Disarmament (Part 2)

comments 23
Christ / Creative / Fiction

This post is part of a short fictional series.  It comes with a brief apology about the length.  I’m aiming to keep each segment under a thousand words, but, well… yeah…  The beginning is here.

* * * * *


They were gone.

The sound seemed to shrivel and disappear beneath the threshold, pulling every other sound with it.  There was nothing left but my breathing, and the blank-faced stare of the walls.  For a moment, I actually hoped the door would fly open and they would burst back into the room with smiles on their faces.  With balloons on strings bobbing against the door frame.  All of them fighting to squeeze through at once.


These desires only accentuated the emptiness around which I circled—an emptiness I was avoiding.  Avoiding by dragging my finger back and forth across the upholstery.  (It had a dull feel in one direction, and a more rippled one in the other.)  Avoiding by hoping the next breath would reveal a way out– the arrival of angelic instructions, or the emergence of a secret passage.

On the in-breath I took hope.  On the out-breath I sank to the bottom.



Take another.  Quick.

I looked around the room.  What was even happening?  Anything?  Maybe nothing was happening.  Maybe I wasn’t ready for this.  What had convinced me I was worth such trouble?  How was I going to find the wire anyway?  I looked at the snips, floating on the other cushion like a dead mechanical bird—already a symbol of my failure.  Already out of reach.

When I turned back I saw the empty receptacle in the floor lamp across the room, and I remembered the preparations—the careful way Hafiz had packed up the toaster and the microwave, the way Jesus had walked the perimeter hour after hour the night before.  I remembered what they had told me, the little things they’d slipped into our conversations during the last few months.

You have to sing your way to the wire

Be observant of the openings.  If there’s a window, be watchful of it…

The messages will come…

I remembered Hafiz had taught me to chant.  That beautiful night at his kitchen table, in the fluttering of candle light, I had wanted explanations.  Answers.  He’d just smiled and begun to chant softly.  For an instant the flame had seemed to dance with him.  Now those sounds were inside of me.  They were growing, starting to move around in my chest like baby bears awakening from a long winter.

I stood.  I moved to the center of the room, facing the window, my throat dry and heavy.

I wondered if the boys outside would hear me.  What about the neighbors?  The people on the street walking home from the bus with groceries under their arm.  What if they came knocking?  This wasn’t even my place.

I took a breath.  Hope filled my lungs.

The first feeling I released—the first one to leap across the wire and complete the larger circuit—was that question about being found.  About being seen, alone in an empty room, falling apart.  If someone opened the door, I would have nothing to offer.  I don’t know what I’m doing eitherGet me out of here.

I let it come.

I hummed the tune, shakily at first.  My voice felt shabby in the void, tarnished.  But the tune had a rhythm.  Each round seemed to strengthen a configuration in the space around me.  By the third round I knew I was building something.  A refuge.  A little while later, I was actually singing, and the silence around me– still full of the previous verses– rang as if a choir had gathered.  It was joyous.

I sat back on the couch, warmed.  Emptiness returned to the room’s corners, but crept no closer.  There were waves moving through me.  Soft assurances.  I felt as though I had built my first fire in the wilderness.  Perhaps I would make it through the night.

The messages will come.

I placed my whole being into that thought.  My out-breaths began to feel more and more like invitations, like desires pouring from my heart, and soon I was rocking gently in place.  Carrying myself.  Trusting in what was to come.

I waited.

All day, I waited, my faith falling slowly, like a sun, towards the horizon.

By nightfall my fire was down to simmering coals.  The corners of the room were closing in again, and I could hardly see the stain on the opposite wall.  No messages had come for me.  No insights or revelations.  I was laboring to quell a mounting despair.  I knew if I let it overtake me, I would plummet into spaces beyond my reach.  The night would swallow me whole.

Despite my premonitions, the descent was swift.  A little later I was coiled on the couch.  Begging.  Please.  Remembering the touch of Jesus’ cheek against mine.  Please.  Please.

Still, nothing came.

I was a tattered flag.  Frayed strips of being.  I was ashamed of my earlier hopes.  Of my foolish desires.  When the tears finally came, it took my whole body to shake them loose.

Sometime in the night a streetlamp flickered to life down the avenue, and a column of faded light shone through the window.  It cast a yellowed rectangle high up on the wall.  I watched it off and on for hours.  Its presence was precious to me, like a beacon, but I couldn’t understand it.  What did it mean?

I had nearly drifted to sleep when the thud of something heavy in the next room jolted me upright.  I swallowed hard.  My body felt like a rag, but I was instantly alert.  Some spark deep inside of me had still been at the ready, had never faded.  I listened to something clattering around in the bedroom—something big.  Something with legs.

I waited for it.

The subfloor creaked as it strode in slow circles around the other room, searching.  Then it came through the doorway into the hall, and paused.  I could hear its breathing—a series of deep, full-chested draughts.  I could feel its simplicity, its purity.  The floor groaned once more and the sound of breathing approached until I could see two hot plumes jetting out of the darkness from across the room.

