When I have fears that I may cease to be...

Tendrils of gray smoke leisured their way through neon air while the blasts of car-horns and the too familiar throng of the city plagues the night. His eyes were open. Silently, he thanked god for forcing his eyes to remain open. "No rest for the wicked, right god?" His communication with god seemed to falter. "The 7th level of hell is to be perpetually awake, and it is always 4:20 am," he thought to himself. He hadn't slept since she ended it. Midnight, the witching hour, had long since past. And there had been no magic of the night to startle, enchant or otherwise pull him away from the dull ache of ennui that laced his pain. Tomorrow isn't always another day, a new chance, if today never ends. "At least I can say she only left me today," was his bitter joke to himself. But it became one damn serious joke when it was impossible to let go of.

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,

His face lit up with a splash of orange light from the cherried cigarette as he inhaled deeply. He took a second to look up at the ceiling before exhaling, thereby turning his view into washes of ashy gray. It didn't really matter anyway. His reality was threadbare at this point. Insomnia will do that to you; strip reality to a copy of a dream. Auto-pilot was in full effect, thank god. It had helped pay the bills until he was fired two days prior. Now he was a full time walking nightmare. No place to hide, nor that sweet escape of oblivion that we all take for granted as we plunge into our subconscious each and every night. "Oh please, sweet christ, I'll never take it or you for granted ever again. Please let me sleep. For the love of... please let me sleep." God's silence on the matter was deafening.

Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,

He decided standing might be a good thing to try. Laying down sure wasn't lessening his hell by any measure. The bed groaned in protest to his insane desire to rise. 'You are a bad man,' the reflection in the mirror called out to him. He bit back his curt reply as he realized that the words had been his. A tiny desparate laugh escaped his throat before he stifled the rest of the rising deranged mirth. Scrubbing his hand through his soiled hair, he popped the cigarette into his mouth and raised his arm to observe his watch. 4:19. At least it was already that late. The nights that flew by where he could lose himself in a waking dream, or nightmare as the case may be, were always better than the slow nights where every instant was an assault on peace.

And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;

But she had left for good reason. "She had my whole being for the taking, for the using, at all times," he regretted. "Any part of its capacities or energies were hers." No one wants to own a person like a dog. "Yeah, but I'm a real smart, good-looking and loyal dog though." Sure, he had lost himself in her. That didn't satisfy her need to lose herself a little in someone too. Everyone needs. "Ahh, so it's my fault then. That'll really help me to let it go." His sarcastic gaze fixed on the dark crags of the buildings that made up his window view of the city.

And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,

His satori was so sidesteppingly simple that it caught him off guard like an unannounced freight train roaring up on his ass. "It was all my fault," he actually said out loud. "She didn't leave me - I sabotaged the relationship!" He had thrown her away by the very act of holding on to her so tightly. Would doing more of the same really help anything now? He was pushing her farther and farther away with the grasping needy pain that he radiated. He pinched the cigarette from his mouth with two inverted fingers, stared out the window a moment more and smashed the butt down into the ashtray where it lay, broken like a neo-cripple. It slowly spit out the last of its dying gasps of smoke.

Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;--then on the shore

Stunned by the simplicity of it all, he zombie-walked over to the foot of the bed before spinning 180 degrees and staring up at the ceiling. A flood of fatigue and relief washed through him as awareness descended onto him. A smile crept on to his mouth, briefly, before he released himself for his drop into oblivion. Time slowed down with oscar-winning-movie style. Something was roaring through his head now. Intent on its rage, for it was aware that is was falling to its death at that very moment. It feasted on his delusion, her pedestal, his subservience, and dependence. His final audible thought was of death, but not the final death redolent with the horror of the unknown, but the phoenix's death, assured of an eventual reawakening. The pillow welcomed the tired mass of his head to rest. He slept, and as he slept his story began.

Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

When I have Fears that I may Cease to Be - John Keats

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