March 29, 2013

It must be something. When you break away from the swarms of people and hit the street; I turned my head. It's something; about the vast blankness of space. The glittering empire, the nothingness, just the gaps between buildings and all the cars and taxis idling at the crosswalk. And the sky. You get this feeling, you catch the possibility of just maybe never moving again. If you just stood there, everyone would just go around you. And would they just run you over?

They say that was how she died. I thought she was going to move, said the tank driver, I thought she was gonna move. I swear she was walking but then she just stopped. And then what could I do? She lay down flat on her stomach and looked through the blades of grass. The soldiers didn't stop, they were afraid it was an ambush. That the way it goes, the way it goes. It wouldn't do to disobey an order from an angry God.

She stood in front of them and held up half the sky. When they told her to step aside, goddammit! she laughed. Christ, my family is full of maniacs. We have a martyring instinct, my Mother told me. Don't be a martyr, Andrew. It's getting real old. It's always better to live, you know that, right?

It takes great courage. My great aunt, she liked burning things. She ran around and torched things; even the Nazis were scared of her. 'cause she wasn't doing it for any reason. It wasn't like she'd lost a brother or a father or a husband. She just liked burning things. And when she faced the firing squad, she kept laughing. Don't miss she kept saying, don't miss, don't miss.

And her husband set himself on fire.

And when their souls left this earth, the townspeople saw a dragon and phoenix in the sky. And their children went to live in hell for five years and only one of them made it out alive. I get it, I get it. If we all had these suicidal tendencies, there's no way the human race would survive as a whole. Somebody's gotta be willing to put up with all this shit. It takes courage to die, my Mother said, but even greater courage to stay alive.