Half-Man of Orlando

Not To Be Forgotten (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Of Lives Lost But
Never Extinguished

Every single one of those 49 people shot down in Orlando, Florida, last week, is now worthier remembering than their killer. And so are the other 53 injured. Any of them has now a meaningful story, to be told for generations. But not the shooter.
In fact, when, and if, we’ll manage to finally put aside the hurt and pain of the brutal massacre at the Pulse gay club, all we’ll have to inspire us it’ll be those lives cut short way too early; even their normality surpasses the murderer’s misguided path.
There’s an eerily prescient passage in Virginia Woolf‘s novel about a person who changes sex, Orlando: ‘Nothing can be more arrogant, though nothing is commoner, than to assume that of Gods there is only one, and of religions none but the speaker’s.’
Its deep insight into the nature of belief throws a surprising light on the known life of Omar Mateen and others like him. The fact that comes from a book with such a contemporary subject, despite having been published in 1928, may be more than pure happenstance.
On the other hand, Mateen’s not so well known life may be the other possible motif for the horrific crimes: self-hatred for the fact that he was likely a closet gay man himself. Visits to the club along the years as well as his digital track on gay date apps have attested to that.
The most important revelation, or rather, reaffirmation in the shooting’s aftermath, though, was the abundant grief and solidarity on display all over the world, even at places not exactly considered friendly to gays, such as Russia and the Bible Belt America.
The same world that doesn’t need us to write another digression about pain, or worn out protests against gun availability in the U.S. Thus the post below, which seems appropriate now, because it was written long ago and with absolutely no clear purpose than to express a feeling.
As such, it stands as our humble memorializing of such a tragedy, without even speculating whether it’ll do its part to soothe broken hearts. It’s a meditation on what always winds up happening to deranged killers like this one: utter, complete, and absolute oblivion.

The Shortcomer

A diminutive man is well aware of his stunted existence among giants. Yet, like the tiny droplet that hovers for a moment before the wave crashes back into the sea, he pretends to own the whole vast ocean by reflection. For an instant, all waters exist within his confines.
It’s not up to this half-creature the full arch of a liquid narrative, starting by the infinitesimal grain to its grand end (more)
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as intermittent shore. Instead, he’s forced to fill in the gaps his shortsightedness creates so to preclude any purpose about his aimless duration on this realm.
Life never adds up to a steady flow, but works in spasms, and he gulps at it almost as if refusing the next breath: he gasps and tries not to pay too much attention to it, but always fails his own heartbeat, drawing ever further from understanding what brought him here.
This decreasing man knows the melody of unpronounceable tongues, and yet insists in not hearing the wind speaking volumes. His is a failed leap into an empty pool: the cement bottom never completes his original intent, because at the last minute, he cowards and avoids the clarity of this final insight.
There may be other ones just like him, in fact, one too many copies of his have been populating nondescript lands, of which he knows nothing about but still abruptly interrupts his reveries of believing himself unique. He knows that all he’ll ever do has already been done by a better double of himself.
For that’s the nature of being half; the unquenchable pit inside denies him the plenitude of even being completely famished. There’s no bigger hunger than being starved for something, without even knowing what’s that longing about. And no amount of devouring will make up for feeling satiated.
The fulfillment of reaching out for someone will forever elude him; he may be at different places and different times, but without the lingering links of a common thread, he’s like a running convict, jumping from one submerged stone to the other, always on the verge of drowning.
There may be stories of extreme excess or supreme restrain; he’s foreign to either. Progress or renewal sit by the side of the road; the middle simple simmers and boils and winds up being smashed by intense mildness. This less-than-whole being will never escape the solitude of being nothing.
The dwindling man is drenched by self-loathing, and crushed by what he can’t bear about himself. He’ll be forgotten as fast as the rain falls, his vicious path quickly filled with steps of hope. His only memorable imprint will be the survivors left in the wake of his wretched wrath. Their lives will erase his.

One thought on “Half-Man of Orlando

  1. Colltales says:

    Thank you, Micheline. We’re all still reeling here and the U.S. Congress, as usual, offers no solace (too shamefully compromised with the NRA and gun manufacturers). Unfortunately, we’re bracing for the next one. Thanks for your input.


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