Dad used to tell me that heroes and warriors are dauntless, men are. That was when I was a little boy. Boys try to act tough even when all they want is to cry and faint by seeing blood. Men are the real tough. Me- I am stuck in being in-between.
They tell me to veil my smile to invisibility to keep me from melding breakable strings. My brothers tell me that men must cloak their weakness, to harbor it in a rayless abyss where no scrutiny can pierce. No tear works.
But why does he cry? Zeus- why does he cry?
Look at the clouds in slurred lines of graphite and charcoal. The sky cast low- weighed down by the stentorian stomping of the ruler of gods. And fury-laced lightning were hurled to the terrains. Who knows one day he’d split it in two. Stinging liquid arrows charge to my skin in a cold pitfall of lamentation. Maybe Hera is also sick, is why.
And don’t you hate it too when your anger rush down in tears? But if a god cries, maybe boys and men can too. You know, cradle masculinity in streams of tears.
Down here where I scull in a rowboat, is an equally-ballistic sea god trashing waves my way. Waves that crash and take.
But neither of the gods is who I seek. Beyond the earth to the Western end is the gateway to who I seek, to the realm of death.
The resonating skies and racking seas came to hiatus. Now calm yet not settling. When the storm dies, it is supposed to take the good things and leave us shredded pieces of ourselves. It carves hollow happiness to the sun that paints ancient silver lining in clouds. But when storms die, I wait in another’s threshold. See if it will lay more destruction in my already fragmented soul.
But nothing, just the sinister silence of its aftermath. One that would make you succumb to your inner self as it crawls on your skin. Eerie than the sky’s rancorous rage. Regardless, one hell is better than the other. Right?
As the light slumbers down the horizon and dark bleeds, the sight of an infernal Acheron emerges. To his boat, the ferryman awaits. When I reach him, I grabbed a rope and laced it to my neck in a knot.
I come to trade.
“Take me instead.” I tossed the other end of the rope to him.
Not her. Not her whose velvet skin they cut and bruise with needles. Not her whose midnight hair they shave, and smile they stole. She once shined as the moonlight and caress my face taking the sadness coiled to unshed storms. It’s hard to see them shove medicine down her throat. So I journey here. Maybe I can trade death if not stop it. Maybe I can bring back my mom to how she used to look.
“I am no time to tell, to keep and take,” Charon said. “Life is a bittersweet taste of the in-between whilst acceptance is the aftertaste and death is the residue. Only frightened is he to lose if never got a taste and not want a taste in fear of tummy ache. Foolish too.”
There’s nothing I can do? But I tried to carry the strength of a man. And I can’t stop it! I can’t stop it- a mantra splitting my mind to a maze, I crawl but can’t escape. I close my eyes and fell in the murky depth of nothing.