Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Checking In

by Anthony Ward

I’m not sure what exactly happened; what had caused me to lose control. I remember going over the edge, tumbling several times before coming to an abrupt halt, as if the earth itself had stopped. Whether there was a defect or it was down to my drinking I cannot be sure, but I can be sure that the drinking was certainly responsible for my careless behaviour, my destructive nature.

It had been building up for some time, slowly but surely, like the Allegretto from Beethoven’s seventh—getting under my skin and taking me unawares until I could not stop humming it. The thoughts resonated in my mind until I became convinced by their harmony that I belonged to a world where I could no longer find a library that bore the names of the great literary elite; as if they were being removed from obscurity and replaced with the non-literary in terms of endearment to the mutually famed, like all those buildings that had accommodated me through my youth, that had since been removed.

I felt as if our sentimentality was being sterilised and our memories were being isolated; as if some undercurrent was currently presenting itself—the past being erased like the old bus station where I used to smoke that’s now being replaced by a new bus station where I can’t smoke at all.

I would often stand there wondering where it would all lead, imagining myself being able to walk into a store to download the ability to write, contemplating how that would influence literature, by writing, not from experience or how you perceive the world around you, but on what takes your fancy at that particular moment. Wondering also, what is the purpose of life in the idealised sense? Mere animals do nothing but survive; they have no aspirations to predetermine their existence, except to live for the present. What separates us from the primordial instincts is that we as intelligent beings can aspire to the aesthetic. Though what is the aesthetic if it doesn’t belong to the individual? Is the ability to write just ability or something more personally intricate? What would life be if we lived it as if it were a preordained script, with all incidence and circumstance primarily prepared? It’d be like opening a present and already knowing what’s inside because you bought it yourself. It may well contain what you want, but without the element of surprise—without the essence of life.

I mean, would you send yourself a birthday card? That is what you are inherently doing if you contaminate yourself with artificial memories and abilities that you yourself did not live through or accomplish. The urban evolution is manufactured and preconceived by man without the miraculous independency of nature. Nature is free to respond to the rules of the universe while humanity is incarcerated by the rules of society. The city encapsulates our hopes and dreams by providing us with them when we should be searching for them, and upon finding them, realise their true meaning through the journey we fore-took to obtain them. An archaeologist would be suitably biased if he were to look upon what he’d been searching for all his life only to have it presented before him by someone else who found it surreptitiously. Although that happens to be a circumstance of life, he would however lose any personal identification with it. An astronomer would be despondent to observe someone else taking their place to travel to a destination that they themselves discovered through their own painstaking personal journey—and had aspired to go to all along—only to find that someone else that had been chosen by the establishment taking credit for their perseverance.

Imagine a mathematician searching his whole life to resolve a problem only for a computer to provide it for him. This is the true repression of art through representation which thus applies to life itself. Art creates idealism from the circumstances of life.

And so, feeling somewhat asphyxiated by these polluted thoughts, I found I could no longer breathe confidently within such an enclosure and decided to free myself from the urbane environment, and left the city in the hope that I may write again, taking to the road on a journey of self discovery.

Though after I’d placed considerable distance between myself and my heavy burden, I began to feel somewhat light headed—despite finding it difficult to hold my head up as if I were falling asleep—when all of a sudden I saw myself heading towards the barrier, which caused me to throw my body against the wheel.

But it was too late; the next thing I knew I woke up with the worst hangover I ever felt, unsure of where I was or how long I’d been there, with no sense of time or place. I crawled out of the car—a complete wreck—and climbed back up onto the road.

I must have walked miles trying to thumb a lift, but the cars kept on passing me by as if I wasn’t there. I to travel a considerable distance before my eyes rested upon an inert effervescent light up ahead, which I realised to be some sort of sign, so I decided to check it out.

As I got closer I felt its facade staring at me with a sort of ethereal amber glow emanating from its mouth-like entrance, which practically inhaled me as if I was nothing but air.

Once inside I wandered through the atrium that appeared to hold a certain reminiscent accent to the atmosphere, and I felt as if my presence was being monitored by the silhouettes hanging between the arched balconies, looking inquisitive in their perplexed anxiety as if my arrival had plagued them with consideration.

