There is always hope when you have fear; there always needs to be hope. Otherwise, there’s no hope. There is nothingness in life. It’s like a Nine Inch Nails song stuck in my head.
editors note – 20220223 – adjust some ? that were supposed to be emojis that aren’t rendering.
As we stood in the kitchen, my buddy Debo made us some drinks as I prepared to start making dinner. This was the first time that we’d gotten together in some time. I promised Debo to tell him this story for a while now, and I was eager to get started.
“I do not want to be that person who ends everything,” I said as I started to wash up the salad fixings. “I don’t want to live with the specter of that hanging over my head.”
“This is a very long dissertation on being a good person and how easy it is to fall prey to evil. The very thought, the very notion, that one can turn evil in such an easy manner is unfathomable. I would further suggest that it is super saddening.” That was hard to get out.
I continued, “The overall theme as if it wasn’t obvious, I said it like fifty times over the years, it is at the end of my nightmares is blackness. Nothing but blackness. There is no light, and there’s no hope, there’s no anything.”
I thought that I could not allow that to happen for myself or the boys. That echoed in my mind for a while as I put the now cleaned veggies into the colander, allowing them to dry off a little.
Debo motioned me to my drink, a concoction so simple and delicious that I couldn’t resist the temptation to gulp down half the glass of Vodka/Zevia (with some lime to prevent scurvy).
“I can’t let that happen for myself,” I continued. “The people of this country and all of the world’s citizens. This is not a threat, and it’s not a manifesto, not an instruction guide. It’s just a way to talk about a personal hell. I hope that I’m not going there in the first place.”
“Hope it is a multi-faceted gem, as seen with the hope diamond. Hope comes in many forms and is implemented in many different methodologies.” I was starting to wonder if I would be able to get this all out tonight.
“Hope can come from religion. Hope can come from family. Hope can come from a spiritual leader or your faith. Hope can come from somebody you emulate or adore, a celebrity or a role model of sorts.”
I took another sip of my drink and searched for some coconut oil to season my bamboo cutting boards.
“Just a note; because I want to be a dick, I don’t believe that there are very many celebrities or (air quotes) “famous people” (/air quotes) that should be emulated or looked to as a standard-bearer of any sort of hope.”
“When you have people, who are only interested in money, power, wealth,” I continued. “When you have people like that, there is no hope. Our society is falling apart because there is no hope.”
“I mean, for fuck sake, we have rappers who shoot people, often killing them, and we hold them at a higher reference than people who cure a major disease.”
I paused for a second and looked over to Debo, he didn’t look as if he was glossed over yet, so I continued.
“Having no hope is the beginning of a recipe for disaster.” I proclaimed as I was working on the cutting boards… “With no hope, you could easily slide into fear and suffering at the air and then sure evil.”
“Ok, I feel better now that I’ve gotten that little rant out of the way,” I noted. My brain says to get back on track.
“A few days ago, I was awoken with the gentle meows of the meows of Truffle. That was because Truffle wanted to be fed and it was 3:30 in the morning. I sighed through my nose to profess my displeasure with his request. He didn’t care.”
“I annoyingly got out of bed and took a quick bio break.”
“When I turned around, Truffle had enlisted his cohorts, Takao and Shiro. The three of them were sitting there at attention, looking at me like I was fucking with them.”
“I took a deep breath and quietly mumbled something about Ambien and dying going down the stairs.”
“So, we made our way to the stairs. I paused on the third step, hoping that the clowns would start down and therefore be less likely to make my dope ass “crash and burn” down the stairs.”
“It seemed all safe to proceed and I get halfway down when Truffle stops and flops down onto the stair in front of me. What a dick!”
“I step around him, giving him the “half-opened eye” and a smirk that says “sucka, can’t get me.” Today will be a fun day, and I very distinctly recall saying that to myself.
“I fed Truffle, Takao, and Shiro, and went back up to the bed, hoping to get more than 3 hours of sleep before I was awoken again by Truffle.
I walked over to the cutlery drawer and slowly took out a standard eight-inch knife. “Shit, I need to get these knives sharpened. Not like I haven’t been saying that for years.”
We both chuckled as Debo made the turn to make another drink. “You ready for another?” he asked me.
