Carlos Antonio Piñón

artist, writer, performer

If And When We Rise Again

by Carlos Antonio Piñón
April 26, 2012

What if this reality we live in is just a dream and everyone is just a different perspective of one person? What if you're supposed to get along with everyone, or find a way to make this subconscious work in order to find inner peace with yourself? When you come across a person you cannot agree upon, is that just a personality trait that your mind has deemed incompatible with your ultimate goal? In the heart of it all, isn't happiness our one true goal? And when you meet that person that you look eye-to-eye with and smile and hug, and everything feels right, is that what we each have missing in our lives and spend eternity trying to make sense of it all? Are we all searching endlessly to find happiness in a person who happens to be the lost other half of ourselves? And why, why must things be difficult? Why do we have doubts and fears and scratches and bumps and scars and obstructions that impede our chance to true happiness?

I think somewhere along the way, we all lost ourselves in the reflection of a broken mirror. I feel the seconds slowly drifting out of time. They're whispering to me, "Don't let it echo in vain... Never let it echo in vain." Yet the hourglass derides my very existence with its nefarious smile as the sand falls individually, one-by-one until there's nothing left except a cold, lonely emptiness.

Somewhere off in the distance, there's a faint, flickering light. It illuminates the sky with vacillation. And I just sit and brood under the willow tree and there's a current of music surrounding the meadow. Each tune becomes imbued with the oxygen around as the trees breathe every song. I close my eyes and imagine another world. Imagine that. A world of my own.

It's true. Perhaps I'm not the smartest person to live. In fact, I know that for sure. If I had known that much, I wouldn't have gotten myself into all this trouble. I just thought to myself, "Screw it. Do whatever you want just for the hell of it." But it was this kind of attitude that got me into trouble in the first place. I was fine with it, though, and that was the problem. I tricked myself into thinking the world was fine as it was when in reality, the world was falling apart.

Everything those crazy people yelling on Christian television said were true: the world was ending. I passed a man on the corner of the street with a sign that said, "Repent!" All the cars honked and everyone yelled. The flashing lights, the world was spinning. As I walked by the man, I fainted.

When I awoke from repose, I was in the arms of my grandfather. The atmosphere was placid and I found greater solace than I've ever experienced. He revealed to me, "Remember Tomas, the mirror has two sides. You just have to figure out which one is telling the truth." Then I flinched as I felt a splash of water on my face. My grandfather disappeared and I was in the arms of the man with the sign.

"Hey there, buddy, are you alright?" He scared the shit out of me. "What's wrong?"

"I thought—I saw—You were—What happened—Grandpa?" I was as lost as I was before I fainted.

"I'm not your grandpa, son. Why don't you go on ahead home? Home is where you need to be now." I didn't think I could be any more confused.

"Thanks for your help, man." And to that, I ran home.

Sometimes it's best to just stay out of things. Everything's going to be alright, you're going to be okay. Right now, it's about proving yourself to the world. Forget everyone's opinions, become the person you want to be.

I began to wonder about what my grandfather told me. Something about what he said sparked a fire within me. Something compelled me to find out what he meant. What an impediment, though, I have never met him. There was no apparent cause of death, however, speculation spread with brevity. Rumors tend to dissemble the possibility of murder, but prevarication leaves questions unanswered.

If there was one place in the world where I can find answers, it was at my grandmother's house. Somewhere inside were memories of my grandfather. I rummaged around finding only old photographs and crisp, useless documents. My grandfather's serious and determined countenance remained unchanged in each photograph. That's when I recalled one damp summer day when I was ten at my grandmother's house. My friend Matthew and I were playing hide-and-seek. It was my turn to hide so I ran as fast as I could. Sweet innocence, I found myself in the attic. Before me was an old wooden trunk. That was to be my hiding spot. It made all sorts of creaking noises as I slowly opened it when my grandmother stopped me. She yelled at me and told me to never open that trunk again. We were just kids. Matthew and I heard her loud and clear and never went up to the attic again.

Something from my grandfather must be in there. Something, anything at all. I don't know, but I had to find out. My grandmother had errands to run. She was to be out all day, so I waited until she locked the door and left. I walked up the stairs and the air thickened. I could almost taste the vintage air around me. There it was at the end of the hall. The trunk that stood before me just seven years ago.

The window was slightly open. A nice cool breeze flowed into the room and danced. A sudden shiver greeted me as I approached the trunk. This was what remained of my grandfather's life. All the years he spent roaming this world in one wooden trunk in some attic. Nothing more, nothing less. This was it. I stood frozen in time. Some say that time travel is impossible; however, the past lives within each of us in some way.

A long time had passed before I even touched the trunk. It stared at me. I don't know why. I just couldn't, but I had to. So I closed my eyes and impetuously opened the trunk with brevity. A single item wrapped in an aesthetic, silk cloth to keep fortitude. I unraveled the cloth to find a diary with large golden letters that simply read "Solace."

Carlos Antonio Piñón

Carlos Antonio Piñón is an artist and writer examining how people interact with words and language. His main interests include nonfiction essays, artists' books, and databending sonification. Carlos holds an BFA with an Emphasis in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Nonfiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago.