Reality Breaks Hearts
I have no justified words to explain.
I witness movements. Animated street. Bustling humans. Life. I am in Toronto. My city. My home. I cannot think anymore. I guess I am still in shock. Eli has known all along. That it is all a lie. Some magical lie. Self-deception. A dreamy escape. Sickening mirage. Hopes and wishes. Something good. Something wicked. All because hatred concocts death.
It keeps bursting out of my head!
The ingenious logic behind my madness is still unknown. Or as Eli has put it, ‘special reasons as to why you’ve put yourself through these troubles.’ I may know why. Love. Reality. Broken hearts.
Or maybe not.
An unrealized dream. Giving up completely. Accepting miseries. Self-defeat. Philosophizing. Coming up with excuses. All I know is I am a celebrated classical pianist. Grace George is the name. She is here. Alive. Not well. But alive. An evil imposter is out there, making her rounds amongst the bigwigs and the geniuses. It works. Perfectly. She works with a killer mind. She does it better than I do. I am proud of her accomplishments. I let her indulge in seven deadly sins whenever she is desperate for something abominable to satisfy her individuality.
“Stop! You are budging away from reality again! Don’t do it anymore!”
The light flickers. Once. Twice. Ugh! Yup. That is real! It is so. I have to move on. With Bach’s Air. Never mind Beethoven. Never mind the man who created a masterpiece out of me. Let your wits absorb it. Gah! Am I Grace George or the evil imposter? I am rambling again. My mind is. I am feeding you with frenzied words. They make sense if you open your moral gateway. They become nonsensical once you discriminate against my personal threats playing along with moral demands.
I have no right to confront you. My thoughts are bound in accursed truths. Yes, I have known. You have been fooled. You may go back to analyze every detail of it, but the answers will never be found anywhere here. Because the answers can only be found within the heart of how much you love yourself and the sacrifices that you can make to keep life as meaningful as it should be. The problem with you is you move fast. Fast enough for you to miss out on reality. Go look out your window. What do you see? Go look at yourself in the mirror. What do you see? Go take a walk. What do you feel out of what you see along the way? So close. Close to your skin. Close to your desire to live. To live on. Go do it.
“I can’t! I’m scared to be closer to reality!”
Surrender is my dead-end option now. I have to live it. The reality that everybody desires. The reality that must cure my illness. Stop questioning it anymore. Stop! This is the last chance. It is time to achieve something fulfilling before I die. It is time to fall in love. My time is now. This is my reality.
I am alone. Living in a dingy basement. But I will prove to you how special my truth is. It is more special than having a famous name or being loved.
My name is Skye Stoltz. I am 45 years old. I have no justified words to explain anymore.
The cheap digital piano keyboard. The fancy red notebook. Oh yes. They are still here. Ready to be consummated. My cherished companions. My secret-keepers. They know me more than I have known myself. I exist in this dingy basement. Along with my introspective imagination and illusory senses. But make no mistake, it is all real down here. I am honored. I am being treated like a Queen. For my genius can influence lives and morals. For my ideas are easily understood. No, you may never fully get it. But relax and start questioning your beliefs. Stop asking me whether this is legit or a waste of time. There are no scattered thoughts. Neither scattered stories. One of them could be you. One of them could be the love of your life. Or one of them could challenge who you are ought to be. It is all a subjective realm. If it is too much for you to endure, throw it out. Now! I do not want to pollute your beliefs. I certainly do not want to imprint a scar of rage in your mind. I am just another person. An ordinary woman who fights against her mental illness.
If being a genius is scientifically proven as a mental illness, I would be the first one in line to accept it. However, it is an entropy of all things beautiful. Like love and kindness. Like family and friends. Like simple life and appreciation for nature. For the mind owns you. It always haunts. It will never set you free. Unless you have chosen to distort it. With a fantasy that is deemed and felt to be real. With an obscene silence that knows no symphonies and piano sonatas. Sunset over Empire has been kept away. In my genius. Grace George will soon find out about it. Yes, she is real. Too. All of them are. It is just a matter of time before truths serve your hungry minds.
