Friday, October 15, 2004

Promised Excerpt

As promised, here's a small chunk of what I wrote tonight. I'm starting to get a wee bit concerned that this story's going to turn out longer than I anticipated and, worse yet, probably won't be finished by the time Nov. 1 hits and I'll have to completely shift gears into something different.

Not a huge worry -- this story and the planned novel both have a very similar tone, so the switch shouldn't be too awkward. Still, it'll be disappointing to have to postpone finishing this one until December.

There were more ways to fill this day than I could possibly hope to choose from. The number of people planning on either hosting or attending an end of the world party-extravaganza was phenomenal, and I knew what likely would have been house-wreckers on any other night would, as the night rolled on, turn into neighbourhood-wreckers at the very least, maybe even town-wreckers.

Of course, there were the people who planned to spend the last few hours of their life in their appropriate places of worship, communing with their gods, asking forgiveness for their transgressions, looking to make some kind of peace with the great beyond before that great beyond swallowed them whole.

Others were planning quiet nights at home, surrounded by family and friends. They might have a few drinks to calm their nerves, but they weren’t looking for an all-out party, just a quiet evening of conversation, introspection, a few laughs and, maybe, a group hug at the end of it all.

As for the crazies…I couldn’t even begin to imagine what they had planned. And I thanked whatever God was behind this that that I wouldn’t have to find out the next morning.

While most of those options struck some chord with me, and seemed appealing in their own, individual ways, I planned to take part in none of those options. I friends to call and say my goodbyes to, but for a life that had seen people around it on most days and nights, I was actually looking forward to spending my final few hours entirely on my own, not making peace with any gods as much as making peace with this life I had led.

I hadn’t led a bad one, really, though you certainly wouldn’t catch me saying that I had lived a particularly good one. It was just sort of average, all around, as I imagine most people were just coming to realize their own lives had been.

That, more than anything else, was what I needed to make peace with, what I needed to focus my thoughts and energies on, more than socialization. I needed to accept the essential averageness of my life, and be able to look back on it not with regret, but with whatever sort of satisfaction I could muster – even if it was a grim one.

Too often, I was beginning to realize, we surround ourselves with people to help drown the essential loneliness of the lives we lead, their essential emptiness, the void we all live with, the void we all live in.

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