Inspired by the writing of Richard Brautigan and Kurt Vonnegut, The Art of Being Alone is a novella about a lost soul living on the Moon and what he found there. You can read the earlier installments here. Our narrator is a member of the 5%s, wealthy individuals that own a majority of all of the resources and economy on the Earth. The rest of the planet is in turmoil, with the environment and the poor (everyone else) struggling to live or fight back. It is under these conditions that our broken narrator moves as far away as a human possibly can…
21- A Lawyer’s Bang
My grandfather used to complain about lawyers all the time. He would do it at the table during dinner, on the phone, in his sleep. It was strange to me, even as a young child, because he surrounded himself with so many of them. Why surround yourself with someone you can’t stand? And yet, wherever my grandfather went, a lawyer was soon to follow.
I had my own issues with lawyers, but I definitely annoyed them more than he did. He would just tell them what he wanted to do and they would make it work. I never considered having conversations that way.
The lawyers certainly had some questions for me when we began preparations for my Moon departure. Their questions were never about the trip, my plannings, or me, it was about my money and the estate; in other words, everything I was abandoning.
My money and estate? I explained that nothing happened to it. I wasn’t dying. I was just going up there (and I would point up).
It was at one of the final meetings that one of the younger lawyers banged his fist against the table. Bang! He said I just couldn’t take so much of the economy with me, lock it away from the world. It was unfair. It was wrong. It was cruel, possibly one of the cruelest acts in our recorded history, because it would just keep taking and taking through investments and never contributing.
He called me selfish! An arrogant spoiled brat! (I let him shout, it made him feel better. I remember that he had spit fly out of his mouth, which landed on the table in front of me, like a singular rain shower into a singular rain puddle.)
When he was done (his chest heaving, his breath gasping), I explained that the money was mine. That wasn’t going to change. That was my grandfather’s goal, and I considered telling them about the one time I saw him smile at that poolside so long ago, but didn’t. I kept that memory close.
He pounded his fist against the table again. Bang! He explained all the good that could be done with the money. All of the people that could be fed, the nature that could be saved. I could save the world, not run from it. That money would just keep building and building and it would sit there, but if I instead gave the money to a cause or a nonprofit….
I explained again that the money was mine. That was my grandfather’s wish and who was I to argue with him and I left the room, shutting the door behind me.
(The lawyer was, of course, fired later.)
22- After My Grandmother
After my grandmother was killed and I saw her destroyed body, many people came to see me. Some of the lawyers told me they were leeches, trying to suck blood what they could from me and her corpse. Money, promises, call it what you will; it was all desperation. They wanted something and they knew I had it all.
I even saw people I had slept with coming by as if we continued to share something even though we were no longer under the sheets. Some event showed up at the funeral and tried to look like they cared. I was kind to all since it didn’t matter to be anything else. I shook hands, I listened. I made no promises. And then I returned to my grandparents’ estate (my estate) and looked over my land…
I did not leave my estate for many days. I heard mumblings from some of the servants (my grandfather liked to call them slaves, or did I already write that?). They were worried about me.
They were wrong to worry. I was enjoying the peace and silence for the first time in my life.
No one could touch me there. I was safe. It was as if the entire estate, the land, the world of my possessions were all in my mind. We were together in this sacred place and we lived together. Others would take me out of that.
The idea of traveling and seeing sights was brought up by many but I didn’t want that. I had no needs. That went away with my grandmother. It wasn’t empty, it was a quiet fulfillment.
Time and life was everything within me.
By the way, I didn’t do anything with her ashes. We didn’t do the helicopter like before, spreading her over my grandfather’s land. Instead, I put them in the library and did my best to forget about them. In some ways, it was like she was never shot up. She just went into the other room and quietly closed the door. Let her be… peace. I’m pretty confident that she is still there today.
When I was back on the old Earth, there was talk about going to Mars. Some argued on the television, looking out at the burning landscapes of our broken older planet, that this was the best way to save humanity. Forget the planet and its animals, go on and start again! Sometimes I wonder if I will see a ship sail past me in the direction of Mars. I wonder if we will wave to each other as it flies past.
