Do Not Mourn the Day, for the Sun Shall Rise, But You May Not
Part Seven of The White Darkness series
Back to Part Six: Most of the Men Were Disillusioned Long Before They Met Her
Or where it all begins: Guided At Night by Factory Lights
The road was dark aside from a few insufficiently illuminated street lights. Most of the lights had been burned out for years, but two or three continued to give off a sullied glow like they were trying too hard.
Three men were sitting in a blue Ford Econoline van at the end of the road. They were waiting for Miles to arrive with varying degrees of patience. A phone call from Jerry had directed Miles to this location, but he wondered if this was some kind of set-up. Miles didn't know why Jerry wouldn't just come himself instead of arranging this strange twist.
The three men were sitting in the van, two of them up front and the third in the back, eating raw oysters and smoking unfiltered cigarettes. There was a cardboard dish on the dashboard filled with cold french fries, but they paid it no mind. The oysters were the thing.
"Come on in, kid.
You like oysters?
Oysters and beer?
We got plenty!"
Miles did not answer the question, but he did get into the back of the van, clutching the briefcase filled with money tightly. The men were curiously unconcerned with it. The man in back handed Miles a can of beer and pushed a bowl of raw oysters in his direction.
"You guys want the money, or what?"
The man in the driver's seat of the van, who was obviously the leader of the trio, laughed heartily, causing the others to follow suit.
"Money is a piss in the park, kid.
We've got fucking oysters here.
Are you telling me money tastes better than these oysters?"
Miles reached for the oysters, picked one up between his thumb and forefinger and deposited it into his mouth.
"You don't care about the money or the drugs, kid.
You're after something else.
Like me, you don't intend to end up at the bottom of the river like Jerry will someday.
Tell me, what are you after?"
The driver had warm eyes, so Miles was tempted to tell him all about Jayne and Jeannie and the mountain. Something held him back. He did not know how to begin or even what the story really consisted of. There was something more to life, and Miles was after it. There was a path to be followed and sometimes it was a very cold path. At other times, a friendly face or a kind word could help validate the need. Miles simply told the men in the van that he wasn't sure what he was after. There was a great deal of truth in that statement.
"Every day you have to wake up and make the best of what you have.
You have assholes all over the place complaining about their lot.
One day this country will be overrun with the overly sensitive.
You know, the kind that get upset about every little breach of their personal space.
Fuck the motherfuckers like that and live the day.
One day you won't wake up again.
Be better than the whining piss monkeys.
They hate your smell, your way of life, even your cigarette smoke.
Let them turn the pole up their ass all by themselves.
Be something more, kid.
Not everyone lives."
Miles suddenly found himself enjoying the oysters as if they were part of some heavenly manna. The other man in the back of the van put his arm around Miles and showed him a cassette tape of music he had recorded. His name was Greg and he was in a rock band. He wanted to know if Miles would like to listen to some of what he wrote and his band recorded.
The driver chortled a joyful "Hell, yeah!" at Greg's suggestion of playing the tape and grabbed it away from him. He slipped it into the cassette deck and then produced a fat joint from his shirt pocket. Lighting it and handed it to Miles he whispered elegantly, "Good shit."
Miles did not care for driving the Buick
high. There wasn't much of a choice. The driver of the van had been correct. The marijuana
had indeed been very good stuff
. It left Miles thinking more clearly
and feeling better than he ever had before. The night had color
beyond the normal whites of its darkness
. It was alive
and speaking to him. There was no choice but to go to the mountain. The reservoir
was the shadow it cast
and it had a great deal to teach
. Miles was an eager pupil
. He could not stop smiling
as he drove down Reservoir Road. There was no stopping now. The answers were in reach.
Stopping by the side of the road overlooking the water, Miles parked the car out of sight and walked down to the edge of the reservoir. Strange thoughts were entering his head and he needed to clear them. It is 1978. Lennon, Marley and Dali are alive. A pattern is about to form that is familiar to those who knew the others.
Miles took off his clothes and walked into the water up to his knees. He did not care about the signs that told him this was public drinking water. There was no better opportunity to purify himself. Some lights burn brighter than others. Their darkness is whiter and easier for the rest to see. It all becomes something in the end because genius never dies.
Someone was standing on the opposite shore. Miles opened his eyes and tried to focus. It appeared to be Jayne and the baby and once again she was walking into the water. This time her bare feet caught the ripples and she stood above the water. Walking along the crest of a non-existent wave she slowly moved closer, her eyes locked with Miles' every step of the way.
"Anyone could die in the next five minutes without upsetting the balance of the world."
There were dreams beyond visions and visions that reached well beyond dreams. Everything had its way of eventually becoming transparent, but only to the chosen few who chose to shake off the chains of their limiting mortal existence and reach beyond the mundane. Miles knew the driver of the van had been right. Some concern themselves too much with the small elements of their lives, worrying about what kind of car their neighbor drives and whether or not these curtains will look better than the ones they already own. There is always something more, a darkness that burns so white that few can really see it. That darkness fades to black when details overwhelm the bigger picture.
Whether or not she was truly there, walking across the water, Jayne was close enough now that Miles could smell her skin. He reached out for her, but she was not there. Yet, she was there in more ways than was actually possible.
Love means more than finding someone to be with.
It has dimensions beyond that simplistic version.
You cannot embrace another until you release them into themselves.
Miles stepped out further into the water, letting it soak him through his midsection. He reached out to Jayne, but she kept herself just out of his reach without moving at all. She bared a smile and began to grow smaller, a memory growing stronger while fading with the passage of time. Miles asked her a question. At the moment he could think of nothing else to ask. The path he had taken revealed to him that it was the only important question remaining.
Jayne smiled and stretched out her arms, holding her open palms so that Miles could see them clearly. She looked up at the mountain. There was a light beaming from the crest, shining but for an instant before disappearing into the night. The mountain became white, a flash of brilliant darkness, and then returned to its majestic glory.
Time changes many things but not all.
The test of any life's love is how it responds to time.
Love has a life of its own.
That love becomes real when it can live without dependence on us to keep it alive.
Decades will pass.
That love will grow.
Jayne stepped backwards, leaving the reservoir behind and taking her baby back to where they did not belong but needed to be. Miles watched them go. He would see them again someday, but it would not be tomorrow. There was too much to be done. There was too much life to live. Miles felt more confident, for this summer had shown him something he could not find in the textbooks or practiced speeches of those who should know better. He could survive and he could thrive. The mountain would always have his back, but the river would flow ever onwards, taking Miles with it on a neverending journey called life.