Fail, fail, fail, fail, succeed

The Unwelcome Visitor (Part 1)

Note: This is an unfinished piece that I’m working on; it started out as an attempt to write some dialogue, without really thinking about it this is what came out.

It’s clearly part of a larger work, I’m just not sure yet what that larger work is.

Until I figure that out, here you go…

Scene one

I know who you are… I said.

Is that so? You replied, looking somewhat surprised.

What? You think I haven’t been paying attention? You’re not exactly easy to miss. In fact, my first memory of you was when you came into my grandmothers life. I was just a kid, but my eyes were wide open. I may not have understood what was happening, but I filed that shit away for future reference.

Well, I guess no introductions are needed then. Besides, we’ll be getting to know each other better real soon – I always look forward to this part. But let’s be clear about something up front – I’m not the bad guy. You may think I am now, but before we’re done you’ll understand how wrong you were.

Not the bad guy? Really? You do remember we’ve met before?

Yeah, but let’s not forget how that turned out. All in all the outcome was pretty good as I remember it. You’ve said so yourself, many times.

OK – I have said that, but we both know I was just trying to reframe my perspective. I mean, WTF? Once you show up all hell breaks loose and everyone involved suddenly has no choice but to deal with you. That was just my way.

Fair enough – I was actually pretty impressed with your response. Most people just try to ignore me. You seemed to grasp the situation pretty quickly. I admired the fact that you didn’t break.

Well, thanks, but I kind of felt like my back was against the wall and my only choice was to either cave in or just try to remain as clear-headed as I could. I’ve always been good at that. But I do understand fear, and I don’t think it’s a weak response to try and ignore you. Dumb maybe – but not weak. No one’s ever ready for you.

That is true.

You know, this may sound obvious, but after your last visit, I realized something important. A few things actually.

Such as?

Well, for one thing, I learned that it pays to remember the outcome of your arrival is never certain. I mean, sooner or later you are going to show up and not leave, and we both know how that ends. But sometimes, like with me, you eventually pack up your bags and split. And then when you’re gone, life kind of starts up again and you get a second chance. I guess this is a natural part of life, but the first time it happens it’s a rude fucking awakening.

Keep going…

OK, I also learned that we are all stronger than we think. I really believe that. I mean, sure, some people are obviously stronger than others, but there’s nothing like coming face to face with your arrival to show you what you’re made of. It’s kind of good to learn that, ‘cuz sometimes you surprise yourself. Sometimes we’re stronger than we thought.

You were looking at me intenttly, and clearly not in a hurry. I sensed you wanted me to go on, so I did.

The confusing thing is, whenever you show up, it’s always different. Not like a disguise exactly – you just seem so randomly unpredictable. I think this confuses people. Like they don’t know what’s happening until it’s too late. I also think people are confused about your relationship with your boss.

Hey – she’s not my boss. We work in two different departments.

Come on, you know what I mean. You do seem to be the advance man for her, always showing up before she does. Well, almost always – there are rare exceptions where she just seems to appear out of nowhere. I always felt those people were kind of lucky – no insult intended.

None taken. I just want to make it clear that she doesn’t give me orders. She’s a fucking scene-stealer, always a diva. Making me seem like a warm-up act. There’s no art in what she does – she’s a goddamn one-trick pony. It’s like everyone loves the big finish to a fireworks show, but the real art is in the buildup.

Sorry – I see I touched a nerve here, that wasn’t my intention. It’s just that a huge part of the drama of dealing with you involves whether or not she shows up. But I do agree that your job is way more involved than hers.

See – here’s the thing – it may seem like I’m only here to inflict pain and suffering, but that’s really not the point. Looking for a point, or a reason, is asking the wrong questions. There is no fucking point, and even if there was, knowing it wouldn’t change a goddamn thing. Humans are always looking for an explanation, like somehow having an answer would make them feel better. There are things that happen in life that have no explanation – they just are. Humans, for example.

But you do see why they do this, right? They are completely panicked, you show up and suddenly mortality is no longer an abstract concept. It’s fucking scary as hell! They don’t know what to do, so they look for some explanation.

Yeah, I get that. But once you get over the initial shock, you’re left with some very big questions – real questions, not this “Why me?” bullshit. Questions about the meaning of it all, about how you will spend whatever time you have left. Most people fall back on whatever religious beliefs they were exposed to growing up. Others will try to answer the questions themselves. And therein lies the point – the real fucking point.

Wait, you’re saying that you are there for a purpose?

Purpose schmurpase, I’m just here. What I am trying to say is that my presence is an opportunity, not a death sentence. BTW, you’re all dying, from the moment you’re born. Your just not aware of it until I show up.

Suddenly I hear my phone vibrating – it’s my wife, texting me Dinners ready. I look at you and say We’ll continue this later.

Smiling, you respond Whenever you want motherfucker – I’m not going anywhere.