I wonder if it was like this right before Jonestown. There must have been something driving them all to believe, to flee south. To hide in the dank and buzzing jungle. Was it the impossible war in a jungle on the other side of the world? Had they seen the end in the eyes of the newest generation? Were the eyes of their children going dull and dead, irises gobbled up by the blackness of pupils as the flashing box mixed sex and death within an hour, on the hour?
I am a product of this era. I can’t possibly know for certain. But there is a feeling, at the bottom of my heart. Its funny to think of the phrase, “from the bottom of my heart” as something endearing, loving. Because I can tell you there is a feeling at the bottom of my heart, and it is neither endearing or loving. It is dread. It is knowledge that has yet to be understood. There was this Bible VHS my brother received as a gift for his First Communion long ago. It was an animation about Adam and Eve’s misfortune. I distinctly remember the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was colored like a peach and shaped like a heart. As a young girl, the video scared me and I kept a wary eye for that tree. During the worst of my fever dreams, Eve’s lips took the same bite from the bottom of the heart-shaped fruit over and over again. My mind still sometimes crumbles to that image when I’m at my sickest state.
Every now and then, a new clamor of voices inform us of the End and how close it is. And for a few moments on their predetermined dates, we all get a little nervous. At the bottom of our hearts. How are we ever to really know who is right or wrong? We look to science to quell our “irrationalities”, but we aren’t completely satisfied until we see the coming dawn without fanfare. When my mind whirred with thoughts of mortality and other stressors, I found that doing mathematical equations soothing. Granted, I was never an expert at it, but the fact that there were set answers, dependable and unwavering results, saved me from all the other uncertainties in my life. I knew for certain if I was right or wrong in my results. But the aches always managed to come back.
There are voices murmuring again. With the unrest in faraway countries, spiritual leaders giving up, revenge surging through the channels that used to champion justice, and the general havoc of human existence, it is surprising the shouting hasn’t begun. A milestone of End Days predictions has passed and we all laughed as the sun rose and fell and rose again around the world. Had the world ended, New Zealand surely would have informed us all before the day had even started in these parts. It didn’t, but the unease remains.
The world did end with Jonestown. It ended with the Mayans. It is ending right now. And it will end tomorrow. The world is ending everyday. The moment your eyes dilate and the weight your chest pushes out that last breath as you evacuate your bowels one last time, the world ends. The moment we are born, we are decaying, we are dying. The moment the universe exploded to life, it began destroying itself bit by bit. Our lives ending are but invisible quarks in protons in the atoms of the universe’s final breath. It is this knowledge that lies at the bottom of our hearts. This is the cause of dread.
"I love you from the bottom of my heart."
I love you from the place of dread, from the place that holds incomprehensible knowledge. I love you sincerely, genuinely, honestly. I love you from that place where I feel the end of the world. I love you from the place I fear death.
We’ve been talking about Jonestown lately. I keep coming back to this thought.