“Fuck yeah!” and I slammed the rest down. “I love only having one giant two-inch ice cube! It’s always good for two drinks.”.
As Debo made the drinks, I took a minute to use the frequently loud sharpening stone to ensure good cuts tonight.
“I hate that disappointing feeling that you get when faced with a lack of continuous or REM sleep. This whole multiple-times-a-night escapade with Truffle was getting on my fucking nerves. And because of that, it’s making me grumpier each day.”
By the time I had finished sharpening the knife, Debo had motioned to come to get my drink. We tend to fill them right up to the brim, where you really can’t pick them up. So, it’s a slurp or two, and then you are on your way.
Debo took his drink, went over to the kitchen table, and sat down. I could tell that he wasn’t bored but very thankful that there was alcohol. That’s not uncommon.
I grabbed some of the veggies and started to chop away in hopes of not cutting off a finger while I was talking away. Typically, it’s the other way around where Debo tells me a fantastic story, and I listen to it while cooking.
“I have faith in myself.” I proclaimed as I was getting back into the story. I smiled as I thought to myself, damn, that was a hard turn.
“This will sound outrageous, but I’d like to end the story here in a minute, not because I don’t want to talk about it, nor that I am worried about losing a finger in the process, but…”. And with that, I started to trail off with my thoughts.
“This’ll be a great time for me to step outside and have a hit on the vaporizer. That sounds good?” Debo asked.
“Sure, I’ll keep working on the salad”. ????? Fuck, that sounded stupid.
Debo is a great friend, and I know he doesn’t always enjoy how dark I can be when I speak. And that’s in regards to the fact that I’m incredibly open and honest and am always willing to discuss something. And what we’re talking about here, Debo knows the complete backstory.
But still, he does not want to hear it when I talk about some of these topics. I respect that, and I felt like I would start down that road, and I know that this is going to be a long conversation. Not in terms of today but… but it’s something that I will have to reveal to him over the next few weekends when we have dinner.
I have a lot of respect for my closest friends. And I’m very aware of how hard it is to keep them. I’ve known Debo for almost 13 years now, and he’s been my best friend.
He’s had to deal with me and my relationship problems with the various exes, and he’s had to listen to some rather gory details therein.
And that leads into the last part I was going to bring up when Debo comes. In from his smoke break. I wouldn’t say I like the sound of that fucking device that I’ve forced him to go outside now. It also allows him time so that he can fiddle with his phone, likely texting with his girlfriend.
“I have faith in myself,” I said again to myself as if I needed to.
I have faith in myself and I have faith in my convictions. I have faith that my strength is beyond comprehension, and that my will is stronger than imagination. I can handle anything that is thrown at me. I’ve stared down anger and hatred knowing all the time that I was better than that.
I knew that I was a human and not built on hatred or living with hate. I never want to be that person.
I think it’s important that when you have faith, it is first and foremost in yourself. If you have faith in a creator, that’s great. If you have faith in some object or a tangible asset, that’s great too.
I continued with the salad.
- Cucumber [✓]
- Red bell pepper [✓]
- Red onion [✓]
- Romaine lettuce [✓]
- Balsamic vinegar [✓]
- Balsamic glaze [✓]
- Peppermill [✓]
I got everything was set for final preparations for eating when Debo came back in.
He sat down at the table as I worked on getting it set with the appropriate utensils for the evening.
“Please, continue with your last statement about faith,” Debo noted.
“I have faith in myself,” I repeated.
“My feelings on the topic of faith stem from a very simple principle of libertarianism, which is not an official party policy.” And with, I rolled my eyes in the annoyance of having said that.
“Generally speaking, I don’t give a fuck what people do, so long as it doesn’t impact me, it doesn’t hurt children, it doesn’t harm the elderly, nor does it harm animals. Otherwise, if it’s within the scope of the law, I don’t care… do your thing.”
I put the salad fixings together and handed off the plate to Debo, gave him the peppermill and we sat down to eat.
I paused to ensure that this philosophy about humanity was properly registering. “I don’t think this week is the right time to continue, so I’m going to leave it there with my generalized philosophy,” I said, and then stuffed my mouth full of salad.
As we ate, all I could hear aside from the sound of vegetables being destroyed was Every Day Is Exactly The Same, it haunted me.
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