Che Sara Sara

I ENVY those for whom suicide has meaning.

I sometimes think that if offered a choice between being shown the meaning of all existence and the meaning of my own nullification I should choose the latter though I know I would choose the former.

Because a sucker is born every minute. I conclude therefore that I must have chosen to be incarnated & it would indeed be terrible to remember why exactly as the only answer suicide had to offer me.

No, I’ll stick it out. So far I can say it has been just about worth it for the moments of deep joy I have known – by which I mean joy akin to the undeserved mercy of the Lord so longed for by much less sophisticated sinners as a fitting triumph at the end of their meagre lives. Try as I might I cannot be ungrateful for not having known more of such joy because I do not know what is still to come.

What if the second half of my life, if there is to be one, were a continuous joy?

If it were not then it would be no worse than business as usual. But what if it were joy? … & what if the joy achieved thus far had been so joyful solely because it was realised beyond doubt that it was just a taster of what is … to come?

But the consequence of the attainment of such a divine joy is that once the moment subsides it is hard to avoid inheriting the deepest despair of the universe, mourning the passing of all one exists for attired in the blackest mood, unable to feel joy in the dim recollection of having felt joy, left only with a gut conviction that hanging around waiting for such joy again hoping this time it lasts longer is probably worth it, and so by a hare’s whisker this troubled ghost of joy which simple folk call faith is just enough to compensate for the tiresomeness of trudging through a world so chock-a-block with thwarted hopes, dashed desires & broken hearts.

My most serious charge against this world is that it continually gives me the impression that I ask too much to want to be happy & that when I am happy I should consider it a special privilege.

If life is a matter of flitting between happiness and its opposite then it is at least a relief it is not permanent sorrow, and, whilst realising I inevitably run the risk of invoking permanent sorrow as only a consequence of desiring permanent joy or any permanency, I refuse to allow this to hold me back from insisting that life cannot be a worthwhile progression of moments and investment of time unless it is more joy than not joy with no risk of it being vice-versa merely as a consequence of desiring life to be more one thing than the other.

Similarly, I refuse to allow the somewhat bold expectation that life one day may turn out to be like this to deter me from making the judgment for now that there is too much waiting, too much hurt, too much poverty, too much not being able to do a damn thing about it, too much settling for second-best and half-measure where that second-best & half-measure is the dubious honour one feels by NOT settling for second-best or a half-measure but preferring to WAIT where that wait seems as if it will be never-ending.

And yet, I cannot escape the fact that it may only be tomorrow when the unexpected forces me to change my mind. And if tomorrow, I may start thinking of the time already elapsed as hardly any time at all. And if not tomorrow but the day after, what difference can just a day make, it is hardly any time. And day after day after day I cannot rid myself of this debilitating conviction, which simple folk call hope.

What has been sought for so long it seems one has always been seeking it and never finding it is invariably found surprisingly suddenly. And found so completely and with such ease it appears to have needed no seeking to find; found as if on the very first day of looking in earnest. Often it is lost again so soon and abruptly one can easily believe one is jinxed and revert to thinking that what has taken one’s entire life to find has just slipped through one’s fingers.

The wait which is the wait for love that lasts is the most difficult wait of all. What the herd do could not be of less guidance, for as much as I know of the herd it may be nothing more than a contagious fear of finding nothing better that ensures they stay together; even their loving tender special moments are full of spindly sentiments, rehearsed affection.

What a high price I pay just for insisting on something better, so I may see for myself if there is something better, and if the universe is a place where one waits in vain even that I should sooner see for myself than settle for grazing with the herd.

Happiness often seems to me to consist of little more than acquiescence upon being offered the emotional charity of the universe. Or not even that, but just a hiccough in the peristalsis of despair.

And how long must one wait until an angel calls one’s name? If I heard my own name called I half suspect I would first look round to see if anyone else steps forward to claim my prize, not yet convinced I want to own up to being the one who so richly deserves such a splendid and joyous love-drenched life as I should like to think was better mine if it was mine for the taking rather than not even being mine for the begging.

If I am not to grow into a crotchety old sod in my later years, if there are to be some, and start looking on joy as an unwelcome intrusion into my melancholia just as I was getting used to it then this joy must fill me to the brim with delight, I cannot be satisfied with what is hardly satisfying simply because not enough! And when plenty not enduring long enough. And when enduring long enough too quickly becoming boring and tedious. Forcing me to be thankful it has unravelled itself away, praising the Lord because I thought it would never go! but always having to stop and think … if only it had continued as it was.


First published June 1989. Originally hand-set in lead in Perpetua and hand-printed in a limited edition of 175 copies, with a linocut (above), at The Herculaneum Press, London.