The only thing that is worth remembering, and worth remembering over and over again, is that in this world, under all and any circumstance, nothing ever happens.
My name is Jonathan Fisher and I can stare at the sun longer than anyone else on this planet. Longer than you. And I am afraid you are not going to like me.
Most of the time I’m just a ghost, a shadow riding in the back seat of a bus, a whisper travelling across a Universe only ten miles wide. So it shouldn’t surprise you that the first event I can recall with an almost morbid precision took place on my twenty third birthday. That was the day we buried my father.
And still, as the hole in the ground swallowed his casket, I couldn’t feel anything. Because nothing had happened to me before, nothing had left a mark upon my soul. And in the moments of my first sorrow I understood that the worst fate is to be no one.
Shadows quivered around the cemetery as the sun hid behind a murky shroud of clouds. Only a timid web of light remained, engraved on the surface of that endless sea of darkness.
A hundred eyes hoped to catch a glimpse of agony and pain on my face. Time seemed to stretch like a rubber band, and all I could do was wait for the rubber to rip.
I felt numb, blind, and deaf while I was hopelessly trying to find the meaning of something so elusive, something that seemed to be hiding in the deepest crevasse of my mind. I was running after a thought that seemed to be so clear and simple…
And then, just as I was beginning to lose hope, I found what I so desperately needed. The realization that words couldn’t explain the death of someone I almost knew, someone I almost loved.
My victory was short lived because my vision still couldn’t prevail through the stillness that insulated my soul, which had built an unbreakable wall between me and the rest of the world.
They were all looking at me as if I were some kind of freak, but that provided me with a little bit of comfort.
All great men are misfits, yet I couldn’t help but wonder what was worse: to be like everyone else or to be entirely different. I could only think about the fact that I needed a tragedy in my life, just so I could feel alive, just so my heart wouldn’t stop beating.
Life goes on. No matter what, life goes on.
Did that make me a villain? I wasn’t sure. No matter how many books you read, you’ll never be prepared to face the villains that inhabit your own little story. Your life’s story.
The truth is that we’re all strong enough to endure someone else’s tragedy.
They thought I was a bastard because I couldn’t cry. My mother was sobbing beside me, and I just stood there, with my hands tucked deep inside my pockets, staring blindly at a slowly fading abyss, staring down at the blandest possible ending to a story.
We are born and then we die. And in between lies only this strange darkness that we can’t break. That’s, probably, the only certainty we have in life.
After the ceremony was over, everyone left me there. They all abandoned the son who couldn’t weep for his father. So I had to walk back home.
I think I should say something cheesy, like that was the longest, hardest walk in my life. But it wasn’t. It was just cold and dark outside. Street lamps were struggling to fight off the night, grasshoppers were singing their pathetic lullaby, and the smell of summer flowers echoed throughout the old town.
On my way home I stopped at a supermarket and bought a can of soda. I drank half of it and the other half I spilled on the pavement.
When I got home, I unlocked and opened the door trying to be as silent as possible. I didn’t want to wake up my mother. I didn’t even turn the lights on. I always tried to be such a good son.
As I staggered my way down the hallway, my feet tripped over something. I couldn’t see what it was, so I turned the lights on. My father’s black leather shoes. Size six. He had such small feet. I smiled at the thought that he had bought those shoes with me. Small tears, proof of their considerable age, ran across their lacquered surface. Dried mud stained the tip of the right shoe. My father used to walk in such a strange way.
I realized what had happened. And I cried.