The first few pages were all about me. My thoughts and reality. But it was also to threaten who you were or who you wanted to become. I am not a philosophy genius. I have gone through adversities and abuses. Just like Ludwig Van Beethoven. My mind constantly makes friends with new life wisdom grown out of intimacy in all pains. My only peace rests on the black and white keys. The cheap digital piano keyboard that calms my subconscious down. Though it beats me up once it demands for full attention. There it is in my sleep, banging away. There it is humming into my ears, not one note is spared. This music. This genius. Will play at my funeral service. I will make sure it shall be done.
Before I go, before I end it all, before this fancy red notebook writes its last entry… you will be provoked… truths will shock you… it will change the way you see other people’s eyes… you will rise above your desires… you will understand why you do things the way that you do… you will fall in love with just being you…!
I apologize to whoever loves me. Not that there is one that I know of. But just in case I see a heart grieving over my eternal disappearance. I am so sorry for disappointing you. I am so sorry if I had broken your heart. I am so sorry for not knowing you at all.
My name is Skye Stoltz. I am 45 years old. I believe I am a genius. In what exactly, it is all up to you. I can only promise to tell you the truths that life has shared with me. To work on special reasons. Preparing for Christmas eve. My birthday. A grand celebration. With people that I have admired all through these years. With the loved ones I have never had and wish to have had. With music that I have written and hidden away from the world.
Done with the cheap digital piano keyboard and the fancy red notebook. Down here in this dingy basement. My home.
I was a good administrative assistant at Sonata Academy. It was how the city defined me. My seat. My office outfits. My telephone voice. Students adored my presence. Teachers respected my job. Though I would sneak in to the piano room and teach an eager soul once in a while. I must have already taught hundreds of them over the years. Some have gone on to music conservatories across the country and abroad. Some have created notable names for themselves. Some have conquered the most illustrious concert halls worldwide. Some have forgotten my contribution. Some would still extend their sense of gratitude on my birthday through letters and packages. Some have revealed my identity during an award ceremony in New York.
Someone like Grace George.
And my life started to fall apart. Students would rather run to me. Teachers detested my teaching style. Until the entire school itself lost its credibility. I quit before it could fire me. I quit before it would file for bankruptcy. My name became a social media digestion. Red wine would then help me take the sting out. Only for a little while. I moved out of my cozy studio and called the dingy basement my home. Though it is still there. Waiting for me from time to time. The grand piano, especially, prays for its worth to be touched, at least. I have a name. A musical heroine to some eager souls. I lived a dream. But Grace George ruined it. I was already okay with how life valued me. Despite the evils who tortured my innocence in the past. I was ready to grow old and die an ordinary. The ordinary mind. Who could only play the piano and help make dreams come true. Who could only compose symphonies and piano sonatas as improvised pieces. Who could write down her thoughts in intricate details.
My name is Skye Stoltz. I am 45 years old. I have been putting my reality to test. Along with my thoughts. I do not believe in fame. Neither geniuses. I believe in sharing wonders with eager souls and living a life that moves me to keep on creating something beautiful. This is a selfish world. We were all born selfish assholes. However, we were also born with a little magic hidden in our hands. To play music. To deliver kindness and generosity. To exalt dreams.
Your past must direct your way to the present. Your present must rejoice for your future. Your future becomes your wealth of emotions and mental edifice as you have already cracked life’s mystery. Nothing is new to you anymore. You are getting ready to die. You are fine. Though the past may betray you at one point or another. But it is a part of it all. How life unfolds its magnificence before you is out of your control. You have become a slave of your own kingdom. You are left alone with it. To die, to die, to die. In it. You have already written your own history. It is all in your power. Leave God out of it. You are the reality of your own choice.
