The golden hue of sunlight can be seen streaming through the stained-glass window at the top of the room.
It’s a rhombus, with tiny intertwined patterns mixing crimson and coral to form a wondrously placed checkerboard on the floor of the chapel. The sound of a voice droning in the foreground does little to interrupt me as I gaze down from the second floor balcony. As people shuffle in and begin to take their seats, familiar faces begin to materialize in the crowd. Those who I sought to escape mingled with those whom I’ve yet to meet; a dreadful hodgepodge of forced social interaction in an asphyxiating, tiny, white room. Couples lumped together in painfully tight clusters, showing off their choices of formal vanity, as well as sharing well-wishes to those they associate with. This terribly heart-wrenching meet and greet, would soon come to a close as the main attractions entered the room.
This sight, a spiteful showcase of lust and impulse; the mere glimpse of black and white husks placed together at the right time to form a symbolic gesture of antipathy and remorse stood out like a torch. From my secluded spot outside of the limelight (literally), I’m left to ponder my intentions and question my sanity as I sit by playing spectator to a sport of cruelty and deceit. My view, ironically placed in the press box of a show that I’ve yet to classify as either comedy or tragedy; one so obscure that all the cheerful faces of the crowd can’t seem to overwhelm the power of the looming cloud of displeasure floating aimlessly about the room.
As various traditional songs play, a series of objects catch my eye; seemingly mundane in nature, they are strung carelessly around the room in such deliberate fashion that it begs the question if I’ve begun to mesh numerous sites into one multifarious vicinity. A dreadfully crafted charm necklace, upon which a pentagram encircled in iron dangled from a corner of the pulpit. A green “Fender”, left to collect dust in the corner of the room sat upright on a tiny black rubber stand. As I turned down the corridor to the staircase exiting the balcony, a heap of silver tinsel lay unnoticed at the top of the steps. Halfway down, I caught sight of a tiny wooden end table overburdened by the weight of a large, wet cardboard box. Inside, buried beneath a mass of newspaper wrapping, lay multiple fragile articles. A crystal ball, followed by a silver chalice, as well as a large dream catcher were pulled from the box with small paper cards folded into their individual wrappings; this almost ignorable feature undoubtedly a makeshift method of cataloging in order to remember who was to be owed gratitude for their generosity.
Shoving my way into the first available row, I sat in between a portly gentleman, and a young woman with long, sleek, black hair. I knew both of them. After many occasions spent plastering a smile on my face as I humored the gag reels that were their lives, I was now placed in the worst spot possible: between them as they produced nothing but resentful looks of displeased secrecy. They understood completely the laughable nature as to my appearance at this scene, and as they both silently acknowledged my weakness before me, I struggled with the idea of resorting to my volume for a sense of superiority I did not possess. As eyes of more unhappy attendees averted towards me, it became all too clear that I was the odd man out. This isolation, perhaps warranted under the grounds of such blatant hostility I shared with them, brought no consolation as I attempted to retain a cool exterior in the face of what I considered a belligerent environment. As I scanned the faces, I was met by the newly formed adult face of one I once knew in their innocence. His look, such a distressing gaze of utter disappointment tugged at my guilt as I choked back words and timidly dared a wave in his direction.
The chime of a bell gave way to the entire congregation standing. As celebratory tears were shed, and jovial glances were exchanged, the black suited clone began walking down the aisle, shaking hands with easily recognizable individuals, and patting others on the shoulder in brotherly fashion. While the crowd chattered to itself, I sat in quiet abhorrence; my mistakes painfully evident to me as I realized I betrayed not only myself with this visit, but everything I stand for. It wasn’t a sense of smug distinction that I held in regards to myself. This was my retaliation against my obsequity I’ve shown towards outward malice. Despite my efforts to be civil, this would become a lost cause in my book of attempts to try a cloak of compassion. As the black suited man passed by me, a look of sheer contempt modified his previously ecstatic visage. This glimpse, only seconds in real-time stood ever still like a portrait of dissonance. Gazing at me with cold hazel eyes, he knew all at once no such peaceful interaction would be possible. As he returned to the podium, a tranquil sea of eagerly awaiting acquaintances all turned their attention to the large ivory double doors at the back of the room.
As the white shrouded shell entered the room, the tears of those around me who felt a personal connection began to irritate me further. It was my cue to exit, and I dared not wait a second longer to see the end of this passion play. Gliding slowly up to the front, she slowed to a crawl at the last few steps. This ploy, vainly designed to draw some form of aesthetically pleasing tone to the room, carried the hope that it would seem like less of a pseudo-fantasy that it was. I began pushing hard against people in the pew I was seated next to. An exit from this horror was what I craved, and it seemed that the more I struggled, the quicker I made the scene speed up. As I exited the row, amidst a line of fairly annoyed people I couldn’t help but mutter lyrics of remotely comforting verses in order to ease my suffering. As I began to hasten to the double doors at the back, the line “I won’t let this build up inside of me” incessantly reverberated in my mind. These words, although rather meaningless in the ears of most, brought me solace in a time when desperation grasped my throat.
My arms outstretched, I began to press both doors open at once to allow my escape. With almost convenient timing, the doors ceased their swing mid-push; an unfortunate roadblock that brought me to the face of cruelty. I turned around slowly; my black trench coat outlining my form in all of its flawed shame, bringing the mass of people within the room to a speechless affirmation of my existence. All at once, I was met by a stunning panorama of scornful looks, all of whom recognized my departure as a gesture of cowardice. As the preacher closed his book up front, a concerned expression crossed his face. Directly in front, the black suit and the white husk gazed my direction in unison. The distressed look on his face, signaling his disapproval of my interruption was enough to send him into a flurry of profanities. As the white figurine of porcelain raised her veil, two tearful blue eyes stared longingly into mine. As she embraced her partner, a remorseful fixation sent a chill down my arm. With a lump of lead in my throat, I opened my mouth to speak to the congregation. Then I woke up.
As I leaned up in my bed once more, a sigh of relief escaped my mouth. My eyes still adjusting to the light, I placed them into my palms momentarily to avoid any unnecessary visual discomfort. What caused this? Why have my dreams once again turned to personal attacks on my own insecurities? Why am I able to embrace sorrow so often unconsciously, and why must I do so voiceless, filled only with despair?
She isn’t real.
I can’t make her real.
She isn’t real.
I can’t make her real.