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.