"And the poor shall inherit the earth" Sybil read from her battle-worn WWII Bible. It was not what she wanted to hear. "Lord, please give me the strength, another sign, another word which will direct my paths, I cannot go any further".
The mother of three had felt all the burdens of life on her shoulders, along with the many chips and resultant add-ons that made the impossible possible but very difficult to remove. Once removed there was always the problem of discarding the left-over baggage, not so easy. "These chinks in my soul's armour are definitely put there by life's gleaning process." A metalurgical lecture; Sibyl's daily diatribe and litany of profanity would soon follow. NOt sure if she were Charlie Manson psychotic or Rob Schneider funny with a mild case of Tourette's. Nonetheless Sibyl had the feeling that she were rotten like wrought iron rotting slowly turning to ashes in the furnace of perdition. Made and tested by the fires; The Abendago Fiery Furnace Company from Jackson, MS from the Old Testament. One must egress past the long ago ages; way past expiry date for high efficiency furnaces, past all that is past. "The past shall be washed away" or "all is past" or "all is water under the bridge". Why must the past, if it is past, come back to haunt Sibyl? What hold has the past if one can not shake the try and get the snake to awaken and slither off to parts where we are not any longer under the snake's thumb. Do snakes have thumbs? No, yet snakes hold us down, keep us prisoner for far too long, past any reasonible expiry date.
And it is in passing that we pass the buck to the next sucker born every minute. P.T. Barnum certainly had this correct, albeit another heartless and cruel joke to add to the collection. "Half-full, half-empty? Half-full, half-empty? What is it, come on?" Sibyl sounded indigent.
Sibyl had sculpted rather crudely her own initial test by fire; her once bronze goddess appearance now unkempt was still iconically mimeographed in her indelible memory banks.
The metal did not test her soul as much as whe would like, unable to penetrate that sterling vessel of the unatainable and always well-kept chastity. The one thing that would remain vestile in the vestibule, never to be touched, as if the room were sealed, locked away in the credenza, the crypt-keeper's hidden key, or Winchester's Stairway To Heaven by Led Zepplin. Like John Bellone's staff crying; "No more Stairway To Heaven".
For Sibyl the erosion process was subtle and complete. The awareness of defeat by age was analogous to the heart-wrenching eroding process. Like a steady drip-drip of an endless leak of a aging fawcet from 1940 Sibyl was in obvious need of repair. Her pipes were rusty, her water tasted bitter and stung the tongue like poison. As she watched herself erode in this way she would hope nd pray that the limestone shelves which surrounded her environs would be the healing balm. Yet underneath the mantle of layered rock, akindling fire, a volcano of molten lava ready to fireball into plasmatic licks of passion, ready to blow her world assunder and into kingdom come. Halleluia! Sibly would have liked her one and only king of her youth at her side. This was impossible now so a substitute must be found.
Of course at her side the affiable and eternal Jesus. He would certainly be the only one to take on such an esteemed role now. The groom of Sibyl. If the nunnery could not come to Sibly than Sibyl would go to the nunnery of her mind. Like old country folk who don black attire for eternity when husband's expiry date is over-due, than certainly Sibyl could outpreform the devotion of keeping a lid tightly on her emotional heart.
No man could possibly come close or dare to tread where no man would go again. And to her expectations of perfection; impossible. No one could, in all human possibility take upon that role, that mantle of sad fate. Sibyl was convinced all men were dogs. There would not be any further takers. Sibyl was destined to remain manless for the rest of her life.
Without a firm foundation, without building upon the rock there was nothing to build upon, no mantle, no castle, no king, no knight in shining armour to love her forever. Nothing standing in the wings wait to rescue her and give her a dozen roses or a box of chocolates to placate her.
There was no magic carpet ride, no smooth-flow follow through for the declined at point of sale woman. For Sybil it was all over, all down the rocky hill and dale, a crash course on crashing into the rocks of all ages on the way out of here. "And don't forget to close the door" This chapter has ended" Sibyl laughingly gyled herself childishly.
Now suddenly she gave way, to the erosion process, watching the crumbling effect on her life. It was not a pleasant at all to experience the slow-motion viewing, like watching an accident in progress. This personal and painful decay of the aging process no one discussed. After all youth being idolatorized, age meant something to ignore, it could not possibly bring to the table anything positive, unless one had a craving for all things aged like aged cheese, wine and what ever else ages well. Sibly certainly was not aging as gracefully as the cheese in her fridge.
Aging to Sibyl was synonymous with death, only aging took longer and was yet another torture test for her determined to be a saint not a sinner and if possible a martyr if the God Lord commands. This suited Sibyl and sat well with her primed in religion mind, open to the possibilties that the impossible was in fact possible and faith being unseen could be felt, much more than romantic love could be sustained.
