Isolation, Chapter 6, the last chapter
Chapter 1: Here
Chapter 2: Here
Chapter 3: Here
Chapter 4: Here
Chapter 5: Here
“Telling, how?” the reporter asked.
“You need to understand, my high school friends had few goals in life, and those goals were to play videogames, party on the weekends, have a girl when a girl is wanted, and get a job where those things can remain unimpeded.” Josh counted on his fingers as he rattled off the list. “Marriage—for any reason—goes against the entire social structure of my culture. The look I got was ‘telling’ because he basically let me know that I was some sort of social and cultural freak. I mean, I already knew it was a little different, but I guess I had no idea.”
The reporter’s mind raced. He heard what Josh was saying, but it didn’t make any sense. Growing up the reporter had very few friends who wanted to get married right after high school (and they were mostly girls…). Some of his friends got married, but a majority didn’t. However, no one he knew abandoned society and moved thousands of miles away and basically leave the life they knew just because they didn’t get married.
Josh stopped and looked at his guest. “You’re probably thinking, why would a guy leave college and move to Alaska just because he wanted to get married?” The look on the reporter’s face told Josh that’s exactly what the reporter was thinking. “That’s a fair question. So almost everyone I knew growing up went to college and I joined them. But a funny thing happened when I got there. It seemed no one wanted to go out anymore, and by ‘out’ I mean ‘outside.’ All anyone ever wanted to do was stay in their dorm and surf the net, or play games, or chat on Facebook. No one seemed to care about interacting with friends, or strangers, or any other human—and certainly not nature.” Josh’s voiced raised as emotions came into play. “It was like I was surrounded by zombies, captives of electronic prisons.”
The reporter found himself nodding in agreement. “I see,” he said.
Josh continued. “But I could handle that; I’d been putting up with that for years, honestly. But what really surprised me, and to be truthful, what caused me to quite school and move here, was the reaction I got from total strangers when discussing life and the world around us. In class or even when out to eat, it seemed everyone wanted to know if I was ‘on-line,’ if I had a MySpace page yet, or if I had a character for Warcraft. I just got tired of it and I realized I didn’t want to live in that world anymore.” Josh sipped this tea. “So I withdrew. The irony is, I withdrew to one of the most open and boundless places on earth. You can’t see it now, but Alaska is almost limitless in its ability to amaze and inspire—it’s a perfect place for a poet.”
The reporter smiled back at this young man, someone who was willing to leave family, friends, and everything he knew, to escape. “Josh, I think I understand now. Not the choice I would have picked, but a brave one none the less.” He decided to ask just one more question. “Now, I’m almost done here, and I’ll thank you for your time. I have just one more question. Your poetry, do you think you’ll be sharing more of it with the rest of us, or will it forever stay locked in this boundless place?”
Josh turned his attention to the fire and stared at the flickering flames, obviously facing a decision—one he considered many times.
“You’ve heard,” Josh said finally, “authors say their writings are like their children.” The reporter agreed. “I don’t look at it that way. To me, it’s more personal than that. I don’t throw my words out to just anyone; I keep them close to my heart, from where they were born. It’s just too private, too personal. I still can’t believe I sent that e-mail to people I would never know.” He looked at the reporter. “Well, to people I never thought I’d know.” Both men lightly laughed.
“Two days ago, I was sitting here with my animals and Kilgrow, here,” the golden Labrador lazily raised his head at the mention of his name, “Kilgrow walked over to his bed and just stood there. He didn’t lie down, he just stood there looking at the place he sleeps every night. I don’t know if he knew I was watching or not, but that wasn’t the point. Finally, Kilgrow slowly turned, walked over to that corner,” Josh pointed to a different corner in the room. “He picked up his favorite dog toy and carried it over to his bed where he dropped it right in the middle. He then circled the bed three times before he laid down right by his toy and went to sleep.”
“Now,” Josh continued. “How in the world can I possibly express that incredible scene, that wonderful act of nature in words? And if I even could write that down, do you—someone who is thousands of miles away at the time—deserve to share what happened here between me and my dog? I don’t know….maybe. Maybe not.”
The reporter continued listening to this young man.
“You ask if I’ll ever release any more writings,” Josh said. “Right now, I don’t think I will, but,” a big smile crossed Josh’s face. “I’ll never say never. There are too many strange and beautiful things happening on this earth to keep me bound by the philosophy I now expound. But if I do change my mind, I’ll let you know. You’ve earned that.”
The reporter knew the interview was over. The two men exchanged pleasantries, saying things people say to each other when they know their shared time nears a conclusion. The reporter left Josh’s house and stepped into the black of noon, hoping his car would start and he could get to the airport to make his flight. As he settled himself into the driver’s seat the reporter looked around at the world of the young poet. Streetlamps and illumination from homes denied total darkness its victory outside. Before the reporter started his car to leave a thought came to his mind. “This really is a beautiful place,” he said to the bitterly cold air.
Thank you for checking out my little story.