My quest to capture Grace George starts right now. I shall avenge my solitude. I will give her the final-curtain mission of a lifetime. If she could pull it off, I could rest in peace. If she couldn’t, I would die with a broken heart. If she would reject my proposition, I would probably be forced to make a drastic move. She would have to be kind enough to accomplish the first one. She must! She owes it to me. It is a big-shot offer. Tragic. Grievous. Traumatic. It is how I would like it all to end. It is meant to happen, and it shall be done.
Hold the doubts! Straighten the brows! Keep your wits in place! I am taking you towards the end. Buckle up your fears. Feel your heart. Listen to your quiet passion. They do not pause, do they? Huh. My mind is not articulate enough to stop either. It rambles on. And on. Until it meets its truest bliss. Grace George will be found. It will be the beginning of the end.
My thoughts are trapped. So is my reality. I will be out of here soon. Soon! This dingy basement is swallowing me down into my grave in no time. The legacy plays its cards. Oh so cunningly. Oh God. My chest pain is getting worse everyday. My life could end any minute by now. But I would have to fight until Christmas eve. My birthday. My date of death. A dream come true.
I have already omitted a series of sentences professing my bemused existence. It is always about the mind, isn’t it? The heart becomes a secondary element of human substance. The subconscious keeps its strategic moves. Consciousness is deprived of senses. Hypocrisy bleeds through words and music sheets. I have no integrity. As insanity overwhelms thoughts and reality. I enjoy it. It is a sweet lullaby that hums into my ears for faith of making a dream come true. Something grand must be granted to me. Something dignified and true. Something that I can be proud of. I am privileged. I am everybody’s hero. I am a genius.
I am exhausted. My mind is shutting off. I close my eyes and see a beautiful woman performing at a grand piano on stage in front of an imposing audience. Somewhere in New York city. Somewhere lofty and glamorous. She is playing Sunset over Empire, one of my hidden and beloved compositions. How did she know about it? Who gave it to her? No no. This is not real. I am not seeing this through my mind. Here comes madness, alright. I will not give in to it. I open my eyes and dismiss hypocrisy. Not again. I shall not subject an innocent prowl to my disgrace. Why are you still here? Do you want to know how it all ends? Or would you want to know how I have convinced one of the biggest concert pianists of all time to accomplish a special mission on my behalf?
Coming up with a plan is easy. Facing fears is like suicide. One, two, three! Steps have been laid out in black and white. Places to visit. People to go to. Until I stand in the last destination, confronting the last face. I cannot cheat. I cannot skip one truth. Once I get to her, the past will be forgiven. She will lay me to rest. She will cry for the rest of her life. She will give up in the distant future. Her legacy will be attached to mine.
Grace George, my childhood best friend. I taught her my piano code. The piano code that her mother passed on to me. Why was she deprived of it, I had no idea. I still do not know. Why did she remember me all of a sudden after all these years? I do not know either. She has been gone for far too long. She is a stranger now. She has been. Since the day she found out an evil secret, then kissed me goodbye. Though I will never apologize for it. As I would never sacrifice happiness just to save a lifelong friendship. The goodbye took care of my heart. The way it took care of itself. The goodbye became strength. The way it became a masterpiece. The goodbye wrote Sunset over Empire. The way it is working on the legacy. I miss her. I hope she is doing well. I hope she loves life more than she ever did before. I am dedicating my thoughts and reality to her. Grace George, my childhood best friend.
December 24th. The deadline.
I am keeping my promise. I will not lead you on anymore. Hop on for the ride. Guide me through all truths. My thoughts and reality are cooperating like tame beasts ready to attack once hurt. I want to be with my childhood best friend. For one last time. For a beautiful end.
Remember the name. Skye Stoltz. It is me. It was. It will always be.
Remember the name. Grace George. It is her. It was. It will always be.
The enigma is simple. Read between the lines. Read your heart. Read your mind. Not ours. Nothing is real anymore. A feeling makes it absolute. A thinking may decide and crumble. Whatever is right in front of you is your displayed thought and reality. Just remember your name. The evidence is, was, and will always be. Simple.
