Black as The Hudson

In the dark of night, things take on a different look to ’em. Streets you frequent throughout your day all but upend on ya, and the next thing ya know you’re in a whole other neighborhood. Christ, maybe even a whole other town. Assuming a fella walks that far. I’ve known a few who have, and not a one of ’em has ever come back.

It’s nights like these that make a man crazy. I dunno if it’s the moon, or something in the magnetic field… maybe that’s all just ol’ wive’s tales. People got a way of needing things to make sense to ’em, so they make shit up. Look at God. People were so certain He lived in the clouds. All the ol’ paintings show it — He’s just sittin’ there in his throne, nothin’ but clouds and blue sky far as the eye can see. But what happens? Man builds the airplane. Man takes to the clouds. There ain’t a sign of God to be found.

I’d say Atheists owe a great debt to those Wright fuckers. Really gave credence to their cause. But that’s neither here or there.

My point is: Things are the way they are. No justification need be prescribed. On nights like these — real muggy, sweaty nights, the kind that make ya feel like you’re walkin’ through wet clay —  they got a way of gettin’ to people. I’d imagine it’s what depression feels like. I wouldn’t know. I don’t have it, personally, but I know a few cats who do. It’s in the way they walk, y’know? Like they ain’t even comfortable in their own skin, like they got molasses in their veins instead of blood.

Miserable fuckers, those types. They don’t stand a chance. I mean Hell — no one will give ’em a chance. It’s the way people get brought up. Instead of fixing problems, avoid ’em.  They don’t get hired any where, they don’t get paid any attention to. Poor fuckers can’t even get laid — unless they’re payin’ for it, and how can you without a job? They get treated like lepers ‘cuz every one is so damn sure their problems are contagious.

Listen to this: I knew this guy by the name of Simon. He had it real bad. Now, I never really been around that kinda stuff until recently; never grew up knowin’ any body with a disorder like that. So I meet Simon, and just can tell he’s constantly living through the worst day of his life. It’s a little odd, so I ask him.

“Simon,” I say. “What is it? What causes that shit, man?”

“Do you ever find yourself not thinking about anything in particular?” He asks me. “Like your brain just switches off?”

“Yeah. Plenty of times.” I laugh, but he don’t join in.

“I don’t have that luxury.” His shoulders slump, like he just lost a bet or somethin’. “Not a moment goes by in which I’m not thinking about something, and over thinking it, and over thinking it. It takes me three hours to fall asleep, my mind races so much.”

And here’s the worst part: Simon goes on to tell me about this study. Turns out people with depression get caught in REM sleep. They should be going through the full cycle like the rest of us, but they don’t. Their brain just lands on REM and doesn’t move. Just so happens that the part of the brain that switches on during REM sleep is the part that stores all of man’s innate fears and worries. So even when they go to sleep, people like Simon don’t get any relief.

Now, I ask ya: What’s the sense in that? Where’s the reasoning?

Simon couldn’t find any, but he looked real hard. Most nights he’d take long walks, wind up lookin’ down into the Hudson. He’d just stare into that black glare for hours. That’s what he called it, the “black glare”. He was a real poet that one. Coulda gone far if he’d just been a little more stubborn.

Any way. It’s late one night in July, and that sticky heat moves in. Simon does his thing, and winds up at the Hudson. Only, he doesn’t stop walkin’. He hops the rail and drops right into the water. When the cops found him, they discovered he’d strapped one of them weighted vests to his chest. No sign that he tried to unfasten it. He just welcomed it.

Some folks ask me the same question whenever somethin’ like this happens: Where’s a guy like that end up? I just shrug and tell ’em the only thing I can think of. I tell ’em guys like that end up where the rest of us do: Up in the clouds with God.


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