What life had been to the dear woman was nothing short of unkind. A cruel joke of a life, always showing the worst possible case scenario, raw edged, wounded knee at Little Big Horn red.
Of course she could only compare not contrast herself with the many fine talents of her perfect sisters. This caused her to become "vain and bitter" from seething jealously. Like the Desirada poem, Sibyl could philosphize on her condition and her unfair life. The universe was quoting a verse she had never heard in completeness. Desirada told her life is "as perrenial as the grass" and "everywhere life is full of heroism".
She could not recall the poet of the one poem she clung to against the mast which she was strapped. The one poem she wanted to quote "if you love something, set it free, if it is to be, it will come back to you". Like Jonathan Livingstone Seagull waiting in the wings, skybound, love never returned to her one day. It never came back like the cat that always did come back to eat and take and use her. And like her errant Superball from childhood, the projectile kept going and going, leaving her earthen-bound and much alone. Sibyl was always waiting in the desert of never.
Ultimately, Sibyl felt she was wholly defeated by life. Yet the very thing that held all this conglomerate mess of a life together was gone. Her man, her mantra, the interwoven fabric of two lives joined as one flesh had disintegrated into thin air.
Gone the way of the crazy fox, or the do-do bird, the crazy glue she had cemented her life upon was becoming unglued, and created Sibyl to be much unsettled. Even when she tried to make a go of things, things would invariably unravel, left gapping and raw, things soon festered and got out of control once more.
Her life had been a wild ride until then; indeed Sibyl had certainly come undone so long ago, so many eons past. Her ancient history; irrelevant. "No mind" thought Sibly her answer to her gnawing angst of repressed and unresolved unrequitted love, noisy at times, like a rumbling stomach crying for the next meal or a volcano hungry for release from it's molten prison.
Nothing but the curse of the cold grave awaited Sibyl's understanding of existence. Her flesh was rot, so why keep up appearances? She did not want a man, did not really need friends, although she had many and they were always trying to help her, failing miserably in the process.
Sibyl for your salvation you "need a man". Sibyl laughed. "The only time I need a man is when I think I am not better than they are. Women are always taught that men are better than they are. It is ingrained in the "weaker sex". Women libbers even try to look like men, because secretly they worship them. Females are not as appreciated, and this is a fact. How am I to ever get around bold-faced facts?" Sibyl was wise beyond her years. She had the game pegged.
Therew would never be signs of redemption for Sibyl, no glorious resurrection from the cursed flesh, no promise of a brighter tomorrow in neverland paradise with her man. It was formally over for Sibyl; her hope and life extinguished by imaginary firefighters during the final throes of flesh battling death. She should only hope to find on her calendar, the one stud she could forever align with since she never be bed, or wed and made a bride. "A bride of Frankenstein? Forget it" Sibyl convinced herself.
Sibyl felt that by life's sheer weight she had conquered her heart by squashing it's hopes and dreams to bits and smithereens. She had smelt burnt toast before; a culling smell for Sibyl, a reminder of what's to come. As the smell wafted in the air, like toast she became; a burnt ember of never-ever dreams of stoked-on-kent firefighters quelling the latent fires of desire.
Beyond any formalized form of recognition Sibyl was a self- sacrifice to the gods of disaster, the hunky and hot, sweaty and strong men of her dreams. A form life she had in spades, and a form that had once taken form, and like a dream, dissolved like the sugar in water. The sickeningly sweet smells like yesterday's left overs these dreams never realized. Trying to keep water forever in the hand, the dream of forever held for more than a moment evaporates.
These dreams Like unformed fetuses, rejected by the maker, never the capstone the builder rejected to live again in some other form, a hopelessness of loss. Sibyl could only hope she would someday, somehow redeem her once recognizable stone-faced self.
So now she drank. Not only to stay alive another moment in time, a brief time left over from the beginning of someone else's universe. Her drink of choice? The waters of lourdes. Sibly was dying.
As she had once had a man, once understood the meaning of life and the promise of things to come.
"It must be somewhere; the word, Lord!". Sibyl pleaded with her maker, endless her searching. Valently she raised up her Bible to the heavens today for she searched for the very words of inspiration to evoke the change she wanted to become. The image of her conjuring she had sealed in her corpus collusum, hidden from the world of "you can't do that". She was certain this would lead her to renewal. To emerge in this new cystallis form, the human butterfly, her soul unbound by destiny's stripes.
What Sibyl did not know was that her rebirth would be painful. A pain much worse than childbirth, or from the curses placed upon the woman from time immemorial.
Sibyl's change would happen from the inside-out; not outside-in as she saw fit and which proof was awaiting on the many jars of renewal creme on her vanity in the bathroom.
Early mornings could be cruel. The mirror awaiting self-reprimands.
