High Flying Birds

The Horizon Trilogy — Part 3

“You decide.”

Otto was not good with decisions, or at least that was one of his favorite recurring jokes. He would actually be the one to always bring ideas and decide things. Taren looked deeply into his eyes, waiting, longing somehow. He brought the drawing. They might not have the time. He still don’t know how much he’s ready to share.

“Rock, paper, scissors then.”

Otto loved this game. Would play constantly with his little brother over the years. Taren told him to just decide it. No more relying on luck alone. Otto stayed seated. That was the sign of decision. They would still talk about Spider Man movies, Japanese animation and indie comic books before Otto tried to light a cigarette. Unexpectedly, he had no more fluid on his lighter. That was unacceptable. This is the cigarette moment they have all nights they go a little bit deeper. Taren suggests looking for fire with someone else, his own lighter not with them at that crucial moment. Otto is reluctant, but decides to do it. They get up and walk till the hot dog cart. He lights the cigarette. They change to another bench. It’s getting colder. Still walking Taren starts his monologue. He started sharing some insecurities before hitting the story of how he and Julie broke up. Otto cried. The story is long and painful and Otto can feel it. Taren can feel it. They light a cigarette after another with the ashes of the later. Taren holds two finished cigarettes, one in both hands, like one of the writers of that funny movie they watched the other night.

They never laughed so much in public. Walking up the street after it they made up a story about how they thought the writers wrote that unstoppable funny script. They could only imagine the four writers sweating in a room, a little table fan, one wearing a sunglass over his glasses, another holding a cigarette in both hands and trying to write with it and throwing ashes all over the place, someone wearing an unbuttoned shirt having a bourbon while the last one yells “What’s up doc, like she’s bugs bunny”, and a producer in the back says “we’re not paying WB for that”. They did not even noticed the path they chose would not go through the park. Taren felt disappointed. Otto tried to redeem. That was literally impossible. They looked as they would fly away any minute now. They talked for hours, one day after the other. Otto thought Taren should keep drawing. Taren thought he would eventually, but it was too painful. And that is why Otto was crying. And that is why Taren was thankful. Words can be meaningful, and sometimes speak more than a thousand images. They knew how much every single word they said was powerful for them. How vulnerable they were to each and every single word. Otto’s favorite story would come into solution in words, not in plot. Taren’s favorite story would would come into solution whenever the eyes of the beholder would glimpse into oblivion and eternity.

Vulnerability is a risky choice for those of us suffering from anxiety. Hiatus had just begun and Otto could feel it in the air. It is not that he hoped they had closed the deal, for the apartment, I mean. It was actually closed. That’s how these things work. If you talk about it and make arrangements about using the kitchen, the separate bathrooms and the TV hours it is kinda what closing the deal feels like. But anxiety needs no aftermath to tackle. As soon as Otto sent a message requesting the bank account to transfer the rent money, and already having packed all his life into a big suitcase, several bags and even more boxes, every minute waiting for the answer felt like an eternity. He had things to buy. A bed and mattress, a desk and shelves, many many shelves. He could only buy them after he could tell them to deliver to the new address. That would only be possible whenever Otto heard from the guy.

Taren was also apprehensive in his own way. He was expecting the meeting that night to go right. He was also expectant for the therapy tuesday night, so he could talk about all the crazy things that happened so fast in the last three days of that season. The finale was small, cozy, and hit as a good closure would. They both had closure for the arc they were living, the things they were pursuing, so why is it that Taren felt like he was stuck in the same place? He did not know if he would continue to make those drawings and definitely did not know how or when to make them. Did he want to keep pursuing those compartments? To place his feelings and the remembrance of them over these drawings did sound like a good idea in not such a distant past. But now, he knew as much as nobody else about what it is that he was feeling.

Fear and anxiety need no aftermath to make us feel bad for our failures, for our hopes, for our expectant existence.

When by the end of the night Taren took the drawing out and showed Otto it felt miraculous. The first drawing, the one out of the ten he still doesn’t know if he’ll ever do. Those first eyes to see it on paper as it is. That was the first time ever he showed Otto anything he drew. That felt like a massive first thing among every first thing they were doing for the very first time. That felt like a miracle, a miracle that rose from the depths of them, felt like they were lost before, but now deeply found. It felt holy.

“You know you can count on me, right?”

They don’t remember who asked. It wouldn’t really make a difference to remember. Both knew they could count on each other. That’s what they’ve decided.

They also decided to go on hiatus. After the finale came and went, Taren had closure for his arc by telling her she wasn’t the worst person in the world but she could’ve done better, Otto had closure for his arc, by finding a place to live and the courage to go out in this new adventure. They did decide to not rush into a whole new season. Let people out of it. Keep living for a while without anyone to see it. They’ve decided to discuss plot points for the new season later, that would come after hiatus, perhaps, discuss casting, new characters, and new activities, they would be on each other’s corners by comparison. No more eleventh-hour bus home. Some things just felt possible in a different way. They could make it. In reality all that meant taking the toll of understanding that period of their lives was over. These first few months were gone and those two guys really struggling with it, they were done. They’ve done it. They became friends, developed trust, and stepped into their individual nearby future, individually but together, helping and supporting each other. They could move on. I mean, they should move on. What would hold them back now? And that did not mean having everything figured out, but definitely ready to leap into the unknown with some courage in their hearts. What would that be like?

They proposed a toast, three different times. Taren lit Otto’s cigarette with his own lighter, an electric-inducing zippo lighter that would have lightning beams instead of fire. They named it after Thor’s hammer, Mjollnir. Taren lit it and toasted it up. “To hiatus”, he said. Minutes later, Otto did the same with another cigarette. That was the season finale coming to an end, right there. They could feel it. The toll of moving forward and leaving behind the idea that someone’s watching, that somebody else could see themselves in their story as they could see themselves in so many different stories. As they could see themselves in Boyhood, Daytripper, The Oslo Trilogy. Otto toasted a third time, with the same second cigarette, moments before the last bus home came. The last last bus home. Now but not yet. “What if season three never starts?”, Otto asked “Will we be alright if hiatus never ends?”. The answer is they would keep on living. But none of them said that. None of them said anything else. They were listening to four minutes and midnight, two very weird songs, weirdly magical, as they left it all behind. They’ve stepped into it, the future, this time with no cameras and no one to watch it.

“We’ll be alright, regardless.”, Taren replied, after all. And that has been decided.

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