Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Series of Almost Entirely Unrelated Paragraphs

It's very hard for me to even say it, but I do seem to have a friend. See what I did? I had to add the "seem to". It's hard to accept. It's a violation of my self-image. I'm the guy who's always on the outside. God's fool. Unwanted, and an intruder.

There's a project I need to get started on. For a number of reasons, I'm afraid to. It will be very difficult. Dragon slaying. Demon taming. Some truths you can communicate only by telling lies, and I don't like to tell lies. By now you have a bit of an idea as to what I am. It's why I write, here. You think I've been honest, and I have been, insofar as I've dared.

You will have seen through some of the more obvious symbolism I've used. You will have picked up on some of the hints. You'll smile at the egotistical narcissist, and you'll suspect that I do it to work out some inner tension from my ancient past. You'll snort and shake your head at the bigot, the racist, and wonder if there's maybe not just a little something that's serious, behind the heavy-handed irony.

You must recognize the misdirections and obscuring veils of smoke I raise. You don't quite know what to think about the dark intimations I'm forever scattering across these pages -- is it just Jack H, playing at being Jack H? -- is he serious? -- is it just morbid and maudlin self-dramatization? But you know better than to expect a straight answer, because even if one issued from this mask, you've seen too many of my tricks, too much of my twisting, to trust that there's no kicker at the end, implied if not expressed. Welcome to my world. Where you can't even trust honesty.

J is not Jack H.

J is a really sweet guy. I don't write about him much. I let him do a lot of the talking, but I protect him. I sign his name, by permission -- because I'm not a fraud, for all my complexities. I try to show him the kindness that he craves in the world, but I'm not actually very kind, so it doesn't go very far. He's valuable, but he's hiding, mostly, in a spot on the ceiling, and I do my best by him, but none of us is very good at trusting. Yes, there are a few of us. I suppose that's all I want to say about J, for now.

I haven't heard from my father, about his operation. He wanted me to be his bodyguard. Hopefully he's gone ahead without needing me. He must look old now.

How do people just trust? It seems like an almost impossible thing to do. But I'm obviously wrong. Every persons starts life trusting for their very lives.

So. My friend. Well, J's friend, really. Jack H doesn't put in much of an appearance. But we'll say my friend -- otherwise it would be like writing about time travel, with all that tense trouble, of will be, was, is, and existing in too large a number in the same moment. I've noticed that I'm relaxing just a little bit, with my friend. Relaxing my guard. Isn't that tiresome? A little disrespectful, too -- trustworthy people should be trusted. But the past informs our attitudes. Still, it's progress. It's a blessing. I don't know what he gets out of it. I'm very smart, and sort of funny, although I don't work at it anymore, and I'm easy to get along with. Maybe all that's enough.

Isn't it odd though, how other people's messes are so much easier to clean up than our own? You know why? It's not that ours are harder to clean up. It's that they're hard to clean up without help.

That's what friends are for.


No comments: