Where are the pickles? Why have you taken them away from me? They were here and now they are gone. I wasn’t done. Am I done? Are we ever really done with the pickles? Has the world run out of pickles? In the beginning there was enough pickles, but then somewhere along the way, we ran out. Is that my waitress, or is my waitress me? It’s cold in here. Why am I so cold? My jacket fits me, mother. Was it you that bought me this jacket? Was it you who knew how cold how I would be? How could you have known? Or was it father? The father of us all. I drove through the desert for three days and you were nowhere to be found, father. Why did you get up out of your easy chair and walk out of the house? What were you looking for, father? Were you looking for pickles as well? There is a warmth that runs from eternity and into the present, and now that warmth is here, but not in me. It’s in my pastrami sandwich. My pastrami sandwich contains all the known heat in the universe. The roof of my mouth is on fire. I am cold and yet I am hot. Is this the inferno? Is this the journey I must take? Inside of myself, through my mouth, around my scorched palate? Why don’t they listen to me? These waitresses? How long have they been here? Have they been here all of their lives? Are they deaf? Can’t they hear me? I asked for decaf and yet they gave me regular. Now my heart is racing. There is a poison in me. Why don’t they listen to me? Is there something in them that refuses to believe? Caffeine takes me away from myself. One sip and I can feel the earth spinning on its axis. Each passing second consumes the next until I am left like a child. Why must I wait? Is this hell? This anger destroys us. This anger is not mine. It’s yours, father. You never wanted to wait for anything. Waiting for pickles. Waiting for a green light. Where is my car? Where did I park my car? Do I have to drive home in order to get home? Is this traffic a sign? Was the world here before me, or did I create it just like an egg cream soda? That egg cream soda looks good. How do I get one? Do I have to ask for the things I want, or do the things I want ask for me? Here come the pickles. They come to me in a wooden bowl. The empty space is what creates the bowl. And then the empty space is filled with pickles. There is an empty space inside of me, but it does not create me. This empty space inside of me is not filled with pickles. Until now. Now I will be filled with pickles. Maybe then I will be whole, mother. Once the pickles are inside of me. Is that what you meant when you told me to finish my supper? Is it only once we are done with supper that we can be who we are truly meant to be? Is this who I was supposed to be, father? Was I supposed to be someone else? Am I really Terrence Malick? Or is Terrence Malick really me? Is this feeling in my stomach a fullness or indigestion? Must I always use the restroom in public? Are these turds I feel inside of me? Where do these turds come from? What are they made of? Are they made of pickles? Or is it too soon, father? Are they made of something else? Is what I feel inside of me yesterday’s lunch? Or is it something I ate long ago? Please answer me, father. I long for your voice inside of me. I wait for you, father. I will be in the restroom. Sitting on one of those things you pull out of the wall, that goes over the seat, the paper thing, for sanitary purposes. I don’t know what these are called, mother. There must be a name. We name the things we do not have names for. Who invented those things? And this person, whoever it was, were they received in Heaven? Did you greet them, father? Did you reach the shore of life and take their hand and lead them into the light?
April 15, 2013
Terrence Malick at the Delicatessen
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