Your Happy Life: Day One

So. Your life is happy? Splendid! If anything is worth celebrating, surely it is a “happy life.” Go ahead and accept my congratulations. You deserve them! And not only that but add to them the implicit applause of the unhappy multitudes. They envy you, make no mistake. And what is more flattering than basking in the light of envy? Universal envy, no less? There is nothing.

Certainly, since your life is good, it is reasonable to assume you possess certain qualities. You aren’t impoverished, that much is beyond doubt. Happiness is rare in the slums, where the daily imperative to obtain sustenance more or less trumps the necessity to categorize the general quality of existence one way or the other. In poverty, you are directly connected to the material dimension. What concerns the starving person is food absent from the table. If you have the time to consider the matter and decide that you are happy, you must be free from material constraints.

Freedom from material constraints! How grand! Roll the words along your tongue. Oh, we will have much more to say about your happiness throughout this passing year, its days marked like gravestones by these celebratory pages. Pause a moment, nevertheless, to consider this important detail, your freedom from material constraints!

This means, of course, that you have or can easily obtain the things you need. This evening, a 24-year-old girl from Michigan falls from the doorway of a trailer house onto an unfamiliar expanse of sand. She needs to run, but her unused legs have forgotten their function. Run, she tells herself, as her hands clutch pointlessly at the blowing sand. She hurts. Oh God, she hurts. She hurts in places she’s hurt before, and in places she hasn’t. Her bare wrists and ankles are ringed with blood. Dark matter cakes the crotch of her unzipped jeans black. Run. Just fucking run. He will return. Colt legs alternate in a series of betrayals. Her mind screams. Finally, she moves, falls, anchors herself in the sand with her elbows and drags along her body which has lately blossomed into a prison of pain. The girl finds no city light in the dusk. It doesn’t matter, of course. Surrender means only one thing. All she needs is one house, a solitary porch marked by the miracle of a single porch light. A phone. A goddamned phone.

But not you, happy liver of life! You have no need to worry over a phone, or any other such material trivialities. You already have one, of course. You have all you need. Take a moment to congratulate yourself.

C. M. Bartolomeo, ©2018 Silent Motorist Media


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