Shrugging them off I headed towards the reception and checked myself in—surprised by the lack of clarification I had to convey. The woman behind the desk merely looked at me and passed me a set of keys with appreciable intrigue as to determine what I’d find after I’d unlocked what was disclosed within.

As she passed them to me I noticed scars running up her arms, as if they were directing me to her eyes that looked beyond me into the distance, as if one of us wasn‘t there. She appeared to me as if she’d been running this establishment for some time, though I sensed a lack of interest in anyone but herself, as if she were holding onto something that had long since gone. I almost looked around to see if there was a cake—though I did notice a long table in the hall set with so much food it would spoil your appetite; but I was certainly in need of a drink.

As I looked around the ballroom it was as if was viewing a movie of antiquity, as if I were watching the whole thing through a pane of glass—almost translucent. I sat admiring the view through the windows that were adorned with timeless landscapes through a spectrum of mediums, with each direction harnessing a season at every angle.

I couldn’t help but notice a large portrait on the wall that resembled the hostess in a more amicable statement than the one I’d received at reception. I could see what it was she did not want to let go of, and from this vantage I could understand why. She certainly was beautiful when accompanied by her youth, when the world had been her stage and she was embezzled in close-up. While now she couldn’t accept that her beauty had been preserved for all eternity and that she should at least live out the rest of her life with dignity, though at the same time I couldn’t help but ascertain the prospect that any other artist could carry on creating despite their age. Though with grace she could have continued acting the parts the movies required. Was it her ego or the studios that caused her cessation from the limelight? Was it the studio that decided she didn’t look the part or was it her that didn’t like the look of the parts that were given to her when age became an issue? Did the movies give her the elbow or did she elbow the movies—ashamed by what light she was presented in?

In fact, in essence she represented the whole atmosphere of the place, all characterised intrinsically as if every being was acoustically accosted by the auditorium, harmoniously orchestrated in incident, while music reiterated from every atom, resounding within the entirety of the space, as if we were all hearing our own individual music yet were listening to it together.

Just as I was becoming immersed in my own harmony, some morose chap with jaundiced skin clapped me on the shoulder and said to me—as if he were reciting his favourite line,

“So you fancy yourself as one of us now ey? Welcome to the end of the line man. You wanna drink?”

I did.

“There’s plen’y more where that came from boy. It never ends here. It’s just like you never left. You’ll always remember the way things were man. Sentimentality is the source of the soul. It incarcerates you forever.”

I looked at him to see if he actually meant what he was saying, before replying, “Well I’m just passing through. I just need to get my thoughts in order that’s all,”—feeling nauseous at the need to explain myself.

“Well I dunno where you headin’, though I do know wherever you’re trying to get to you wont find yourself any place better an’ this. All the cats are here man, no dogs whatsoever. The women here all look like ‘ey practically just walked off a movie set you know what I mean? They’ve been glossed over by all the trendy magazines; they’ve all scaled the heights of fashion man.”

“Well I just want some peace and quite so I can get myself sorted an’ get my head down.”

“There’s no need to work here man, you’ve got everything you could possibly desire here. This place is paradise, there’s nothing you could want that we haven’t got There’s no need to look anymore, you’ll find we have it all here.” He said with his bloated burgundy countenance disappearing and reappearing in the midst of yellow smoke.

“Well I’d rather find something for myself.”

“You know what they say? All work an’ no play. We got all the talent you could ever lay your eyes on here man.”

“Well I’m alright Jack.” I replied raising my glass and downing my drink before excusing myself to the bathroom which almost blinded me with its bright ivory ceramic tiles and sparkling basins.

I could of done with another drink but—feeling reluctant to converse anymore, and desiring solitude—I decided to go up to my room, ascending the stairs that bore chandeliers above the landings, all twinkling with a transcending glow of amber.

I found myself wandering along vast corridors decorated with wallpaper to the effect of a disused yellow. They were aligned with doors that held plaques that bore dates instead of numbers, and as I pulled my keys from out of my pocket I smiled to myself when I saw the number and recognised the authenticity of my predicament.

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