the series by J. GRACE PENNINGTON

Dear Vienna

I was at the gym awhile back, listening to a playlist made up of every Owl City song ever, when something caught my ear. I was currently beginning my revisions of Firmament: Gestern and so when the song “Dear Vienna” came on, I paid careful attention and was fascinated to find just how well it fit August and his journey! Since then, it has become his theme song in my mind.

I regarded the world as such a sad sight

Those familiar with August know that he hasn’t had the easiest life. It was a confusing childhood–losing his mother and baby sister at a young age, growing up with a father who was caring but twisted and dark.

Until I viewed it in black and white

Reuniting with his sister set him on a path of self-discovery and faith that helped him begin to better sort out the way he saw the world…

Then I reviewed every frame and basic shape

Causing him to carefully examine his life, past, present, and future, and reevaluate it…

And sealed the exits with caution tape

While still avoiding revisiting places, both literal and figurative, that were still too painful to face…

Don’t refocus your eyes in the darkness

Not wanting to look too closely at the the pain he’s gone through…

And don’t remember this place unless

Avoiding his childhood home and everything associated with it…

I describe all the things that you cannot see

Then finally beginning to open up to his sister, and in the process, himself…

And we’ll unravel the mystery

So that together, they can begin to heal and move forward.

Farewell all my friends in textbooks, ‘cuz I’m going home

He can bid goodbye to the analytical view of what he’s gone through and finally face it head on…

‘Cuz my blood cells cannot depend on the weather in photographs

Despite the instability of his own body because of his chronic low blood pressure, and his dubious ability to ponder images of his past…

There’s a light show out my window, somewhere way up there

He can enjoy his life among the stars and embrace the new beauty he finds there.

Dear Vienna, are you singing?

He will always have a fondness for his home, his past, and all its sights, sounds, and activities…

Dear Vienna, are you swinging?

He will always be modulated by the alternate joys and pains of his childhood…

Dear Vienna, we were happy like the shades of May when we got carried away

But he will be able to come to terms with both the happiness of his family before everything changed, and the struggles afterwards.

I was so far out of place

And in his new home, so far away physically and emotionally from the old one…

Watching those stars in outer space

Perfecting his craft as starship navigator, and exploring his newfound relationships…

’cause I am so far from where you are

He’s no longer who he used to be, all those years ago in Vienna.

There’s a light show out my window, somewhere way up there
Dear Vienna, are you singing?
Dear Vienna, are you swinging?
Dear Vienna, we were happy like the shades of May when we got carried away.