Disarmament (Part 1 of the Rest)

comments 41
Christ / Fiction

Well, I couldn’t squish this into a single post…  I promise it won’t be too many.  Welcome to my short foray into serial fiction…

* * * * *

It was just a small apartment.  I don’t know what I had really expected, but not something so patently vacant.  It would end here?  There was a dinged up coffee table, a faded olive sofa that didn’t match the carpet, a landslide of unsorted mail on the counter.  A stain on the wall.  It was a place abandoned—a place forgotten.   I imagined the current occupant was probably spending nights over at his girlfriend’s.  Or maybe he was backpacking in Europe.  Finding himself.  Falling easily into laughter.  Smoking cigarettes.  Cursing at something delightfully obnoxious.  Everything in front of him.

I was jealous in a way.

Because I was here.  Taking the full tour.  Staring down the pain.

They told me before we came: we can only show you which wire it is.  You have to be the one to cut it.  If it depends on me, I thought, there could be a problem.  Then Jesus had grabbed one of my shoulders in each of his hands and given a firm squeeze—had held me still, like he was cementing something into my middle.  I wished I had seen doves lifting into the sky, but all I’d seen was a tub of that fake butter we used to eat growing up.  I felt like abandoning myself altogether.  I couldn’t match his willingness at all.  Not even close.  He said afterwards, when all this was over, even breathing would be a joy.  He said we’d go somewhere and just breath together.  Sky diving maybe.  Lots of air up there.  We had laughed.

Then they’d brought me here.  They led me through the door and sat me on the couch.  Slid the coffee table out of the way.  Made the room an empty space.  I was already starting to feel it then.  The pressure.  The need to be somewhere else.  Couldn’t we go out for a sandwich?  Why couldn’t we just do that?  Just sit by the window and talk about something philosophical while we watched people wobble down the street.  Maybe I could achieve the purest realization that way, too.  What did method matter?

Last night, every so often but never quite relenting, you could hear the wind-up of tinny engines straining on their mounts.  There’s something farcical about the sound of beater cars trying to haul ass down the alley back there.  All those meshugganahs gunning their way through the modern ruins.  They all think they’re going somewhere.  To them, the act of accelerating is perfectly reasonable, but all I could hear was something hungry in the sound of their passing.  The sounds didn’t stick.  They just glanced off the sides of buildings and dissipated into the darkness.

Gone forever.

We had talked some during the night, but mostly they’d been in the next room working.  Out of sight.  Preparing… listening… making sure.

Jesus was at the window now, peeking out through a gap in the curtains.  Waiting patiently.  Earlier he’d made the rounds one last time.  Walked along the outer wall, then down the hall and through the bedroom.  Across the hall into the bathroom.  Back through the kitchen.  He took slow, measured steps.  I could see his mouth moving occasionally, as if he were whispering to someone, but I couldn’t hear the words.  I could just feel something rising– my commitment and my doubts together.  A sea full of shattered timbers.

When he walked past the refrigerator, he paused, listening carefully.  His breath slowed right down and his eyes closed.  I pictured the guy who lived here swinging open that refrigerator door.  I heard the rattle of condiment bottles, imagined him reaching for a beer.  So effortless.  So easy.  Just because.  Then Jesus was there, statuesque on the linoleum, receiving instructions. Setting a boundary.  Discussing the matter that lay ahead of us with Power itself, with a woman perhaps.

All I could see was the way every fiber of his being was present, the way he seemed to be a conduit to places I could scarcely comprehend.  Places that were arriving to set up camp.  Doorways.

Openings.

Now he was at the window, and Hafiz was handing me the snips.  For cutting the wire.  A bottle of water.  A blanket.  Nothing else.

“Feels like Gethsemane in here, doesn’t it?”  It was meant to be a joke.

It just fell into the silence and disappeared.  It stung.

They were slipping away from me, easing out of my space.

Hafiz, his back to me, was up on a step ladder in the hallway taking the batteries out of the smoke detector.  Coming back through, he flicked the light switch one last time.  No power.  Good.

They were scanning the place for any last minute tasks.  Any moment now, and they’d be gone.  I was on the verge of tears—could almost taste the loneliness creeping in along the seams where the walls met the floor.  Could sense the silence hiding in the folds of the curtains.  Another whiny four-banger turned the corner and sped down the avenue outside.  The noise faded, emphasizing the magnitude of something hollow into which I was slipping.

Hafiz kissed me on the forehead, silently, his hands on my cheeks, lingering for a moment, and walked out the front door.  Jesus waited by the window for his cue.  I could hear the faint whoo-hoos of a couple of boys on bikes from down the block.  He took one last breath.  A long one.  Then he came over, leaned in and placed his cheek next to mine, his mouth close to my ear.