How cruel the evil mirror since awakening from those sweet dreams where all was alway sweetness and light. Those many pleasant dreams Siby would replay endlessly as if her subconscious mind was trying by the skin of its teeth to overcome rather than submit to the ravages of time and life.
Sibyl would often escape early to bed, not that she needed to go to bed at 8 pm, but she found relief in deep sleep, the REMs were the only kindness life's strangeness had offered her.
And far away from the weightiness of her existence she laid anchor. In her life, and by all accounting methods, Sybil always felt she fell far short of the glory of the almighty whatever. She downed herself as if drowning was the best form of suicide.
"Glory be! When I am going to have my life turn around, to see any sign of life. Everything around me is either sinking, decaying, stinking or rotting. Is there more death than life? Why must I only experience the doom and gloom god? Where is the humanity? Where are the fragrant flowers of promise; of eternal youth elixir hidden in some rich castle the key fob just beyond reach; yet so close? Can life never be nearer to the perfected state of homeostasis? Can my convection oven world ever match the score for "but a moment" in time? Where's my ability to make a spec of difference? Only with the spirit can I achieve, by myself never? Never? Must everything change for the worse? What possible glory can there be in the damned? So irrevocable the contract and so inevitable the dust upon my feet, my feats me nothing? Lord, help me!"
The prays Sibyl had been asking this morning were not new. Everyday seemed to remove the special light further and further away from her world, as she became in need of bottle-bottomed glasses so thick like her brain was becoming, crusted like barnacles, the scales not peeling back anytime soon. So with this new light from the new dawm morning in the far-off distant horizon. As those unseen ghosts of the past haunt her moment to moment, she wants to make contact. Yet the ghosts only haunt, never beckon her to imbide in forbidden hidden and hiding "come find me" love. There would never be a beacon of hope on that distant shore, that far horizon to call her back home to her man.
Nothing seemed to be quite right or real to Sibyl. As now could be made into nothing as easily as now could be made into something. So nothing seemed to ever match her brutal and exacting expectations of life. Sibyl did not mesh, cut from rejected clothe, scorned by the scars on her skin.
It was as if life were a grand joke, a cruel mockery, a teasing poke at her very entity, her own precious thoughts, her own special feelings.
Sibyl; always a passionately driven woman who own desires for a better world propelled her into an endless vacuum of the unaccomplished start-ups. Businesses that seemed a sure thing, but always became grounded with lack of cash-flow. Certainly it was not merely cash that stopped Sibyl in her tracks; it was her self-defeating attiude of which no veneer could cover the completely naked truth of her existence. Rubbing her nose in the mire, the huge mess before her, the stench which reminder her of an ugly old wicked wench, a witch she had become to be not by design but by unconscious choice.
And so with this sad tell-tale heart, Sibly would subconsciously emerge from her bed each morning, never stopping to pause and reflect, to reconnect to her work-a-day world from the layers of joys from unmitigated dreams where there were no thoughts only pure feelings of the "wonder of it all". And Sibly was starting to wander off at mid-day. Talking to her cats who were now outside and nowhere near. Her sons gone to war, where? It made no difference. She was slowly loosing her mind and grip on the reality of her dreams, the only hope she had left. The only arsonal she could call upon should she need to appease the gods of retribution once again.
She had not the time for self-reflection. Besides, what would be so wonderful to reflect upon? Years of doom, lack-luster doll-drums? It did not matter anymore. No matter how hard Sibyl had try to evoke the winds of positive change, nothing was working now in her mid-fifties, as if a buffer of defeat had been like a blown up balloon surrounding her, a defence-shield from some unknown enemy, stealthily lurking somewheres.
It was as if the start menu had everything unsidedown and inside out, dusty, distorted, contorted in odd ways, without design or destiny, without control or meaning. For Sibyl, her life was blowing in the wind, the bitter wind of regret.
Indeed, the start menu would not engage, not ignite the yesterday home-fires. The powers that be would not allow the turn over, the sweet sound of revying one's own engine, and hearing the low-basso hum of swiss clockwork. The finest sound of man's accomplishment; power beyond the mortal flesh, the androgonous androidal fixation of men. The idol of man's hands making metal flesh robots from churning mind matter. Which seems so ephemeral anyway as if all life existed for the sake of the engine. The dearsweet woman-girl being shelved for the focus was not on the emotions but on the world of the unemotional world of pure logic.
She would never be now; she would be forever in memory just a mocking-bird of what she had wanted to become; an existence now surely could only be one of self-doubt and recrimination. She had no fall back guy. She had gone all the way and back and could not find her ground, her place in the sun. She had lost the sun in fact.
As Sibyl had become more unsure of her footing, of her hold on "all the world and all that is in it" and now beyond the sound barrier to space, she felt lost in its vacancy. She was not alone. Women were dumped by the lock, stock and barrel, as they no longer could give the one gift they were so good at bestowing to men; the gift of feeling. All empathy aside, Sibyl still felt there was a huge gap between herself and her colleague women libbers who donned lumberjack shirts and army boots and took on the look of life rather than the look of love.
