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Essay-a-week

Be still, my boy, be still

With a finger tapping on the dust-speckled dashboard, you drive onward to a destination only you care to know. The radio is playing, but it is not the sound of the guitar or piano rhythmically coalescing together that is making you hum stupidly. Instead, it is the pinholes of devotion you hang onto. Somehow, they make you feel as though sushi could very well taste like jazz. Sure you know that it doesn’t make any sense, but you gave up on sense long ago when you realized that pockets could have holes in them. So you search for those pinholes wherever you can find them. Soon enough though, wherever begins to shift into anywhere, anywhere transmutes into everywhere, and all of a sudden, there are billions of them. They are the little spaces in between now and then, the forgotten yesterdays that were meant for tomorrow, and the future stuck in between a recurring past and a disregarded present.

You are overwhelmed. But you think that maybe, just maybe, if you can connect each pinhole to create an outline of everything that you thought you once understood, and maybe, just maybe, if you could see the bare spaces in between the outline, squeeze yourself into the crevice where time passes each space by, and undergo the realization that such spaces are nothing but fullness gone wrong, then you will have a blueprint for a breakthrough. It is a breakthrough for something better than yourself, something more than that blurry intersection of the two letters coming together spelling, me.

But you can’t and you won’t. Your hair is on edge; frizzy to the point of disaster, and simply won’t allow for such good willed initiatives. After all, something could be anything, and you don’t want to risk anything. Not again. More than that though is the ubiquitous, irreducible fact that you’re human and humanity wasn’t meant to see beyond what lies directly in front of them. Even your very own nose is blocked from the judgment of your crossing eyes. Why have a nose if you can’t know its there? You have always wondered.  Some would answer, it’s a testament to the incomprehensibility of the universe, but you’d never understand such an answer anyways.

So instead of embracing your ignorance, your rosary lips teem with prayers of music, of fame, and of fortune. You speed on with the infinite endlessness between you and where you want to be. You are but a breathless example of a canyon that is beyond Grand, a dream you cannot bare to sleep for. For only awake, with the rat nest of a hair, with ambition abhorrently smeared over your face, with a brief but fleeting image in your head, can you accomplish your dreams. A blueprint could never help me, or so you say.

Your dream is a universal one shared by all. It is simple enough: you want to be a rock-star. You believe that your name should be plastered in lights and cemented on every tongue. Like a Hail Mary, your name desires the company of sins. Like alcohol, your name craves the company of good deeds gone unpunished. You just want the world to remember you because hell, sometimes even you forget who you are. You have attempted to define yourself once but you couldn’t stop your fingers tapping, your eyes from wandering, and your hair blowing in the wind. As a result, you couldn’t help thinking, I’m just a desert dreaming it was an ocean.

But you, the dream-chaser, the watered-down-desert, are indeed a rock-star. In fact, everyone is. All you, and anyone else has to do, is listen. Do you hear it? The endless concerts? The eternal fame? It’ll take a while. Slow your breathing. Stop your tapping. And listen. Listen real good. This is the drumming of the universe, the first song of creation, and the last chord of destruction. There. That’s it. Faint, but it’s there. It’s your heart. The rock-star at work. So put your ear to your chest and listen to the calls of yesterday gone today, the chants shared by all from a mighty ant to a cowardly elephant, and the last words on a dying soldier’s crimson lips, move, dammit, move.

Luckily for you, yours does. All you have to do is listen closer. The drumming is an incessant beating. Lub dub. Lub dub. So it goes on, ever persistent, ever constant, without even your slightest attention. But now, in the silence of wherever you are, it has taken center stage. It is the conductor, the orchestra, and the entire chorus. It moves, and music pours out into your veins and you can sigh relief because the show will go on. You don’t even need the comment on how goddamn beautiful it is. Sometimes words just don’t carry that weight. If they did, you wouldn’t need them anyways because lub dub is all you need to hear right now. Despite your race to some infinite destination, it’s good to know that inside, you will keep echoing this same tune. God knows it always will. In fact, it will be so loud it will break the sound barrier, simply because it has to. Barriers were meant to be broken, you’ve always been told. Your heart flexes and relaxes in confirmation.

Stretching and contorting enough to put a gymnast to shame, your heart compels you to dream. Without your heart, you are nothing; with it, you are all powerful. It is with that realization that you now understand that music is only as powerful as its listeners allow it to be. Without ears, you couldn’t appreciate the climbing crescendos of some sonata. Without a brain, there would be no means to differentiate a bucket crashing down a flight of stairs and Beethoven. Without a heart, then none of this complex hearing process would function anyways. This is because the most beautiful music is the sound of a heartbeat; only is it in between the beats that you attempt to make other kinds of music.

