Lock and Key
Written By: Miss Ashley D
My most cherished companions are what any right wing conservative would refer to as menaces; threats to our nation and her good intentions. They are artists. They are visionaries. They are entrepreneurs. Most of them are also believers. They want to believe just as bad as I, that we’re collectively taking a stand for something. That we will one day rise above the tyranny and oppression; that we will one day take back our freedoms, that we may be able to bring an end to the prohibition on free will.
I am wild about their monologues. I live to hear what they have to say. I’m a sucker for their fierce opinions. I turn several shades of red listening to their game plans. I live vicariously through their conquests and all too often their defeats.
I watch them screen their calls and double check their locks. I observe them as their eyes dart nervously in the rear view mirror. I feel their stomachs turn at the sight of a Crown Victoria. I have sat with them through their trials and tribulations; breakups, makeups, busts, piss tests, DWIs, rehabilitation, quitting drummers, accidents, mishaps, and the like. I have adapted to their preferred slang; I appreciate their desire to remain under the radar. I participate actively in their paranoia, though I always encourage them to keep pressing on, adamant that everything is going to work out, that everyone just has to relax.
Truthfully though, I am the one that needs a lesson in relaxation.
I am mostly unsure how I get wound up so tight. There have been no complicated pregnancies, no screaming infants, and no toddlers tugging on my shirts. There have been no long nights at the office. There has been little pain. I’ve never found myself to be grieving. I’ve never watched death become anyone I’ve truly loved. There has been no abuse I could not withstand. There has been no situation in which I was left without a choice.
I’ve never been held against my will.
I do enjoy imagining that I am no stranger to being held prisoner. That I am not unfamiliar with being kept behind lock and key; that day light is something I seldom get to enjoy. Most of my sunlit hours are spent peering out a six inch slot beneath a two inch thick piece of bullet proof glass, or else gazing longingly at my PT Cruiser parked beyond a black, steel, barred, security door.
I long for freedom as much as the next guy though it’s becoming increasingly more obvious that I have more of it than I could ever possibly use. I have the right to come and go as I please. I eat when I want. I get off when I want. I listen to what I want. I go where I want, mostly when I want. I’m held captive because I choose to be; both figuratively and literally. I could pick up tomorrow and be anywhere else in the world if I so chose. But I don’t. Or at least I haven’t. I could choose to let go of the relentless thoughts that keep me trapped inside my world. I could choose to give up on any of the number of fantasy lives I’ve created for myself. I could choose to follow the path of righteousness. However, I have yet to choose to be anything more, to do anything better.
Simply because I’ve been lucky.
I’ve been lucky to have avoided any major catastrophe. My most serious dilemma is trying to decide whether I have enough time to shower or masturbate before work. On a good day I get to do both. I have been lucky to not be caught red handed in the never ending series of felonies, misdemeanors, side jobs, projects, tasks, and other various dangers I participate in daily, nearly ritualistically.
I like to believe that I am a rebel with a cause, that I am fighting the good fight. I find great pleasure in the life style I live. I am shameless in my pursuit of light within darkness; I am a believer in the innate good buried however deep in the human spirit. I feel no guilt for the crimes I commit. They are nonviolent. They are indulgent. They are self serving and undeniably satisfying. Though I’m not entirely sure they have been victimless.
I take more advantage of my freedoms then I would like to admit. I am not bound or tied to anything or anyone. I am blessed beyond means to be able to delight in the spectacle that is life on Easy Street. I dance under star lit skies and on sticky barroom floors. I get to feel the grass between my toes. I am well fed and mostly clean. I drink water from plastic bottles with plastic tops and dispose of them in plastic bags. I have no complaints, really, if not for my own lack of appreciation of the indulgences in which I participate perpetually.
And when all of those pleasures fail me I turn to music. I hop in the car and turn the ignition. I push the volume knob way on up past eleven and go. I cut through the darkness; full speed ahead, screaming through the night, towards something else, something that satisfies if only for a moment.
I do quite often bathe myself in sunlight. I rejoice wide eyed and giggling through electric grins. I howl at the moon. I applaud foul notes. I spill drinks. I burn holes with cigarettes. And I saunter playfully through most of my days. For from within the thoughts that plague me and my cohorts the most blooms an unexpected beauty. It’s the kind of beauty that’s bound in laughter and shielded with faith; faith in ourselves and our pursuit of the fantastic. Faith that if we want anything bad enough we can fucking have it.
Faith that eventually, we’re all going to be just as free as we long to be.