I am still here. For what feels like too long.
Hairline retreating, like a coward, from a face getting too long.
Lines chiseled into permanent features of my forehead from a brow left furrowed for too long.
Bags hanging like bunting from my eyes, left open for too long.
Crow’s footprints sprawling across my temple from laughing too long.
The sound of a cement mixers echos from ankles from playing too long.
Each badge of age, evidence of a Truth with a capital “T.”
Truth with 100% replicability.
Truth with no room for logical dissent.
No matter the challenge, obstacle, or fear, I have survived it all.
I am still here. Nothing yet has beaten me.
But the one exception that proves the rule lingers on the horizon.
From beyond that horizon, a singular voice, calls out.
The Voice commands authority like the orators of the great war.
The Voice draws upon no truth, references no evidence, and builds no argument.
The Voice feeds off of fear and pain. It quenches the thirst for self-loathing.
The Voice gains momentum as the audience falls for each exclamation
“The obstacles in your way are insurmountable. The adversaries posed to stop you are too strong. The pain waiting for you around the corner of failure will break you.” The Voice bellows, punctuating each statement with a fist slammed on the podium.
“But, how can you be true?” I reply in defiance from the crowd of cheering supporters. “How can you know this, when every moment of my life has proven the opposite?”
“Because the only thing more certain than the fruitful results of your past is the imminent demise of your future. Every moment of your life have has proven your invincibility, yet every moment in all existence has proven to lead to universal mortality. I know the only Truth, and the only Truth is that the end if coming for you. There can be no peace, there can be no rest. And the only ward against the end is the Worry I can teach you.” The Voice bellowed to the ruckus crowd ready to follow their new leader into the darkness.
“Worry? But to worry is to suffer twice. To worry is to ruin the present with a specter of the future.” I mutter to myself as I sink into the crowd, sheepishly drawing a pattern in the dirt with my toe.