The edge of Existence

There they were this morning. Sitting. They have nothing but a blanket. They turn it over and over and over in their hands. It is like watching a toddler with a revered toy. Only it is their only thing. They literally and really have nothing else. There is no exaggeration here. There is nothing else.

They were there this morning. This was a new spot for them. Or, at least, a new spot for them at this time of the day. It wasn’t their usual spot. The city slowly coming to life around them but they probably did not sleep and they definitely didn’t do any coming to life .

Their life is beyond sad. There is no hope in it whatsoever. This is not living. This is existence right at the outer edge.

They have nothing . This morning they were sitting, cross legged towards the side of the road. Seemingly oblivious to the traffic that wove around them. The traffic that was conspicuously not honking at them. A silent acknowledgement that no one would ever seek to be in that situation and, furthermore, that the situation is beyond horrific.

They are stark bollock naked. Their skin is darker than nature intended because everything batters against it including nature itself; the weather, the terrain, the noise, the looks from people who pass them. Pity. Disgust Avoidance Sadness Conflict. They have nothing but their tiny, filthy blanket. Nothing. Nothing is almost an overstatement here. This person finds themselves so far away they are nearly beyond the fringe of society. Unwanted. Uncared for. Forgotten.

They rock back and forth, and back and forth. They don’t stop their incessant to and fro, but it holds a gentle rhythm that is comforting to whoever cares to notice it. They’re not crazy. They’re not anything. Their face is empty of everything. They stare beyond, or maybe they don’t. It’s almost irrelevant, they don’t have life. Their form has life. They breathe. Their body is alive . But this is not living. This is scraping the depths of the word existence.

They are waiting. They don’t know they are waiting. Long ago their capacity for self-awareness evaporated. Their life has carried nothing but hardship and pain. All they know now is their blanket and the feel of the city against their skin. But they are simply waiting, with each turn of the earth. The movement of light into darkness and darkness back into light, the never ending cycle of their existence. They are waiting to be released. That is all they know.

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What happens when time stops like that, when there are no futures and no pasts, the hourglasses just stopped in the middle, everyone around them is moving but they are sitting still there, middle of the road still there. No one cares. Does really no one care? Or are their form of ignorance a sharp knife into their own flesh, ignoring unknown territories of oneself. Who is this no one?

A breathing is also a form of living. Their breathing gets more silent, trying not to make it heard. They blink with their eyelashes quietly, quieter. Is that, really, being alive? Doesn’t that demand some kind of deterioration? It that the release they are waiting for? A transformation? Or did they stepp into other concepts of time already through the vessel of the constant void of care for their bodies. There is a memory loss here. When time stops memory stops existing too. There is just nothing. A black hole.

A rupture in time. Maybe they are transforming into mountains, their blanket becoming rock, slowly slowly changing their surface into stone. They sat for so long now. The eyes are still seeing things, still wet but drying up slowly as these words reaches the surface of this digital page. The saliva in their mouths dripping down, creating puddles and lakes that could be fun to splash in for someone.

But this blanket, a space of warm, a memory of comfort. Is it something they carried from home, is it a gift, a memory? Is it a roadmap to their future or a story of their past. If they are stuck between future and past maybe the blanket is a road, a magic carpet made of woolen strings and light.

Is emptiness a feeling or a state?
Can you explain that again to the ones whose faces are the definition of that which we are trying to, but cannot describe.

Those which are incomprehensible. As comprehensible as a train of thought of words strung together by some form of previous, presumably persistence of knowledge.

How those on the fringes live is none of my business. Far as I’m concerned, they don’t exist. If they existed, they would make themselves known. No, there are none. They are none.

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, it still falls but it does not matter to us. Birds might scoure it for bugs to eat, ants might build a colony before - or after - the bird. It is none of our business.

The greys.

Are they large as trees or are they bushes? Do they grow larger when they stand tall and allow their unkempt beards to flow in the wind of passing taxis? Or do their beards become the only bushy fur they have?

