Rendered Fat Content


De koning van Thule, Pierre Jean Van der Ouderaa (1841-1915),1896
"This damned plague's taking our -Triarchs and leaving only us factory seconds behind."

This pandemic has been taking the -Triarchs, the matriarchs and the patriarchs, my elders and wise ones. I feel as though the fine frescoed ceiling that has always sheltered me is blowing away, leaving me without a roof over my head. I feel myself filling with a dread certainty. As the -Triarchs leave, I watch myself shuffle nearer the top of the heap to emerge as an elder. I try to rebut this commission, for I feel far too young and inexperienced to ever take the place of anyone I so long looked up to in wonder. For they genuinely seemed to levitate above the day-to-day to live nearer infinity, timeless in their age and experience. True, they had each once seemed more like me and you, bold youth, braless or with overlong sideburns, protesting how it had always been before. They opened the doors I later strolled through. They went through first, even to their last.

The past is forever past once the -Triarchs pass, a different scale rules forever after.
No longer bookended between what had always just seemed to be, I can see where this road must be leading. Vassal to noble to king. Maiden to lady to queen. Then history begins. Fable reigns before legend takes the reins. Then eternity begins. This damned plague seems determined to take away the whole upper eschaton of our existence, the mothers and fathers who led our generation into our rough maturity, to the edge of our dotage. Who, me? WhatNow?

I could never become the stuff of legends. I could never qualify as the godfather of anything more challenging than washing pot and pans, overflowing with "Yes, buts" and "No, ands." I still haven't quite settled on deciding just who I expect myself to become once I grow up, if I ever grow up. The -Triarchs always seemed to have been born who they became, little striving seemed necessary for them to secure their elevation. They existed on pure predetermination. They spawned followers and leaders, some who also seemed destined to rule, should any space nearer the top ever show up. That space appears as grief, as shock and surprise even when everyone already knew their -Triarchs had been precariously perched on the pinnacle peak of their lives for years, that it was a wonder how they'd balanced there for so long. Still, I long to see that teetering spectacle again.

While they were still up there, I figured that I would not have to be balancing on the head of my own slender pin. I wonder if, when they first rose above, they aspired to have nothing to do with such succession, like I do. I'll see whatever it turns out to be through to whatever end emerges, but with little enthusiasm. I will grieve for the days when little seemed wagered in my engagements, when I could still be becoming, before I had a heritage and a legacy to concern me. Me, the reluctant -Triarch, still feeling as though I'm just starting out, still filled with promise, still barely making his way. Me, the heretic now the head of his own damned church, soon perched on my own edge of uncertain eternity. This damned plague's taking our -Triarchs and leaving only us factory seconds behind.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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