25 August 2018

Hopelessness

One overcast Sunday afternoon which seemed suspended in an atemporal limbo, I discovered Hopelessness.

In the morning I had felt incapable of doing any work, and I knew I had somewhere to be. But a train journey to London wouldn't quite do it, and neither would the 'walk around the block' which usually helps me clear my head on these kinds of days. I thought of the nearby forest which was a 16-minute drive away, and knew that this was what I had been looking for.

As I neared the forest and trees loomed on each side outside my space shuttle, I realised I had missed seeing a landscape obscured by natural obstructions rather than man-made ones. It felt strange that somewhere, somehow, there were still thousands of miles of virgin forest in the world, long stretches of green on the map that had been unexplored.

I was drawn out of my thoughts by the silence: the song I had been listening to had just ended. This silence gathered like a thick cloud of smoke and hung heavily. For a second I stared mutely out at the tops of the trees, at the faint autumnal sun which had been exhausted by a two-month long heatwave.

 And then the cloud was rent apart by a bubbling, primordial chord, accompanied by a disembodied voice. Pain-ridden, it pierced the cloud, and soared up and over the trees and engulfed everything in a protective womb of sound:

 'How did I become the mother of this son? / The face and mind and hands of virulence?'

The womb was cold inside, the force of the voice sent goosebumps along the whole body and had a paralysing quality.  Distant explosions went off in the background, kept at bay by a guilty conscience, as the voice sang on:

I don't care much about you
I don't give a shit what happens to you
Now we blew it all away
We blew it all away
...
How did I become a virus?

And then a gospel-like choir intervened; it attempted to chant away the hopelessness,  the guilt, the explosions. But instead the sins and vices gathered at the very front, in the form of a heart-crushing beat.
'HOW DID BECOME A VIRUS?' the voice sang over the now parenthetic choir. A swarm of cybernetic ants gathered behind it and spread out on all sides, unable to escape the pounding. 

'Hopelessness,' reminded the choir. 'HOW DID I BECOME A VIRUS?' the voice roared once again. Then they eased, exhausted like the faint sun shining through my window; the parasitic swarm died away.

'Hopeless -- ' chanted the voices one last time, before breaking off abruptly. I pulled up into the car park of the forest; I had come back to reality, but now reality was different.



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