I watched, transfixed.  My feelings escaped my ability to comprehend them.  It was as if I was in ten places at once, but all of them right in that room.  I felt both vulnerable and powerful.  Like life itself.  Minutes passed.  An hour maybe.  I just watched.  She breathed.  Two clouds of gentle mist.  On.  Off.  On.  Off.

Later I understood the realization had always been there, but it came to the surface slowly, like the way our bodies age.  She was waiting for me.  She had always been waiting for me.  Since before I could remember.  And now she was here, at the edge of the room, and her every breath was an invitation.


  1. so this is fiction, Michael?
    engagingly creative spinning washer
    of mental formations
    sprouting, blossoming
    then going back again
    into heart’s trusting
    of salvation 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi David, uhmmm… yeaaah… it’s fiction… 🙂 The setting and events never happened as described, but I guess you could say it’s a dream-like interpretation of my route up the mountain’s eastern face, a fusion of traditions, realizations, feelings and relationships that certainly didn’t all come at once, or at the pace of this narrative. But they came… 🙂

      Thank you so much for taking the time…


      Liked by 1 person

      • Enjoying your deep reflections, even if fiction, Michael.
        I’ve encountered bloggers who depict their days in words
        that sound a bit like your fiction 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, David. I’m grateful for your wise and playful participation here.

          Hopefully not too many bloggers on too many days… 🙂



  2. You successfully transported me into the illusion Michael.
    “I watched, transfixed. My feelings escaped my ability to comprehend them. It was as if I was in ten places at once, but all of them right in that room. I felt both vulnerable and powerful. Like life itself. “,

    Incredible writing Michael, and I often ponder within my own ‘Dreamtime’ as to how many places at once we are, and how many versions of self we explore..

    Loved my visit this afternoon, Thank you Michael..
    Blessings your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue,

      It’s an intriguing question, isn’t it? What are our true extents? I’m not sure I have the slightest clue. I just know it’s more than “here”. At the same time, it’s all right here. Words can trap us… 🙂 It’s the now that extends to every point in time. Our connections are so important. One thought I was thinking while writing this weekend was that every good thing we’ve ever known has come from relationship. Truly. It was eye-opening… We’re in so many places, and in so many hearts. That perhaps, is the key…

      Much Love


  3. Was it chekov or stanislovski who said that if you introduce a gun on stage, it has to go off by the end of the play? Michael, snippers, but no snipping. I know, I know, they were just a motivating prop, and beside the point in the end of it all. The stripping comes about all on its own; the wires disintegrate from the inner fire, perhaps. This is such a lovely piece. The setting, the forgetting and the remembering, the denouement with such a loving feminine presence revealed to have been there all along! I’m enchanted enough to keep on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your question, Marga, for it implies I might know such a thing. For some reason, I think Chekov. Now, there’s two factors involved in that one hunch. First, I don’t believe I’ve previously heard of Stanislovski, so that introduces a certain bias into my subconscious file-throwing. Second, I only think that I think it was Chekov because it seems vaguely as though it was a discussion point in Pulp Fiction or some equally redeeming cultural outburst. 🙂

      Anyway, I’m very grateful for your zooming in here to witness my staged reminiscing and jury-rigged denouement’s.

      Your piece tonight was beautiful.


      Liked by 1 person

  4. This feels like meditation, once the initial waking up has occurred, and the ebb and flow of desolation, when nothing comes, and elation, when so much comes, and the attempt to maintain balance and perspective. At least, for me. I love the chanting. Such a beautiful description of how this activity really unfolds.

    How many times have I curled and cried, only to find a lustrous cloud emanating sweet reflective rhythmic relief on the other side. This man is finding his way in this world, with so many symbols r of life’s distractions and beauties and horrors and wonders.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love this description you have given, Andrea. Meditation really is that way. It can be such a microcosm of the entirety of experience. And then eventually it became like a friend, and then eventually just part of being at all. But while getting to know one another, we had a few dust-ups… 🙂 When we’re packed full of untruth, the approach to truth can hit a few awkward patches…

      I know what you mean about being curled and crying. I don’t know as I would actually know or understand myself, had I not had a bout or two of such whole body experiencing.

      Enjoy the sunshine!



  5. I love this so far. Just this morning I felt inspired to write. I heard myself think ‘should I set the stage,’ what does that mean? The divine I hoped to connect with is always there..the stage is always present (along with the characters). The question should be ‘am I ready to open the curtains and let the lights shine on me?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Shailie! I’m excited you felt inspired to write. I love how you moved here in your comment from the postponing question of “how to do it right” to the real question of “am I ready…?” What is that slippery state we call readiness? I often fall back on the vocabulary used in A Course in Miracles, which is willingness. Am I willing? Willingness has that subtle gulp to it (for me). I think you’re ready and willing. Your poems are brilliant. Whatever you’re thinking of writing is lined up from the sun to the door of your heart, ready to share with you it’s idea for tonight’s performance! I can’t wait…

      Thank you for visiting here, and taking the time to read…


      Liked by 1 person

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