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  • Ursula Leichenberg

Vol 4: A Melancholy Interlude

How does one stare into the void? What do you do? When everything stretches into nothing and there is both silence and screaming at the same time? A cacophony of voices rings out, all different, yet also familiar. And the never-ending repetitiveness. Reaching a hand out for help, and only sobbing faces staring back, stretching their own arms out, helpless, unable to prevent the torture everyone is facing. Sounds like hell, right?

In a way it was. Waking up to see the pointlessness of your own existence, living the same moments again and again. Always with the haunting knowledge that nothing you did mattered. Writing a word on a wall over and over. Faces changing, yet some of them repeated, as if the world decided all of them needed to look the same. Hard to recognize friend from foe, and yet some of us made connections and bonds during this crazy time, as if our shared misery could somehow provide real friendships.

No one knows why the day repeated. We chalk it up to the varied mysteries that surround our home. The Plane-walkers, a hell-mouth, aliens, tsunamis, whatever could cause these phenomenon that we all see regularly. Bishop's WTF couldn't encompass all the enigmas within Los Santos. At the same time, it's often only one or two of us experiencing the strange occurrences, not the entire city. That's what made this one unique.

The first couple of times, we figured it was just a bad day. We'd had them before. We all knew the tsunami could sweep in at random times and upend our lives. But then it kept happening. No "I Got You Babe" accompanied the endless pattern of waking up in our beds, and yet, it became Groundhog Day for so many of us.

So we did what anyone else would do. We tried to make the best of it. We talked, we laughed, we danced. We punched out locals, knowing there was no consequences. Law enforcement came by and chatted with us and often times ignored the rampant crime going on because no one knew if anything we did mattered or could be proven. Many ran off in hopes that the further from the Alta Street apartments they got, the better it would be. But the eye of the hurricane was where the most passion was, where the people were singing their songs into the vastness of the universe and learning truths about themselves and others.

And after awhile, it gets tiresome. A sadness pervades the soul as the emptiness of life encompasses your being with an existential dread. And I began to wonder.

What was on the other side?

Was there peace in death?

Could this be stopped with one sacrifice so that others could live their lives?

I stood at the edge of the highway bridge, no cars in sight, no locals screaming at me. Staring down at the pavement below, I knew one step forward, and it could all end. Could. It was both beautiful and horrifying at the same time. Would I just wake up again in my bed, cozy and hungover? Ready to run downstairs again and promote my blog while laughing at the people barely moving around me?

Or would I just be dead?

Forever cold and still.

Truly part of the void.

It felt like an eternity that I stood there looking down, unsure of why I was even there. Despite opinions to the contrary, I am not depressed nor suicidal, and yet I was contemplating this plummet to my death because of this infinite day. Because of the soul-draining tedium that I was experiencing.

The only thing that stirred me out of this melancholy mood was the fleeting thought, "What if this is the final time the world loops?"

I stepped back, unable, unwilling to take that chance. I had too much creativity inside to let my curiosity of the final riddle confound my head and remove my reason. Writings that needed to be written, even if no one read them. Steps I needed to take to make my words known. Boundless imagination that needed to be explored.

My thoughts turned to rest of the city and its inhabitants. I don't know why these reflections haunted me, but I wondered. Were others having their own epiphanies at that same moment? Were we experiencing a shared consciousness for just that one split second? Perhaps every single citizen of Los Santos realized something genuine about themselves right then, and I was not alone. Maybe there was a reason for this cycle that didn't want to end. And that was it. To help us become who we need to be.

I didn't ask anyone if my ponderings had any truth. I didn't want to know the answer. And I still don't.

At the end of the world, I stared into that void, and the void winked.

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