What’s more is that such music beats on even during the darkest of nights. When you have a nightmare that you somehow stop your race or you hit the bottom of some cliff somewhere or you become a nobody rather than a somebody, your heart will still beat on. It will always wake you up and whisper into your veins, be still, my boy, be still.

And yet; it thumps on, a hypocrite of its own accord. Who can blame it though? Stillness is neither its virtue nor its function. Rather, it is the little star that has been wished on so many times that it has become a rock. A star-rock. It has no choice but to search for that glow it had once. No longer does it soar everlasting in the Universe, forced to shed its light on a world that barely noticed its existence when it was first glorified, rosy cheeked, and warmly smiling. Sitting there in the prism of your prison, it tries to wish itself out. It wants to be free and claw past those ribs to join the stars again, not to become a star-rock, but a rock-star.

There is a way that this can be done, however, it does require someone – anyone – to take it. If only those sounds in between the beats that give you life found someone who would want to listen to them. Yet during your race, you can’t find anyone who will be there to drum their heart along with yours and you’re tired from beating on and on only to beat again. The worst part of not finding someone is you know there are millions of people around, and yet you feel lonely. It’s triflesome. You want to beat for a reason, not just because you have to, but that damn body of yours won’t let you. You give up. No amount of searching is worth the tears.

But just when it feels like your song is about to end, when the beating appears to be nearly pointless, that one person enters in a triumphant ring of drumming. You stare ahead. You see the music. Heaven’s gates open. It’s a smile. It’s sushi tasting like jazz. God must exist, you laugh because you have seen her and she’s paradise.

You know this is it: the tune you’ve been waiting to harp along with. Goddamn, are the only words you can muster out for this example of God’s saving grace. You can’t help to feel like a lucky penny picked up on a bad day. It is simply magnificent how happy they are to see you. Filling in the beats of your rhythm, they combine their lubs with your dubs. Suddenly, you two are like a chess game with only the two kings, you both win. Your heart, that rock you once nicknamed the juggernaught, begins to soar into the sky to join the stars again.

But just before the moment of absolute weightlessness, when gravity is just about to admit defeat to the nothingness that is between it and even the laws of physics are about to bend, you fall. For a second, you thought you wouldn’t. And yet soon their comes the lesson that nothing rises forevermore, but everything breaks evermore. That’s rule number one: the first law of thermodynamics. Nothing can be created or destroyed, and you are an example of that. Nothing but a bundle of death born again, and so you fall. The perfection you thought you heard when your hand was entwined with theirs was only your sweaty, beady palms acting up again. So you decide to stop breathing. But your heart flutters. So you let go of it all. But your heart breaks.

Oh, how it breaks.

In a million pieces, your heart scrambles to regain the constant ticking and tocking of a life before you found another drum to play upon. Your heart attempts to whimper a pulse of a plea: be still, boy, be still. Such familiar words, ones that have gotten you out of nightmare after nightmare. Now, you listen. It will get you out of this nightmare too, even though it doesn’t have any music. Before you give into its plea though, you stubbornly search for those pinholes of your devotion only to find they have shattered and sealed in the cracks of your skin now hardened, plastered over by a heart you no longer wish upon.

So you listen to the wishes of stillness, as if one moment of rest would just be enough. You do not put your foot on infinity, as you do not want to try to touch its lines. You wallow around in self-pity, locking your heart in a mountain of pillows and blankets. Your mouth forms words but it does not practice speech; your eyes gaze off into the distance but they do not see. A heart going like yours wouldn’t last forever anyways. In stillness, there are no questions or answers. Only silence. That is the absolute truth.

In your catatonic state, you think that the world could spin around you and you wouldn’t even budge. You put your finger on your wrist, but there is nothing. No beating. No blood. Veins have become as dry as your little shattered star of your heart is, or at least, as dry as it once was. You can’t find your heart anymore. You no longer hear the beating; the incessant lub dub that made you wish upon falling stars at night. You guess that it is alright because sometimes, even stars can turn into rocks, and rocks can turn into dust. And while the wind blows this way and that, you hear the once familiar lub dub of your heart. It is no longer yours. ‘They’ have stolen it.

But you will grow. For some time, life will seem static, but soon enough, all will change. It won’t happen immediately. For a while, everyone will look at you and remember you as still. They will look beyond you as a forgotten tombstone in a cemetery, but I promise you that like a flower sprouting from the tombs of the dead, you will grow. And after all the years you spend trying to know stillness, there will come a time when you must move. When that time comes, move with the full force of a nuclear bomb; move like a legion of natural disasters destroying the memories that were built up on yesterday’s whims and tomorrow’s hopes; move because your heart is the music that makes you move, a rock carved from stardust, and it can never be still.

About kacperniburski

I am searching for something in between the letters. Follow my wordpress or my IG (@_kenkan)

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