The Art Site

Monday, January 04, 2010

Part 1 of Runaway

The man left. Four walls and a thousand objects can drown some people. This person wasn't thirsty, so he had to run away.

But he realised, as he ran, that he was still trapped. It was like some steel vice that he was being squeezed in, and the faster he sprinted, the quicker the questions and the stares would come, the faster death would come, the biggest, most obvious trap.

This man had shoulders that were strong, full of power. His thick, well-used Swandri reached to the bottom of the knees of his trousers, ripped and hanging loose. The shoes were actually leather, a substance used perhaps a hundred years ago, before a better and synthetic material was created. The rain drops falling from the leaden sky fell straight off them as he ran, the man had rubbed grease into them. No hat. He had very short hair, a stubbly chin. His features angular, eyes long and narrow, cheek bones making two sharp lines vertically. Hands clenched, one clutching the broken end of the back pack he wore, the other making up for this inconvenience by slicing the air with the rhythmic balance of running.

The scenery changed drastically as he ran steadily. Sodden parks with floating bark and swings, a skating rink, the black, sealed entrance glistening with dancing rain. A couple of skate parks and movie theaters, houses, cafes, shops. The man kept running past the scenery. His expression was set immovable, he breathed through his nose and his cheeks were flushed and wet.

Suddenly, he came to a stop and looked around him. Everything he could see was untouched by the machines, hideous instruments used to level everything, make everything useful, develop the city. Not here. The vivid paddocks soaked with water were surrounded by gorse sprinkled with yellow splashes. A hawk sailed lazily, gracefully in the sky, wings rough-tipped against the blue. Sheep ate grass slowly, wind tugging the coarse, creamy wool, driving the new-borns under their mothers, to drink. Behind them all, like the back drop of a play were the hills, firm, solid. Impossible that they could disappear.

The man took it all in one, gasping breath, then almost convulsively he turned to look at the city behind him.

'There's never any escape,' the runaway thought to himself, musing on the city behind and the country around him.
'You remain trapped, whether you realise it or not, in a cycle that always persists. You can't even stay a convict because you remain a life-force of the society you lived in. You still think the same way, the thoughts are still there, dammit, those same ones they taught you. Offered them to you to learn, you taught yourself really, the newspaper and the endless books, some of them, and Disney Princess movie propaganda and happily ever after, because everyone believes that lie, and period dramas, and ice-cold water and Facebook and Myspace and Bebo and emails and blogs and TV and fashion and love and war and sex and models and celebrity gossip and Christmas and politics and global warming and swine flu and you kept taking it, drugged and addicted.

And then, if you still can, you realise what's happening and you run away. But to where? People will live on Mars someday but not until they can bring the 'necessities' with them. When you stop running there will be people there, and if they aren't there yet they'll be there soon. People who drug themselves. With hands outstretched, they keep taking those drugs from their society, and inject themselves ecstatically.

The cycle never stops, the man decided bitterly. It never will because when addicted, the people become less and less concerned with how the world really is and more concerned in having a party this Friday. And watching the rugby this Saturday. And cleaning the car on Sunday. And dealing with that difficult customer on Monday. Society screaming at us all that 'this matters!' and ourselves injecting it with a hypodermic needle. After awhile it matters, life is worth living for in some vague, unexplored way. 'The meaning of life', that old, misused cliche, has been explained to the thirsty nation and they are drunk with it.

2 Comments:

Anonymous T. S. Elliot said...

Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.

11:28 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

yes. That's why the man was running..

2:27 pm  

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