Face to Face with Evil

I know I’ve been gone for a while, I had to deal with some things I wasn’t able to deal with when I was constantly trying to work out this blog and all of the moving pieces of my life just weren’t moving. I started to see things that weren’t really there, and I entertained the horrors of my mind more than I ever had before. While I was gone, I would go to sleep just before the sun arose knowing that if I were to sleep through the night I’d feel the hands of time and terror clawing towards me. I could see it then, the face of evil. I awoke every morning to see that face, the visage of things I thought I had known, and never truly seen.

Growing up, I lived a privileged life. I never really knew how privileged I was until I met my girlfriend. I didn’t notice the tremendous work my parents made of keeping evil things away from me. I don’t mean evil like a Baptist mom talks about Harry Potter, or a Conservative father talks about Bernie Sanders. I mean true evil. The kind of evil that would see it just if I fell to my death, and if my Sunflower wilted and fell away.

I had never known evil and I had never truly faced it by myself. While I was away I came to terms with that. All the words I’ve offered about the sick and sad of the world washed away and I was overcome with memories of all the times I’ve told you to just smile through it and fight it. To keep the demons at bay I told you simply to offer up a good deed or a kind smile.

I was a fool, and I see that with crystal clarity now.

Not that I was a fool intentionally. I am a dramatic, and I thought that the shadows of my own day to day life were much darker and much meaner than they truly were because of my perspective.

When I started dating Sunflower, I was a much different man than I am now on the other side of this tunnel. I had a dauntless air about me, and I believed that the world could be cured by simple joys like holding doors open and paying for another person’s food. Those thoughts haven’t changed, but they’ve come with a new perspective.

During my absence, we considered getting a dog to keep us company. We went to the shelter and took a look around and settled on a calm natured girl, four or five years old that we were set to adopt. We had the pleasure of taking her out back and playing fetch for a while when we realized that she wasn’t all that excited about humans. She played just fine for a while, and then she’d turn her head away and follow her own path. After we left that day we talked about it in depth and came to the decision that we shouldn’t get that particular one. There were many reasons why not, but in my head the chief reason was because it’s history lent It more towards dealing with herds of farm animals and less with children.

I am at a place in life now where three of my best friends are happily married and toying with the idea of having children in various degrees. I thought of the future with my nieces and nephews and this calm girl, and I couldn’t guarantee that she would be okay with kids. I would hate to be an uncle that my nieces and nephews couldn’t see because our dog couldn’t handle them safely. That among many other things led to us eventually deciding against the adoption, despite how badly we wanted to carry it out.

It echoed to my heart as we reached our decision and decided to wait on a pet for a while. Getting an animal is at the top of my list for things to do in the new apartment we’ve found ourselves in. This place with triple the space than we are used to and the remarkable feeling of home means two things. I have accomplished what I set out to do five years ago, and I have found something that I was longing for since I was just a boy.

When I first moved out I made this silly promise to myself that I would continue to grow my living quarters until it was big enough to host my family and the girl I loved, a silly sentiment. Still, it meant a lot to me. It was one of many promises I’ve made to myself over the years, and after turning 26 I realized that I have failed many things I set out to do, but I’ve succeeded in the one that was most important.

I survived.

I survived to see the sunlight today and embrace the warmth of my sheets with a newfound love for everything.

I saw the face of evil, staring me down across my bar, then, I didn’t know. When the truth was revealed to me, I wanted nothing more than to burn it down and shatter everything it touched with a malice that rivaled its own. I was afraid and angry and all of those things kept me in the dark, they kept me fighting for joy, fighting for happiness, fighting for another day.

My anxious break came in the springtime when I passed into my 26th year alive and felt I had done nothing of importance, nothing I could truly earnestly be proud of. I had no books to sell, I had hardly a story to tell, but I did have something…

I wasn’t alone in the darkness.

The thing people don’t tell you about evil is that we all face it at some point. We all lock eyes with dragons or demons on evil stepmothers and it is our duty to press on and survive. Evil can kill you so quickly, when you’ve never seen it before.

Hell, I nearly did all the work for them. Lying awake in my bed and staring at the ceiling and wondering if I should just cut the cord once and for all would have certainly done the trick, but I have a lot more story to tell. I have a lot more life to lead.

The world isn’t as bright as I once thought it to be. In fact, it is dark and frightening. The dark nights make me think once more of my future nieces and nephews and what it will mean for them to be born and find this world, where evil reigns and hides in plain sight. I wonder what they will think when they see it for the first time. When my brothers and their wives raise their children, I wonder when they will find out the truth about that evil face.

I hope they never do.

I was raised well by my parents, and I knew what evil looked like. I just didn’t know what it looked like when it looked at me. I was raised well, and I believed that life was forgiving, and filled with laughter. It wasn’t until I saw that evil that I realized how wrong I was.

So it is my job to do my part in making sure that it is again when my nieces and nephews are born.

Because I am not living this life for myself anymore.

I’ll see you next week. -AT

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