the look in their eyes prologue

The funniest thing:  that even now, in the few moments preceding the passage from this, the only world Violet knew, into the unknown abyss of death, the thin layer of ennui, boredom, needing that unattainable something more, that general want or lack, could be present.  Cold, no freezing, in the water, the ocean of saltwater.  The cruise ship hadn’t noticed or cared that it was suddenly less one passenger.  And that was good, because the last thing Violet wanted, even now, was to have the cruise ship notice her, to have it stop its course, to be rescued, and to be drowned in human questioning, and remain in this world of enigmatic human quandry and quagmire.

Here she was, freezing to death, and considering the extreme temperature of the ocean, it couldn’t possibly be long, maybe she would freeze at the surface before drowning.  Here she was treading water, immersed in the primacy of earth, of life, of beginnings and endings.  She had wondered if one’s final moments would be dramatically enlightening… or something.   Here she was freezing to death and feeling weirdly, not bored, but ordinary, given the circumstances.  The early morning sun looked lonely, and indifferent in the endless expanse of grey water and lightening skies.  Beautiful rose and teal-colored companion clouds appeared alongside the morning sun, just above the horizon line which stretched to eternity now.  Ordinary reflections and associations crossed her mind: movie scenes in which people drowned in the middle of the ocean.  She wondered why the companion clouds came along with that morning sun, when no other clouds marked the bluing sky.  She had wondered if she’d be eaten alive by sharks, but here she was treading water, quite ordinarily, no shark fins in sight.  Except now as the freeze went deeper, there began an all-over pain, as if sharp stabbing thick needles insistently and mercilessly conspired to torture her.  She cried out, and there was no one but the sun to hear her.  The sun didn’t seem bothered, which suddenly seemed strangely unreal.  The sun would watch whatever happened beneath it, and no matter what  extremes of human pain transpired under the sun, it would rise up again tomorrow, just as if nothing had happened.  A thought crossed her mind.  ”Ra” the sun, wasn’t Ra supposed to be God, to the ancients?  Wasn’t God supposed to love us?  Shouldn’t God care when I am being tortured to death?  The needles weren’t little sewing needles, they were great factory machine needles, designed to puncture iron.  Screams came, one after the next, unbidden, and even now the mind was reflective.  Thoughts of childbirth, when screams eventually took over, and one went primal, down down down the dark tunnel, the abyss.  In the extremis of her first labor, she went down the abyss, the rabbit hole, as she thought of it… and there was a place, or a time, or a universe, where the scream changed to, “Mommy!!!” and the feeling was infancy and the need was Everything and it was infinite… “Moooooooommmmmmmmmyyyyyyy!!!”… and Mommy might come or she might not.

The screams took on a life of their own, one after another, pain and screams, and the pain and screams became an entity separate from her.  Her mind or something split, because all of a sudden something very strange did happen and there was a completely expanded awareness that would ordinarily be unaccountable.  And here “Violet” was, only even she knew she wasn’t Violet anymore, she’d become something else, something unfamiliar and familiar at the same time.  Her whole life did seem to pass before her vision and awareness, somewhat like a dream, but an entirely new and different multi-dimensional dream.  At the same time, there was an ordinary kind of awareness, she was still Violet, recognizing the profound strangeness of this experience.  Her body and mind were screams and pain, but there was a separate kind of consciousness that could watch and be completely immersed in something else that was transpiring.  So she was Violet, but she was not Violet, because her entire life was being reviewed in an extraordinary  consciousness that was able to see, like watching a movie, but seeing it with extraordinary memory and clarity that certainly Violet would never have been capable of.  Ordinarily, she couldn’t remember what happened yesterday, much less, exactly what her mother and father looked like, did and were to her when she was an infant.

Another strange element to the life story to which Violet bore witness, was the lack of any kind of self-judgment.  Their was no embarrassment, no feeling of making mistakes, no regretting, no judging of herself or anyone, which of course was out of the ordinary.  It was now as if there was no self left, a definite and profound detachment from personal responsibility for the sequence of events that made up her life story, from birth to this moment, and this moment was a passage, like birth, it was a passage.

As she witnessed her life play out, there they were, the boys and the men and they were many.  There was one after the next, beginning even when she was a young child, aged 7.  They appeared now, and each one was clearly remembered in his individuality.  All the personalities, the problems, the quirks, even the cruelty, were transformed in a glowing kind of acceptance and understanding.  Even now, they inspired a particular life-long feeling in her, each man, each boy; it was the common underlying reason for most of her life’s behavior really, if you wanted to be perfectly honest about it. It was the entire race of human male, it was their unbridled aggression, it was their muscular anatomy, it was their penises and the scrotum behind framing the penis.  All the penises!!,  and the individual man, subconsciously controlled by his own, making it into ever so much more than what it was, a little dangle of flesh after all.  Most of all, it was the look in their eyes.  Yes, and that is what Violet saw now.

Violet’s head was still above water, but her arms and legs were now barely able to move and screams had given way to silence.  The ocean, the earth, the sky, was all.  And the saltwater taste and the saltwater smell were the taste and smell of birth, and of death and of life and of home.

It was the look in their eyes and that was what Violet saw as her head sank beneath the ocean surface.  The look was shared by each and every one of the men who peopled her story.  Was it a story or had it been a dream?  Now it appeared to have been a dream, rather than a life or a life story.  The look was primitive, it hungered, it was beast and being beast it wasn’t civilized and it wasn’t even rational.  All it knew, if you could call it knowing was the Want.  The Want was unsatisfiable, and that was the very root of humankind’s problem on Planet Earth.  The want wanted and that was all it knew. Blackness coming, the abyss, the rabbit hole, no, it wasn’t even a rabbit hole now, it was entirety, a Black Hole in outer space, swallowing galaxies.  And as it drew Violet into itself, all she was imagining, all she was thinking, all she was remembering, was how life for her had been an equally unsatisfiable yearning and longing to fulfill and complete and answer the bottomless Want she invariably saw in the look in their eyes.

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