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June 12, 2021 / Samuel DiPaola

Naked

My mind is blank.
I’m in a prison.
No family.
No friends.
No relationship.
No purpose.
Past interests fade.
And lackluster memories reflect an endless series of meaningless events
that waste time and produce the illusion of importance.
When you die you can say, “Look at all I’ve done.”
But over time those events will be forgotten,
and future generations will care less.
Believing they can somehow reach immortality through cleverness and action alone.
If you manage to die with one friend by your bed,
holding your hand as you gasp your last breath,
you will have succeeded more than if you climbed Mount Everest.
Who will be by my bed when I die?
And will all that I care about fade away with me?
My few belongings given to Goodwill,
or thrown in a community dumpster.
I realize now how foolish I have been,
attempting to carve out my place in society.
As if fancy clothes and dinner parties have any purpose other than to illicit transient pleasure
that can never be a substitute for true fulfillment.
The birth of my children remain the sole pleasures of life that I consider extraordinary.
Nothing in life compares.
Were my parents as happy the day I was born?
That moment when a life is brought into the world. . .
A feeling of hope.
Hope that this new life will somehow figure out the riddle and transcend beyond the ordinary.
But that moment of excitement fades.
Only to be replaced by struggle.
A life of struggle.
I’m tired.
And all the meditation, centering, positive thinking, or prayers to God won’t fix it.
I just want to be left alone.
When I die, my version of heaven is a small cottage in the woods with plenty of firewood,
and an endless supply of all the books I can read.
Don’t look for me.
And don’t try to visit.
There will be no one around to yell at me, criticize, or make fun of me.
While God has an endless sandbox universe, I only need my solitude.
And I will treat my friends as they have treated me, and walk away.
My thoughts echo in my head.
A chamber.
More like a chamber of carnival mirrors.
Reflecting a distortion of nothing.
Emptiness.
I look around.
The entrance, a vanishing point in time.
The exit, unknown.
Unavailable.
Are there others here with me, staring into the same void?
I stand naked in a crowded room and wonder why the rest of the world is wearing clothes.
They say clothes make the man.
I say, men make the clothes,
and man is still naked.

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