Life was on the wire, the rest was just in your head. Sometimes he felt like he had done it all before. Grinding a stubborn piston of mistakes and experience. That there was no reason to be left hung out. The escapades of a once brilliant scapegoat. He lacked that thirst like an old man. The thirst, that old lopsided passion that would embark on absolutes and full bodied tangents, sucking the marrow deep.
He worked at the desk for a bit. He didn’t know where to start particularly but he knew he would gather himself around as if bundling thoughts like luggage slammed together at an airport. He took a sip of the cheap, chilled Riesling. The blue glass was half full, cold and light. It made the hair on his arms prick up, bitten, frozen bumps. Jake grabbed a rolled cigarette from his chrome case, precisely lighting a match and fanning the match with a quick, decisive pull. The fog had came up over the green pines, and it was good to be both cold and alone; almost christening. It was as if Jake was in on a secret of the universe shared only between him, the cold night, and the bottle of wine. A vast pool of contentment submerged into him. All of the angst, the uniform of the work week became a cast off, beaten whiteboard swiped clean. Nothing more than the silence, the loose intoxication, and the melodic choir of coldness. The solitude hung loose, and his longings subsided like sand poured from a carefree hand. It felt good to Jake to not have to seek happiness from someone else. With no need to suck from someone’s nipple of energy, or depend upon a one-sided connection.
Everything Jake wanted was in front of him, and the silence became the soft, analog static of ceremony, chanting his new anthem of contentment. It was not that he was bitter at the world, or hastily seeking refuge. He just wanted the strife, and insecurities to lessen, to subside for a while. He felt like he was having an astral projection away from all his ills, from all that tortured him. Jake now was the voyeur, viewing all his calamities like a sedated outsider. He puffed at his cigarette and stared at the sparse green tree beyond his balcony. He deadened his gaze and saw how the tree stood so finely straight, upright, sprawled out with thin brown branches. How effortlessly the green leaves fastened to the branches. It’s shape made a peculiar, intrinsic sense to him then. The simplicity was astounding, and he knew that life was terribly different. The tree so absolute, both hollow and solid in purpose.
Everyone must have an engrained purpose he thought. Some pre-determined mission beyond the control of free will. For some it may be to play professional basketball, or to paint landscapes until the oils ran out. Or to raise a child in one’s likeness, or to see the great cathedrals in Rome. Reasoning that the conflict in life started when you denied these inner, infallible missions. When the basketball player blew out his knee and got a job selling cellphones. When the painter could not sell his work, doubted his obvious talents, and swore off his art entirely. When the young woman never found a companion, and grew old surrounded by her sewing needle and ornately handmade dresses. When the idealistic young man who wished to travel accidentally started a family. No longer retaining the means and freedom to see the world. Jake knew what was inside of him, it was to write. The struggle occurred when you tried to own it, because it owned you. He looked at the tree again, so primal, so basic.
He realized too that you owed nothing to anything, or anybody. Owing everything instead, to that singular, gliding fire inside of you. You could extinguish it temporarily with drugs, women, status, over-sentimental belongings. This was only a distraction and the flame would soon come again. Trying and trying unsuccessfully to douse it with water, forgetting about the heat. Again the embers would spark and the flame retain. He knew it must be embraced; let the fire warm your frozen doubtful hands. Let it keep you comfortable in your slumber. Throw all your insecurities like twigs into the scorch.
Jake poured another glass of wine, taking drawn out, exaggerated sips. He knew his duty was to write, and he also knew it was the greatest gift he possessed. He hummed softly as wine dripped from his lower lip, it was all so simple in theory. There was no reason that theory cannot mirror practice. He would work hard from now on, minimizing all the grey areas, losing the distractions, reclaiming wasted time. He took one last gulp from the wine glass. Jake smiled still at ease in the muted night. He would honor the fire inside of him, and if he did so truly and diligently, purging the words out as if they were necessities, toxins to expel like lopsided bending hangovers. If he did this he knew it would all work out eventually. As if the universe had a plan to reward those who toiled. Transforming the driving demons into something beautiful, and he would write all the great writers who had come before him. Jake lit a cigarette, opened up his dusty, black moleskine notebook, and grabbed his pen. Fierce enough now to fight off the half starts. Jake thought about that perceived, everlasting fire and the pen began to move automatically.