Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Function Of Loss

I hate Wednesday, absolutely despise it. Between work, my five classes, and the plethora of homework, always due first thing Thursday morning. Wednesday quickly becomes a giant cluster fuck of sleep deprivation, caffeine addiction, and just plain terrible.

Now, this Wednesday was exactly the same, nothing out of the ordinary, until about 9am. Then it just all went to hell.

I woke up at 5:30. Cursed existence itself. Went to work, and by 8 am had consumed two thermoses of tea and a chi latte. Yeah, I might just have a problem. So I left work, went to philosophy class, took notes, laughed at the inherent stupidity of some of my classmates, contributed a few insightful comments, and most shocking of all, somehow stayed awake.

9am hits, I meander out of class and begin to casually pace down the generic hallways of Uhall. I hate this building, so generic, it looks like a shopping mall, but without the bad music, and those creepy hot topic kids. I glance around the building, and realize that if someone asked me to describe this place, I could think of no discernible feature. It's almost as if the architect chosen for this project was sadly born without an imagination, no soul.

I round the corner. She enters my view. God, she looks beautiful this morning. The way her hair gently falls in front of her face, the colored streaks, blue and yellow, effortless inject life my drab morning. My heart begins to flutter, what do I say? How do I greet her? I hate straight guy awkwardness. Where is my sassy bi friend when I need him the most? I can't do this on my own. OK, it's decided, my sassy bi friend needs to be an IPhone app, always in my pocket for ease and convenience, able to pop out at a moments notice and impart on me his vast wisdom.

She is getting nearer, I need to do something now. Shit, shit, shit.

She waves and smiles. Crisis averted. We walk up to each other, both awkwardly smile again. I need to say something. Do I complement here? Ask her how her day is going? No, that's dumb, her day has just started. Should I start with a funny story? Yeah, everyone likes a joke. Now to think of something pithy yet insightful. Funny yet touching.

I greet her with a unintentionally blase sounding "Hi, how's it going?"

That wasn't that bad, was it? She isn't saying anything in response. Did I do something wrong, say something bad, is there food on my face? Oh no, her facial expression says it all, this is not good.

She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a little folded piece of paper, hands it to me. I slowly unfold it, not knowing what to expect. Could this be a medical form, is she sick? Was there some kind of freak accident? Are her friends OK? Family? Family.

I hold unfolded paper in my hand, and the headline says it all. I fold the paper back up, hand it back to her, and hug here. Everything is not all right, this is bad, this is unfair.

I'm still hugging her, trying to think of something to say. I'm speechless, utterly devoid of words, I can't even make a sound.

Our bodies separate and I still haven't said anything. We begin to walk towards her class, in silence. Feeling uncomfortable, I then commit the cardinal sin of tragedy.

"So, are you OK?"

Silence, how I longed for your sweet embrace. A moment devoid of noise has never seemed so sweet. We continue to walk, I feel sick.

We reach her classroom, and embrace again. I want to know the right words to tell her, to reassure her that everything will be fine, but I know that's impossible. Maybe, things won't be OK, things aren't OK. We hug for what seems like hours, people pass by, catching sly glances at us, trying to contemplate why two people would be hugging at 9am in a building which could be easily mistaken as a shopping center. One girl that passes begins to talk to herself, she's weird.

I manage to mutter a softly spoken "You're going to be OK." I'm failing at this. I want to me there fore her, but I can't. I don't know.

I then offer for her to skip class and we can talk about it, we make eye contact, she looks like she's about to break. Then in a moment of unimaginable strength, she rejects my offer, turns around, and walks into her philosophy class.

What do I do? I go to calculus class, of course.

I walk into class and take a seat. Glancing around the room, I begin to study my classmates. They all seem so happy, so normal, blissfully unaware of how much pain is in this world. How unfair this existence really is.

My professor hands out a work sheet. I hate calculus.

A word problem? Really? I can't do this right now, I need to hold someone, listen to Death Cab For Cutie, or write bad poetry. Anything, but here.

I get out a pencil, calculator, and begin to glance at the problem. "A mail train leaves Cleveland at 4pm traveling west towards Los Angeles. Please label this first train, train A. Train A travels at a constant rate of 62 MPH.

They say don't kill the messenger, but if I could, I would kill this train. A train, moving from some city to Los Angeles, the city of angles, carrying a cursed letter, a tragic reminder of events that have transpired. A sharp stake through heart, any and all loose stitching immediately vanquished. She may have thought she was moving on, beginning to forgive, forget, but no, it still hurts. A lot. If the mail workers had been aware of this cursed cargo would they have taken it from it's unholy compartment? Taken it out back during their lunch break and burned it? Probably not? But it's nice to hope.

The train is traveling down the hypotenuse of a right triangle. Solve for area of land traveled.

She probably had plans, so many plans. To reconcile, to forgive, to cling to a thread of normalcy and hope, that just maybe, maybe, they would one day live together as a happy family. Yet, distracted by these plans, she may not have realized it, but she was in that train, speeding down a mountain at an alarming rate. The train is in horrendous shape, no brakes, no seat belts, a wheel has come loose, and she is not sure, but it sounds like something's grinding. Also, the train is on fire. She is out of control, with no plan, on the verge of breaking down. She is terrified.

The train stops at a station for two hours. How does this stop affect ultimate delivery schedule of Train 3, currently leaving San Diego for New York.

While there may be nothing more powerful in this world than hope, there are few things more devastating than when that hope is false. She had hope. That light is extinguished.

The train arrives in Los Angeles. What is the function of this trip?

The function, maybe life is just a fucking function. We are born, the input, we live, and then we die, the output. Maybe our lives are that numerical, that everything that happens to us is just based on a long line of 0's and 1's, maybe what happened to her was just basic statisitcs. She has the 1 in 100. I feel sick, I feel cold.

Now solve for the constant.

Life is all about loss. Life is nothing without loss. The constant of our lives is the sad fact that on this earth, time runs out for everything and everyone – if that were not the case, then there would be no point in sustaining ourselves. We are motivated each and every day by the knowledge that one day we will not have the opportunity to breathe, to feel, to love.

I run out of calculus class, sprinting towards the bathroom, I puke in a nearby trash can. The worksheet is unfinished.

And every time we lose something dear to our hearts, we honor it by taking what we’ve learned from it and what we cherished about it, and carrying that on our shoulders until we, too, are lost. What we drop will be picked up by those behind us, and with so much to be happy for and proud of, there’s no room for anger or resentment.

That afternoon I saw her again, and I held her. Words were unneeded. We had the moment.

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