I’m just, I’m just not MEANT to get it together! Wherever I go, I run into something that sends me completely off the deep end. Today — Oh, LIFE! PEOPLE!
I headed over to the water around lunchtime, I didn’t feel like eating at all. Everything was gross, a cold wet breeze was blowing in from the mountains, and grey rainclouds were coming in over the valley. From way off, I saw a man in a tattered green coat who was scrambling around on the rocks and seemed to be hunting for plants. As I got closer to him, he heard me walking and turned around, and I was fascinated by his expression, which was dominated by quiet grief but otherwise totally normal and rational-seeming; his black hair was pulled into in a long ponytail that hung down his back. I figured he wouldn’t mind if I chatted with him a bit, so I asked him, what was he looking for?
“I’m looking,” he answered, with a deep sigh, “for flowers — and I can’t find any.”
“Well, it’s not really the season,” I said, smiling.
“There are tons of flowers,” he said, climbing down to me. “In my garden, I’ve got roses and honeysuckles — two varieties, my dad gave me one, they grow like weeds… I’ve been looking for two days already and I can’t find them. There are always flowers outside, too, yellow and blue and red, and primroses with beautiful little blossoms. And I can’t find any.”
This was starting to get weird, so I asked, deliberately casual, “What do want the flowers for?”
A manic, twitchy smile spread across his face. “Can you keep a secret?” he asked, putting a finger to his lips. “I promised my girlfriend a bouquet.”
“That’s sweet,” I said.
“Oh!” he said, “she’s got tons of stuff already, she’s rich.”
“Even so, she’ll appreciate a bouquet,” I replied.
“Oh!” he went on, “she’s got jewels! And a crown!”
“Uh, wow… what’s her name?”
“If they’d just pay me my pension,” he answered, “I’d be set! Man, back in the day, I had it so good! Now it’s all over. Now I’m just —“ A wet look up at the sky said it all.
“So things used to be really good?” I asked.
“Aw, I miss it, man, I miss it!” he said. “I was as happy as a pig in shit.”
“Harry!” called out an old woman who was coming up the road, ”Harry, where did you go? We’ve been looking for you everywhere, come have lunch!”
I walked over to her and asked, “Is he your son?”
“Yes, my poor son!” she answered. “God’s given me a heavy cross to bear.”
“How long has he been like this?” I asked.
“What, this calm?” she said, “Just six months. Thank god this is as far as he gets now, before this he was out of control for a whole year, they had him in a straightjacket at the asylum. Now he doesn’t hurt anyone, he’s just always going on about kings and emperors. He was such a good, quiet boy, helped me pay the bills — very good secretary, he took great notes — and one day, just like that, he got all moody, came down with a terrible fever, then went out of control, and now he’s… well, look at him. Mister, if I told you —”
I interrupted this flood of words by asking, “What was this time he keeps talking about, when he was supposedly so happy and content?”
“That poor nut!” she exclaimed, smiling sadly, “he means the time when he was out of his mind, he’s always talking about it — that’s when he was in the asylum, when he didn’t know who he was.”
That hit me like a lightning bolt, I stuffed a twenty in her hand and booked it away from her. “When you had it so good!” I yelled, speedwalking back into town, “When you were as happy as a pig in shit!” God in heaven! Is that how you’ve made humans, so that they’re only happy before their minds develop and when they lose them again?! You poor fuck! And at the same time I’m so jealous of your craziness, of this parallel universe you’re stuck in! You head out, full of hope, to pick flowers for your queen — in winter — and you’re sad you can’t find any, and you don’t understand why you can’t find any. And me — I head out with no hope, with no goal… and head back home the same as I left. — You have this delusion that you’d be ‘set’ if you got your pension. Must be nice, being able to blame your lack of happiness on something outside you! You can’t tell, you can’t tell that your shattered heart, your disturbed brain is where the misery is, and all the pension committees in the world can’t help with that. I hope everyone DIES IN A FIRE who’d make fun of sick people dragging themselves across the world looking for treatments that’ll probably just aggravate their sickness and make the time they have left even more painful! Everyone who thinks they know better than the guilty hearts who try to ease their tortured consciences with pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Every step that cuts open the soles of their feet on the unpaved path is soothing medicine for their anxious souls, and every brutal day of travel sends their heavy hearts to bed a little lighter. — And what, you’d call that crazy, you armchair moralists! — CRAZY! — Oh, God! Look down and see my tears! You made humans so poor already — did you also have to give them brothers who steal the scrap of wealth, the bit of faith they have in you, in you, oh God of Love! Because faith in miracle drugs, in miracle cures — what is that if not faith in you, that you’ve put healing and helping powers in everything around us — which we need, ALL THE TIME? Father, whom I know not! Father, who used to fill my whole soul and now have turned away from me, call me to you! SPEAK TO ME! Your silence won’t hold back this thirsting soul — and could a man, a father, be angry, if his son came home sooner than expected and collapsed into his arms and cried, “I’m back again, Dad! Don’t be angry that I’m breaking off the trip you wanted me to keep taking. The world’s the same everywhere, hard work and effort get you money and happiness; but what good does that do me? I’m only happy where you are, and I’ll take my pleasures and pains as long as I’m with you.” — And you, dear Heavenly Father, would you turn him away from you?