118. Reunion Tour

Part 1 of the 'Invisible Sky' series.

AFTER ALL THIS TIME, I don't know why, I still get nervous when I have to go on one of those silly Invisible Sky reunion tours. Just talking about it makes me nervous, just thinking about it, about the Invisible Sky and Invisibilism and the Invisibilists, it's all the same thing, it's all mixed in together. I tell myself, this is the last one, I won't attend any more after this one. And yet, I force myself to go every time. For one thing, they don't happen all that often now, fortunately, barely once a year I guess, but funnily enough no matter how long it has been since we last saw each other, I still get nervous, I don't know why. For one thing, we always end up talking about the same things - about Felix, about Jonah, about Felix and Jonah, and the rest of us, and everyone who was there then, which wasn't all that long ago really, not in the scheme of things, and yet it is more than half a lifetime, and after all few things are measured in lifetimes, or even half-lifetimes. There are just a few of us left now, the stragglers, the stranded, the lucky ones, or the unlucky ones, depending on your point of view. The left behind. We plan our reunions months in advance, and those of us who can come, come, sometimes at considerable expense, sometimes covering vast distances. Even someone like Noah, who can't get out of the house on his own anymore, he's always there, come what may. Whenever we get together, one of us will go and pick him up from his boarding house and fold his wheelchair into the back of the car, and we'll drive to the house of whoever is hosting the reunion. If it is my turn I take Winny with me because Noah's too heavy for me to carry on my own. I don't know why we don't just order him a taxi, it would be easier for all concerned. It's something we do out of a sense of loyalty, even if we don't even think of it as loyalty really, or even as a duty, it's more like doing a chore, because it must be done, because there is no option but to do it, for those of us who are left. And if it is out of a sense of loyalty, I couldn't tell you loyalty to what our to whom: to Noah? To ourselves? To Felix and Jonah? Felix disappeared a long time ago, Jonah followed soon after. So if the reunions are out of loyalty to Felix and Jonah, then it's a strange kind of loyalty, loyalty to ghosts, spectral beings caught between the living and the dead, loyalty to their memory and the memory of what we shared together, the memory of the Invisible Sky, of Invisibilism and the Invisibilists and everything that went with it. Perhaps the sole purpose of our reunions is to appease these ghosts, to appease these spectral beings, to prevent them from taking their revenge upon us, those of us who have had the temerity to survive. At any rate, it doesn't matter - we do it, that's all that counts, we do it and that's all there is to it, and we can't very well go ahead and do it without Noah, that's just the way it is, even if he's in a wheelchair now, even if he does take such awful care of himself, even if he's rude with everyone and grumpy to boot. After all, he's always been like that, even when he was young and danced like a wild animal and had hair down to his shoulders and smoked cigarettes like a movie star. We all did, we all had hair down to our shoulders and smoked cigarettes like movie stars, because in a way we were movie stars, even if the movie was never made, even if it was never actually committed to celluloid, nevertheless the movie still existed. It existed in our heads then, as it was being made, and it still exists in our heads now, all these years later, in the cinema of our memory, where we can play it over and over again, rewinding and fast-forwarding as we like, pausing at certain moments, replaying certain scenes over and again, and once a year we can get together and examine the movie, talk about our favorite and least favorite characters, compare our favourite scenes, recite the best snippets of dialogue, and lose ourselves in endless debates about our various interpretations of the movie. Above all what concerns us is the ending, we are split by the ending: some of us are resigned to the ending, insisting there could be no other possible ending, that there is a certain inevitability to the ending, as difficult as it is to endure, whereas others are disappointed by the ending, and dream up other endings, losing themselves in the labyrinth of alternate endings. But this is where the similarities with movies end, because this is real life, and there is no director's cut in the offing, there is no possibility of a remake. Nonetheless, we continue to have these reunion tours, these silly little reunion tours, these sad, strange little reunion tours, and every time I tell myself it's for the last time.