I don’t believe in visions. I don’t believe in divine intervention. I don’t believe in what cannot happen. The only feasibility is in possibility, and the impossible is named so for a reason. I don’t believe in wishful thinking, or the trickery of hope. Hope mocks us. Hope ridicules us, reduces us to donkeys drawn along by the promise of a carrot, so juicy and tempting that we cannot help but watch as our mouths water and our desire compounds and intensifies, nearly breaking our necks with its fervour and searing our skin with its raging heat. But it’s not just that, no, hope must drive the knife in further, deeper, to make certain it is irretrievably buried inside us. Hope always has a final trick, the grand finale to make the whole greater, the brilliant finishing act that has the audience cheering until their throats grow sore and their arms grow tired with clapping. The carrot, our sweet promise, isn’t even there. It’s a trick. An image created out of the feeble fabric of our own faulty, unrealistic wishes for a better life, better circumstances, better … whatever. Wishes range and hope supplies all, indiscriminately, a peddler with no conscience or remorse, always willing to serve.
I felt like a pebble.
Suicide is both laughably easy and insurmountably difficult, in measures differing with time, oscillating on a fixed, predictable cycle – like sadness and happiness, back when my life included moments of happiness. The cycle, once noticed, remains within sight: you understand, I will be unhappy now and perhaps happy tomorrow, or the day after, and then after the happiness, sweet as it is, I will be unhappy again, but I will sustain myself on the promise that more happiness awaits, only a few bitter rounds of unhappiness later. The realization of cycle’s existence is of little use, and offers no relief: misery retains its awful grey taste, and doesn’t melt away faster with the knowledge of its imminent passing. Knowledge doesn’t fix emotion, and emotion impacts knowledge none.
I had been given something, a life, that I had not asked for. It made sense that I would renounce the unwanted gift if I so wished. But perhaps that was a pernicious assumption: regarding life as a gift bestowed, and thinking it appropriate to treat it in the manner gifts are treated, by exercising the prerogative of the receiver: giving back the gift: giving back the gift. But who am I giving it back to? Was I given anything at all? Is my life something to be given? I can’t answer these questions, these violent inquisitions into the nature of being are too abstract for my capacity, and perhaps the capacity of everyone else such that the best and most fastidious of us can only form thorough opinions but no definite infallibilities, no answers to everything. Perhaps the notion of their being an answer is in itself an abomination, a fallacy branching from or perhaps created by those things spiritual and religious, those beliefs so permeating and prevalent. Or perhaps it is simply a disingenuous impetus, a cerebral tickle-generator, to prevent life growing too uninteresting, another nonexistent carrot to sustain us through existence: a byproduct of our species’ fervid drive to survive. I don’t know.
A pebble small. A beach large.
I had often cited the absence of reasons as ample reason: I had seen no reason for me to live, and so that which is without reason, and that which troubled me, was best done away with. An old Arabic proverb says: The door from which wind blows, close it, and bring yourself peace. A fitting adage, I thought. For so long I had wallowed in that belief of a life bereft of reason to continue that suicide became the only appropriate step to be taken, and I had decided that it will be taken. I would forsake what pained me. My death would scarcely go noticed, not by anyone who knew me or by the universe that housed. I am small, small enough to be part of the whole that, if lost, would exert no impact on the mighty, stable whole. My insignificance strengthened my conviction to die. It brought me motivation and confirmation, and I fed on it to my fill.
Then the sky painted itself.
It was an hour before I would do it. I was walking the streets, paying final visit to a world grown too zealous with self-love by its immensity, too see it a final time before leaving it at last, but perhaps unlike my entrance, my exit out of life would a willing one, driven entirely by my own impulses, not those of something else, whether something I cannot understand or otherwise, or by meaningless chance. I was stealing back ultimate control. My vice would finally contain something, something important, the most momentous holding it will ever grasp: control over my life.
It called to me, beckoning my attention. Why else would I have looked up to the sky? The reason, again, is irrelevant. I looked up, so high that the back of my head seemed almost to touch my back. The sky was grey, the colour of my mind’s eye, the shade layered onto everything I saw around me and all the feelings I felt. Grey is weakness and desperation when they rot, when they lose their initial potency and become perpetuity. Grey is the expression of defeat. But then the grey changed. It became thinner, pulling itself into frailer, paler sheets. Soon spots of white impaled it, clearing the muddied mess. The grey became lighter, and soon colour infected it, spears of cold blue and green, smears of brilliant red and yellow, and the colours mixed and mingled, washing over each other and separating only to mix again, creating shapes and pictures, painting images and drawing figures that were only for my eyes to see, there, on that crowded city street. I saw a mother, feeding her child, tickling the baby’s cheeks and cherishing its every giggle, pure and hearty and sincere as only it can be. Love truer than any other. I saw the same child grow, live a life with the happiness of the world accumulating in his chest like it does only in the chest of the young. I saw a young couple kissing, so deeply it hollowed their chests and so tenderly it thrilled their faces. And I saw passion in them, vehement and loud, such that can slice mountains if it were physical and if witnessed move hearts to astonishment. I saw a jungle, so vibrantly coloured it was impossible, bursting with juicy greens and screaming blues, trodden here and crawled and swam there by creatures many and wild, things but surviving. I saw a beach, the sky above it burned to ash-black with nighttime, with a thousand small pebbles shining in the moonlight, moonlight falling in an elegant dance, an ancient display, the moon’s own greatest feat, descending from sky to cloud to air to earth to grainy sand.
I don’t believe in visions.
But I was awed by it, caught in its folds, it so large and so encompassing, as old as time itself and older still, larger than everything and expanding bigger yet so that it’s impossible to contain it, or to adequately measure it. I felt small. Small and alone but it was different this time, there was a world around me again. There were reasons, reasons proffered as a proclamation of truth to right my misunderstandings. There are reasons why I should live, reasons I cannot help but want to witness. The sky darkened again, having showed me its display. I looked around and I had fallen to my knees, my face was wet with tears and I felt small, a miniscule gear inside a clock more beautiful than anything else because not only did it embody and exemplify beauty, it was beauty. I felt …
… like a pebble on a beach.