The line was endless, and the waiting was killing me. I stared down at the concrete sidewalk beneath my feet, thinking of the men that had shed their sweat and blood and maybe even tears to turn the earth gray. Such men no longer exist. Such soul has been lost, and we’re drifting now, in search of something, something that remains out of reach, and the line grew longer. We moved up a bare inch.
I turned and looked at the sea of faces behind me. Some people looked familiar. Their skin paled under sunlight. We all lacked that vitamin D, so consumed to couch-surf, wrapped snuggly in our fictional worlds, but reality’s a bitch. We can’t escape our sickness, so we stand on line. We tip our toes, trying to catch a glimpse of that seat on the stage so far away, but the play has been written out. Our heroes are dead, and we are lost to chaos, hoping that someone will break our fall. But we’re pushed under. It’s amazing that we can still breathe.
My body was so weak. My feet were weights to hold me in place as my head bobbed. My arms felt like strangers. I shifted forward another bare inch. My ears begged for speech, but it was only fed silence. My mind worried, consumed with the what-ifs. What if the chair was never filled? What if it remains empty? The last guy knocked it over. What if he broke it, and what if he did? Were we able to come together under different circumstances, or was this the end of the line?
The party of men and women in gray suits pulled up along the curb. They exited their vehicles and waved their hands in the air like they were royalty, but they claimed to be one of us. Their eyes sparked with hidden agenda. Their wide smiles slipped over lies. They walked the line, shaking hands, reaching for gratitude, but my hands shoved into pockets as they walked by. They didn’t blink an eye. It was all a charade for them right up until they approached the chair, but none of them could take the stage. With one step, they turned to dust, and we still waited. I’ve been waiting a long time.
I’ve been waiting so long that I don’t remember who I am. I vaguely caught a glimpse of a child smiling, but children now seem so pacified. I barely remembered a little girl asking a million questions, and maybe then, there were answers. Now, there were too many damn questions. There was also that angry voice saying that you are not good enough, and maybe we’re all plagued with doubt. If we knew who we are, we wouldn’t be waiting for the void to be filled, inching across the concrete of life in search of another step, hoping to not fall through the cracks. I have fallen many times, and I still grab at the ghost of who I was. But I’m not her anymore.
After what felt like eternity, I made it to the stage. I looked up at the looming chair. It was so empty, so broken, and yet, here sat our fate. And nobody could take it in their hands. It just lingered as I sidestepped around toward the back, following the others out in search of answers. But there are no answers. We are dishing out the bottom of the barrel, and all that’s left is crud. Next time won’t be any different as I take my place at the end of the line. If only things did get better, but we remain wrong. And the chair stays empty.