Arcade Fire didn’t help his mood, but it sorta summed up a little bit of everything as it played in his car on the drive to the office. Will had forgotten just how nihilistic their album “Neon Bible” happened to be. Then again, maybe he had never looked at it with that perspective. He knew that art in whatever form (music, movies, literature, visual arts) managed to capture you at the exact place you happened to be in life. A teenager reading a story was quite different from some forty-something like himself reading the same one. Every breath you took was a little different than the one you took the day before. In this case, Will was breathing in the bitter cold of a sub-zero Chicago day and remembering those hot, racing teenage ones.
Wish I could go back just for a brief moment.
He wouldn’t stay. God, no. He wouldn’t want to relive much of them. He simply missed the moments in his life when he didn’t have a thing to worry about. He used to actually be that daft to walk around believing that, too. Then suddenly, boom. The weight of the world biting into his shoulders like a pair of vampires on each side.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall. Show me where them bombs will fall.”
The end of the world. Even before the whole Russia-North Korea madness and the Ebola epidemic in Europe and the African drought—he had felt this end-of-the-world sort of feeling. Heaviness with breathing. A sense of falling out of a plane without the chute and without any sense of how he got pushed out. This steady, daily shoving of his sanity and his soul.
Music often felt like a parachute opening up behind him, slowing down his fall a bit. The songs always changed but the solace they provided remained the same.
“Keep the car running.”
He loved this song. Sometimes he’d hear it and resonate with lyrics about men taking him away and needing to stay away and the weight pressing down and the river so deep.
The good news he could celebrate or at least reflect on was that Mom and Dad had said that so far, it looked like his relatives were okay. The monstrous tornado hadn’t touched them. Will knew that he should be happy, that he should be thanking God for this news. But he didn’t want to. No, it was more than that.
He didn’t want to.
He felt young again and feeling rejected by the most magnificent girl he’d ever met. Maybe that was a horrible metaphor to use, but that was the one that came to his mind. He felt a rejection and now didn’t want to even acknowledge this former friend and former love.
God’s left us for some reason.
Some—well, a lot of people these days—rejected the notion of God even being there. But Will couldn’t go there. Not yet.
He pulled up to the curb on the street where his office happened to be. Will often joked that he should have a Panera Bread business card to hand out whenever people asked if he had an office. Yep, there you go, and if you send a Fed-Ex just put my full name because one of the guys working there is named Will too.
Not far from the Panera Bread stood the office building he used to rent from. Will looked at it every day with the goal and reminder and hope that he’d be back there. But really, he could work from anywhere. Open the Macbook and slip on some headphones and connect to Wi-Fi and boom.
For a second, Will followed Arcade Fire’s suggestion and kept the car running. Another song played, and he carefully listened to the words.
“Not much chance for survival if the Neon Bible is true.”
Maybe the world had moved away from the Psalms and entered straight into the book of Revelations. Maybe this really was the end of the world. People weren’t being raptured but they were just falling into ruin. God had changed his mind on the whole pre-Trib post-Trib sort of thing and had just said forget these idiots.
He grabbed his phone and checked it for a moment. The latest email filling it was from his agent Victoria. She was wondering if he could talk later today.
Since Big Brother was surely watching him (or maybe just Bigger Higher Power), the ominous church organ on track four began to play right on cue.
Talk later today.
Nothing else. No trivial or fun comment.
Usually Victoria was answering his questions, saying she was following up on the whole WHERE’S THE CHECK? question he asked weekly. But an email from her. Without anything other than whether they could talk.
Will uttered that four-letter-word Tricia really, truly loathed. He kept it held at bay for the most part. But he knew. He knew the news and he’d been holding out hope. More so than just the little petty desire to get his office back. No, this was hanging by a rope on the edge of a mountain after slipping off. Feeling it tighten all around his waist. And seeing the frayed rope begin to snap apart.
Get over it Will you didn’t just get wiped from the face of the earth by an F5.
He shut off the music and the car, then slipped out to head to his office that smelled like fresh baked bread.
There was one thing he hated worse than worrying about money.
It was realizing he could be so self-absorbed with the worry. Enough to block out the rest of the collapsing world.
He would work some and talk to Victoria later and find out what the damage was and then figure out what to do like he always did.
Arcade Fire blared out in his brain.
“I’m gonna work it out ’cause time wont work it out.”
Time was the enemy and lately, it hadn’t liked Will very much.