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Sharing the Hate, Spreading the Pain: On Quiet Sobbing

by on Sep.04, 2008, under Articles, Sharing the Hate

Grounded for a split second I look up from the row of keys out the window into the distance. The quiet sobbing of this walking dead is very soothing, and yet very close. I take special care to hear each breath, each wince, and each sigh. The sounds form a beautiful symphony of empathy in the Persian key of A# minor.

If given more emphasis the sighs and winces could become the wails of an opera singer, a black metal singer. Given more puissance, they could even shatter glass windows and frames. Given direction, they could share with the world misery and despair. In its current state, it just sits there on a bamboo mat shivering with skin barely clinging to its raw and ruby flesh. Upon closer inspection, I can see flexible cartilage where both flesh and muscle are no longer present. How much cannibalism has this one done on itself?

If it donned a heliotrope cloak complete with a pewter gothic ankh pendant, and directed the sorrow outward instead of inward then perhaps one would not see the gaping exposing wounds. Instead, it continues to tear away at itself as piles of sinew fall to the floor. The sobbing grows louder now. This situation might require a larger clean up in the future than originally anticipated. If it did don a heliotrope cloak then it would not be here to begin with. Such is irony.

The thought does cross my mind that if the sound of the quiet sobbing is soothing, what about the taste, and what about the smell? Would that quiet the impending river of doom? Would replacing the source for the patterns of the breath, the wince, and the sigh with something else better or worse? Trading sorrow for joy, albeit temporary joy might just be in order.

Cycling through the memories of smell the first that comes to mind is the taste of blood. It is always the first smell that pops into mind with its distinct rust iron color. Cycling past the first memory, I can recall exactly how this will play out if it continues. The flesh will taste of soot and ashes. The tears will resemble salt. The smell will be a combination of stale cigarettes, unkempt hair, and regurgitated alcohol. The experience will be an empty one, and I will not be any better off for it in the end.

A grimace and a smirk flash across my face on a single thought. Why break a bad routine at this point? This time it could be different. This time it could be different since this one will not be like all the others.

That thought is a great rationalization on false hope. This time will be different, because if all the inputs remain exactly the same then the output can be different regardless of what experience taught us. If you learn to recognize the patterns quickly then you can bring yourself to that inevitable end just the same. You can sit back and go along for the ride of your death. Take the guesswork out of the situation and just repeat the process repeatedly. You are a born natural at it now.

Each time you repeat the process you will get better at the systematic tasks. You will hone your skills, and before you know it, being in this situation will be second nature to you. Since it comes so easily, you might even seek comfort in the situation, be it right or wrong. Rinse, cycle, repeat.

That is when the false hope and rationalizations set in. It is what you are good at, so you might as well enjoy the fruits of your labor. It was exactly upon that thought that the apparent situation came back into focus. The tears did in fact taste salty, and this member of the walking dead did smell of soot and ash. Perhaps I just wanted to see through the eyes of this walking dead? At least that is what I will tell myself later as a rationalization.


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