"So what was it?" Malibu asks, and that's all it takes, four words in the form of a question and I feel the salt-water sting my eyes — still, goddammit, after all this time there is still that unreasoning pull that infuriates and saddens me. Like Kanye I am so appalled; life can be sometimes ridiculous.
We're talking about The Muse, an unusual turn to our usual Friday night confabs. Most times it's just a way to decompress from the mad week, two factory workers from Cali listening to music and gossiping about pop culture. I am aware of a time when Friday was Movie Night, but this is different. With Malibu there is no history to pretend to ignore.
I try to come up with an answer but it's all bolloxed up inside — the truths, both hot and cold; the vivid and twisted memories — and just thinking of putting words to that massive jumble exhausts me. At some point in the past year I started trying to bury it all, but stubborn memories created by two stubborn souls refuse to stay in the grave. They're like bits of glass in the scalp of someone thrown through a windshield; just when you think the scars are starting to fade, another jagged reminder of what happened works its way to the surface.
I don't save the bits of glass anymore. Even the masochist in me can only hoard so many cutting keepsakes. It's not that I don't care. I'm just numb to the number of shards. Jesus, how can there be so much debris? There wasn't enough time. Then again, all it takes is one big explosion to create a universe, and the ripples of this one keep shimmering inside me. If I allow myself to think of those shimmers I will realize too much and go mad.
I stare myself into a trance, grab a shovel, and start digging a fresh grave so I can bury more traces of the explosion. Between the numbness and the shoveling I've been able to shut off much of my brain, and that helps. Most of what's left is devoted to work, the place where I can be a badass. Outside of the factory I'm usually quiet, the introvert I was always meant to be.
I'm aware that I'm having trouble writing, but I have turned my face from the sun and this is what happens. Sometimes I read something interesting, or hear a piece of music, or see a cool vid, and I wonder what The Muse would make of it. But only sometimes, and only when I'm thinking.
"So what was it?"
I close my eyes and tell her the truth: "It was everything."