I woke with an immense feeling of emptiness. Perhaps it’d been brewing for years and things had gnawed me until I was hollow. I got out of bed and summoned the strength to walk to the window and look outside. I saw empty streets, empty freeways, empty bridges, empty buildings and empty skies. I considered the thought that I may be dead. Perhaps there is no heaven, just another dimension filled with familiar surroundings and this was my location in which I could spend eternity trying to make some sense of the life I’d lived.
What was most surprising was that I felt nothing. No panic, concern, fear – nothing.
I switched on the TV but all I got was static. After a few moments, I started to find it entertaining. Then mesmerizing. No more ads, no more sitcoms with canned laughter of dead people, no more politicians lying for my vote. I’m not sure how long I watched it as the clocks had stopped.
I went for a walk. For the first time in my life, I felt safe. I passed many empty parked cars and wondered about the people who had owned them. I walked into a supermarket but there was nothing I wanted anymore. I left empty-handed.
I continued to walk and thought about love and how it had robbed me of my best years. I laughed out loud at my foolishness. There was no regret or bitterness, or anger. It now seemed all so clear. Love was just a dream. And all the best dreams are those that remain dreams. Unrequited. Untarnished. Unsullied by not dragging it down to earth to be played out by two dumb, needy people seeking themselves in the eyes of each other, only to awaken one day to realize they have nothing in common but the rooms they shared.
I walked up the steps to the National Art Gallery. There were no lines or admission to pay. No irritating muzak. No need to utter a comment about the masterpieces that were so exquisite mere words would only devalue them anyway. But then again, these art pieces were of no monetary value anymore. Their only worth being the joy it brought to gaze upon them.
I walked home again, slowly. There was no need to rush anymore. No one was waiting for me.
I sat in my favourite chair and read from “A Tale of Two Cities”. My concentration was not broken by telephone calls, unexpected visitors, or the nagging feeling that I should be somewhere.
If this wasn’t heaven, it’d do.
(c) Frank Howson 2016