Is. Was. Will always be.
Now let us laugh a little. Shall we? At our bemused existence.
The devil’s rush is flushed down the drain. The empty bottles are trashed away with ultimate remorse. No, please. Anything that causes madness must go. My mind only pleads guilty to desires. My heart only begs for purity. Nothing shall impede my plans. Nothing shall disturb my vision. It already looks certain. It is the symphonic truth that plays over and over again, hoping to be heard. It is time to get out of the dingy basement. It is time to confront the man that connects me and Grace George together as one memory.
Dr. Edwards’ footsteps thunder across the hospital hallway. He is wearing his white robe, with a stethoscope hanging around his neck as his hand grips a clipboard of clandestine information on a patient diagnosed with some serious mental disorder. He stands before me in the lobby. His eyes wander away as if they are panic-stricken to see me. “Hi, Skye,” he says. “How have you been?”
“I need to see her,” I reply.
“After what she’s found out,” he says, “she’s not ready to see you yet.”
“It was the right time!” I exclaim.
“No, it wasn’t!”
“I couldn’t lie to her anymore, and I’m dying, okay?”
“What are you talking about?”
“They call it — advanced — lung cancer — or whatever shit.”
“What?” His quavering voice echoes down the hallway. “Does Ethel know about this?”
“No. I broke up with her. I don’t want her at my deathbed. At all.” I feign defiance.
“You broke up with her because you’re dying?”
“I have no perfect logic to back it up. I just don’t want her to grieve over me each time I am in a hospital bed, fighting for my life.”
“This is so wrong! You can’t keep on hurting us like this all the time! You’ve gotta let her know!”
“I don’t wanna have this shit talk with you right now. I’m just here to see your daughter. Where is she?”
This man should have shunned me a long time ago. But no. He respected love more than I did. He might have been a master of it even. Like his gospel truth. He accepted it with an open heart and mind. It was such a relief. Yet quite eerie at the same time. However, Ethel and I never bothered delving into it anymore. As it was unnecessary. The important thing was we were in love and free to be with each other.
The lingering stench of corpses catches one of my wonders. That is what death smells like. And Grace George does not belong in here at all. Lying in this hospital room as if her last days have been announced by a murderer. This beauty. This remarkable talent who has performed around the world. This fragile heart who has lost herself to unrequited love. My childhood best friend. The memories of our youth are hidden in her eyes. She gazes at me, blitzing through my mind with questions that cannot be answered. I accost her, fighting back her scowl with telepathic confessions. She groans and sits back. Her tears start to fall. She reaches out for my hand. I squeeze it with a consoling smile. She is hurting. But I will make her understand.
“I have been selfish, haven’t I?’ she says.
“Love creates ironies,” I reply. “It teaches us not to be selfish and to fight for it at the same time. This is why it’s a disaster everywhere.”
“When did you realize you were in love with my mother?” she asks.
“The first piano lesson,” I answer.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Then you’d think of me as a disgusting pig!”
“I think of you as a disgusting pig now for lying to me all through these years!”
“Hey hey! I did not come here to discuss this shit with you! It’s over now!”
“What’s over?” she blasts back.
“Your mom and I broke up,” I mutter.
“Now that’s convenient,” she cackles.
“There’s no point of you going bitter now,” I say. “Shut up and listen to what I’m about to say. This is really important. I don’t have much time left anymore. I really want you to do this for me. Do you understand?”
“Jesus. You sound like something’s after you. What the hell’s going on?”
“I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.”
“What?” she exclaims, clutching my arm.
“I was hoping if you could arrange my funeral — and — maybe even perform a piano solo for me.”
