Slow Dancing In A Burning Room, Part II


I’ll make the most of all the sadness,
You’ll be a bitch because you can.

You try to hit me just to hurt me
So you leave me feeling dirty
Because you can’t understand.

It was a cold night. The car heat was on full blast. The exceedingly bright city lights beamed me a welcome as I entered what passes to be a metropolis.

Driving through downtown, I took note of the big signs advertising the products in vogue, simulacrums for the venom we’ve come to embrace as consumerism. I gazed at them, disgusted by the commercialized capitalist culture that defines us while hypocritically admitting my desire to indulge in it.

Bright lights a few blocks down. At first I thought it was a bonfire of celebration, but as I neared I realized it was a building on fire, smoke rising and fading into the night sky.

I approached the scene. The flames have just about consumed the building in its entirety. Firefighters watched in vain as the structure slowly crumbled.

I rolled down the window, expecting to hear screams of agony and cries for the lost of loved ones. I heard nothing. Nothing, except for the crackling of the flames and pieces of falling debris. The sirens were muted. They were unnecessary.

Death was in the air. We all felt haunted, but our eyes remained fixated on the fire. What is so fascinating about death? What is death? Is death signified by the stopping of the heart, the identification of a corpse, or the complete disacknowledgement of the person’s existence? The fire victims might have perished, but they left behind ideas, memories, and legacies. Are they ‘dead’?

What about love? The idea of ‘undying love’? Does love remain after a person dies? Or does it eventually burn out like this horrible fire?

On the other side of the road, on the ledge overlooking the bay, stood a man. I watched as he lit a cigarette and stared into the night sky. Something about him told me to keep looking; the gaze was of utter melancholy. Maybe he lost a loved one in the fire? Something told me it’s more. He wore his broken heart on his face, someone that goes beyond losing someone…

He jumped.


Don’t you think we oughta know by now?
Don’t you think we should’ve learned somehow?

*Lyrics by John Mayer

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Slow Dancing In A Burning Room, Part I (A Short Story Inspired by the song of the same name)

"
It's not a silly little moment,
It's not the storm before the calm.
This is the deep and dying breath of
This love that we've been working on.

Can't seem to hold you like I want to
So I can feel you in my arms.
Nobody's gonna come and save you,
We pulled too many false alarms.

We're going down,
And you can see it too.
We're going down,
And you know that we're doomed.
My dear,
We're slow dancing in a burning room.
"

My heart is engulfed in flames. My hands trembled. I was torched with searing heat but I could not sense a single drop of sweat.

In a true moment of synesthesia, the sound of her words appeared before my eyes. The barrage of colors jumped at me, before settling down to sinister-looking letters. I closed my eyes, but they remained.

I stood across the hall, isolated from the carnage. I saw them, holding each other, looking into each other’s eyes, smiling, completely oblivious to the world crumbling around them.

I wanted to rush to help, but something paralyzed me; something in my heart that kept me from saving them. But, alas, it didn’t seem like they wanted my help.

What is morality to them? I don't know. Perhaps they are amoral creatures putting their ids on full display.

She turned and stared at me. I gazed back. The fire was closing in on them. She gave a faint smile, a smile that said that she was completely content with what she had right there and then. A smile that said nothing else mattered.

I turned and walked away.

By the time I turned around the building was but a pile of rubble and ash. And yet I could feel that they lived on.

I walked towards the pier, the quietest part of the city. It was a place where one can calm himself and gather his thoughts by taking a stroll by the water and listening to the sound of waves tirelessly charging at the shore.

The night was chilling. I lit my last cigarette and stared out into the gloomy city skyline, her words lingering in my head.

I closed my eyes, and jumped

"
go cry about it, why don't you?
"

Lyrics by John Mayer.

Speaking of Naive Romantics…

Speaking of naïve romantics, I want to be honest here and say that I’ve grown somewhat cynical and grumpy about being the ‘better’ guy but not getting the girl. Just about everytime I go out I’d see simply gorgeous girls holding hands with some guy who looks like he’d just walked out of jail; or someone Drangonball-Z-esque hair; or someone whose teeth are so yellow that he’s probably been chain-smoking since he was 2.

I mean, I get it. The whole ‘nice guy’ thing doesn’t really play with the ladies these days. Apparently one needs to be much more than a caring, responsible, individual to have a shot at a relationship. He needs to be confident, cocky even, witty, and have a great sense of humor. The modern, Western, capitalist, materialist, consumptionist, society has warped the idea of attraction to the point where we have created standards for both sexes to adhere and live by. Guys are shown by ‘pickup artists’ such as David DeAngelo and the boys from “Keys to The VIP” on how to get women to be attracted to them.

Call me a hater, but I genuinely think there’s something seriously wrong when people have to take lessons and learn how to interact with women. Whatever happened to ‘learning from experience’ and ‘trial by error’? Yes, I know, there is a strong argument that goes something like “well, there are those who are just not naturally inclined to be good when dealing with getting women to like them.” Attraction is something that has existed since the dawn of civilization, longer if you want to go more primitive. People in the Roman Empire, the ancient Egyptians, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the 60s, all the did fine without ‘pickup artists’ (this is a terrible analogy, as there are ten thousand things wrong with it, but hopefully I got the point across).

The whole idea fo ‘attraction’ has been commercialized today. It has been turned into something that can be methodically taught, bought, and indoctrinated, and retains none of its natural intuitive gravitas.

Things never ‘just happen’ anymore. Perhaps this isn’t the fault of the people, per se, but rather that the people has been bred to become paranoid and suspicious of each other (of say, ‘strangers). Most people have been taught nowadays to be weary of strangers, and to view them with either hostility or scrutiny if they approach you. Thus, people always have their guards up when they go out, basically wearing a ‘fuck off’ sign on their foreheads so that they won’t be bothered while in public. When taking the public transit or sitting at a café, people don’t want to be bothered, don’t want to be talked to, don’t even want to be look at. Apparently everyone has some pretty serious business they have to do by themselves whilst sipping their non-fat lattes.

The café, by the way, was one of the hottest social areas during the 18th to early 20th centuries. People would go to cafes knowing that there will always be an interesting discussion taking place, and that they are always welcomed to chime in.

Anyways, the naïve romantic rant is over for now. But from where I am currently living now, I suspect I will have a lot more to say about the state of the boy & girl situation in the future.