Violence; violent flames against a violent rage. Violent tears streaming down Alex’s violent face. His facial expressions jumping from one place to another. Violence; an evening of pure, unadulterated violence. Alex couldn’t figure anything out. He was struggling to see and he could hardly breathe. Literally and metaphorically. His mind was choked. He was sat close to the area which, merely minutes earlier, he had introduced himself to as the latecomer to this most fiercest of parties. Fierce flames and that violent rage. His mind melted. Was this the heat or was it the fact that, currently, he had no idea whether his best friend, Bill, would see tomorrow? With no idea whether he would see the world again. Bill was in an ambulance, Alex was on a bench. Geographically they were close; the hospital was only 3 miles away. Yet Alex had never felt further away from Bill and he couldn’t bring himself to part himself from the bench. The solace and the safety of the bench across the way. Alex knew though that he couldn’t stay sat. But it was all he wanted to do. Procrastination from the most important of journeys. “One more minute” spoke Alex. “Then I’ll go follow him on”.
The good thing about procrastination from general life events is that it can almost pause time. If something is happening one place and you’re in another, it’s almost like you’re protected from any kind of harm. When Alex was at work, he thought, his house wasn’t on fire. Not to him, not really. The only thing happening then was what was happening in that moment. Work, small talk, typing. Live in the moment, that’s what endless Tumblr posts are always telling you, right? Live in the here and now, and the here and now sees Alex, sat on a green park, its grass a little long, his patience a little short with his head turned on the most tragic of backdrops. His house, no longer on fire, still gave off a warm glow. The police, the ambulance and the firemen were talking to neighbours, checking their breathing and searching the house. And as for Alex, he was sitting. On a green park, it’s grass a little long. Patience wearing thin, knowing soon, he would need to leave this moment of his and travel to another moment; a moment that may cause serious, crippling pain. Emotional pain and physical pain. This was a moment that would hurt him but a moment that was worse for his friend. Although Alex didn’t want Bill to be hurt, the ongoing, trudging pain he could be feeling is much worse than the other option. The option that he wasn’t feeling any pain. The option that the pain was over and he had, painlessly, effortlessly entered another room: death. Suddenly Alex hoped for conscious pain. He hoped for agony because if there was this, there could be ecstasy. The ecstasy that Bill was alive, he was feeling pain and he was fighting pain. Alex was having most evil of thoughts for the most sympathetic of reasons. Whilst right here, in his own world, nothing could hurt him and these thoughts were helping. As this irony was pouring over Alex’s thoughts a voice came crashing upon him.
“Alex?” called a name from close to the house. “Alex, we’re going to need to speak to Bill’s parents” shouted a medic from beyond Alex’s right shoulder. “Bill is alive but he’s in a critical condition. We need to speak to a parent or family member urgently. Do you have a number we can call?”
Here was the moment Alex didn’t want. There was no more hiding from this situation. His house was a crumbling mess, echoing his life, and his best friend was, well, he didn’t know how his best friend was. Not really. “Critical” wasn’t really an update, more an urge to start moving. This urge was what Alex didn’t want. Procrastination is the best way to ignore the feeling that life was about to happen.
“Alex!” fired a scream that edged closer. “I know you’re in shock but we need you here. His family need to know”
The last hour that Alex wanted to keep between him and his neighbours, like a naughty, dirty secret, was about to become someone else’s problem too. Their now was about to become something else entirely. The inflation of their day was about to be let down with a quick pin-prick from a reality that would change everything, forever. And in that realisation, Alex turned and handed his phone over to the one remaining paramedic and stood up. “Ben’s parents are, well, they aren’t with us, but you can get hold of his sister, she’s in my ‘recent contacts’ list – Sarah”
Alex could see the phone call taking place, he could hear it. He could hear the pain it was producing. The white hot embers were no longer in his house, but instead in his life. His life and Bill’s life. And the lives of his friends and family, something that would last a lot longer than today. Now they needed facing up to.