Empty. The void.

A person sitting on the roadside with an empty body, though the heart beats and the blood flows.

Void.

Void of any meaning because their meaning has long since flowed out along with their blood.

Warmth.

Even without a blanket from a charitable passerby there is finally warmth.

The grey figures are covered in red. The policemen look on. There are no names says the officer’s report.

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They are being washed, at some point. Remembering, or someone is doing it for them. Someone is offering to them a different kind of contact with other things that aren’t either of them. By wiping off the skin what has accumulated. Which should feel freeing, even emancipatory. But that too is laden with a kind of voiding. Because it’s just going to come back. And the offer seems feeble, even to them. For whom it isn’t feeble to be standing, not sitting, moving, not waiting, and being washed, as though it were unusual and a gift. When it isn’t. Just an interlude. Before once again, whatever the interruption is reveals the empty body

I am slowly walking backwards and as i do, with every step i take, i place one piece of something i don’t need anymore. With every step i take, i leave one piece of residue after me, until i have nothing left to give, nothing left to get rid of, everything lies before my feet, like a snakeskin of past. I transformed into human without identity. With every step i take, i give a part of my memory, my manners, i give my taste of the world while licking the floor. all of this. and then i am slime, i travel back, with movements that are not mine, they are the property of that sticky liquid, i roll into the pieces that i left behind, transforming into another sculpture, this is a ritual of time.

I stand there, away from everything, in the true outside. Outside time.

I watch as they wash them, as those that care do their utmost to bring those that I have spent time with in the void back into some semblance of regular time. Into a state of being that is tangible, definable. But most of them are too far gone. A bath and a haircut will do nothing to fill the void, to bring the pieces of them back into some structured whole.

One or two may rediscover themselves and time and the world through these simple acts of kindness. May look up and realize that there is something there, both within and without, that is not the void. Something that is actually visible to them, both in the physical and mental sense. Something that matters. Something worth holding on too. Something that can keep them away from the threshold between their existence in flesh and thought, and the void.

Then there are the others. Broken things left by the side of the road, in stinking alleys, in bodies of water so filled with refuse and garbage one could walk from one side to the other and barely get wet. Perhaps it is mercy that their flesh is no longer alive, that nothing flows inside them anymore. Nothing moves.

Once you leave the flesh, is there truly someone left? Or is the body merely a reflection of the consciousness within, something needed for us to experience the passage of time? Gray hair, wrinkled skin, the weight of age, deteriorating body. Are all these things meant to be there so we can measure and quantify the things around us, both in the physical world but also in the realms of the abstract?

Time is a construct, they say. I’m not sure that is true.

Lying backwards. Floating upwards into something. As if mounted on an invisible plank. Arms, hands, legs and feet limply dangling down to the sides as the cool pre-monsoon air wraps itself around them in an ominous hug that penetrates the body. It is the start of the end. It is what they have been waiting for.
Although if you asked them they may not have been able to articulate that fact. The sad reality of the situation that they probably could not articulate anything at all anymore. Once they could speak. Perhaps there is a memory of that. Buried within their skull. Where once intelligence was held and expanded and valuable. Now some kind thick blackness had taken hold. Like an oil slick that covers and envelopes so their mind had, long ago, been covered and enveloped.
They floated upwards. Upwards to something they had neither the strength or willing or interest to comprehend. An elevation beyond their station that they would never realise the significance of.

And there they lay. Solid. Immovable. Raised up. The plinth locked them into place and their arteries and veins filled with the solid of restriction. Their limbs no longer dangled but lay quietly in their places. Hands crossed across their breast, fixed in a calm and somber pose of slightly forced reconciliation.

The plaque had no date. Just text.

      Unknown Warrior

      Taken by Poverty

      Let down by All

For the longest time no one even considered how or why the statue was so realistic and its grim truth remained hidden from them all.