On 27 July, 2006, in Dark Reflections, by C. Scott Davis

Silence is heavier than Truth,
but softer, smoother, and easier to hold.

Truth is loud and messy,
refusing to fit neatly into place.

Truth is scary and dangerous,
changing everything it touches.

Truth is an inconvenient shape,
full of sharp edges and awkward angles.

Silence is safer, weighs more slowly,
and gently smothers your soul.

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In my life, I have accumulated a handful of truly happy memories…

I was recently reminded of one of them, and I thought I would write about it:

I used to run the local IT Department for a company that was based in Ireland. One year they decided to hold a Departmental Retreat, and so they flew us to Ireland to meet with our Irish counterparts, and then took all of us up into the mountains of Carlingford, for a week of team-building exercises and similar activities. During the evenings, we would go to pubs, explore the town, or just hang around the common room of the hostel where we were staying.

One night, there were a couple of musicians there, and one of the Irish techs went back to his room and got his guitar to join them. They all played for a while, and then the other musicians left, but he continued playing his guitar, and the rest of us were all sitting around listening to him.

At one point, he started up a melody that was very familiar to me.

“Romeo & Juliet,” I said.

He nodded. “Do you know it?”

I indicated that I did.

“Sing it then,” he suggested with a grin, as he continued to play.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am terribly self-conscious. Not shy exactly, but definitely lacking in confidence, and singing out loud to a group of people simply isn’t the sort of thing I’m likely to ever do. It’s something I might fantasize about in the back of mind, but only if I could do it as someone else.

Several of the others tried to encourage me. Unfortunately, this just made me that much more nervous and self-conscious.

I do love music though and I did know this song, and in spite of everything, I could feel it almost bubbling up inside me, looking for a way out.

Before I even quite realised it was happening, I started singing…

A lovestruck romeo sing a streetsuss serenade
Laying everybody low with a lovesong that he made
Find a street light steps out of the shade
Says something like you and me babe how about it?

Juliet says hey it’s romeo you nearly gimme a heart attack
He’s underneath the window she’s singing hey la my boyfriend’s back
You shouldn’t come around here singing up at people like that
Anyway what you gonna do about it?

Juliet the dice was loaded from the start
And I bet and you exploded into my heart
And I forget I forget the movie song
When you gonna realise it was just that the time was wrong juliet?

Come up on different streets they both were streets of shame
Both dirty both mean yes and the dream was just the same
And I dreamed your dream for you and now your dream is real
How can you look at me as if I was just another one of your deals?

When you can fall for chains of silver you can fall for chains of gold
You can fall for pretty strangers and the promises they hold
You promised me everything you promised me thick and thin yeah
Now you just say oh romeo yeah you know I used to have a scene with him

Juliet when we made love you used to cry
Said I love you like the stars above I love you till I die
There’s a place for us you know the movie song
When you gonna realise it was just that the time was wrong juliet?

I can’t do the talk like they talk on the TV
And I can’t do a love song like the way it’s meant to be
I can’t do everything but I’d do anything for you
I can’t do anything except be in love you

And all I do is miss you and the way we used to be
All I do is keep the beat and bad company
All I do is kiss you through the bars of a rhyme
Julie I’d do the stars with you any time

Juliet when we made love you used to cry
You said I love you like the stars above I’ll love you till I die
And there’s a place for us you know the movie song
When you gonna realise it was just that the time was wrong juliet?

A lovestruck romeo sings a streetsuss serenade
Laying everybody low with a lovesong that he made
Find a convenient streetlight steps out of the shade
Says something like you and me babe how about it?

I sang the entire song, from start to finish, accompanied by the guitar. I’m pretty sure I stumbled in a few places, but it didn’t matter. It wasn’t about performing. It was just about making music, and it was glorious.

When I was finished, everyone applauded. Whether it was because it was any good or they were just being kind, I don’t know, but that didn’t matter either.

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Sharp Edges

On 15 September, 2004, in Dark Reflections, by C. Scott Davis

I am wrong.

I was born in the wrong place, possibly at the wrong time, definitely to the wrong family.

Somewhere there is a person who belongs.

Somewhere there is someone who would connect with those people, who could be this person that I’m supposed to be, proud and unashamed.

