My first visit to the hospital was last year. I’ve been back many times since. I don’t know if I’m simply depressed or dying. No one does. What I know is that the first step out of bed in the morning is painful and difficult. And every move afterwards is a hard fought battle against a monumental sense of inertia, whether the root be physical or mental.
There are plenty of smile-face bastards out there who will preach repeatedly that every dark cloud has a silver lining. And I suppose that in this case the broken clocks were correct. The failing drivetrain on the machine of myself diverted by my focus to purely mental exercise. This led to meditation. Which led to contemplation and self examination. Which then led back to the real question at hand.
If I was dying. If the lack of tangible theories from the twenty doctors I had consulted with actually did mean that I was doomed. What one thing could I not stand to leave this world without doing. I laid in bed for months trying to answer that question, and the answer when it finally came, was a bit of a shock.
Facing the idea of the end of my life, I only wanted to better understand it’s beginning.
I was adopted when I was six years old. I have no recollection whatsoever of my life before this, outside of a strange flash of looking up at a painting on the wall, from an angle that seemed to suggest I was laying on the floor. I’ve tried hypnosis, past life regression, even some extremely foo-foo sessions with Reiki masters, and vague blonde crystal wielders.
Those attempts, much like the attempts to diagnose the sudden decline in my ability to cope with general human existence, failed to produce a single notable result.
But now I know. I knew that it was the most important thing to me, to track down my biological parents and finally get a grasp on my formation, just in time for my possible demise. It became quite easy really, once I finally embraced the fact that it was my singular and decided will to do so.
I accomplished what I had spent years dancing around the periphery of in two weeks. A few hundred dollars here, a sad story there and, I will admit, perhaps a strategically leaked tear at opportune moments, and I had their names, numbers, emails, and address. My biological parents. The dark silhouettes who actually lived through and likely recalled the gaps in my memory. The “prima materia” from which I was formed.
I decided to go full Kerouac. I showed up on their doorstep (after maybe two beers at the pub down the way) and let fate run its course.
Fate had quite the leash on my randomness. They recognized me and knew who I was instantly. And I them.
It was more than just the thin black hair that clung a bit too firmly to our skulls. More than the striking green lilt at the edges of our corneas. More even than the alabaster skin, sweet but complex smell, or nearly untamable fingernails.
It was truth. Clarity. Family. All the most esoteric forebears of those concepts. All three of us felt that pull at the core of our being, recognizing it in each other, and immediately drawing closer. The stream of platitudes and building blocks of small talk barely masked the joy in reckoning that we all felt. Like the chattering of birds living a life of indescribable joy and purpose.
Handshakes. Hugs. Tears and embraces. Wonder, love and belonging, leading to wine and then the dinner table.
“We’re one.” My true father told me when seated at the table. And it was right.
“We’re one.” My true mother whispered, lowering the platter and cloche on the table and sat. Confirming the song in my heart.
“We’re one.” I thought. As she lifted the cloche to reveal a beautiful golden-brown suckling human child. And I knew I was right.
It was what was missing. It was that core, sustaining part of myself, whose absence had been a cancer upon soul for the past year.
My people, it turns out, one per year on Walpurgis night, after the age of eighteen, consume a human child to extend our inevitable end.
I’m cured. I’m whole. I’m home.