Your past does not define your future. A past in poverty can lead to a future of financial prosperity. An adolescence of drug abuse can turn into a life of good health. A life full of pain can make you feel overjoyed and grateful when it is finally over. These are important things. Those who search for meaning early on in life seldom find it. At the end of your run, when you look back and reflect on the choices you made, everything will finally come together. We choose our own meaning. So don’t be surprised if the meaning is non-existent when you are sad and lonely and trying to make conversation with the barrel of a gun. This only means that when you look back, the only meaning of your life was to end it.
I tried to imagine what the trail of jet fuel looked like behind me. Though I couldn’t see it, I still knew it was there. I was only one of thousands of planes that were marking the sky. This isn’t supposed to sound beautiful. It hurts the sky. It hurts the earth and the environment and in the future, it will hurt your family. That is the one thing that will affect you the most. The people around you being in pain.
There is much going on behind me. People talking, laughing, babies crying. There are thousands of other planes in the sky with the exact same occurrences. People acting normal while suspended 10,000 feet above the ground. Putting all their trust in me, the only one who is keeping us here in the air, with the only thing I can see being the curve of the earth in front of me. It feels as if there are angels flying us up into the sky. And they will only drop us if I tell them to.
The plane’s wings appear to be bridges that lead to other dimensions. On the ground, you can see the beginning and end, but not up here. The ends disappear into wisps of clouds and the end is undefinable. Maybe forever, because no one has the courage to see what is there, in a dimension already existing in the unknown.
Disaster is a topic often thought about up here. So many things could go wrong, which is why many people still don’t know about the world up here. Because maybe, just maybe, if one person wishes the angels would drop them, they might drop everyone. This is an excellent way to describe the impact of negativity. Bad thoughts do not solely affect the thinker, but also whoever encounters them. They are not only poisoning their own brains, but the people around them as well. And like an infectious disease, the bad thoughts bury themselves within everyone until the weight becomes too much to bear. Too much for the angels to bear. But the people on this plane don’t realize that they don’t need to fear the angels, or the people around them. The person they need to fear is me.
And I suppose that if my past dictated my future, they would have good reason to fear me. Because like an infection, my melancholy would seep from the cabin to the rest of the plane, slowly killing anyone it touched. Negativity takes control of your whole body, and right now my entire being is dedicated to keeping these people safe in our dimension in the sky.
There were people in white, not angels, but the exact opposite, who told me that pondering even slightly on this would let my mind think it was okay to let it out. And it would try to ooze over my brain again. That it was all too easy to let the blackness take over. So I need to stop thinking about it. Because the medicine made the black go away once, but maybe not again. And that—
I saw it. It acted as a shadow out of the corner of my eye, but I saw it. It can’t hide that easily. It crawled under my seat and into the radio in front of me. The men in white told me that if I was scared, the black would think it was doing its job. That if my limbs shook and my eyes glazed over, I would be encouraging it. I calmly move my hand to the radio, but it’s not working anymore. Just like my mind so many lives ago, it is infected. I killed it. When I pick it up, there’s not even static. Silence. I take a deep breath, and wonder if the radios work in the other dimensions. The clouds around are not waiting respectfully at the ends of the bridges anymore. They are becoming thicker and meaner, enveloping the entire plane. But it’s not just a plane anymore; it’s a world in itself. While only God knows what is in existence out there, in here there are only remnants of what we used to know. But it is slowly being poisoned from the inside out. just like me, just like you.
In a sense, our plane has become a bomb. Maybe the plane will completely devour every animate and inanimate thing in our world and we will be a flying disease, with the only destination being the ground in which I should be buried. Imagine after crashing into the dirt, the negativity that will flow from this incident. Out of our plane, through the wires, to everyone near us that it will reach. And then it will start to destroy them too, and the only way to fight it will be artificial pills coloured to look happy and frequent talks with the men in white. This is how disaster spreads.
In the back, a baby begins to wail and does not stop. Shivers run up and down my spine, extending into my hands which begin shaking so uncontrollably that I fear the whole plane can feel it. Just like the black, the baby’s cries spread from the source to the other passengers, until discomfort is felt among all of them. Negativity is not the only thing that can spread this way. Happiness can too, but this is very rare. Often, when someone experiences joy, it will not infect others. This is because most of us have become immune. When our bodies detect that first hint, it is often targeted and killed. This is because deep down, some of us truly believe that we do not deserve it.
The worst thing to spread is pain. This is because it hurts for years after, and often leaves marks. Pain is never the main offender, it is a result. A result of someone who tries to fight off the black, the negativity, with violence. Sometimes to others, sometimes to ourselves. It is a never sending cycle because even though we choose not to believe it, there most certainly are people out there who love us so much that our pain is their pain. This is a good way to break a bad habit. Every time you hurt yourself, imagine that you are also hurting a person you love. Often the reason we spread negativity and violence is because we have no idea that we are not the only ones being affected. And that if the blood we had shed during those sad nights were scrubbed off the floor, we could fill an ocean of red big enough to drown everyone we love.
You can drown in love and you can suffocate with plenty of air, as I am now. The dark mass has moved from the front of the plane to the back, which should make me feel safe, but doesn’t. Mostly because the baby’s screams have stopped and his mother’s have started. But that’s what the black does. You allow it in because it offers a way of dealing with the world and it tears you apart from the inside out, until you are relieved when it finally stops your heart.
But it never stops following. It is a shadow, yes. It is your shadow. There is darkness following you everywhere. This is a part of life which everyone must accept. Negativity will not leave you alone in life. It will always be there, lurking, like the secret you’ve never told anyone, not even the person you love. The only difference is that darkness is not a secret. Everyone feels it sooner or later. For some, it is noticeable in half moons floating under the gates to their soul. For others, in the slightest lines of skin that are lighter than the rest. For many, it is the eternal darkness inside the box that they now must call home. For me, it was the decaying rope hanging from our stairwell, and the lifeless eyes and hollow Shell of what could have been, had I been there.
However, this darkness followed me forever. Not even the men in white could make it go away. I asked them if they’d ever come home to a bed of broken dreams, broken pieces that cut you up every time you tried to sleep. They told me that broken dreams weren’t a good enough reason for why I wouldn’t sleep, and broken pieces weren’t what were cutting me. I told them that I was trying to let the blackness out through my veins. They told me that the problem wasn’t in my blood. I told them that the only way to get rid of it was to take away the place it called home. They made me sleep for a long time.
When I woke up, it was standing behind the curtain in my room, waiting to come back in. I pretended it wasn’t there, and it got angry. The men in white were pleased. The darkness was not. Sometimes I couldn’t tell the difference between them.
It still won’t leave me alone. It follows me, threatens me, begs to come back in. But I always pretend I lost the key to its house. And in a way, I did. There are certain parts of me that I will never unlock again; keys that she kept on the ring we left on her before sealing her in darkness. She did the same to me. The only difference is that it’s darker and colder for me than it is for her. Even though there’s not much light 6 feet underground, she was the only light that could scare away my dark.