I don’t know why I am so tired today, and yesterday, and before yesterday. I will be tired forever, seems like, until I die and become an exhausted shade, like the ones in Odyssey Book 11, in the Underworld or is it the Overworld or the Beyondworld, where Odysseus meets up with them and experiences their immense exhaustion, sadness, cynicism.

Lykaon Painter: Odysseus encounters the ghost of Elpenor in the marshes of the Otherworld; Hermes Psychopomp stands right

He journeyed to see them knowing well what probably awaited him: the first one who greets him, though, is unexpected – he didn’t even know this man, his friend and companion, was dead—he’d lost track of him, and now here is his shade, asking for burial. Sometimes you just lose people, I guess: they slip away from you into the stream of their own lives, and you follow a different current and don’t look back. At moments you might wonder to yourself, where did they ever wind up? what were our last words exchanged? but you don’t know the answers and you give them up to the worldwind.

Sometimes they are friends you were quite close to in times past—good times, when you ate and drank and talked philosophy with one another until 2am, and placed your hand on the carpet and asked them, in all seriousness, “why is there something instead of nothing?” and they told you hey, I don’t know but maybe all the questions you’re asking will someday become a soft cushion for your head, and you recoiled in horror. But now you forget all about them—they slipped away or you slipped away, and god what a stupid conversation.

And now I think I know why I’m tired a little bit, because maybe each time you put energy into a friendship only to have them slip away it takes a little energy away from you, a little love goes with them, and you forget about it but now it’s gone, and you are a little less happy and open with the next person you meet because look what it got you.

Or no, maybe it’s just that I’m so far behind the others who have been really realizing their potential that it’s easier to hide and say I’m tired instead of admitting I’m lazy and potential-averse, in fact I am moving in the opposite direction of the sphere of the universe and dragging it so it slows down and creaks and seems like it’s actually going to turn backwards like planets wandering around the ecliptic

NASA image of asteroid with 6 comet-like tales (CC License)

At any rate, you lose people as you fly, they peel off like strings of sparks from your comet’s tail, and when you’re young you don’t worry that much because hey, there’s always someone new to meet coming up, but then there isn’t, or the stream thins out and you are alone a lot these days

Then you go to the Beyondworld for a visit and someone greets you and you realize you’ve lost a lot of people, really a lot of good ones, and they’re all lost in fact and are surrounding you asking for things, asking for a bit of blood from you. They have been hoarding the energy you shared with them for centuries but if you’re going to hear them at all they will need more of it and fast. So you open your veins because you want the stories, but instead they give you questions and bad advice, because they’re your own shades and doubts, so you are suddenly open-eyed. You realize they are the ones who left you, who let you down, and gave you bad advice, that is why they are here in the Overworld in the first place, and they miss you. Your mother can’t hold you, she’s just a figment of your distress, and so you start pushing through, trying instead to find the big celebrities rolling rocks and reaching for water and fruit, but they’re too busy to tell you anything; you look into the distance and the Trojan War is still going on. You look a little further, but the heroes aren’t there. You had really hoped to ask them some important things, but they just don’t hang out here; hey, Herakles! no, that’s just a shade of him, and he looks pretty upset, stalking around in terrifying, terrified, mesmerizing armor, and all he can say is, don’t.

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