We saw the world as it was, not as it could be…strangely chemical, with a distant ether of confidence descending like virga on a horizon we knew we never could touch, but inherently had to breathe. Our minds, our bodies, our true selves, our atman all strove for that cataclysm and iconoclasm of America, 2013 after-death.
But what postlude of expiry had sufficed us to live the way we do? An exotic, risen Jew, crowned and castled into the ionosphere, so we may dwell on an “I am a sphere”, such was our narcissism reflected on a Colgate and Neutrogena spattered corona.
I had seen the hint of something true two months ago but I had lost it, lost it upon my return westward. I had seen hope, and skewered it with mental anguish for not being hopeful enough—not because it wasn't the beyond answer, but because the question far outweighed the certainty we had come to expect after the rise of Generation Y: that We are the answer.
We are not.
Two months ago I was walking through the pastel streets of sunset Prague, tripping on stonework laid before my great-great-great-infinite-grandfather was born, and wondering if my blistered and bloody feet would ever impart anything but indentation on the earth. And if the sights I had seen had always been sights, or were merely manifestations of human splendor collectively agreeing, for once on the most primal, peaceful level, that there is more to life than Life and Me.
Like the gypsy girl I had kept making eye contact with as I wandered deeper into the bowels of Boheme…who I wanted also on the most primal and peaceful level, too.
She made me think of all the women I had loved and lost, even on this trip, where two souls would be meet for a night in space, in time, in everything and nothing and somehow find common hostel heartache despite not sharing a common tongue but the one we slipped into each other's mouths that said, Hush Moon Child, Our bags are packed separate come mourning.
But let us remember Hermes, who brought us here on mercurial feet to silver lands that we couldn't properly pronounce but it didn't matter because it had a Babel of names anyway—like Prague, or Praha, or Praga, of prayer of power of none and less the energy was still realer than the buildings that stood higher.
I continued and wandered west through the winding streets of Bohemia, making mark towards a river that had carved Habsburgs and has-beens and heathens and now slashed through me thus: that there were souls here, there were souls beyond, there were souls in London, in Shanghai, in Reykjavík, in Borneo—on planets we equally cannot pronounce but it didn’t matter because there had to be a common tongue—Eden Prairie...
I was not nor ever will be the center of anything.
And it made me happier to know that my expectations were insufferably human but also musings of a higher creation.
I’ll tell you what.
I drank cheap vodka in crushed forest berries with people my age in Portorož, Slovenia and heard dreams and wishes much akin to my own.
I saw remnant bullet holes in Rijeka, Croatia from a war that I had seen in the news in my youth but didn’t give a second thought of in my adulthood.
I also learned that “never have I ever” was a universally known drinking game and every culture stayed safe the first round and then the vilest, most sexual things I had ever heard in broken English would come out after a player had finished their second drink.
You know what I think?
I think never have I never not had a lot to learn.