July 7th, 2017
An Informal Essay
By: Justin Eggen
I haven’t opened my laptop to write something personal for a few months and now more than ever during this quarantine you would think I can’t stop writing; unfortunately, it’s been the opposite. The most frequent question I receive as a writer is “Why?” What you all are about to read is the psychological process of allowing myself to put my experiences into words, or simply put this is my way of explaining the internal conflict that arose from my desire to write. I hope you enjoy.
The day is Friday July 7th, 2017 the skies are grayish-blue, clouds mope through the air mimicking my emotions as the day low-crawl’s through time. I’ve been consumed by something I cannot explain, something eerily similar but something so far in the past I can’t recall its importance or place in my life. Depression, I think is what they call it, that’s my shitty humor- yes, depression, that’s it. I’ve been depressed before, many times, but this is not the same, this goes to a molecular level in my mind. This time it’s different, I am recognizing it as it’s unfolding, I notice my departure from the constant mediocrity. Slipping near the edge, the vast drop sweeps into my mind, my fingers aren’t strong enough to hold... *allow yourself to go*- I fall.
Waking up in a dreamscape not like those I’ve encountered in my life. Everything is as it was, the glossy wooden floors reflecting the windows as the light overpowers itself into the home. The sun is shining loud, the birds sing a tune resembling an 18th century symphony, and the air’s aroma is of a Gardenia bush blooming in the spring. Everything seems correct, but hidden is the device… Something isn’t right, it’s not the same and it’s about to change. Spiraling the walls melt into the mix creating a home scented candle being sold at the latest mall. A dreamscape morphs into a nightmarish folly. Who said it comes to this? The marine outside the compound in salty frog-skin camouflage with the M2-2 on his back manically shouts “Me, MOTHER FUCKER!” as the stream of fire engulfs the room. His face burns as his eyes widen and his heart is filled with love, embracing the destruction that is spewing from his gun. The wood floors becoming tinder for the sprawling hell-storm immediately boil to steam as they become a spring. Bubbling black water from underneath, mucky slime fuses with my bones, pulling me under as my breath is stripped away from my lungs.
Underwater I am, unable to breathe, unable to see, unable to fucking do anything but sink. The further I go the cold embraces me, as if saying “we have you, no need to be afraid, let the cold consume you”. The water wraps itself around me, draping itself over every inch of my body rescuing me from the pain. It begins to exude cold warmth, like lukewarm water insulating me from the despair. Further I fall, deeper I sink unknowing that these will be the last moments to think. My mind dances with images of death and reduces my compliance with social standards of the world, allowing freedom to grow and freedom to shrink. Erratic confusion controls my conscience, concluding temperamental eruptions resulting in catastrophic nihility.
I don’t know how I’ve arrived, but my body is on the shore, still and unwavering to the crashing waves; with time that will change. The salted seal breaks as I open my eyes, there is wrecking pain all over my body especially in my eyes as the sun rays attack my retinas. I see the sand is red, unlike clay, just red sand. The grains of sand between my fingers begin to bond and attach, trying to free myself I become stuck in the grainy mucus. I can feel it tightening around my body as bones closest to the sand begin to snap and crumble. Searing heat jolts into each break as the bones crack and snap alerting the heightened nerves of the destruction. Panic ensues, draining my mind of all rational thought.
From within the tattered bones, lacerated skin, and altered mind my soul emerges; wiser and more mature the spirit grows slung into the fold unknown of right and wrong beginning their role with life so young. Sticks beat the same routines over and over we replicate the same dreams. The dreamscape is lost.
A man stands across the empty space, nothing to be seen but him. In one bloody hand he holds a key, in the other battered hand he holds a heart. Each callused finger grasping it as it pumps nothing, like a fish dying out of water, the heart exhaustingly attempting its sole function as it fails with each pump. The man snarls at the frail heart, his fingers squeeze, pressing the firm heart tighter and tighter, until… it bursts. My skeleton is erected into the sky bringing my head up with blood tears squeezed out of my eyes with my skull tilted back, I can feel the air leave my lungs. The clouds open like a mouth spitting acid rain on all who dwell underneath. From the clouds a slender, ghoulish arm with elongated finger knives places a bladed tip on my diaphragm. The knife tip pierces the skin with gentle pop, blood sprays. The joints in my arms dislocate shredding my muscles as they extend to their fullest, and my chest unzips. Each tooth ripping my chest apart, the skin separating as bones break forcing the skin zipper further down my chest. The acid rain plays to the sound of the screams with each droplet searing into the open wounds, burning through.
“Give me what provides your wealth” a crackling deep voice echoes from the clouds.
“Give me what you refuse everyone else!” It bellows.
Thunder clashes as the acidic rain intensifies, pouring into the open zipper wound. Excruciating pain burdens the bearer of the insane not wanting to give up the one thing kept away from this game.
In that moment an angelic voice whispers clearly and the pain subsides…
“Give them your mind & allow them inside. Give them that piece of your soul, let them carry this weight with you… you don’t have to do it alone Justin, let go and believe in them to welcome you” the sweet voice fades mirroring my fears.
Clutching the pen my mind gives in…