a slow-motion daze, Marcio picks up his last book, the Nietzsche, and flings it squarely into Rya's face, hitting her nose.

Rya wasn't badly hurt, Marcio threw like a girl, but it did stop things.

the Abbot heard everything and heard this commotion. he opened the door and went to tend to Rya. Marcio saw through his veneer of shocked silence that Rya was tearing up, but it was not because she felt external pain but rather internal understanding.

Rya: i'm okay, really.

Calvin: fuck that, miss, meeting's over. don't worry, i'll have a stern talking to with my underling here. nothing's off the table, even excommunication. if you want to press charges, meet with me, too. friendship can only last so long. the boy needs to learn what real life is all about.

Rya is taken forcefully by her wrists away from the room by Calvin as Marcio stands in his chair reflective like a stone.

the last words mouthed by Rya as she is dragged out of the room as she looks directly into Marcio's glazed eyes are

"Marcio, i know about your mother."

Marcio took an absent moment then crashed his head hard onto the table.

Abbot Calvin raised Marcio's head by the hairs and went face-to-face with him, shouting like Drill Sergeant Calvin, no noses here. Marcio didn't hear anything Calvin had to say, it was too loud, Marcio learned in silence, with silence. he did feel Calvin drag him by the wrists and fling him outside by the southern stream.

Calvin: go find your brother! before supper! i have to compose myself before prayers. i'll fix you two yet!

this is good. Marcio was getting bored with dishes anyway. this was an unusual chore for an unusual day, it broke the monotony. if Marcio got lost along the way, he is already lost.

Marcio finally caught up with Karl at the point where the stream becomes a river. by the riverbank Karl is sipping the water like a startled deer. Marcio is the frightened hunter who doesn't want to shoot, who only shot because his dad shot.

they've both calmed down, but it's on a scale.

when Karl spots Marcio, he rushes onto him like a startled deer, knocking the two into the water with a splash. Karl begins punching Marcio in the face.

Karl: you don't know how lucky you have it! she wants you! Calvin is the Abbot.

Marcio didn't fight back. he let the punches continue to land because Karl was right. Karl had nothing. it was hard enough being crazy in a crazy world, but being alone is the absolute worst. Calvin already was intoxicated with position, stature, and power, that was his replacement for love. Marcio had Rya if he wanted her. but he didn't want her. Marcio was special, not in the good way.

Calvin soon encountered the boys and laid his eyes on them and the splashing wildman scene like a seasoned hunter. Calvin's eyes were the sights and the lake was the site and his commanding orders were the trigger.

Calvin: cleaning up your mess as i always did at the hospital. it's not easy being a leader. i have an idea to cool down you two wet idiots. take a ride in the company car, around the hill three times like the Crow crowed. cool off, you fags. be back to clean the dishes after dinner.

Karl and Marcio had punched their peace and were tired out, even beyond the scale. Karl rubbed Marcio's hair and kissed his forehead and the two took a jaunt in the car. when night came to the monastery, it was the blackest night a human could ever imagine. the stars shone so bright against this black backdrop, they shone brighter for the monks than for the stupid other humans below enjoying their lives in society because monks were special, they had sacrificed to be here and were justly rewarded with that little extra luminescence of that ray of that star. the stars were so close the monks on this mountain could pick them off the sky like flowers. it was the monks' little secret. it made Marcio cry, every time.

during the soothing car ride, the two kept quiet as is a monk's wont. vow of silence kept whenever convenient. Karl profusely apologized by rubbing Marcio's face the entire ride with one hand as he steered with the other. Marcio thought back to


except at the end of it, Marcio did not feel free, he just felt fucking crazy.

after supper, while the two were serving out their punishment as dish bitches, a call was placed to the back kitchen phone. strange. everyone had the number to the hermitage proper, but few had the specialized number of the back kitchen alone. it was Rya.

Marcio: no, YOU LOOK! i can't deal with this! i can't deal with you ever again! you will always be a constant reminder of what i can be, what i have lost, what i will lose, normal life in normal society, normalcy, the special.

and in his most vociferous yell, filled with a lifetime of scurrilous unfairness and being looked over and depression from birth, the young old mountain man with the long unkempt flowing beard with twigs in it and sunken eyes screamed:





Juliette said...

Hmmm...this is one of those times where in the back of my mind I feel I shouldn't be commenting yet and letting this story settle....BUT...then I'm in one of those moods where I don't really care what I should or shouldn't be doing cos life's too much about shoulda and shouldn't s which quite often pisses me off. But you know that right? Course you do cos you know everything...
Let me start with the song, Ride since that is the last thing whirling in my mind. Loved it. Love her. Love.

"The three were fidgety and agitated..." You didn't tell me the doc was there! Ah...a little humour thrown into the mix, eh? The skirt away from the pushed buttons, she does that, she does that and so do you.

Again, such an amalgamation that I am able to see many people here aswell as just a combination of one. It's very clever how you do that. You have a way of making me feel unnerved and wary; you have a way of making me hate myself; you have a way of making me feel sad and a way of thinking you're not alone even though you're so alone. I don't like that you can do that but I also find it fascinating. There's not a lot I find fascinating sweet Phoenix ;) ( please don't call me that or give me the winky face!) so your writing has power. But words are just words and anyone can say words, it's action that is the speaker. Oh how I could throw my iPad at the wall right now but then it would break. But it's all already broken. It all starts broken and conversations can't mend.
I find your character names of interest but then I pay attention to detail when I maybe shouldn't.
I hate the word normal.
Very well done, Phoenix. Your stories can no doubt touch many souls if they read it deeply. :)

the late phoenix said...

juli: the last time i threw my ipad into the sea in one of my stories, i became a tree :)