An old friend from high school contacted me via Facebook to congratulate me on my writing. Barely two weeks after that exchange, he passed away.
Few events in our existence give us a fresh perspective like the loss of a young life. I raged and questioned the usual questions that come with anything difficult to accept.
As it happened, I had finished drafting Requiem, a story that showcases a darker side of my writing about a man who loses a friend and decides life is nothing but a pointless abyss.
I had first intended to write the story to cope with my own sense of mortality, the way I wrote John & Ezekiel to regain the spiritual ground I once had.
Somehow, much of my writing runs parallel to my own life, and I will only divulge that the last three years have been by far some of the hardest parts of my entire life.
It's easy to lose faith when you fight tooth and nail to climb one hill only to reach the skirts of a much more daunting, jagged mountain of challenges.
Besides the incredible support from my family and my closest friends, it was my writing that has helped me keep it together.
Even a fleeting glimmer can be a tremendous comfort when you sit in perfect darkness.
Just as it happened with The Gaze and The Next Chapter, one character in Requiem came to life and dueled with me over every little word pertaining to him. I let go and simply sat back to see what would happen. I may have written Requiem for me and me alone and I can only wonder if the story will forge a connection with one of you out there. I wonder if one of you will find the message I found within its pages that helped me realign my own perspective and attitudes towards the challenges of life.
What follows is a dialogue between Ken Glass and Morty. I could not choose an excerpt, I chose several, but I like this one because honest to goodness, it truly wrote itself.
“Yous tell me. Yous be the one afraid.”
I can't deny that. Any normal person would grab his coat and run out of the dank place, but a strange calm prompts me to stay.
“Yes…” Morty sighs. “Now you’s comin’ round.”
“What’s going on? What is this?” Fear coils in the pit of my stomach.
Morty smiles. “Spit it out, son. What’s eatin’ at you? What yous think of dying?”
“Wait a minute. Why are your clothes dry?”
Morty only continues to smile. “What yous think of dying?”
A silvery flash dances over his eyes. It’s so fleeting I almost think I imagined it. Almost.
I need to get out of here.
I need to get out of here.
“Not befo’ yous tell me,” he says sternly when I glance at the door.
I’m at a loss. “Dying...is not fair.”
The man laughs so hard he ends up with a coughing fit but recovers quickly. “Don’t think so? Why?”
“It just causes a lot of pain.”
“Sho' do, sho' do. But pain’s life. Dying? Hell, that’s well deserved rest.”
“Dying is becoming nothing. I don’t want to die.”
“Well,” Morty says, clasping his arthritic hands. “Now that be the first time yous lied today.”
The epiphany crushes over me like a rogue wave on an unsuspecting raft but somehow I manage not to lose my voice. “What about you? What do you think of dying?”After a long moment, Morty grins. “Which time?”
Javier A. Robayo