He’s an ex-friend now. You shouldn’t treat people that make you think in such a shitty way, but he planted the schism inside, not I. Now, the question eats away at me:
“Do you have any joy in your life?”
In my head, the word “any” is emphasized loudly and aggressively, as if my criticism of love stories is an affront to love itself. I answer with a lie,
“Yes, thanks. Just not from disappointing movies.”
His question was out of the blue, unexpected and somewhat uncalled for. I hadn’t spoken to him in over a decade, and probably never really knew him. Yet, here he was, with one of the most profound questions anyone–friend, foe or family–has asked in years.
And I severed our frail friendship in response. Ends don’t concern me as much as beginnings, though. There was little way he and such a question could co-exist in my orbit. Real, participatory friends have the right to ask such a powerful question; strangers do not.
Yet, this isn’t about him. This is about the realization that I don’t know joy. I can lie to cover the truth, but that doesn’t solve the problem of blisslessness. Joy is a very personal experience, with subjective measure and true vibrancy.
It isn’t easy to achieve, even harder to capture as we wither away.