The Sunset of What We Are
Take Me to the Moon 5.21
“The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd – The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.”
― Fernando Pessoa
At dawn, as Alexander stood again at Maddi’s new grave, he realized the family needed to go ahead with the planned camping trip. They needed to live the possible to the fullest extent, while they could. This may be the last weekend the family had, while he and Delaney were still able to go camping.
It had been a long night, after returning from the party at the Greats’ house, where Maddi had been taken by Grim. Felicity had stood, immobilized, on the sidewalk for a while.
“Why did Grandma Maddi have to die?” she asked her mom, Zoe.
After returning home, the shock seemed to wear off, and Delaney was left with the real sadness of having witnessed Maddi’s death.
“Why did we bring her back, only to cause everyone such sadness?” she asked Alexander.
But Alexander didn’t have comforting words.
“Do you regret that I brought them back?” he asked Maddi.
She got up without a word.
Alexander sat with the sadness. It was exhausting and he found that he couldn’t think, couldn’t feel anything but sadness.
Delaney, always a person of action, decided to check the MC Command Center settings, and make sure that the settings were still right to Bypass Family Ghosts if the game did any culling.
“I’ve done what I can,” she thought.
Zoe, shaken by her inability to answer her child’s questions, called the Sadness Hotline.
Elise, not known for wearing her feelings on her sleeve, uncharacteristically chose to blog about her sadness.
“I didn’t even say anything back, as Grim gave dad a tongue-lashing. Where was my wit, my sharpness?”
“But really, I knew there was no retort. That’s what’s eating at me. There is no one to blame, no way around this hurt.”
And then Elise looked right at me, her simmer, and we shared a moment of being able to do nothing but grimly laugh at the futility of trying to avoid pain, in both our existences.
After that Elise felt better for a while, and had a little break from the sadness that had been blanketing everything.
Felicity had not even bothered to change out of her uncharacteristically odd, mismatched choice of party clothes, and had headed to the mirror to give herself a pep talk.
While Fiona wondered if there was any way she could have stopped Grim.
And decided to play the piano for a while. In spite of the fact, or maybe because, she’d known Grandma Maddi best, her sad feelings went away before everyone else’s.
She saw Grandma Delaney in the pool and went out to try to cheer her up a little.
Alexander woke up and thought he was coming down with something, but decided to wait before ordering medicine. After all, last time he had taken medicine, he’d overdosed, and he didn’t want that feeling again.
He went out to Maddi’s grave. He wondered if he had caused her to suffer more, by bringing her back.
The next morning, he returned to the grave.
His sadness at witnessing the death, and the intensity of his sorrow at losing Maddi, had passed, but still he mourned. He felt confident now, in his decision, and wanted to talk to everyone, especially Elise, about why he challenged the game engine and reality as they knew it. The camping trip would be a crucial opportunity to pass on his legacy of valuing family ties above all else.
- I was surprised that Fiona’s sadness that Maddi died lasted less time than everyone else’s, but I thought she would feel closer to her Triple Great by letting her goofball side shine more.
- Alexander went out to the grave after his sadness from “Witnessed Death” and “Missing a Loved One,” expired, and he got a confident feeling from mourning. He wanted to tell an unbelievable story, and wanted to chat with Elise.