If I could scribe my words into the walls of an old place, etch each letter with claws grown from my very fingertips, I would scratch and grind, and feel the fibers as they peel, falling like pencil shavings to the ground. And in my writing I would inscribe deep meanings, small truths, and the kindest of lies. Things that make you feel, and forget, or, sometimes, remember. The kind of words that take you in from the cold of reality and cover you with thoughts and ideas and silly nostalgia.
Have you ever seen the first drops of rain in an oncoming storm fall right in front of you, breaking into millions of tiny wet particles, and thought of what it might be like to fall so far and end so quickly? Or perhaps not to end but to break into something else? To be something else? And your mind wanders to worlds of stories you’ve read, or have seen on television and in film. Worlds of magic and doom, and most often of good and of evil. Our world has good. Our world has evil. Perhaps we, too, have magic and doom.
I’ve seen birds fly in flocks and formations, and I’ve wondered how they know which goes where. I’m not even sure of where I belong much of the time. And in zoos, behind bars, I’ve seen animals meant to roam the great forests and deserts and mountains, lay and be fed from buckets as families with children look on. And I wonder what the difference is between the birds up above and the lions in their pens. How these great beasts can be kept, while the small feathered creatures fly free, unannounced and unharmed.
The difference is people. We are always the difference, the good and the evil. The magic and doom. We steal and we give, we roam and we stay, grow and burn down, kill and are killed, seek and abandon, love and ignore. We live and we, one day, will die.
Do you think about whether the things you do are just, or if there is such a thing? Sometimes I wonder, and I cannot be sure. I know what I feel, and I let that much guide me, but how do I accept what’s done to the world? If I were to stand by and watch as someone is abducted, grabbed by the shoulders and taken away, am I not just as guilty as the one who would take them?
Its simplicity is what worries me, for nothing ever seems clear, not if you ponder it long enough. That which is similar and that which is different, and whether one matters much more than its twin. The differences are what make us equal, these things that cannot be taken away. I cling to them like the narrow ledge of a rooftop, and hope that the wind doesn’t take me away.
And here I gaze up at the things I have written, and dream of the words that never will be. The wall is nearly full, I know, and my time will soon run out. It hardly matters to me now, as I have had my fair say, and my hands they grow tired. Beneath the fierce, calloused claws my fingertips bleed from the scratching and gnawing at stone. My words are like breaths; as I write, they run out. And I’ve but a few left so I’d best make them count . . .
Brad Nelson is a second year Film major at SVA whose work has a tendency toward the surreal.