There was no longer the drive to try to change the bitter pill Sybil must unwillingly swallow each day to keep alive for another hour by her clock."Tick tock, damn!" Sibyl murmured under her breath. "I just hate the droning of the clock's infernal tick-tock, tick-tock!" Why remind me of what I never was, never could be, never can be now? Why mock me daily by the hour and minute, and now by the mocking atomic clock's presence, by the millisecond to the root of ten thousand? I'll always be this way, learn to live with it, change may come and go but I am as constant and as persistent as that 'tick tock mock' damn it!".
Sibly could feel the sweat pool under her arms and between her chest as another flush took command of her body. A host of ladies of perpetual reminders the remains of the day to come? Only in the rarest of incidences could Sibyl recall the old feelings she remembered which made all this worth the while.
And of the her persistence of attitude with of her debilitating need to host her own pity part of exacting failuretude. This cold war of the self-conflicted reminder and wake-up call. Yes, like the bungalow house she yearned to return to she would alwaysremain somewhat detached from life as it skitted by like a spider bug on the pond from her childhood. Lest anything be significant.
There were no purpose, no meaning, no dreaming, no feeling to life. She acquired by proxy a nihilist soul, a point of no return to sender. Numbness. Mindless numbness from years of neglect the one thing, the little light she carried deep within; hidden well beneath the stairs and under the bed.
A light, her light, never seemed to shine again after he left her. The broken egg of humpty dumpty still sitting on the half-shelf, the short stone fence which surrounded her cottage. And she was left in such sad such disarray like a lion had stalked her, and then let loose, pouncing on her heart, ripping upon her heart, letting it hang outside of the skin, bleeding forever.
Her scars never to heal, her body forever broken, her mind permanently in the "gone to lunch" position. She could only try to find and then gather the many missing pieces. Sibyl knew how foolish to believe she could ever return to the once fine form of a woman she only briefly now could glimpse in the rear view of the camera obscura.
For Sibyl Laura, her undoing was mainly self-inflicted. The boyfriends could no longer be blamed as she was an enabler. She enabled others to use her in this way, to sodden their filthy boots on her clean-as-Irish-linen soul, as crystal-clear as Waterford crystal vase, shining brightly in the morning sun upon her demask cloth underneath the solid maple Canadiana table she had made in Michigan from the Danish.
With certainy the role she donned today, like the clothes she wore each day were thread-worn, bare and naked.
Her heart worn on her sleeve this way made her a sad clown, a pierrette puppet. Sibly relations with others suffered because of the unresolved pain of a thousand nights of memory hounding her, pounding her into the floor, back again with each recalled portal when she forgot to close the door.
As with the many visits from people, she kept a closed door on her heart never to open again, not even a crack. For the crack would send her into crying jags that would last for days if not months and possibly years. She must learn to shield herself from herself from the wounds that would be a bleed-out, a bleeder, bleed to death, whiter pale of shade.
As a sarcastic twist of strangers, friends, would often visit on high notes, in all smiles and chuckles, the hidden Sibyl, crying on the inside could never give them as much as they would like of her true being. Locked away like Baby Jane, the role she personified also which fed labelled her; forever loser.
Laura embraced her self-defeating attitude of pending disaster. She wholly wallowed in her defeat, and languished in the richness of knowing exactly what she could control; her own wretched destiny of destruction.
Secretly she gloried in the daily results of her own doing. Encouraged by the past's defeating voice of reproach, Sibly learned her worth. At least she knew the outcome, this was a great comfort in an odd way. As martrys often flagalate themselves and relish in the mysery of a thousand slings and arrows; she was defeated a thus a commendable failure.
Now always a failure at life, she endorsed those voices of damnation, heard when the bandage was lifted when the veil was removed from her eyes.
Certainly her mind could fool herself, and this is why often at relationships, at love she could not win. The game was on, her cards always coming up short. This poor woman only ever allowed herself the best possible outcome; soul-wrenching denial of love, ultimate defeat in life.
Since love of the romantic kind no longer existed in her life, in her mind anyway, she was free to pursue other things, like firefighters calendar collections.
For Sibly, just those distant reminders fading now and yet still at her age, heart-felt pangs which now turned into angina. Of those many bitter memories only one held the most sway, the most power over her existence. Sibyl could not shake the first dumping ground her heart was expected to evacuate, to evolve into a new shape, a new heart? How could she? She only had one heart, and that was beyond repair, unless, someone could explain to her why she was dumped in the way she was dumped, the logic defying reason, defying human dignity of the person she use to be.
And often these ancient thoughts came flooding her mind with such life-stopping emotion that when and if life would kick in she would be reminded of the past and her soul being again kicked in the gut.