"So, Hickey... Pipe-dreams. I've never really talked to you about them, apart from the perhaps premature, slightly impertinent statement that I do not have any. But is that true, or does every man have pipe dreams? Does every man fool himself deliberately?

"There are things I find I want, after all. In a way it is true I am dead, so there is no 'tomorrow' to which I may put off actions or decisions that might cause me to transform my life. But is that perhaps not a symptom of fooling myself? I reach for what I want, not trusting the future, but perhaps I reach taking away the possibility of trust, relying on the idea that everything is temporary. With that I never have to think of failure. I've made success an impossibility before I've begun. I never have to risk, in a moment, that the future might contain loss, rejection. Because there is no future.

"It is not, as it is for the others, that I do not reach, do not try, for I do. Always. But I do it without hope. Oh, not with work, accomplishments, striving for excellence - I manage to put aside the lack of existence of the future then quite tidily. With people.

"Hickey... without hope... I don't trust. And how can I be trusted, ready to despair with one foot already pointed toward the horizon, prepared to make of others pretty - no pretty is unjust - beautiful, poignant memories within me?

"If there is no hope, I don't even dare to have a pipe dream.

"And yet... I do hope, despite my best efforts. Despite everything I said, I think, the part inside me that is natural - is entranced and believes itself entrancing - takes for granted that all the friends, company, communion I desire will be mine, should be mine - is mine by natural worthiness. Then I think of everything I've lost, every time I've lost and I am afraid. I try, reach, but... if I have a pipe dream, I might not fullfill it, and I lose again... I think...

"Hickey... er, another drink for you?" John pours himself another full and generous tumbler.
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