All the King’s Men…

Drugs in blood like water on clay. Emotions, personality, beliefs, cognition all freshly wet clay to mold. It tickles as sculptor after sculptor frustratedly massages the clay. What will be left of me when I am free to leave this place? Who will I be when my free will is returned? Even if I had some attachment to who I was, escaping the pain is worth paying any price.
Besides Kyle died long ago. You actually would have liked him if could have met him. He had an infectious smile. He could smile without forcing it. The smile was a part of who he was, you could read so much just from that smile. He was animated by curiosity not haunted by it. Curiosity filled him with love not worry. It’s hard to remember him now, most of my knowledge comes from photo albums and the accounts of my mother. I have some fragmented memories. I know which ones are of the real Kyle because they come from a time when he was happy. Actually happy, not just momentarily relieved from escaping some excruciating pain before he was assaulted by the next horror. They are all from a time when I was young, younger than 8 years old specifically.
I remember finding horseshoe crabs on the beaches of Seaside Heights. I knew the ones washed ashore were old or tired and would be certainly die if not ferried out to deeper waters beyond the waves. They were an endangered species in New Jersey. They were beautiful creatures, ancient powerful sages of the Cambrian Explosion. Their kind survived ice age, meteoric volley, volcanic fury and all means of cataclysm just to be washed ashore in a moment of exhaustion and be pecked to death by birds? No, I would not let this be. I still rescue injured creatures down on their luck, but out of guilt. The real Kyle did it out of nothing but love.
I know he spent a lot of time outdoors observing insects and arachnids. He loved to study the intricate architecture of honeybee hives and wasp nests. He watched the well disciplined lines of ants bringing bits of leaf, eggs, larvae, and even their own dead into the burrow. His passion was so transparent an entomologist from the Bergen County Gifted Child Society Program gifted Kyle his prized Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches after the class ended. I was so proud of Kyle’s passion and aptitude. His favorite class at the Gifted Child Society was model rocket design and fabrication. Slight irregularities in the symmetry of the rocket were inevitable, especially when assembled by 7 year old hands. This would cause more drag on one side and the rocket would tilt off course. To correct, Kyle designed groves and slightly angled fins so that the rocket would spiral in flight. This spiraling stabilized the trajectory because whatever side of the rocket picked up more drag would constantly change its orientation. I think he had a basic understanding of how the conservation of momentum propelled the rockets. The solid fuel engines were pre-assembled and graded A through G, with A having the least and G having the most thrust/second. The engines got larger and heavier and we were asked to manage the trade-off between increased mass making the rocket harder to propel on one hand (inertia), and increased thrust on the other.
People really liked Kyle, the real Kyle that is. People knew the day he died as well as I did. Most of him died in one moment I couldn’t protect him from. I was too small and weak to protect him, but others could have. But he was resilient and tried to remember himself after it. People could tell he wasn’t the same. It frightened them to see such hollowness. They asked “Are you OK?” “What happened?” I don’t blame them, I was scared too. So much was missing, massive swaths were badly damaged, perhaps beyond saving. They were off put, and I don’t blame them. I didn’t like to be around myself either. He tried to recover who he was, but the pain was too much. I don’t remember much else. I just want there to be some record of him before he is completely gone.


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