But what would they find on Mars? If it is like here, it will just be rocks.
I remember someone saying to me that Mars had water and wind. I could have an easier time there. But I didn’t want Mars, the red ball in the sky. I wanted the Moon. I couldn’t put my finger on why that felt right to me, but I could see it and make it mine.
I was told at one point that people had bought parts of the Moon, claiming that they owned acres on it. Supposedly, even some rock stars claim to own land around here. That is ridiculous. And who would want that anyway? There is just dust and rock. Maybe I am living on someone’s land right now? I can just imagine that poor person shaking their fist up at my Moon at night demanding that I move.
Or maybe, instead, they are planning to send me a bill, listing the rent unpaid for the many months I had spent on their property. I would pay it, if they could make it up here and…
What was I saying? My mind does seem to travel more than it used to. I used to be able to write entire entries in my imagination without losing a thought. That is strangely changing and I do not know why. There are clouds in my mind and I sometimes have trouble pushing them away now.
Oh, Mars and humanity! This move to the Moon was not about humanity’s new beginning. This for me was always about escaping that feeling of desperation you feel on Earth.
Everything is desperate.
Animals are desperate for food.
People are desperate for money, food, comfort, sex, warmth, joy, peace, possibility, life and everything.
Plants are desperate for air and water.
Everything is desperate.
I am not desperate. I am unlike. I am unique. I am unnecessary.
I chose to be here since I am one of my kind. Yes, I see that now. That was the gift of my grandfather. He took away all of my needs, and my grandmother scolded me away from desire. They left me as this. And here, on my Moon, I can be everything I am supposed to be. And I will spend my days, when I want, writing my story in the empty air, the dust of the ground or on the paper with the scratchy pencil.
This is everything. I am everything. I am nothing. This is life on the other side of drive.
- It doesn’t matter.
- It doesn’t matter.
- It doesn’t matter.
It is all like the barren land on the Moon. That is why I belong up here, now I realize it. I belong here and the rest of humanity deserves to be there. They can shake their fist up at me if they want. I don’t care.
Explore all you want, but I am the final destination at the end. There is no peace, just days and empty breaths.
24- The Blue Child
I’ve begun having dreams of a blue child with amber eyes. She has no space suit on, but she is on the Moon with me. It is more her home than mine and the Moon embraces her in a way it never will me. I have tried to tell this to my father’s lifeless body on the ground about this dream child, but he doesn’t respond which is fine (I have no memory of his voice anyway, so it can only continue to lie).
The Blue Child looks to be a girl of about six and she wanders the hills and rocks of the Moon outside my glass dome. She plays in the dust of the Moon and can disappear within it like magic. Sometimes she marches, sometimes she dances. She flips and jumps as high the Moon allows her, her body arching in a graceful show. My little blue selenite.
In my dreams, I know she is there, we are used to seeing each other. I watch her play and run along the surface of the Moon outside the glass, and she likes to show off. She runs up the glass of my dome and we look at each other. This is when the dream always changes.
Then… she’s put her hand up against the glass. I always hesitate for a second, but only a second, and then put my hand on the other side of the glass near hers. It is then in the dream that there is an electric shock between us and the glass cracks!
It is then I always awake.
I’ve never been one to dream. Usually when I was on earth, sleep was just sleep. When I was young and frivolous, I would go to bed exhausted from the drugs and sex, usually by then kicking the others out of my rooms (if they stay they usually ask for more money) and collapse into unconsciousness. I remember that kind of sleep very well because it was like flipping a switch- turning off and on my mind.
But this… this is so real. I feel like if I squint just right I will be able to see the Blue Child. She could be just there, outside the horizon. Would she want me to join her or would she want to come in? Would we talk or just look at each other, wondering at the marvel of our meeting and adventure?
My days with the Blue Child…
It is all so foolish, like so many dreams.
(I think I will draw a picture of her now.)