A dangerous journey

Oblivion is a long way. It will take him a long time to get there. Heaven is closer. Naturally he will stop off there on the way but he doesn’t expect to find anything. So he will continue on his journey to Oblivion.

Oblivion IS a place. It is not a void, as many would have us believe. Our antihero tends to avoid voids. Admittedly it is dark and lonely and endless. Like the universe. Of which it is a part. But if you travel far enough and deep enough you will find a corner of light and inside the light you will find the lost souls of loved ones.

It is there that he hopes to find his companion. She has been gone for two years. Most people who lose a loved one get over it and move on with their lives. He can’t seem to do that. He doesn’t know why. People tell him he’s insane to pursue her. Insane to undertake a journey to Oblivion.

To which he replies, For the past two years my life has not been worth living. I need to be with her. It’s worth a shot.

And he pulled the trigger.

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A long time in the Twilight Zone

Consider, if you will, the plight of Timothy T. Terwilliger…



It has been one year and seven months since the death of his wife but in his mind it is as though she just vanished. Poof! One minute she was here and the next minute she was gone.

Mr Terwilliger still looks at the empty armchair in the living room in disbelief. In bed he looks at the empty pillow in disbelief. He reaches over and touches it. She is definitely not there. Was she ever there? Was it a dream? He cannot recall the details of her not being there.

Images come and go. Holding her hand in the ICU, a machine humming or beeping, he cannot remember which but it was either humming or beeping or a combination of the two.

He does not remember phoning her sister and her brother, sometimes he remembers phoning them but he does not remember what was said but they tell him he phoned them, phoned them several times.

He thinks he remembers a priest coming into the room but in the next second he does not remember a priest in the room. He thinks he remembers a nurse saying it was time to turn off the machine but in the next second he does not remember anyone saying that.

Mr Terwilliger does remember someone from hospice driving him home and he remembers hoping the man would come into the house with him but the hospice guy just dropped him off and drove away and that surprised him and he went into the house by himself and walked from room to room knowing his wife was not in any of the rooms because he remembered leaving her in the hospital room and then in the next moment he did not remember leaving her in the hospital room.

He remembers sitting in an armchair in the living room for what seemed like days, sitting there alone and the phone never rang and no one came to the door and the days must have been separated by nights but he cannot remember that either because he cannot remember ever going into the bedroom and getting into bed and sleeping.

It was like nothing had happened because he could not remember anything. He was in a vacuum, like the first moments of regaining consciousness after you black out. He thinks he thought he was losing his mind but he was not sure of that either.

All he knows is that one year and seven months later nothing has changed. The silence, the dead phone, the dead doorbell, the vacuum. The nights, the days, all one. One year and seven months is a long time to be in the first moments of regaining consciousness after you black out.

Sometimes he thinks he is dead. But if he is dead, who drank the contents of all those empty liquor bottles?

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39,000 feet

He was lost. He took planes all over America. He became an expert on airports. He invested such large sums in airline travel he figured he must own a piece of the sky, or rather pieces of the sky — thin, high corridors of illusion between real cities; timeless strips of fantasy between pestilence and death. An ethereal investment to be sure; other men had pieces of the rock.

He flew back and forth across America like an insomniac pacing his room. Planes of all sizes and colors transported him north and south and east and west in an odyssey that skirted heaven and hell. He was searching for many things: Success, fame, the perfect woman, a new identity, freedom, independence, truth, cunning, honesty, immortality, a secret Swiss bank account, a cabin in the woods, a house in the desert, a job in a lighthouse, a penthouse in Manhattan, a pad in the Hollywood Hills, unlimited credit, inner piece, a new life, a tolerable death, immortality, and sometimes nothing more than a perfectly clear sky. 

At rare moments of clarity, perhaps at 39,000 feet, he felt he was on the verge of a breakthrough, on the edge of a great discovery about life and himself. Sometimes, he would doze off and suddenly awaken with the startling notion that he had heard the voice of God — not so much a voice as a perception of the idea of God, an ephemeral, wraith-like presence in his mind, a fleeting brush with fate, the briefest touch by destiny, a speck of understanding, a hint of cosmic truth that vanished as fast as it had appeared, but left him with, at that perilous moment of waking, an unmistakable impression of the meaning of life, and specifically, his purpose in that life, agonizingly elusive but sufficiently noticeable to excite him with new motivation and direction.

Desperately he would scribble down his ethereal notes at the very moment they dissolved into nothingness. But when he tried to pursue the clues, to pin them down, to put them together, bits and pieces of his mind flew off in different directions at increasing speeds and higher altitudes, and then he no longer believed he was on the verge of a great breakthrough, but on the edge of insanity. 

At the end of two years his mind was totally fragmented. On a physical level there was more chaos. He was broke, bouncing checks and exploding credit cards. His personal stuff — books, manuscripts, letters, documents, photographs — were crammed into suitcases, briefcases and footlockers in girlfriends’ apartments, and bus and train station lockers in cities and towns across America—

[Manuscript abruptly ends.]