Collection of Bricks

by Joshua Belliel about a year ago in humanity

Take your time and grow.

Collection of Bricks

He has collected a million items from a million lives. As he grew and as he grows, he's bouncing and drifting from identity to identity. Thinking he is lost, wondering which pit stop will be home, he hits it: He is comprised of all. A Frankensteined soul. The thought of belonging to a particular era dissolves and the next era is built like a brick wall, constructed with unconscious patience. Take your time. Memorabilia from lives before this one, and surely before the previous take on new meaning and provoke new thought. What interests him today will surely be collected and hung above the fireplace. It will be researched and it will be loved. Formed into a brick and placed carefully with the others. He is learning. He is growing. Urges and desires from past lives, just now understood, still hang in the air. He spent all his time in last year's body attempting this understanding. Only now, with a new self and fresh urges and desires, does he understand those of yesteryear.

The camera clicks while a flash of lightning strikes his subject and illuminates the alleyway around him. A self-portrait taken from the reflection of a persistent puddle made of last week's rain. The photo was no extraordinary shot, but he felt the need to capture the image since he had been staring at the damned lonely puddle for over ten minutes while the thoughts of his collection filled his mind. A perfect cover photo for his portfolio. "Jackson J. Morrow: Collection of Bricks", he whispered. A dull smirk arrived his face. He replaces the lens cap and puts his camera in his bag and decides to walk home.

Home. To Jack, the term is overused and rarely deserved. It has become a place-holding title for the wooden box where people place their belongings and lay their heads. Home to Jackson is the feeling he has spent a lifetime trying to obtain. Recreation seems to be the goal, though he is unsure if home belongs to the list of once-owned emotions. Comfortable, sure, but true contentment built from love and happiness, grace, beauty, and passion, he thinks not.

The walk back to his drab little apartment is slow. Jackson lacks the strong desire to return "home" like many have after a long day of wandering. He takes his time. The golden hour is Jackson's favorite time to walk the streets. In those magical moments when day first starts to make contact with night, he feels the day's ambitions lessen while night picks away at all obligations. The sun is setting and the mood is grand. As he passes a liquor store and begins to round a corner, he notices Johann, an old flame from his high school days, beautifully laughing on the patio of some bar. Johann was Jack's first love, in fact. A love that was incredibly effortless and seemingly permanent. After all, the love was true. Being in a less than sociable mood and not up to acquainting himself with her date, he decides not to say hello. She seems to be happy. Johann was always good at wearing that mask—happiness. With hands in pockets and eyes at the ground, Jackson sneaks past the amused couple and rounds the corner onto Hudson street. Jack has lived on Hudson street for just over six months. As somewhat of a rolling stone, he likes to change his living conditions frequently, allowing little moss to gather on his doorstep.

Jackson is not antisocial by definition, though he does tend to spend a great deal of time as a devoted patron of deep thought. An act which does not allow for frequent distraction. Nonetheless, he does enjoy good company. Friendship was far from scarce in his younger years. These days, the requirements for true friendship are seemingly unachievable as the opportunity for new friendships have presented themselves with little luck. Romance is the real target in Jack's sights. That rare feeling of true love does belong to that list of once-owned emotions. What he wouldn't endure for another chance at the exquisite beast; another fist in the good fight. Seeing Johann today sent a bit of fire into Jackson's soul. Of course at first thought, he remembered nothing but greatness. Then thought did its digging and brushing to uncover the memories of the bad times. What did I do wrong? What did I do right? What could have been? Questions that will never be answered truly now, as too much time has passed. Memories and answers would be distorted. There is one thing Jackson does remember just fine, though: Johann lent her body and soul to another man. An act which delivered a truly crushing blow to mind, body, and spirit. Thinking of his first encounter with infidelity, Jack remembered something he had read long ago in a book of poetry left behind by his grandfather: "When a man of competitive nature is cheated on by a woman, his sadness is met with a ferocious rage. A glass of whiskey with ice. Some men do not care too much for the taste of whiskey. Those are the men who allow the ice to melt. A glass of water with whiskey. Beware of such much and drink quickly." Jackson never truly liked the piece; it didn't make much sense, but he remembered it anyway. He did understand that feeling of sadness meeting with rage, though. That short-lived self-pity is quickly replaced with anger. Anger for Johann and the man to whom she lent her body and soul.

Upon entering his apartment, Jackson is struck by a sentimental feeling. Sentiment toward what precisely, he could not explain, but the feeling was strong. After he places his things on the floor he sits down on his tattered love seat and stares down at, or rather through the cluttered table in front of him. A silence crept into the room like a slow breeze carrying a heavy scent. A silence so silent his ears began to ring. Wait—no, the clock is ticking. A heart is beating. Sounds you only notice if you are searching for them, or the room is this silent. Jackson couldn't help but think of past love as he does frequently. The thoughts are always accompanied by a sharp, pulsing bloom of regret. Not regret for things he did or did not do throughout these love affairs, but regret for their end. A loving affliction always welcomed, for, alongside these regrets, the love lives on and can be carried with the tide onward into the next era.

Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'