I spent a lot of time on the phone with a guy I barely know last night. He called me to talk about the chronic determination he has to kill this body he lives in. Old guy, mutual friends with some friends of mine who are concerned about him, suggested we talk.
The guy lives in California, seems to occupy a situation so similar to my own it’s unsettling to me, hearing how unhappy he is with it, how much he thinks he hasn’t got that he wishes he had. Me listening as he describes it, thinking, wow, that sounds cool. Sheeze, I could stand some of THAT.
But I was lucky enough to have been where he is long enough ago so’s when he tells me about the abyss he’s looking into I know what he’s speaking of. Even though it’s foreign country to me.
I know how I climbed out of it, probably even understand why I managed it. And telling him doesn’t help him a bit so far as I can discern. The only help I can be is listening to him, same as the friends who arranged for us to talk listen to him and can’t actually help.
I am what I’d call an expert on me being happy, damned good at the job. But I do recall having a nest of demons living in my head, a self-sustaining fluctuating feed-on-itself hell that seemed to leave self-destruction as the only alternative that made sense.
Listening to the echo of that so long ago in my past from an old guy who lives so nearly to the way I live today skates along the edge of bizarre. And as nearly as I can tell there’s not one thing I can tell him that will provide a means for him to escape.
Because I came away with the feeling he’s in love with that nest of demons or gives them more room to talk with him listening than he gives anyone else who’s talking to him, cares about him. And they’re telling him the only escape is killing the body he lives in.
After we finished talking I was lying there scratching a cat behind the ears awed how he and I managed to get to opposite ends of the spectrum, how the Universe can manage having room for both of us.