Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Taste

It had been a month since he had them in his mouth. 30 days exactly. A flip of the calendar, another one lost to time. Lost to the darkness of the sparkling, a spinning orb moving through a sun-filled sky. One month since his entire world understanding had been flipped on its head for six hours. It was a bitter taste, but not something he couldn’t deal with. Just chew, let it do what it does. Lay back and let it come.
If anyone were to have looked in his window, if they had been hiding in the darkness of the garden, stepping on the bed of red geraniums that would have been colorless at night, they would have seen a teenager on a bed in a messy room. Just a normal adolescent, some books on the ground, CDs all over the floor, a few empty soda cans littering the ground beside a full metal trashcan that was overflowing with other drained cans and crumpled pieces of paper from a poem he could never quite get right. There was a black and white poster of Jimi Hendrix over his bed, staring straight into the camera in a moment of vulnerable strength.
For six hours that night, he was a teenager on a bed, at least his body was there, above a thick woolen comforter, his head resting on a plump pillow. His body was in the midst of adolescence, but he traveled that night, beyond the place were age is a number with arbitrary limitations placed upon it. What he had placed on his tongue that night took him away from high school and the small bedroom next to the garage. It took him to the other world, a place among many others that existed outside the realm of earth and the place of the human.
Soon after his teeth started grinding and his tongue lubricated and his throat swallowed, very soon after his body became a simple material which was absorbed quickly into the mattress. The mattress became the floor, the ground became soil and dirt and the earth itself melted onto a seamless black sky that held the sparkling possibility of tunnels in all directions.
He was there, travelling through a small space, he was there, floating in open black nothingness. He was everywhere, he was everything and everyone and there was no body or bed or existence. The cross hanging above his door became a simple shape made of wood, holding no meaning, no significance, just two pieces of wood, set at an angle. It was a pretty shape. A very pretty, simple shape.
For six hours he was nothing, nothing and everything and he kissed it all and gave himself to the black sky and the open sun that waited and laughed, hiding its secrets with bursting flames. He lay for six hours until his mother popped her head into his room to offer him a sandwich for dinner. She found a motionless boy on a bed, her boy, motionless, barely breathing. At the time he did not understand what was happening, he could not, for people and words had lost their significance and meaning, and his mother was just a moving shape that cried out in large, booming sounds.
When the six hours of nothingness slowly seeped away with time and when he began to emerge once again into the world of perceived substance and roles and rules, he found that no one was happy. He saw gloomy worried faces and the eyes of steel on men he had never seen. Later he pieced the events together through the various accounts of different family members and next door neighbors.
His mother, fearing he had been in a coma, had called 911. The police arrived in tandem with the paramedics and quickly understood what had been on his tongue. It didn’t matter to them that he had tasted the world as never before, that self had dissolved and each atom looked no different than the next. He wished he could have described it to them, but they were cold stares and metal and bits of flesh that could be called human, but there was no warmth, no blood for them to give him and nothing that he could recognize and take with open hands.
The people he had known his entire life, the things they had taught him, everything they said he would be, he saw it as it was, simple nothingness puffed up in a make believe world, they were shapes that had been given meaning, but they were only lines and patterns. But he could not tell them, they were metal and steel. They were rules. They were vengeance. Justice for them was synonymous with punishment and he knew there would be consequences for the nothingness he had been.

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