When we lost our smile

We laid on top of the hotel bed that autumn dusky evening. We didn’t even bother pulling off the large hotel-caliber comforter.

Our dressy clothes hung eagerly in the closet. Downtown lingered outside the wide smoked window which stared at the dimming sky and the enmeshed downtown skyline.

We laid on top of the comforter.
Tired, spent.

We stared expectantly at the ceiling as if it would unfurl legions of answers or insight. It was a high fancy hotel ceiling.

Mentally, we readied for dinner. My birthday lingered. Another. The heated excitement of our evening plans simmered in the air conditioned room.

In our own backyard, downtown L.A.

You laid next to me. Furtively but apprehensively, you told me something in the dim seclusion of our room far from the cement beach below.

You told me you were scared.

You told me you felt something bad would happen. Something bad was waiting in the wings. You sensed it, the foreboding. When you told me this, the timorous tone of your voice scared me too. Your intuition frightened me for what I did not know or foresee.

You had a dark feeling of gloom. We stared at the high ceiling which didn’t seem as high anymore. It was descending on us, wasn’t it? It descended steadily in tandem with the suffocating sense of mushrooming doom you felt. The oppressive fate of life was squeezing, encircling you, but you imagined that it was only us who were stricken.

I wanted to tell you, but did not.
It’s all of us.

Those who dare to be unfortunate enough to taste the enveloping soupy darkness are merely experiencing the determined jaws of fate clamping down. Just exactly as you felt that evening four years ago.

You sensed something evil waited in the shadows. An ominous caller.

I had news for you I didn’t utter.

The bad always awaits. And most frightening is to realize it has endless reserves of patience. It outlasts the most patient of us.

This is the way it is. The way it is written or etched. Sometimes this misplaced sense of fatalism expresses itself in a cunningly inexplicable sensation that coats your soul like a dusty layer of sediment. Of course bad is going to happen. You are most keen to this fact when you are too happy for your own good. Life’s counterbalance to joy is suffering. Fate is cold steel. It evokes dread in the happy, for it reveals the mirror image of our End.

You told me you felt something bad was on its way.
Because it was.

How much longer did you expect the smiles to last?