“Look at me, goddammit!” she weeps. “I’m worse that you are ‘cause I’m sick in the fucking mind, and it’s gonna keep on tormenting me for the rest of my fucking life! So why don’t you shove that funeral job into somebody else’s ass instead ‘cause I’m going first no matter what you say, and there’s nothing that you can do about that! So fuck you for slapping another bad news in my fucking face!”
“Shut up! Don’t do this to yourself! You have a son, for Christ’s sake!”
“Bullshit, Stoltz! You have no idea what it’s like to be a mother! No fucking idea! So don’t lay your philosophy about it on my table! Don’t you fucking dare! Because when it comes to this department, you’re fucking dumb!”
“Fine. I’m dumb. I’m sorry.”
She jumps on to me for a tight hug and bursts into tears. “I don’t want you to die!”
“Please get better for me,” I plead into her ears. “I love you.”
“I love you, too!” she cries.
10 a.m. The incandescent sun rests down on me as I sit at a picnic table in Queen’s park, puffing away one cigarette after another. A black squirrel scurries around my feet as if nagging me to play with him. I watch it as it entertains me. Oh, what a dazzling fall. I never noticed how much beauty this season would bring to mankind. I never noticed the importance of every little thing around me until now. I never noticed life when I felt better, health wise.
Grace George shows up, with a tray of lattes. She hands me my cup and sits across the picnic table. “Smoke?” she asks.
I give her a cigarette and flick a lighter on it. “I’m sorry I had to ditch New York like that. I had no idea it would all turn out to be this shitty.”
“You were with my mother the whole time even way before you came to rescue my career. That’s why she divorced dad. You were evil. You know that?”
“That’s not the issue here. You had been in love with me since the first day we met and you kept it as a secret until you found out about me and your mother. Now that’s evil.”
“How is that evil? I had to protect myself. I had to protect you. I had to protect both our worlds. And it wasn’t easy, you son of a bitch. That’s why I left.”
“Then you had the nerve to force me to move to New York to help you make a dream come true. I turned up because your mom begged me to. I was there to do your mom a favor. I was not there for you.”
“So what is this, huh? A blame game? C’mon. Let’s keep going. What else is there to find out?”
“We broke up as soon as I got back.”
“That was quite a while ago.”
“After the diagnosis, I called her. She agreed to meet me at Starbucks. She still loved me, alright. I just couldn’t get my head around it, so I pretended I was a psychotic asshole to make her go away for good.”
“Why did you want to see her in the first place?”
“I just wanted to spend time with her one last time, that’s all.”
“Does she know?”
“Nope. I don’t want her to know. I don’t want to see her anymore either. She can’t find out. Promise me.”
“And I fucking wasted my sanity away for this!” she sobs.
“What was your diagnosis?” I ask.
“Well, I overdosed on alcohol.
“Amnestic-confabulatory disorder. Something like that.”
“And you remembered the name?”
“Yeah,” she giggles. “It’s ridiculous. I have no idea what’s going on anymore.”
“You do,” I reply. “Because you’re gonna be okay, and you’re gonna remember all this.”
“I’m pretty sure I’ll remember the most important events of my life.”
“Yes. Like planning my funeral.”
“Fuck it,” she murmurs. “I hate the fucking word. Funeral. The end. Death. A celebration of leaving loved ones behind. Like, ‘Screw you, bitches! I’m outta here!’.The bereaved, on the other hand, recalls all these good memories and wishes that the bad ones should have been handled differently so as not to be attacked by remorse or regrets in the midst of grief. So here we are mending the past and preparing emotions to behave accordingly by the time such important event occurs before my broken heart. Oh, and kicking my mother to the curb. The love of your life. The one who loves you more than her own life. Well, she should be out of the picture. Because you don’t want to break her heart a lot more than you already did. So let’s just forget about her and get the show going. Cool, huh? Couldn’t be better, Stoltz. You are such a fucking genius.”
Her sarcasm amuses me. Like a child’s tantrum, declaiming an impossible reason to get away with false accusations confronted by her conscience.
Oh, Grace George. You will always be the star.