I went to Hell for the weekend. Not a break exactly, more a sort of accident, a collusion of circumstances and I found out something interesting. Hell comes in many shapes and forms, discovering and magnifying your fears, whatever they may be. Mine, it seems, are to be near invisible. To walk along familiar streets, increasingly unseen, until being lost is no longer a matter of geography but merely circumstance.
All things are foreign: the play will start without you, the meal has been eaten and Hope has gone to bed, until those lines I treasure “Only connect” become unrecognised. Walking on through the day, a subject of minimal indifferent courtesies, you are a refugee wandering in eternity: a man who sees people smiling at each other, bending down to fuss over dogs, before collecting themselves to pass another stranger, knowing the man they always pass is you.
“And what did you do ?” some voice asks you, and you realise the voice is just yourself, trying to remember some act or thought you did. or had, which might engage the hearts of others. It is a twentieth century death, a modern dissolution, only possible in a world of no community, where personal space is the new gold, and invading privacies a global crime.
The wilderness is a state of mind, and you are free to roam it unmissed and unlamented. One of the undead whose movements are not a matter of record and whose epitaph remains unsought for and unstated.