The Barnacled Hermit (human) sat at the tip of a long promintory of rock and gazed into the abyss between his precarious position and the grey stone valley floor thousands of feet below his danging feet.
And the Hermit spoke the words that would come to define reality for all his worshippers, and through them everyone else, for aeons to come.
He said “No, but seriously, what the fuck is it with this shit?”
He then cleared his throat, blew his nose, and took a sip of his Diet Coke.
“What am I even doing here? I feel like I am in a plane that eternally circles the airport without ever being able to land. Forever waiting for clearance.”
The Hermit watched a pebble roll down the mountainside, bounce of a boulder, and fall into the dark abyss.
He envied it a little. At least it had a direction in life.
And it didn’t even have to invest any more energy in pursuing it.
“Or maybe I’m a pet forgotten at a bus sation who has been there for so long he has forgotten that he is even waiting for someone in particular, he just knows how to wait.
Waiting is. It’s what he does. It’s all he knows. It doesn’t even feel like waiting any more. It’s the new normal It’s all he knows any more.
If his family showed up now, he might not even remember why he is so happy to see these particular humans over the thousands of others he sees every day.
The shock might kill him.
But there’s no risk of that, because his family has forgotten all about to him. They realized they had left him behind almost immediately, .but by then they were walready halfway to their destination, and when they got there, they were all having too much fun to want to go all the way back to get him, and when tghey got back from their vacation they told each other that they would go get him right away, but then there was school, and work, and life, and somehow they never actually got around to it.
And when they realized this, they panicked and felt guilty, but then told themselves that it was probably too late now anyway, and he’d probably found a good home by now.
Meanwhile, at the station, their pet was tolerated as long as he didn’t call too much attention to himself. He was the same happy friendly critter he had always been, but with nobody to take care of him, his fur had gotten progressively more matted and filthy, and digging for food in garbage cans for so long had given him a powerful stench that announced his presence long before his arrival.
So he didn’t know why, but the humans, who had been so nice at first, had gotten more and more mad at him and mean to him over the years until his present state, where he skulked in the shadows and fled at the sound of human voices.
He wished he knew what he’d done wrong so he could fix it.
He had dreams where people were nice to him again, petting him and telling him he’s a good boy and giving him plenty of toys and treats.
Those dreams always left him whimpering. ”
The Hermit sighed a long, guilty sigh, took another sip of Diet Coke, and said “Sorry folks…. that was really fucking dark. ”
He wiggled a little on his perch to get the circulation back in his enormous buttocks. At least that’s what he told himself.
But it also made him feel better to get that tiny bit closer to the edge.
“And what the fuck is with this setup, anyway? Why does being literally on the edge of death make me feel…. safe? Why did I need to do this just to feel safe enough to express how I feel? What went fundamentally wrong in my head to make me feel safer and more secure when I am anything but? ”
He sighed. “Is it the proximity to escape? I’ve always been drawn to death and I am honest enough with myself to realize that my history of suicidal tendencies is connected to that on a deep level.
Death is, after all, the ulitmate escape, and I am nothing if not a hardcore escapist. I spend my every waking hours escaping, and I don’t even know what I am escaping any more. Having to deal with reality, I guess.
44 years old, and I am still not readfy. I’m still too damaged.inside. I work hard at birthing my pain – writing stuff like the dog thing helps – and I am far, far healthier now than I have been in the past – schooling notwithstanding.
But healing takes time, and in the meantime, I lie suspended in the ice cold aspic of the life of a victim of Failure to Launch Syndrome.
I suppose I might be bettter off if I lacked ambition and was content to simply make it through the day any way I can.
But that’s not an option. I would rather die than be that dead inside. I feel my power and my strength and the incredible potency of my magic spells and I know deep down that I could make a real splash in the world if I coud only escape my cage.
And I know the cage will vanish the second I don’t need it any more. I might hate the cage a lot but it’s my life support system that gives me the rigid container I will need until I can finally generate my own structure and have it stick.
So when I say I want to escape my cage, take it in the same vein that you would take a parapalegic saying they want to escape their wheelchair.
In both cases, what we really want is to be healthy again.
Someday, I swear,. I will be strong enough to walk on my own.
Until then, all I can do is keep up with my physical therapy and do whatever it takes to make it through another day. ”
By now, the Hermit was standing, fist raised to the sky, and his very form was limned in righteous fire and the glow of purpose.
But the fire soon dimmed, and he returned to his gazing into the abyss.
After a while, he fell asleep.
I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.