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General

I’ve been waiting for so long that I’ve forgotten what I was waiting for. Whatever it was, I’ve either missed it, or it never came. There are no more chances left for the likes of me. A life wasted in the shadows of books and papers dreaming about living the lives of other people. Living every manner of life but the only one that mattered.

I’ve traveled the stars, sojourned Middle Earth, and sailed with white whales, yet where am I now? Experiences wished for and imagined but never realized. I’ve appreciated everything in my mind, but I have never seen anything. I have knowledge, but I have never known truth. What is there when there is no practicality, nothing literal? Is it all just firelight on the wall? What have I done? What haven’t I and why not?

Once I promised my voice, the strength of my back, my willingness to fight for a cause believed in with friends I respected. They respected me in return. More names on a list of the dead that have been forgotten from lack of use. The cause was lost so long ago, no one remembers its grievances. My companions left me. I waited for her.

There was a time when I would walk through fire just to hold her hand. I am still unburned. When my chance came to prove my devotion, I was busy waiting for someone else. Another forgotten name added to a list of unrealized aspirations and dreams of dancing.

Will it end? Will the endless waiting ever move me? New friends could be joined in fellowship against the evils of the world. Evil never really goes away if my books are to be believed. There are still women in the world who are waiting for someone to love them and to love in return. What holds me here? What has always held me here? Fear is a meager excuse.

What’s the use? Why try to figure anything out? Questions only lead to more questions. Nothing is ever solved, and nothing ever truly changes. I have changed least of all. I wait, and I wonder why I wait. I wonder if the waiting will ever end. Is that all there has ever been? Is that all there ever will be? Why should I be any different from anyone else? 

The man who has everything has it all because he can. The rest of us have only the wanting and the waiting for the day when it might be our turn. It never comes.

I never expected it to take this long. Who does?

Why did I ever come here? How long has it been? Is there any end to this incessant waiting? Is paradise on the other side, or just more endless nothing? The student is long past ready. Will the teacher ever arrive? Perhaps my perception of my own readiness needs to be examined, but isn’t that what I’m doing? Maybe I was never ready. Is there no other explanation?

Sometimes I see other people move through the light. They swirl the airborne particulates without acknowledgement that they exist. Why would they acknowledge me? Who am I? 

I’ve been waiting for so long that I’ve forgotten what I was waiting for. I knew once. She knew me too. Her hair was the color of a memory of Greece. Her eyes were the shade of time spent on the Adriatic. Her essence was a morning mist in a strong breeze at the base of the Sounion. Saying her name would be a blessing. It’s as real to me as the floor beneath my feet and as distant as the far side of the Sun. Was I supposed to meet her here? Why hasn’t she called?

When you’re a child, time goes on so slowly. You’re like a balsawood airplane strapped to a rubber band being pulled back away from where you want to go. The tension pulls at you, tugging at your desire to fly. Then you’re set loose. The tension is released, and you’re flying by everything too fast to realize where you’ve been. At first all you want is to get moving, and once you do, you realize all you want to do is slow down. Why are there only two speeds? Was there no thought of compromise during creation? Is that all life is? Is it just waiting to go and then wishing you hadn’t?

I walked away once and ended up exactly where I’d started. I could not remember why I had left in the first place. If you take a journey of one thousand miles just to end up where you started and cannot remember where you’ve been, did you ever really leave? If darkness is where we came from and where we’re going, what’s the point of the light? If Heaven is what we have to look forward to, why not pray for death? 

Could this take any longer? Most likely the Magic Eightball did me wrong. Without a doubt; don’t count on it; reply hazy try again; signs point to yes; my reply is no. 

A goldfish doesn’t know it’s wet. That seemed like wisdom the first time I heard it, but I cannot remember who said it, when, or why. Was it her? No. She was not so cliché, or was she? It was that little girl at the bus stop who would never say hello. Where is all of this going? Why do thoughts ramble? 

I came here for a reason. I had a hunger that needed to be satiated. It has not abated in the slightest. For all of my accumulated knowledge, the void only becomes more vacuous. The waiting only serves to remind me that I have forgotten. There is not even a hope for a reminder of what I was trying to remember.

Strangers pass. They come with hopeful looks of anticipation. They leave looking satisfied. It has been so long. Will it ever be my turn?

She steps to me from nowhere, or so it seems. Is it her at long last? Has she returned to make amends? Will I remember her name? Can I at last be forgiven?

“Sorry for the wait,” she says. It’s finally here.

“Excuse me. I was daydreaming.”

“Sorry your order took so long. The kitchen’s shorthanded.”

“That’s okay. It’s not a problem.”

“I hope you’re not late getting back to work.”

“It’ll wait.”

July 08, 2020 16:17

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7 comments

Anna K Firth
03:02 Jul 13, 2020

Very pretty writing and a good ending.

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JT Burnett II
16:03 Jul 13, 2020

Thank you. I appreciate the kind words.

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Arya Preston
05:03 Jul 10, 2020

Wow! I was not expecting that plot twist - it was simply brilliant. The imagery that you've weaved through the plot really enhanced the story. There's just a certain lyricism in your writing that intrigued me right from the beginning. I loved how you mislead the readers to believe the character is going through some existential crisis and I think the shift to second person in the middle really emphasised the emotional aspect of the story. I really enjoyed reading this - great work!

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JT Burnett II
10:57 Jul 10, 2020

Thank you. That is very generous. JT B II

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Arya Preston
10:59 Jul 10, 2020

You're welcome! If you don't mind, could you please check out my story? :)

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JT Burnett II
17:31 Jul 10, 2020

Yes. I would be happy to. Please excuse me though. I won't be able to get to it until tomorrow. JT B II

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Arya Preston
17:58 Jul 10, 2020

That's alright, take your time!

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