Life, one would think, should be remembered most by its successes and positives. It should be bracketed by achievements, marked by accomplishments, and put in the context of a triumph over the accepted difficulties of living, and the world, at large. That reasoning is most proven out by the trend, nay, the expectation, that when a eulogy is written and read over the passing of a life, those are the things that are highlighted.
It is never the negatives. It is never the failures, the setbacks, the disappointments.
It is never the private humiliations.
For, who wants to remember, or be remembered for, the things that break them? Who wants to highlight the moments and events that caused one to understand how puny we are in the scheme of things? To drive home the point that kindness is often unreturned, people let you down in both big and little ways, that the world is not fair, principles are patronised, and the gentle reciprocity (a grandiose term for etiquette) is a quickly fading relic to a rose-coloured past?
It is not the big things that break us. It’s the little ones. The ones which seem petty, if not useless, to highlight and complain about it. It is someone refusing to hold a door open for a few more seconds. It is someone going back on their simplest of words – not because the changing of a decision is a bad thing, but the cowardice to directly admit and acknowledge that change of heart. It is the bus that refuses to stop for an extra 30 seconds. It is the person on that bus who refuses to move down two steps to make a short ride a little easier. It is the car that skips the STOP sign, the pedestrian that ignores the DON’T WALK sign, the diner who cannot meet his waiter’s eye, and the friend who forgets the daily bonds of friendship.
It is the little humiliations that get you in the end. They dim your mornings, they weaken your hope, and they slowly chip away at your ability to trust. The weariness of a soul doesn’t come from one instance or one big bang moment – no, weariness is a thing that is worn in, like coats and coats of stain buffed into naked wood, the slow deterioration of gears worn by repeated use and re-use. No, no, this is not a sudden snap but a slow, malicious curving (under pressure) that eventually can no longer be undone, and can no longer be borne, and then it breaks, with the hollow soft sound of a pop – it is the sound of something, someone, that has simply given up and died.
Private, little humiliations – maybe we should bring them out of hiding, for, honestly, can’t get any worse, can it?