Thursday, December 14, 2006

Final Thoughts

I’m not really sure who I am.

That’s my problem.

From my appearance I’d say I was about 70 something. I certainly feel that old. I haven’t written anything in a long time and it’s surprising how difficult it is write this now. The pen is slower than my thoughts –which is certainly saying something!

I suppose, thinking about it now, that this is the last time I will actually write anything, and –more than likely –I’ll probably be dead by the time you read this. I feel dead some days as it is.
In fact, this is probably going to be the only record of my existence -my parents are long gone, as are all the friends that I ever had. I’m pretty much alone in the world now. I wish some days that there was someone who had followed my path in life –just to confirm that I walked it. It would be handy to have someone to swap stories of the past with. They could help me sort out the facts from fiction and remind me of what I’ve forgotten. My memory is so muddled and confused nowadays. I guess I’m senile.

What use is my life if no one will remember me and I can’t even remember it myself?

Where did my past go?

I think I was an actor once. I seem to remember being in theatres a lot as a young man. But I confuse the roles I used to play and actual life. Who in the world imagines finding themselves being in this situation -where you are not sure what was lived and what was acted?

I remember a flat in the ‘night-time’ part of town. Well, that’s how I used to think of it –because that was the only time I ever went there. I hated that place with a passion, but it was the only thing I could afford at the time. It had rats the size of cats there.

I used to put off going home until it was late, and get up and start the day before the sun did. I hardly ever slept –which is probably why that part of my life seems so dream like. I never saw that place in daylight. Not ever. I sometimes think that if I were to go there in the daytime that part of town would still be shrouded in darkness. I know it’s impossible –but I still wonder about it sometimes…

I seem to recall seeing a girl when I lived there. We used to have the same arguments again and again. She said that I drank too much and she left me. At least I think she did, but it could have been one of the plays I was in, as that would make sense too. I just remember living the same moments again and again and again. Life was so repetitive and fruitless, it drove me crazy. I certainly drank when she left me –or the play ended –whichever was the case. The worse thing is that I’m still reliving those moments over and over now. My memory is stuck on repeat I think. I guess there must be something very important about it all that I missed. Like a question that I can’t figure out the answer to –no matter how much I analyse it. I desperately would like to forget it. It’s not a memory that does me any favours, and I’ve forgotten most other things for Christ’s sake! I couldn’t even tell you my name right now, but these thoughts and memories remain, echoing through my mind.

Maybe I cling to it because it’s one of the few things I can remember.

My memory is like soft rock –weathered away through the years –leaving me with canyons of missing time. I try to bridge the gaps, but when I stand on those bridges, I wonder where all those sands of time went. They must be somewhere surely. Is there such a place as nowhere? No past? No time?

I’d like to think that when I die all the missing pieces will be put back, like a giant jigsaw. But I’m not sure that they will. Not really…

I think that I may have been a priest at one point actually. I don’t know why that seems so far fetched written on paper, but it does and it’s made me think twice about it actually. I certainly know the bible very, very well. I can quote it from memory, which feels quite strange.

I don’t think I believe it though. Let’s face it; do you believe that Adam and Eve story? Noah’s ark? I’ll take Darwin’s theory of evolution any day.

I don’t suppose I would have made a very good priest would I?

I guess that the messages behind the stories are true; Love one another, don’t steal...etc. I suppose you should measure the validity of the bible by the validity of the messages and meanings in it. Would that make it non-fiction?

I’ve given up trying to work out what moments of my life were actually mine and which were plays I acted, stories I read, and films I saw. Instead, I try to figure out why they are in my head, what they mean and what I learnt. My time is running out and I sure would like to figure it out before my time is up. It’s a battle against time that I think I might lose.

Time is so confusing. I couldn’t even tell you what time of year it is. There’s a tree outside my window that hasn’t got a single leaf on it – so I guess it might be winter. But the sun is very strong – so it might be summer. That tree could just be dead. Most things around here seem to be.

I’m in a home as I write this I think. It could be a mental institution or a hospital – I don’t remember. No-one talks to me and no-one looks all that well. All the people here look like they are waiting to die. Our times are numbered.

I don’t think that I am dead yet.

I don’t think so.

But what the hell is living?

I think I’ve been writing these ‘final thoughts’ all day, and damn it! I don’t feel like I’ve said a thing.

I knew that when I picked up the pen to write I had something important to say.

I think that I have something although I’m not sure what. I wish I’d been able to be specific. I mean, this is it, these words are the sum of my life.

I guess that there are more memories I could put down. I seem to remember a war. But that could be another play, or maybe a past life. Who am I to say? There’s no way to know anymore. Anyway, I don’t think that I want to talk about that war. I daren’t risk writing it down wrong. Too many died for me to get it wrong. I’m not sure it’s a place that I want to go back to anyway. I think that maybe I killed a man. How do you talk about that? How can I be proud of that? Maybe it was the right thing to do. Everyone seems to think that we were on the right side and that what we did was an important thing to do. But then the side that wins is always on the side of ‘good’ isn’t it? They make sure of it. History don’t mean a damn in my book. Not really. Where is that dead soldiers ‘final thoughts’? Lost forever. I think about it a lot and it doesn’t change a thing. I keep telling myself that it’s ok. I did what I had to do…

I don’t want to talk about it anymore. My thoughts feel too important to risk giving them away for you to misread, forget or waste them. I don’t know you after all. It’s the worst thing in the world, to give away something so precious to your heart –and it not mean a damn to anyone.
Why would it?

I guess my advice –my final thought would be this: Be careful. Because one day you’ll end up in this place where there’s not much that can be made of your life other than fantasy. You’ll relive the life that you have already led, reprising the ‘key’ moments –which may not, in reality, be the key moments that defined your life –but moments that stand out in retrospect. Like a God you’ll watch those moments, including the ones you’d rather forget -and even though you watch, even though it’s you –you won’t be able to change, remove or ignore a thing.

But you can, of course, ignore everything that I have said. I’m probably dead now after all.

2 Comments:

Blogger Pat said...

This is my favourite

8:12 pm  
Blogger Jonathan Harley said...

Thanks!

The story came about from a conversation that I had with an actress who I was friends with at the time. I was interested in the similarity between an actor who reprises specific scenes night after night and someone who relives certain memories again and again.

This led to another thought…

Memories are of more importance to a person, at the end of their life, as they are more house-bound and less physically capable to create new memories. The nearer one comes to the end of their life the more inclined one must be to try to make sense of it. What if, because of your age, you are not able to accurately recall all the important events in your life when you try to do this?

I threw all these things together, along with some thoughts that have came to me when granddad died, to explore memory and identity.

3:05 pm  

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