I suppose it was not a good idea to go see that movie* by myself. You know what I'm talking about.
I was alone in the theater. The last showing of the evening. It's just a movie. It's gotten hype. So what. It didn't make me cry. It didn't make me angry. In fact by the end of it, I was a zombie. Everything had been sucked out.
You know what makes zombies perpetually walk on the way they do even though they are dead? There is a ringing in their ears that keep their bodies active in drudging rhythm. It's a mechanical buzzing pulse that shoots signals through dead nerves, slowly jolting arms, legs, fingers, causing strokes and flinches and squirms.
I did squirm. I did watch. It was the kiss that did me in. Secrets and lies and marriage and love all in a flurry. I wish I had a fishing buddy. The fish hooks in my gullet are starting to show signs of infection. Snap out of it, it's just a movie.
I'm gay. So what? I was unfaithful. So what? I've broken through. So what? This is old news. She knows all this. I've never been gay bashed, harmed or flushed out because of what I did. Then why does the gaze through the screen mark me in that way. It's just a movie. Just a goddamn movie.
It is that I am an Ennis and a Jack. A grunting grope and insatiable lust all conveniently mashed up, screwing each other in a violent, incessant tumble. They are competitors in a quiz show, flipping those buttons that glow green and red, off and on, off and on, reject, accept, deny, comply, conform, reform, deform, buzz, buzz, buzzzz.
Those are the pulses that move my appendages. And I wish that they could bring satisfaction but the touch of your own rotting hand gets weary.
But it's just a movie. Just fleeting pieces of flickering light. I mumble a bit, stare at the reliquary and throw myself in a cauldron waiting to be reborn.
The ringing will go away. It's frigid in the empty parking lot. The pulse makes me stop moving for a while.
I become paralyzed because I am ashamed of the past.
I work a lot. But I gather you know that.
I can't begin to describe to you the wall that stands in my way. It would be a lie to say that my current state doesn't give me thoughts that make me want to quit.
I didn't want it to affect me. But I can't stop thinking about it. I won't ever stop thinking about it. It's become so great that it interferes with my work. It's difficult when what you do, the thing you devote the majority of your life to, the bulk of your energy, serves no discernible end function other than feeding a frenzied mass of distraction.
I become paralyzed because I am afraid of the future.
But my cycle goes on. The deadline will come and go with or without me and I will still be here waiting for the next one to roll around. I'll press the buttons that make things pulse, present them with the similar lights and noise and hope the pattern is pleasing.
I'll get through it and remember that I have a cool job, I have people that are concerned for my well being, and I will go back to being one of the strong ones. One of the dependable ones. One of the safe ones.
Dead ends used to be easy decisions. You either stop or turn around. Even a non-choice is a choice, an inaction of "I choose not to choose" is in itself still an action. Give me an excuse and I'm done for the day. I go to bed, start again. Or I put it in reverse and go back to the familiar.
It will be okay because it has to be. But now I look for the other hidden option to that scenario, one that occurs to me after staring at it long enough. If I don't act I'll still be thinking whether that crack in the barricade was large enough to cause collapse with a well placed punch and what exactly is on the other side.
I aim to find out.
*PS: Ironically, Dan Renzi today points to an article about the movie's aspects of adultery. I could have a lot to say about it but it's hard for me to be objective about it at the moment. You might want to comment there for any discussion on this to be effective.