Here's introducing today's guest post from Gaston Stabiszewski!
In the kitchen.
So, when it eventually catches up with you it’s baffling, you know? Almost always confirmation of something that has been inside for a while, maybe for always, but is at this particular moment in time worldview-shatteringly new. It’s a strange instance, when knowledge first takes hold. And it’s a big deal when it happens, such a big deal, it’s ridiculous.
So, when it eventually catches up with him it’s confusing. Confusing, because he thought he knew. You say you know but do you really? Know? It’s one of those unquestioned truths, this one – the big one. The only one, really, in a way.
So, when he looks into his mother’s eyes as she draws her last breath – which seems like such a cliché but he is sure can’t happen to that many people in their lifetimes because what are the odds? - it doesn’t come to him right that instant. It comes later, when he’s alone. When his sister, his aunt and uncle, his more distant relatives have left the house for Cincinnati and when his wife, his daughter, his dog have gone upstairs, when he sits alone in the kitchen and looks out at the lawn. That’s when it comes. And how pathetic, right? At the age of 35, this big mountain of a man in terms of emotional urgency, and he sits in his kitchen and realizes that he, himself, too. And how childish, even selfish, right? At the age of 35, this big mountain of a man in terms of pathologically unexamined disposition, he sits in the kitchen with his fifth glass of wine and realizes that everyone, always and forever and ever since any time, ever, too. And how excruciating.
So, when it eventually catches up with him he kind of wants to make a point of not seeming too affected. To be almost casual about it, lest he give himself the weakness of not having figured it out before. Like, at all. And at the age of 35, no less. Yes, you must live with this, he tells himself. Harbor the most universal of truths deep, deep inside in the most personal of ways. Seal it shut, man. Keep that very much inside, because that would just be hell, to have anyone know that you know now and didn’t know before, right? (I mean, he knew, as does everyone. But not in that way) No, you keep that very much inside, you hear?
Because doesn’t everyone? In all the nights, sitting around tables with beer and shooting the shit about God-knows-what, has anyone ever talked about it? Never. Do they talk about it? When they go out, when they go shopping, when she’s one the phone with, say, Olivia? He’s certainly never heard her talk about it. It might be perfectly reasonable to assume that she, too, has not thought about it in that way. Maybe he’s not the only one so oblivious. Oh, yeah, no, he surely can’t be. But what would that mean for the little one? If no one around her knows and in fact her own damn father only had his Great Awakening at what is arguably almost the midway point of his life, how is she going to find out? And when? She’s not a mountain. If it shook him to his core how is she going to feel? When she realizes that this impending, inevitable, final and eternal thing no one talks about is so very real, and real in ways that nothing else except her birth has ever been or will ever be real. The more operative question, however, seems to be if him going up to her room right now and telling her, point-blank about his pathetically belated realization, if that would change any of the pain. Or answer any of the questions. Well, he wouldn’t be able to answer them anyway, you idiot, so what are you even talking about? There is nothing to talk about. That’s it.
So yes, he must live with this, he tells himself, as does everyone. Harbor the most universal of truths deep, deep inside in the most personal of ways. Seal it shut, man. Keep that very much inside, because anything else would be hell. No, you keep that very much inside, you hear?
And as the first rays of sunlight filter into the kitchen to bathe the wooden armatures in the faintest of orange he sees Mr. Schreiber from next door leave the house, silver coffee pot in hand, and get into his 2013 Subaru BRZ.
Gaston Stabiszewski is a screenwriter and director from Düsseldorf, Germany. He currently lives in Cologne and tries to get as much writing done as he can while also shooting music videos, playing drums in his band The Tourist and playing improv with his group Empty Chair. At some point in life he would like to at least skim through “Dianetics” but thus far has neither been able nor willing to make it a priority.