by Gavin Dubois
I can’t seem to keep my mind away from the ballpark. Not because I’m one of those kids that was bred on movies like Angels in the Outfield. Not because my mother ever had to call me in for dinner far past the sun’s au revoir from the sky. Those were the kids that never bothered wondering whether or not one of the thousands of black holes careening through the universe would swallow us all up. We wouldn’t make a peep, we wouldn’t have a chance to think: Oh shit. We just wouldn’t be. While all those kids played, making graceful twists to send a small white sphere arching into the distance, while they scrambled around the diamond kicking up chalky yellow dirt, I would sit in the farthest reaches of the outfield staring at the grass.
I could never stop the urge. In the throes of boredom, the composed, grandmotherly timbre of Elizabeth Ainsworth would creep into my mind. Time passes differently in this world… As I looked into the grass — disengaging mind from eye and letting the space behind my head take over — I saw swaths of color moving within earth. Insects would try to navigate crisscrossing blades of grass, which provided a shield from searing rays of sunlight. I felt drops of sweat collect on the tip of my nose, and the distant cheers for the game yards away left little impression. If the ball ever came close by, I would scramble up from my microcosmic diorama and heave the ball as far as I could. Often times, other players would sprint off into the outfield anyway, relieving me of my obligation.
Yesterday, or maybe the day before, he finally decided to end it. And yes, by “it” I mean his life. He never ascribed to the concept of suicide notes — a final sort of narcissistic jab into the guts of family and loved ones. He thought, rather, that it would be appropriate to leave me behind to relay what has happened. As if I had the capacity to explain. The webs of energy that undulated within his skull, that used to travel down his brain stem and spark awake their corresponding receptors, that used to compel his body into action, are broken. The strands of his being have spilled out into the space. Anything you remember of him is sacred. Keep it close. I want you to know that, because he cannot know. Those same strands that once held memories have rarefied and no longer evoke anything. They still exist, surely. They will always exist, along with the strands of everyone, threats intertwined and woven into a collective consciousness that cannot know itself. But those strands that have left us, they are gone. They are not anyone anymore. They have cycled back to the trickling beginnings of the river. They were lost in the torrent of millions of years.
I know him, because I was him. Now I’m nothing in particular, closer to a ghost, shifting in shape and age. Memories flow through me like rain, and not just my own, but the memories of his parents, his children, his friends. We miss him. I miss what we were. Sometimes, he comes back to me, in flashes, like a half-remembered dream, or a childhood memory long discarded. Other times, odd visions befall me, blurry orbs of light that dance within a void. They call out to me in strange tongues and I feel afraid. I see the smiling faces of strangers. I feel the warmth of an unfamiliar lover’s embrace. I feel my own memories of him slip away. I feel motion; though I have no body, I feel the centripetal motion of time pulling me close to where space now rests. He felt the grass of the old town baseball field during his end. What, if anything, will I feel during my beginning?