To Rid of Pain

Brian Russsell
#Creative Short Story#Fiction#Poetry

The music alleviates

one to a place of depth only to elevate

salvation higher out of reach.

A hole to start; us liberated now teach

how to climb Hurt

to the ones not having heard

the songs that once made us fly.

A dauntless memory hangs dancing in the air above him, bouncing on the crescendos looping in his ears and diving into the clandestine torrent now leaving swift and without recourse from his mind. This recollection is brought from the music, it is one of sorrow — yet Bea didn’t know at all why. He gripped the nearby streetlamp as it played. A verse from a piano, breathing as if alive, reverberating inside his head. It moved and echoed in his mind like the cathedral its beauty once decorated.

A sharp ringing followed and drowned out the sound, with only light snowfall along the path to accompany his downward gaze of discomfort. Bea removed the music from his ears and heard the silence of winter under the lamp’s somber aspect. The memories of pain he once had now gone and a childlike curiosity towards the light made him smile. How lively the silence, how beautiful the snow, how sprightly the light, how kind… The present’s grounding, sharp pang plagued him, yet again, he did not know why.

He could feel the holes in his memory as if a sixth sense; the amnesia substituted his pain for confusion, yet all the hurt left in its replacement. He began within this sense of immense loss — to loose a stream of voiceless tears. He would feel the disappearance yet ascertain no notion of why. Shouldn’t he be overjoyed? A small part of his psyche felt elated. Yet the majority realized a new block in his heart, a void, a part taken now — the most new and most permanent of thoughts rushed to his head, “what did I do to feel like this?”

The horrified realization moved him towards the sidewalk proper. His legs walked like they knew the destination yet he did not understand the desire to visit. He had lost recollection of place — not just of memory. It seemed anything breeding trouble had left him. He came under a spell of intense analysis as he walked — infused in the terrifying conclusion — Bea had died on that sidewalk and a new soul now walks with the moving legs of the previous. The pace towards nowhere drove onward.

An alcove of stone portioned from a small hill grew closer. The cut segments created a sort of theater. However, one could not see it before passing the plaza of dormitory halls and basketball courts. Nor does it become visible without crossing a small stream trickling beneath a wooden bridge. Minuscule pallets of ice floated in the water which enhanced the reflection of moonlight.

“I didn’t know this could be so beautiful.” He heard a few birds take off into the night sky as he drew close in observation. A birch tree had several peeled back leaflets of bark. The sound of students sitting on benches or standing by talking on the sidewalks grew closer. He recalled the contents of his backpack — his writing pad would have to yield answers as to who he now was and who he replaced.

Bea had passed several conversations on his way to the stone steps. A loud man in gesticulation, a girl holding a red glow stick close enough for one to see her dilated disks for pupils.

His previous memories there began to strike him like hard blows to the back of his head. He hadn’t realized but he sat having followed his legs automatically to a place not so foreign to him. He had been there many times before.

“Why is it so hard to remember?” He whispered. “What happened to me?”

He glanced to the written words under the light of the moon. He read: “I’ve been here a week’s worth of nights. No one speaks to strangers. My melancholy only grows here yet I returned for a whole week. What do I endeavor to accomplish? This is not the place to find friends.”

The writing continued to detail several other excursions of loneliness and external pain — cafés, restaurants, walks at night, a dandelion garden. All the memories lost except in a faraway notion of vague familiarity. He placed down his writing pad and stared at the moon.

A woman ran towards him once he found himself falling in the hypnosis of its galactic station, how could such magnificence be so clueless to how beautiful it makes everything.

“Honey!” Her stranger’s arms wrapped around him and Bea grew a surprising discomfort. He pushed her away as a ringing maneuvered in his mind to such degrees as to deafen the world around him, not just in sound, but in pain. To experience hurt in the form of a hole in one’s memory is easily discarded, yet to have it blare like a flash of white when simply looking at a person — Bea didn’t understand why this woman confusedly gawked at him.

“You didn’t. I told you! — You didn’t!” Her exasperations met the ringing in his deafened ears. He saw instead the tears in her green eyes, the darkness of lamplight bouncing off her black chain-linked purse, and leather shoes. Her voice and yelling muted. And before his sensory experience could kill him, she stormed away in an anger so palpable and a sadness in such a state of despair, the people of the pavilion made way for her to exit. He held his head in confusion and stared at the ground unaware of what had been happening. Although he couldn’t hear it, the crack in her voice lingered upon the air for all those witnessing, it felt to them like silence does in snowfall. Why had his legs taken him to such a terrible place?

He didn’t know one could feel such pain for reasons he had no trouble forgetting. A man placed an arm on his shoulder. “You don’t know where you are, do you?”

“No. Who are you?” Said Bea. “It feels like I’ve lost everything.”

“They hit you with pain-x. It’s illegal. You must be in some deep shit.”

“I don’t remember her.”

“Buddy.” The voice held a smoke to it. “You ain’t going to remember a whole lot. Get used to it.”

The man and the crowd surrounding him departed as quickly as her provoked tirade began. Like he was a toxic gloom. Bea stumbled up and out of the amphitheater, with dozens of eyes following him as he did from afar.

“Poor guy.”

“Poor soul, you mean.”

“Erased all that made him.” Said a voice. “He’ll be in the looney bin from now on.”

“Who would do such a thing?”

Bea could not piece it together himself, for the pain that left him had at one time explained everything; nothing of his own determination could put together the gaps in his memory. Sure, one could abolish hurt, but when it entraps a person so fiercely, when pain coils together the pieces and the absence of them ambushes all that made one whole, a cascading effect on the memory occurs; his mind fragmented like the beautiful shattering of a piece of stained glass.

He wandered back out of the theater and into the darkness, ever towards where his legs would take him next until even his instinct did not know where to go.

← Back to Blog