He told me to just let it come.

All of it.

Let it come.

My hand, holding the snips, was shaking.

Then he walked out, too, and the door clicked shut.

41 Comments

    • Hi Alison,

      Thank you. That moment affected me as well. Sometimes I can feel my eyes watering when ideas and feelings pass through. They build. Writing for me is like letting feelings wash over me, and trying to describe them. And one leads to another. It just happens. You find yourself face to face with meaning. And you recognize it…

      We are plumbing these depths together… And it matters… So very much…

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Harlon. I read your Superstition piece earlier today. Your writing is so rich and nuanced. I love it. I surely benefit from the fact that you read with the same grace with which you write.

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great! A metaphorical suicide. I’m always surprised by how many different ways there are to express the same truth. Your way of expression is a very special one. I can’t wait to read the rest.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Karin,

      I know what you mean about there being so many ways to express something that is recognizable. There is perhaps only one pulsing core of truth, but so many ways to experience it… And each new way is mind-blowing. I have so much appreciation for the way others encounter the spaces where truth and majesty abide. It expands my world. Opens me up. Inspires me. I appreciate your kind words.

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lorrie. I’ve now got to deliver on this promise! Ha! Should be fun. I can hardly wait myself! I’m grateful for such responses…

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Michael, So very rich in images and feeling of place. We’re there and we’re feeling the emotions. Just love: ” I was on the verge of tears—could almost taste the loneliness creeping in along the seams where the walls met the floor. Could sense the silence hiding in the folds of the curtains. Another whiny four-banger turned the corner and sped down the avenue outside. The noise faded, emphasizing the magnitude of something hollow into which I was slipping.” Will look forward to the continuation of your poetry-rich prose. Love, Ellen

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Ellen. I’m glad to have found a few lines that resonated. We’re never more than seven persons removed from Kevin Bacon, and never more than one heart resonance away from the meaning of Life itself… I greatly appreciate your reading.

      Love, Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re on the short path. Not many dare to walk it. Trip wires back to insanity. Better the devil you know? Hardly, but watch those sparks fly. This comment will self-destruct.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hariod,

      You brought me up short here. (No pun intended.) Made me want to laugh. Made me want to sit across the table from you and share stories of what never was. I don’t know how to be other than I am, I guess. Maybe it is a short path. I couldn’t avoid it. It was too hard to take the circumferential route. It was also too hard to hop into the fire. It was too hard to be anything at all. But you don’t have a choice about the necessity of picking something, so I chose. Unwittingly, perhaps… 🙂 You’re right about the devil you know. He just grinds you down… If you can see that writing on the wall, there’s no real choice to be made in the end, is there…?

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Suddenly day to day life feels like the best version of mission impossible – I’m feeling those forehead kisses and cheek to cheek encouragements today! Wonderful, Michael!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oooh, Marga, I love that! There is something impossible about it all, and yet it comes together. The certainty of the improbable is what leaves me awe-struck.

      I’m glad you’re feeling the warmth of Love gathering close by. We receive that Love on behalf of everyone, I’ve been thinking. It’s the highest work in the land. Accepting blessings…

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This is profound, Michael, when you write,

    “They told me before we came: we can only show you which wire it is. You have to be the one to cut it. If it depends on me, I thought, there could be a problem.”

    There’s a distinct feeling that comes along with reading those words/thoughts, and I know them. I know what reacting to that reality feels like for me. *Yikes* and then there’s someone like Jesus in the room. Relief? For a moment, but then this part made me chuckle, “Jesus waited by the window for his cue.”

    Let’s see what comes next… I appreciate your detail about the faded olive couch (that didn’t match the carpet) and how it might relate to the Gethsemane comment that stung. Just some comments that came up while reading.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, Ka… You read so carefully. I hadn’t even realized the olive-Gethsemane connection. I’m sure the muse did, though. 🙂

      I like how you describe that distinct feeling. Like apples have a distinct flavor. Clearly different from walnuts. So, too, does that moment of doubt and trepidation have a specificity to it. It’s the moment of sensing we’re as good as we dared imagined we were, but that if access to the goodness depends on us, we can sense clearly we’re not yet free of the hysteresis in our soul. We’re both true and not true. This is where we confront the falsehood that has taken up residence within us. It knows– I can’t pass the test of truth…

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Michael,
        I see fear and doubt as initiatory passages through the unknown. That is to say that faith is the counterpart to fear and doubt, as though somewhere underneath fear and doubt, faith awaits its own uncovering. Perhaps it doesn’t necessarily depend on us… it’s the illusion of the feeling that it does- hence the fear.
        Originally, I read your the last line of your reply as “I can pass the test of truth…” and it sung beautifully in my mind. “We’re both true and not true.” Yes! To me this is like a zen koan.
        Ka

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’ve said it perfectly, Ka, at least in terms of my own experience. It’s the illusion, which comes as a very powerful and visceral sensation, that it depends on us that breeds the fear. This is what I mean about being true and not true at once. This is I think what Jesus describes as “a mind in conflict”. We can’t see where to make the slice– what to retain and what to cleave away. In our greatest difficulties, the false has spread itself so very thin, distributed itself in the merest of coatings over everything… Where to cut, without risking injury to the true?

