Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

The night of the day after. Tent IV.  §

© Aron Hsiao / 2006

Weird night of dreams last night and a weird day of sensations today.

The best analogy that I can think of is that I feel like a high school student or a college student that has suddenly realized that they have seriously fucked up.

Do you remember it? That feeling that you got when you arrived at class and the instructor asked everyone to hand in their term papers, and everyone began to shuffle to the front of the room except for you, because you had spent the weekend skating in the park or watching television after reassuring yourself—without any actual grounds for doing so—that you didn’t have anything coming due on Monday. And now here it was Monday and you were without your paper and recalling the instructor’s adamant warning that no late work would be accepted and anyone without a term paper on Monday would flunk for the term.

So there you sat realizing that you had flunked. And you knew it. And a pit sat in your stomach. And you stared straight ahead and tried not to think about the only thing that you could possibly, at that moment, think about. And you tried not to feel exactly how you felt, which was full of dread and crude oil and mercury.

That feeling.

In fact, it’s not entirely an analogy. I have been having these weird moments in which I actually am convinced that I’ve forgotten something or made some sort of terrible mistake that is just on the edge of consciousness and then I mentally sit down and prepare for my unconscious to deliver the memory of just what it is that I’ve just catastrophically fucked up without remembering it, something that is so terrible that my whole life will be affected.

And then, a moment later, I realize that there is no such unconscious thing. There is only one dreadful thing going on in my life right now, and I am fully conscious of it, and it is not in any sort of state of having been ignored or forgotten.

They are sort of like phantom pains, these momentary impulses of panic. They are the vestiges of worries that are so big that the conscious mind isn’t able to hold then in their entirety, so they take over the subconscious as well, and come out as all sorts of other worries that make no sense whatsoever once they come to consciousness.

I woke up with the feeling that something important had been stolen and I needed to report it to the police. Later in the day it was the feeling that I’d missed a very important bill and was in for severe penalties. Then I suddenly felt as though I’d forgotten an important medical test or task that could have life-threatening consequences for me.

And so on.

Yet on ten seconds of reflection, in each case I realized that there was absolutely nothing of the sort going on. The feeling of dread was not related to the circumstace that for a moment I’d impulsively “recalled,” but—upon full and actual recollection—I understood that the circumstance creating the feeling was, in fact, divorce, pure and simple.

The assessment failed. The thing stolen. The unsettled bill. The creeping pathology. And so on. They’re all so many thousand metaphors. My subconscious mind is working overtime to try to get me to do something about it, and of course that sensation of failure and too-lateness, that darkness, comes from the fact that in fact it is a done deal, it is too late.

My subconscious simply hasn’t received the message yet.

Funny how the mind works. I thought that it had “hit me” already, and indeed that it had been “hitting me” for months. But now I suspect that there will be another wave or three of it “hitting me” as my subconscious mind gradually gets hold of the realization that it is too late for us and that there is, in fact, well and truly nothing any longer to be done ever again.

Finality is so… final.

— § —

I gave everything I had to my marriage. I have few regrets. Everything I had, and then some, and then some more. I poured every last drop of blood, sweat, and tears into it. I believed. I was committed.

But in the end, it wasn’t enough. That’s my biggest regret. And it is also an echo of the illusion that has been shattered. That perhaps two people can pour everything they have into a marriage and in the end be miserable—and, more to the point—unable to survive together nonetheless.

It is a sad, bewildering thing.

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