February 6, 2019    /   Ryan HellerRyan Heller
It’s 4:42 am.
I’ve been up since 2 am.
My brain is a washing machine of everything I think I want to do with my life, everything I am doing with my life, and everything I always wished I’d done with my life. I Google some stuff, read some stuff, put down the phone and lay on my side.
My neck hurts.
I grab my phone, then turn to the other side with great caution. My ear recently met a scalpel after years of OCD finally had its way with me. I caused an infected cyst to swell and block my ear canal, most likely the side effect of Olympic Q-tipping to the point when they’d inevitably resemble the letter Z once strewn out on the bathroom counter like a used condom.
My ear is freshly sliced open, bandaged, and begging for a Q-tip.
The hours move like a sick, slow joke until I decide to head to the beach. One of the perks of living 5 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean are spontaneous night time beach excursions. Ideally never in the day because the idea of sun, sand and sweat make me all kinds of antsy. But night always has that sort of magic quality to it.
I pick a spot in front of the ocean and plop down. An area with just enough street lighting to not make me feel totally unsafe, but enough darkness to give me that full effect of illuminated pinholes in a black sky. Like something from a sixth graders backlit diorama with black construction paper and little pierced constellations in no particular order.
I see a bright flash in the sky and think it’s a sign from above. But it’s a plane.
I realize it’s the new moon, which suddenly makes perfect sense as to why I’m contemplating my entire life at 4am. Of course, the moon!
I carry my notebook to the water, talk to no one as my words disappear into dancing wind and rolling waves. When I feel like I’ve paced enough, talked to the night enough, I sit back down to write. I’ve read a few Law Of Attraction books so I’m now an expert and am ready to attract it all.
I begin to list what I’ve always wanted, but had disregarded as arrogant or unrealistic. I want to be famous. I want to be a best selling author. I want people to know me for everything that’s inside and be able to share it freely, abundantly. I want to be this brilliant light that everyone sees, that everyone hears. I want to be center stage and give it all away again and again and again. Whatever that means, however that plays out, I want it. And I put it all on paper and feel very good about it.
When just as I close my notebook and look around suspiciously to make sure no dark shadows are creeping behind me to take my wallet or thrust a knife in my back, my phone randomly starts to play a song I’ve never heard. I look down and the title is “Laws of the Universe”.
So I laugh.
Chris texts and asks where I am. He woke up to a dog instead of a husband. I tell him that clearly the universe is conspiring under this new moon — I tell him about the random song, my intention setting, this moment that seems very epic and divine to my sleepless mind. He humors me with a smiley face emoji that has big red heart eyes while probably thinking I’m crazy, which is nothing totally unusual.
I’m sitting by the ocean with a bandaged ear and an increasingly renewed connection to something inside me. Something so uncannily familiar, like I’ve known it forever. And I have. Like when the mist finally defogs from your windshield in a slow, almost insidious manner. Till suddenly the highway is perfectly clear ahead. It’s a feeling like one of those really good Florida winters that practically never exist. When it’s sunny, clear blue skies and 65 degrees, and all you want to do is listen to Play by Moby and drive with the windows down.
Its like that, except I’ve got sand in my ass now. And I’m craving Starbucks, which may have opened 7 minutes ago. Fingers crossed.
It’s a feeling like I’m connecting to that wide-eyed kid who knew he was going to be a star, before being a star became something so far out of reach and absolutely unattainable. Like I’m remembering my magic for the first time.
Kelsey Burns takes her place center stage amidst an auditorium of red velvet chairs. Vacant. But nonetheless, hers. Her theatre. Her spotlight. House lights cast a dreamless view of empty seats, an amber glow against a sea of red—one row after another after another. The girl perpetually cast in a supporting role, somehow forgettable…
It’s 4:42 am. I’ve been up since 2 am. My brain is a washing machine of everything I think I want to do with my life, everything I am doing with my life, and everything I always wished I’d done with my life. I Google some stuff, read some stuff, put down the phone and…
Click play above to listen to the audio version of “Before The Dawn” read by Ryan Michael Heller or check out the entry below! I sit at Park Terrace in London’s Royal Garden Hotel eating salmon salad and drinking sparkling water. Get that image in your head. The pianist plays background classical – I’m…