[Old Post 'Studies of Life' Rewritten. Original Can be Found in The Past]
The planet divides like two lips whispering their dying word. A lick of molten rock caresses the expanding rupture and tastes the salty ocean churning in turmoil. Like hair, silken and golden in unfiltered light, dust seeps into the vacuum to blanket alien mantles and infest their electronics. The satellite, splintered by its primaries released energy, diffuses and becomes joined in essence with that it used to orbit. Both together, one a diminutive presence in the next, they thrust outward to share my fate. From my vantage point, rotating into the void, I can see where the stars go during the sunshine and I may live there one day.
My time now is just a ribbon awaiting it’s end, unravelling slowly through a frozen nightscape. My death will not be a conclusion but a rebirth, a metamorphosis into a petrified museum piece, a relic from a long-dead pinprick in a foreign, black sky. My body won’t decompose but retain the unique, inherent strangeness of a bi-pedal meat bag with only two arms, only ten fingers. I will embody physical evidence of a race too powerful for it’s own good with muscle enough to knock an entire planet into meltdown. A statue, I will travel our galaxy from end to end, away from the warm sun, past a stormy, red giant, through an asteroid belt and into uncharted space. What will find me there?
With luck my body will be recovered by a rebel band of groovy aliens ostracised from their home for crimes against cultured, extraterrestrial society. My arm, perpetually extended to a point, may become a hook for them to hang unwashed garments, and my mouth an ashtray for their roaches. Dressed in robes of infrared light, my body may imitate an idol, a Buddha statue, and become a symbol of their freedom.
I imagine instead, and with some excitement, twirling in the hands of giant robot, my brain coming loose of my skull. With mechanical patience my consciousness is placed within a sex-bot and I live for eternity exploring the squalid depths of the adult-robot entertainment industry.
My future is as expansive and unimaginable as my past is murky and forbidden. Memories of who I was, from gutter to stars, have escaped from my ears. Perhaps, if I could turn my head, I would see my past self on my shoulder preparing for a long journey. Perhaps what I see is a picture of innocence, pure and composed.
A child on a swing set, his face creased with formidable concentration, kicking his legs as hard as he can. In his older brother’s t-shirt, he forces the motion of a pendulum swing, his knuckles white around the fat chains. A belief has consumed him and made him daring, a conviction in flight unassisted and destiny unheralded. As he reaches the apex, the point at which to jump and scrape the sky, the end of the world propels the boy into space spiralling like a galaxy.
Or perhaps on my shoulder I see an astronaut adjusting the sensitive mirrors of a piece of orbiting technology. With it the unknown becomes illuminated and mans understanding of the universe further expanded. The astronaut is indifferent to humanities breadth of ignorance however and marvels instead at the breakdown of existence from the greatest viewpoint one could wish for, should one wish for such a thing.
I expect, however, life is not so black on white. I am neither child nor astronaut but a twenty-three year old man kicking heels in New Orleans anticipating his next high. Surrounded by dilapidation, I flick through the pages of a Gideon Bible imagining fantastical bouts of death to distract me from my terminal life. Or I am tending a vineyard in Southern France, enjoying the shade with my own brand of wine. A streak of light flares on my eyelids and I dream of my future wife with dark hair and dark skin. She nurses our first born who was a miracle.
Maybe, more probably, I am already dead and suspended in an instant of annihilation and significant wisdom. A final rush of blood through my brain detonates images and sounds, ignites hallucinations and memories, to create a reasonable explanation for my demise. It is likely I was on the planet when it erupted, in a Kitchen in Asia, washing a dish, and I am experiencing the moment between the realisation of death and death itself.
The power of life to appear normal is part of its extraordinary charm. Yet it can be so plain, so easy. It is often said, all things equal, the simplest of two or more rival theories is preferable. In other words I am not tracking through space digesting the last breadcrumbs of a forgotten life, or in an abandoned motel in New Orleans maintaining a junkie’s demise, or am I in France fantasizing over aged wine. I am in Ireland, writing fitfully into Microsoft Word, happy to be alive.