It is my friend’s birthday today. I have known her since the tender age of twelve years. We have travelled through puberty together, and have experienced the most excruciating years of our lives.
It wasn’t pretty. I was self absorbed, she was insecure. We were pathetic. Together we ruled our own little world of complaint and misery. She never talked about her crushes, but I knew every single one of them and what they did to maintain their health, and what they ate before dinner. I knew all her little irks, her little peeves. I knew what she wanted to be when she grew up, I also knew what her parents wanted her to be.
I didn’t know much. I still don’t. She is a clam, yet a sea of information. She is sweet, innocent, naieve. She has been thrown into a world of sharks and competition, with no preparation or warning, and it is already wearing her down. I am frightened for her, frightened for me.
She is bowing to the pressure of what the world and its dog wants her to be.
She is failing to please everybody.
Sometimes, people walk amongst the dead.
You pass people, and they look right through you, as though they were in a different realm. They are all cold, hard and unseeing. They are filled with their own inner torment and wrath, their own turmoil.
You say, well, hey! Hey there! Would you like a cube of this quivering red jelly on this nice hot March afternoon? No? Oh, well, I shall eat it. Before it melts, you know.
There was once a boy, and he was a lovely boy. Truly. He would sometimes awaken from his dead state, and tell me things. Like, once, he said, you can climb that ladder, Lady Pinkymoe. You can. I was at the bottom rung a lifetime ago, but now, I am at the top. And I shall be doing Further Maths.
How! I mused. HOW could he do Further Maths when I am still stuck on the third rung. I am holding on desperately but nobody will reach out a hand to pull me up.
That, dear folks, is because they are all to high up to do anything. Some of them are too low down, swinging by one arm, getting weaker even as the seconds tick by. Soon they will drop off, like dead dried flies stuck to a gas lamp. Up in the ceiling of my Biology class.
But, yes. Back to the dead people. They are alive, really.
They live, and breathe and walk. They wear make-up. Oh God. Too much make-up. They follow the fashions. They laugh and squeal and feel and scorn. They LIVE. They glimmer and flicker on the rainbow horizon of LIFE. They really do.
Inside they are dead. Shallow husks. Soulless, mindless, SHEEP.
And, what, I ask will it take to get them out of that state?
Some people do it before others. Some are semi-dead, like that lovely boy.
Some are waking up, as their 18th gradually draws near, and Responsibility sighs and starts to wind itself round their necks, settling heavily on their shoulders.
WAKE UP, THOUGH!
THE OCEAN WILL NOT STAY BLUE FOREVER!
AND THE SUN WILL NOT AVALANCHE SO, IN THE BLUE SKY!
THE GLITTER AND GLIMMER OF YOUTH WILL FADE.
AND YOU WILL HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW.
Except, perhaps, regret. And lots of experience. Perhaps. Depending on how dead you were.
Seize the day.
Don’t miss opportunities.
They are as fragile as summer daisies.