The explorer and his child were the tornado that struck one poor town successfully and consistently. So much so that the town ceased to exist on the surface, but found refuge down below closer to hell, only the town was one that existed in every human mind, the conscious, was a refuge for runaway thoughts and hang nail memories. Do not be mistaken, the town is salvation for those who understand, a dirty refuge for those who seek it to be so, and said town had created worlds to escape in as well as homes voyagers longed for like soldiers yearning to come back home. But, in simple honesty, no one understands. Not you, not I, not the explorer, not his child, and it’s a question as to whether we are supposed to. After all, the word understand is a man made. What is there left to do?
What is in an escape? The explorer didn’t question definitions anymore like he used to, but this town, his town was toxic to him now. He walked and experienced.
Angels in elementary school creating an art project for God that became the mountain ranges outlining everything the explorer should have seen, or climbed over. The jagged ridges were the result of unsteady hands but not in all cases: The plateau. The Plateau was God’s dinner table but one was left to wonder when was the last time God had dinner, and when he did, did he ask about the stars? Did he forget to put a spin in our orbit, is that why we cannot seem to stay grounded? Does he wonder about us? are we the taboo conversation you avoid at all costs in order to avoid family controversy? Or are we the reason God hasn’t had dinner there is generations? did anyone care or are we all detached?
The explorer sat perched up against a bridge overlooking a canal; there was an answer there that he has been searching a lifetime for. He wanted to find it in the movement of the water; An answer that had aged along with his silver hair aged in delicacy. The sun was held perfectly above the center of the sky as if someone was holding it ready to drop it like a lucky penny in the well with the wish of serenity. He knew the world was looking for the answer with him. The clouds formed oceans and it made the man realize that when the seven oceans were finally explored, the sky became the ocean’s younger sister, trying desperately to become just fulfilling; The sky whispered you-need-me’s and what-would-you-do-without-me’s in every weather. The sky back in town was never this blue. “You are a wonder” the explorer spoke to the sky’s current personality within its reflection inside the canal. The explorer’s child looked beyond the canal, beyond the ocean, beyond nature’s stills and just stared at the desert’s home movie. The explorer thought this moment in time would be one where he and his child should have a conversation but since the child did not present the will to speak, he wondered if the child missed home back in the town. At this point, the explorer detached himself from the idea of having said conversation. “We should keep walking” The explorer meant to say, but his words were transformed more into the action with only the expectation that the child will follow and the child did, not yet detached from the idea of the explorer ever loving him.
It was all desert when the sun became eye level with the explorer and his child. “you could stop now” the child began, “and we can turn back to the town” the child was hopeful that the explorer would listen just like he used to.
“How you have grown and yet I will never understand you, Im so tired.” The explorer pondered.
“you have time, the openness is no place for someone like you old man”
“I had time, but you, you, you-” the explorer stopped with the split consideration that the topic at hand was one that has been on loop for years. There was never an answer to the problem and neither the child nor the explorer really knew if this was really a problem or just a concept that existed concurrently with them.
“what is it you want old man?”
“I need to find my place, you know damn well what I have wanted all these years and god dammit why-? What do you want?”
“you cant get rid of me, I am here.” The child drifted through thoughts “remember Meraki’s?”
Of course he remembered the brick building standing alone on the corner with neon yellow sign with the “’s ” was always out of power. It stood at the dead end of two streets that had peculiar names, although he never remembered the names. It was more the peculiar nature of the street names and the sign parading itself from a distance like a sun from another world calling to him that made him realize he was going the right way. God only knew how he ever made it home, it must have been muscle memory, but realistically it was his child.
The old explorer couldn’t help but realize that the past was no place to live and that out here in the desert was the only place where he looked up and was able to map the stars like an endless trail similar to ancient people before him, except he did this only for comfort. He knew not where he was going, and the stars lead him nowhere. He was lost, walking in slants and zig-zags in order to follow the connections between stars that were never aligned for him and he could only assume these spaces contained galaxies we could not see, but maybe he could reach. But first, define lost.
“You could use a drink”
“we brought vodka, remember old man? Remember Meraki’s? Remember? Huh? You were so full of life at that point! You were so drunk! Blind drunk really, but you were you! We had a whole conversation and remember her? Fuck, she loved you and you were beautiful. Only then old man, you were only beautiful back in your town.”
“she told me she didn’t love me, she never did. I had nothing, I refuse to remember her eyes. You know this and more.”
The child stopped for just a second to fix his eyes in the pitch dark to take in the smell of aged rock and moist air.
“the earth is looped you know?”
“the earth is a sphere, child”
“that’s not the point I’m getting at. The earth is looped, do you know that?”
“it is so quiet out here child”
“you could go on and on and on but you’ll always end up there back in town. You know that don’t you old man? Keep running and you’ll only get there faster. I’ll give you a hint-”
“what pocket is the vodka in?”
“-stay still. For once stay still and think you fucken idiot. Stay still, be light. Are you listening to me?”
“I got it, It was right here” The old explorer reassured himself as he discovered the flask in the pocket closest to his right hand.
the earth didn’t stop moving when the old explorer sat on a red rock and felt the roughness of the sand beneath his feet, the crackling sound like bones breaking when he dragged his bag over to his left side, the beat of the small free falling droplets as they started to cry. He always knew that sky was like the ocean. He felt like being back in town with every sip of vodka he took.
“I’m sailing child” The explorer began “except I am detached from any form of navigation, I’m not even touching the boat, I am floating above it and the rain, God, I could smell the rain. When I find my place, I will put rain in a vase on the dining room table instead of flowers because I think that would be beautiful, wouldn’t that be beautiful?”
“They would look like tears”
“Tears! Yes! They would go in the bedroom! Vases of tears! And the bathroom! Maybe in the multiple. They would be reminders. And vodka, lots of vodka. Barrels of vodka in every room. A constant reminder child of how detached you and I really are. Let me sail.”
The old explorer sat rainbow like over the red rock, curved in the same angel as the horizon. His head slightly looking on at the world upside down. The rain created puddles giving off an aroma of the musty past and canals that sounded like a town talking long ago, they were so quiet now.
“lets go back to town old man. Look at you, you cant be alone anymore than you can be drunk”
“I think God lost us. I think we are the universe’s lost and found. He has to look after all these galaxies and dimensions. Do you think God travels through dimensions? Or is there multiple gods? Is that blasphemy to think so? Or does it makes sense, you know, if there is another me in another dimension, then there is another version of my God and I don’t think that something like that is blasphemy. And I think that while looking after all theses galaxies and dimensions God lost the map and is staring at the stars just like I am and trying to find that one place you know? He’s probably wondering were we are.”
“We aren’t that significant.”
The old explorer sat up, grabbed his bag and began to walk “let me sail” he began
“when you are right, you’re right child. We are nothing and it is beautiful now tell me why if we are so insignificant should I ever go back to town? I should just leave you here”
“Without me old man, you would die”
“no, without vodka I would die, without you I wouldn’t need tears in vases in my place. You’re an imaginary friend lingering child, I don’t need you, I never have.”
“God doesn’t want to search for anyone maybe he’s the one that needs to be found. keep sailing lightly old man.”
Everything paused, the explorer walked on and on.
“bleach me while the world is colorless, paint me in stolen art of an Angel’s craft, I could be anything if I sail lightly, sail lightly, and I could see, see it all. Detach myself, and I could live, let me live, in rain and in death, in vases and vodka, my love, fuck them all.”
The child didn’t respond for miles. It lay quietly walking back to the depths of the town within the explorer’s mind, damaged while the explorer strode on, and when the vodka ends the explorer will die in the desert, yes, but he died for us.