          Michael

          Liked by 3 people

    • Perfect, David…

      Come up for air from the sea of non-existence when the mood strikes… Savor the light… Read a story perhaps… Offer something, to try and make our lives a faithful telling of that mystery…

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: The Transits are helping with Spring Cleaning & then some! | Fiesta Estrellas

  7. Pingback: Disarmament (Part 2) | Embracing Forever

  8. Michael, your writing skills here capture so many emotions… And I love how you speak of tasting the loneliness, and sensing the silence hiding in the folds of the fabric of curtains.. 🙂

    Yes we are each in possession of those wire-cutters… And we shouldn’t wait to use them in our last encounters.. But be prepared to prune that which no longer serves us now.. To allow new growth to emerge..

    I am looking forward to reading your next instalment.. 🙂 You have a rare gift.. Which I thank you for sharing
    Blessings Sue

    Like

    • Thank you, Sue, for taking the time to read and share your kind words. Yes, we should have our snips at the ready! Tool belts may be taking things a step too far, perhaps, but better safe than sorry. 🙂

      Michael

      Like

  9. I’m not reading ahead, I’m not reading comments, because this is just the type of thing I enjoy contemplating and co-creating. So I will throw out my feelings, and then read along, and let you lead me down the path of story telling. Since this is written in first person, I will make the main character You. Perhaps you are both the main character and the tenant, free and carefree and off on adventure; serious and somber and deep in the drab underneath too; and the electricity is there in the underneath. Jesus and Hafiz brush through fun adventures with ‘the tenant’ with a colorful paintbrush, very good for the beginners, but they are deep in the fiery circuitry of the underneath with the underneath You. I sense initiation, involving concentration and commitment amid the pointless acceleration of the herd in their battered vehicles, those content to see progress where the initiate sees stagnation. I am there with you, sometimes lonely, on the olive colored couch, surrounded by the mail that must be sorted and answered, and the wires, the wires, the wires. (I have also had two beers. So, just bare with me…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your two beer comments are delightful, Andrea. I hesitate to chime in too much here until we arrive at the end, but you pick up on much of what I consciously sought to lay down. I’m so grateful you’ve taken a place on the olive colored couch with me. It makes the whole effort worthwhile.

      This is in many ways a story of how it went for me, digging through the layers in an effort to find the bottom. Not the bottom like a dark and scary abyss, but terra firma. A place to build from. Finding something real required allowing a certain amount of deconstruction to take place. If you want to feel what’s in you, with some depth, I think you really just have to feel it… The most difficult thing was feeling certain difficulties so strongly, and knowing that the feelings were false witnesses. How do you trust your feelings and discard the conclusions they seem to support?

      The conflict within us can run very deep, indeed.

      To that holy fierceness!

      Michael

      Like

  10. Pingback: Disarmament (Part 4) | Embracing Forever

  11. Pingback: Disarmament (Part 5) (of 5) | Embracing Forever

    • I am touched by your comment, Meg. You should know… your Jack and Francis pieces helped kindle the heart space that led to this work, which is in some ways an effort to express what is a collage of experiences over the past fifteen or twenty years… I loved the way you blended your life experiences with such rich imagery and prose…

      Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • You have moved me deeply with this dear Michael ….I read it earlier but didn’t know just what to say … I’m feeling so blessed and humbled by you in that Jack and Francis helped bring inspiration …Thankyou my friend …with love xxxmeg

        Liked by 1 person

        • No words necessary, Meg. You can just pass Hafiz your message… He’ll get it to where it’s grace-filled notes are most needed… 🙂

          Peace
          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Michael …I haven’t been receiving notification of your posts ( I see now there are 5 parts to this prose ( I want to read them all together when I am in the quiet space of my day , I am thirsty for your words ) ….always love xxxmeg

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries, Meg! I think there is a known bug that crops up in WordPress from time to time with the Notifications. I’m grateful so many have taken the time to read these longer pieces… I hope you enjoy them… And am so grateful for the spaces we find through these works, where we meet in fields of the heart, to share a few secrets… 🙂

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s