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Fear of lies

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ben_r_jordan
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Posted 10/14/06 - 11:28 AM:
Subject: Fear of lies
Please, please, please, criticize me!


An echo, a dream, a reflection, a painting, a likeness… A shadow. Plato’s cave-dwellers called their sight the world, and the world a mad fantasy.

I’ve seen it before. In fact, by now it’s so familiar if it didn’t come, I would be lost, dumbfounded, and could perhaps be excused. But the sad thing, the really sad thing, is that while she has to deconstruct her fantasies, raze the ground they stood on and replace them with my words, or as much as she can understand of them, I know exactly what’s coming. By her temperament I know how many heartbeats to count as she rebuilds her love, but it’s my curse that I know by her eyebrows when she has failed in the attempt; it’s my blessing to know that this is the time to say goodbye.

The morning began as any other – I can say that, just as she can, and uncountable citizens, the proletariat, driving by the windows outside, never doubted it would. She was in the shower before me, I broke the eggs, she washed the pan, I forgot my wallet and left the house later than her.

The house sat and awaited our return, but unlike the dog, it isn’t confused when she packs, or upset when she goes. To tell you the truth, I’m not either. Either. I know why she left – I told her to go, in so many words – and I know she won’t come back. They never do. They never see me again. Perhaps they recognize my face on the street somewhere, but they see a monster that has somehow crawled into my skin, and assumed my identity. They refuse to associate that monster with my memory. And that is my second blessing, but it is also a fault. And, as any geologist will tell you, faults are the cause of movement – that is why they go. I lack their fault, and so I remain.



The day is Thursday, as indeed any day should be when the heaviest of hammers falls, and the weather acquiesced with a slight bowed curtsy full of colors, after her performance. She has been gone a day, one single day, and a terribly long one for her, if I know anything about the matter; it was not for me.

The rain washed a month’s worth of dust down the sides of buildings like tear-bled mascara. There’s almost a feeling of Spring in the air, with so much rain and wind, but unfortunately at the end of August it would be more truthful to say that the herald of winter has arrived on the horizon, and his horn heard across the gap. Before long we, the citizens, will be closing our coats and faces to the chill wind in strange contrast to the trees and their falling leaves, baring themselves to the falling temperatures, and then when the white water falls and lays on our driveways, we will sweep it away. A purely pragmatic reaction, no doubt, but if we allow the snow to be virginal and pure, why push it farther? Why mix it with salt? Why love it from a distance, and destroy it beneath our feet? Perhaps there is a grain of metaphor in our efforts.

“But I haven’t come out to talk about the weather,” I say in an uncharacteristically halting manner, and he divines my meaning.

“She left, huh? I told you, my friend, you’re a tsunami. Awesome, but terrifying. I’d be afraid of you more if I had any common sense, or cared in the slightest. I’m the perfect match for you, really. You’d have to be moral to offend me, and I think we can rule that out.”

“I thought she might understand. I thought she wanted to. I prepared her, little hints like you said, and she still acted as though she had been sideswiped by a stranger in a passenger plane.”

“They see what they want to, my man, and not just they, but we. You and I. I don’t really understand either, to be honest. I still think you are a lying sonofabitch, because it’s easier for me. Even I can be honest about that, but I’m not really involved. And if you get whiney I’m going. Where’s the goddamn waiter?”

I saw it suddenly, with the clarity of Abraham – tonight the whiskey would flow into a regretful estuary, and we would play this out night after night until we were unable, and perhaps then too if we could find help. Don might be my friend, and he might not, but he was here, and not likely to leave, and there is comfort in that beyond sentiment. That’s a major part of the call to love, isn’t it – that fidelity, expected and assured until the very possibility is exhausted, and then perhaps longer.

IammyaspectofUs
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Posted 10/14/06 - 2:06 PM:

The stuff of human living my friend and told well. Our strengths, weaknesses as our ways and means and as we see them playing out everyday, and as so told from a entertaining perspective. i want to know what happens next. I don't think I am experienced enough to get everything, never read Plato but I have heard the cave mentioned.

This from a brand new, amature reader and writer. Hope it helps.
ben_r_jordan
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Posted 10/14/06 - 4:09 PM:

Sammy - you should read the allegory of the cave, it's arguably the most famous part of Plato's "The Republic". The main idea is:

There are people in a cave, with their backs to a wall, chained feet and hands and neck so that they cannot move. Behind the wall men pass back and forth carrying statues and figures on their backs, talking, and behind them there is a fire. The chained men see the shadows in front of them, shadows of the figures, and they hear the noise, and think the shadows make the noise, and are all that is real. One man is freed, and taken up to daylight, but it is too bright and he cannot see. As his eyes adjust, first he thinks shadows made by the sun are thw most real, because they are akin to what he knows - then a refelction in a pond, and then, finally, he sees the real movements of the world, and eventually, the sun. He is brought back into the cave, and tries to descirbe what he has seen, but alas! those below think he is simply crazy. They cannot fathom the world he has seen, and he is a lunatic in their eyes.

IammyaspectofUs
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Posted 10/14/06 - 4:40 PM:

Thanks man.
Somehow, I know the story in the context of my own mind. I think the story is very important to understanding how we operate. If I ever do find the time to read anything besides these forums, it is at the top of my list.
Hey will you critique mine?
http://www.thecouchforum.com/comments.php?id=362


libertygrl
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Posted 10/16/06 - 10:07 PM:

hi ben,

have you read "flatland", by edwin abbott? i haven't read "the cave" but i'm reminded of flatland in reading your summation of it. in flatland the main character lives in a 2-dimensional world whose beings cannot conceive of any other existence. then, one night in a dream, the main character is brought to the world of 3-D and is taken for a madman when he returns to his world and tries to explain what he's seen.

i enjoyed your story. it has a nice poetic flow to it, like falling snow, soft and cold at the same time, and beautiful to behold. i sympathize with the narrator's detachment as he contemplates the details of the breakup, and then immediate concern to appease his conscience when faced with expressing these details to his friend. the clear essence of humanity reveals itself in that moment, which is, to me, a "call to love" in and of itself. i can't think of any criticism to share. it seems truly inspired.

nice,
lib
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