I am not that someone.

Somewhere there must be a person who feels this place down to the core of their being, and has a sense of home that I have never had here, and never will. Someone misses these people, having never met them, thinks like them, feels like them, is one of them. Someone wishes they were here.

There must be someone, somewhere, like that. There has to be.

There has to be a person who doesn’t feel alien under their skin, who isn’t out of place in every situation, someone who doesn’t feel the need to apologise for their very existence.

That person should’ve been, not me.

Maybe I just have the wrong soul. Perhaps it’s defective, scarred in some way, just slightly out of true.

If I’d just let them shave a little off here and there, I probably would’ve fit right in. They certainly wanted to. They certainly tried.

I might’ve been happy, if I’d never known how miserable to be. My ignorance might’ve purchased normality, as surely as my silence has bought me survival.

Instead I am floating inside myself like a stranger in my own life, eternally at odd angles, a bit out of sync, a prisoner in this life I never asked for.

Ultimately, I’m just a forgotten place-holder for someone who never really existed. I am my own stunt double, gone wrong.

This is all I will ever be. I will never be other than I am, and it will never be enough.

This is my Truth, my crime, and my punishment.

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On 3 May, 2004, in Dark Reflections, by C. Scott Davis

Shame is the Monarch of my soul, with Fear as its faithful Prime Minister, ruling my life with an iron fist.

Nothing I do (or through inaction, fail to do) is untouched by them.

When you can’t bear the thought of who you are, or what you are, as you are, even the simplest things become impossible.

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Die Zukunft

On 10 July, 2003, in Dark Reflections, by C. Scott Davis

I know it’s out there… just outside my field of vision, waiting for me in the darkness.

I imagine that I can hear it, slurping up through the temporal cesspool, shifting around in the blackness beyond me. It stares at me, with dead eyes, even though I can’t see it yet — won’t be able to see it, until it’s far too late.

I want to turn and run away. I want to flee, to go… anywhere, rather than to get pulled back down in there. There is nowhere to go. It’s pointless to even try. I am falling towards that loathsome pit, with a force that’s stronger, and more impossible to resist, than gravity. I will end up there again, just as surely as I crawled out in the first place.

I am the condemned, given an illusionary furlough. Every tick, every tock, takes me closer. My despair knows no bounds.

I can already feel it crawling across my skin, through it, under it. I can taste the foulness, smell the acrid air as it burns down my nose and throat. I can’t be that close yet, but I am. It’s reaching out for me, grasping, searching. It’s in no hurry. It has Time as its ally.

I breathe slowly, calmly. The first touch will be the worst; it always is.

The grim tide laps at my feet and the monster’s claws brush my face. Once I surrender, it won’t be so bad. It really will, of course, but I won’t care. I will have sunk beyond caring, beyond knowing. I will wrap denial around me and drown in an eternity of grey, until one day, I finally die.

Only then will I ever really escape.

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New Year

On 22 December, 1996, in Dark Reflections, by C. Scott Davis

A new year looms before me and old demons lurk behind me. Even as the Future opens wide to swallow me whole, I can feel the sharp teeth of the Past slicing into my back.

I die to be born.
I live as dead.
Only the flashes of pain remind me…
…I’m alive.

I am standing at the edge of the flames. They are slowly creeping up on me, burning my feet with agonising slowness.

Oddly, I find myself longing to leap into the heart of the burning pain and be done with it.

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On 9 August, 1996, in Dark Reflections, by C. Scott Davis

Time. Jump forward. Leap ahead.
Jump, puppet!
Pull the strings.
behind the curtain,
more of my life.
Spin for me.
Wheel of Time.
The future is made
on the foundation
of my shattered bones.
me beneath your heel.
me high
into the air.
How will I land?
What’s the difference?
Neither lasts.
Nothing lasts.
Only the cruel impact,
the bruising, ripping, bursting
pain of the fall —
only that —
is Eternal.

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On 3 February, 1995, in Dark Reflections, by C. Scott Davis

Memories. Beautiful things, but dangerous. So fair to look upon, so warm to hold, but such sharp sharp edges…

On second thought, memories are dirty little creatures, with vicious, sharp teeth…

Honesty, as a brick, wrapped in a sock…

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