King Of Wishful Thinking
Today was the day, he was sure of it. He could feel it in his very bones, and as he knew the bones were a truer source of knowledge than just about anything. Experience hadn’t borne this out, but his bones kept telling him it was true, and they were quite convincing. So, in short, he was hopeful, and he greeted the day with a smile and a pair of tightly closed eyes. The better to preserve the surprise of it actually being the day, of course.
Navigation with tightly-closed eyes was not an issue. He knew the layout of his cave like the back of his hand. Better, in fact; the inside was quite dark and so particular details about his hands – or indeed any other body part – were a little hard to make out. But the point was clear, he knew his cave well, and so tip-toeing through it of a morning was light work indeed. He skirted little mounds of rocks and equally little mounds of things that were not rocks. Clothes, baubles, trinkets; various ritual paraphernalia and other sundries. His was a packed cave. Without upsetting a single thing, he made his way towards the mouth of the cave, and to what he hoped would not lie beyond it.
Feeling the cool air on his face did not fill him with hope, nor the gentle warmth that could only come from a rising sun. The possibility that today might not be the day started to tickle the hind-quarters of his brain, but he stomped the feeling back down with the jackboots of enforced certainty. Today WAS the day, no matter what the day itself might deign to think. Gritting his teeth, he stuck his fists on his hips, thrust his pelvis forward – the better to confront anything, as a rule – and opened his eyes. This proved to be a massive, massive mistake.
Today was not the day. Today was clearly not the day. The evidence was overwhelming. It assaulted his eyes and in turn the brain behind them with just how overwhelming it was. He tried desperately to assert that maybe today was still the day and it was just so awesome a sight that his feeble mind was overcompensating by fooling him into thinking it wasn’t, but this didn’t take, and his resolve collapsed. Hands falling from his hips, pelvis resetting to its original position, he slumped.
The world still existed. Despite all his best efforts and most fervent wishes, it was still there, and there was something beyond his cave. And he had tried so hard, too. He had made several very generous placatory gestures to the outside world in the form of votive offerings – given on the understanding that, if they were acceptable, the outside world would go away. Clearly they had not been any good, but that didn’t explain why any of his other techniques had failed to bear fruit.
Had his faeces daubing on the outer wall of his cave not been artistic enough? Had his daily chants of oblivion failed to compel existence to simply cease? How had ritualistically banging his head against the easternmost wall of the cave not brought everything beyond that wall to a timely end? It just didn’t make any sense to him. He yelled as much to the uncaring and still-there sky. It silently ignored him, as it always did. The waves washed up. Mockingly. He shouted at them too but they continued to wash regardless.
Eventually he got hoarse. His voice and his will were both broken. Sagging against the mouth of the cave he looked out on the offensive, tangible world with sad eyes before slouching back into the darkness. Tomorrow. It would definitely be tomorrow. He still had a few tricks up his sleeves. Or at least he would, once he had made sleeves. That was step one. Then, most certainly, it would be tomorrow. That would be the day.