“I never wanted any of this; just know that this was not my intention,” he says, whispering into the wind, sad and alone and afraid of all that has been done to him. My brother sighs as he sees my face reappear at the window, gesturing for him to come inside. I can remember his face through the puffing smoke of his cigarette staring me down and turning my soft gesture sour.
I watch my brother linger a little longer, after he has turned his gaze from me and I see that he his singing to himself. His sweet tune turns to ash in his mouth and he cries out to the gods for justice. Justice; a useless word.
“It is a lie,” I say to him, reaching out to put my right hand on his left shoulder in an attempt to comfort him and to ease his pain.
My brother died of cancer the following month. It wasn’t fair for him to die so young and yet he did. Is that fair? Is that justice? What is justice if he cannot live on to see a day in which the world might treat him fairly.
I’m lying in the garden. My hair is flowing freely in the late spring breeze. My toes wriggle around in between my sandals and my fingers clutch the latest bestseller. I sip ice-cold Orangeade from a glass with a purple straw and I listen to Beethoven’s 5th on repeat at a dim faint volume. That is my idea of heaven. I don’t know that I believe in heaven, but I know that I believe in that still image of what my personal heaven could be. I can achieve this personal heaven. This heaven is within my grasp.
I could spend my days whistling a light soft tune expressing my inner most affection for the beating sunlight. I could remain silent. I could enjoy silence. Silence could become my friend or it could become the end of my happiness that rejoices in the company of music and the sound of a tweeting bird.
Heaven seems a far-fetched concept to me. It doesn’t seem to have the certain quality that most loving dreams do. It has a bitter-sweet agony to it, which drives the aims of men and women alike, and leads them into a wishful future and an everlasting pit of despair and dismay. I don’t know that my brother went to heaven. I don’t quite know that he was cut out for it.
If there is one thing I have always believed in its Justice. Just because you believe in an overlord of higher power and you believe in his loving gospel does not leave you a believer in justice. This is one thing that must become evidently clear. I do not believe that a god does or has ever existed, but I do believe that someday, one may come about and seek those with the upmost passion for justice and reason. I believe in justice. Or rather I believed in Justice. I did not know in what way I could take it upon myself to uphold Justice within my life and my community.
“I tried, but I feel as though I may have failed,” were the words I muttered at the funeral of my late brother as he was lowered into the ground and he kissed the waking world goodbye.
Now let’s talk Hell. A dull and dreary hell could describe to you the very idea of a hellish design in which all of Hell is not filled with pain but general upset. Why does pain have to fill Hell? Why does Hell have to have this quality that so many of us do not share amongst ourselves?
Think about this:
Between the cementation of a wall, overlooking the stony shore grew a thick green weed. It bushed dense and tight and felt like gelatine to touch, breathing through the moist boomerang tide. I lay alone along the pier, limbs still and eyes vacant, feeling a sense of stillness within my calm mind, comparable to the soft siren along the coast.
Boring as fuck.
Sure it sounds lovely and it was put, if I say so myself, rather eloquently, but this is what Hell truly is; an abundance of nothingness. It has no features. It is nothing.
This was what became of me in my brothers absence. He was the last family I had left and he was taken from me by some faint resemblance of death in the form of a weak and formidable opponent.
You know that feeling; I think they call it vertigo. It’s that feeling you get when you fall. You know, the feeling in your stomach like something is chewing its way out? The feeling that you both hate and love to hate all the same. Kind of like falling in love and being heartbroken at the same time. It’s almost as if you want to feel it before it happens but you hate it while it is actually happening.
Same thing with love really, you know it can only end one way eventually and once you know that you can only know that it’s over. Love hurts, that all that I learnt in my early years. Love hurts like a bitch. Love hurts more than a swift kick in the balls and that hurts like hell. I would go as far to say that love hurts more than childbirth too, but I’d be just pondering the thought as I will never really know what that feels like. I can only imagine it’s as intensely gruesome as it seems and so I will never want to know. But any way, that feeling, vertigo; I hate it.
It’s a feeling that I began to get used to, in my early years exploring every possibility love has to offer. It was a bitter pill to swallow. Love would take me on a wild rise day in and day out and it would always leave sick at the end of the day. I hate love. I really do I’m not even joking. Love made me feel ill for the entire period of my pubescent years. It left me waning after every fucking girl with a pair of Double–D tits.
As I felt my youthful dreams brush on by as faint as the sour of two-day-old tea, you know with the slightly curdled milk, I felt my pain for love become a more eased pain. It was a pain that I got used to. If we are talking of Hell, then pain is not my Hell because love is the most substantial pain I’ve felt in all of my life.
Love and death are similar in many ways. With death comes beauty and beauty is the simplest form of love I think. It’s the way you first know you love someone or something. That idea of love at first sight is always denied by sceptics until they find ‘the one’. You know; the one who changes it all. The one who becomes the apple of your eye. The one who is the last person you’ll ever fuck in your grimy old age.
Death takes over life and love slowly and steadily but harshly. Death in early life can be a tragic thing for young minds to comprehend. My early childhood was like a dream. When I was nine, I drowned a bumblebee with a watering can. I remember it vividly. It’s one of the few things I remember from my early days. They say that harming animals and insects is the first sign of a serial killer. Fools, I say. Serial killers don’t usually tend to be frequent gardeners. I remember that insect more than anyone or anything else that has touched my life. When I was nine, I drowned a bumblebee with a watering can. I guess I did it because I could. I guess I did it because there was something I could do to save it, I just chose not to. I guess helplessness leads to a hunger and thirst for power. I wonder if it even knew what was happening before it was too late.
I began to feel helpless and powerless to change what had become of my brother. I didn’t seem right to me that he should have been taken. Was this a punishment for him or for me? Something about that bumblebee grew on me. I knew I could save it if I wanted to but I didn’t. It made me question whether I would have saved my brother, had I been given the chance.
But alas I was not and alas I did not save the poor creature as I watched it wallow in its own faith as if it believed I would save it. I stamped on it for good measure and let out a calm cry as my brother came running out to meet me, him three years my elder.
“Oh Jamie, what did you do that for,” he cried. “What did it ever do to you?”
This was a question I never came to answer until my brother’s untimely death. Sadly he was not around to hear my excuse.
“I’m sorry I did it Zack. I’m sorry I didn’t pick it out or lift it from the puddle. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” I said giving out one last shivering cry as I lent on the shoulder of my best friend Kyle. He was a sad bloke. He became even sadder after the accident.
The other sparrows watched me dance through the air, my wings whistling through the evening breeze like a whisper. Onlookers watched jealously as I threw my passionate flaunting movements into action, twisting and turning. I was flying. I was flying well and I loved it. I watched the creatures below on the island as they looked up at me in awe, their gaze drifting lift to right as I swiftly change direction.
After a short while my limbs felt fatigue and I came to a gentle stop on the tallest tree on the island, my stubby beak twitching in the summer breeze. The island was tranquil, peaceful and kind. All creatures lived in harmony with one another. The pigs would sleep alongside the panthers and the owl would call out to the mice in a friendly tone.
The island turned a purple hue in the sunset, shadowing the valleys and beaming down on the inhabitants as they drifted off into a soft and deep relaxation at the end of a hard day’s work. One of the other sparrows twitched its beak at me signalling me to look to the sky, to see what wonders might wait me there. I twisted my head around to find the sky lit up in a beautiful array of reds and purples and pinks. The sky was beautiful, truly it was.