Which road leads to heaven? Is it the righteous road or the honest one? The cautious one or the blind one? The positive or the negative? It can’t be the positive one, for life is not always positive, and negativity, at times, will be honesty, and honesty is truth. But is truth heaven? Truth can be hell. But surely blindness can’t be heaven. We live what we see and nothing else. If you don’t see it, it never happened. So, can heaven be in one’s head? Can we make it up? Now, we have another problem. Knowing that heaven is in our heads makes the imaginary heaven hell because humans like to see the truth. We love to know and be in control.
We’re animals addicted to power and authority, yet the one thing we will never have is power and authority. Everything is prone to change and chance. We’re only kings of our now, but even our now is subject to be overtaken by nature. So, in truth, we’re merely courtiers of our now. We are then powerless against life — a realization we must all face. And once we do, there is nothing for us to do but to cry or laugh. Tears and laughter: the only reasonable response.
Life is relatively simple, for it can only be one of two things: a tragedy or a comedy.
For me, life is more like a comedy. One big joke. A joke has truth; it can be sad, surprising, fucked up. You’re constantly anticipating the joke to conclude because you’re excited to laugh — to hear the punchline.
However, we’re the ones telling the joke and the ones listening to it. The joke is given to us by life, but it is how we tell the joke that matters. We can focus on anything we want, but we’ll always have to tell it somehow. Then, we get to react to our joke. How will we react? A joke given by life will always be funny; therefore, those who don’t laugh at it are either too proud or too stupid.
These thoughts occupy my mind as my parents and I drive down a long, narrow backroad in the country. My dad is driving our cheap Nissan Altima and my mom is in the passenger seat. I’m sitting in the back without a seat belt looking intensely at my parents with a big smile as they argue.
My name is Marissa, and finally, after fifteen years of living with my parents, I understand what it feels like to love someone. People have asked me in the past, do you love your parents? and my response has always been yes. But I don’t think I loved them back then; I didn’t hate them, not at all, but I just couldn’t love them. I knew they loved me, but before I could feel any love towards them, my selfishness made me use them for my gain. Today, things are different.
“Slow down!” says Mom as she holds on to the panic handle of the car.
Dad is laughing. “I’m not speeding. You’re exaggerating. Calm down.” The speedometer reads 85 mph.
“Mom, don’t tell him to slow down. He’ll just go faster,” I say with my usual squeaky voice.
Mom closes her eyes with power. “You’re right, Marissa. Your dad is going to kill us.”
“Oh, come on, baby, you know daddy is a good driver,” Dad says as the speedometer reads 90.
She playfully slaps his shoulder. “Shut up.”
He and I laugh together, our laughter in sync with mom’s deep, worried breaths.
“It’s not funny. You two, stop it,” Mom says, tightening her grip on the handle. “Do not learn how to drive from your dad,” she tells me.
“I’m taking notes,” I say, waiting for an angry look from my mom.
“That’s my girl.” Dad turns up the volume of the music and begins singing the song. He looks at my mom for two seconds with an emphasized singing face.
“Look at the road Jonathon,” she says, punching her lips together.
I enter the conversation, “Dad, you’re going to give Mom a heart attack.”
“Sure am. Her heart doesn’t have enough space for all the love in it.”
Mom rolls her eyes with a grin. “You suck.”
“Not as good as you, baby,” he says.
Her eyes and mouth widen. “Marissa’s in the car! You can’t say that!”
I squirm. “Ew, ew, ew, gross!”
Today, I know that I would do anything to protect both of them. I want to obey their rules and follow their advice to make them proud. It would hurt to see them disappointed.
When Mom said, Your dad is going to kill us, a weird sense of security came over me. It felt as if I was immortal. My emotions were at ease, and nothing bothered me. Everything around me suddenly made me happy.
As Dad keeps driving, I realize I don’t mind dying because when love is in the picture the fear of dying seems to vanish. If we got into a tragic car accident and died, that would be okay. I don’t know if that’s a good feeling, but it most certainly is a natural one.
It’s a little funny if you think about it.