The Land of NeverWas

Where all the "Might Have Beens" live

Archive for the category “thoughts”

Time goes faster than we think

The words in this post share a collective space but they do not share a collective time. Sure, they will be all together in a box dated and time-stamped with whatever it happens to be when I hit “Post”, but by the time you get to -here-, everything you have read up to that point will be in the past. NOW works in the same way. What we conceive of us as NOW is merely a succession of individual points in time that pass by so fast I don’t even have a name for it. NOW is simply a box like this post that our brains trick us into believing. And these individual microgoogletrillaseconds that pass by faster than we can grasp, seem to multiply up into our days. And suddenly we look back at all the time that has passed and wonder where it all went and how did it go so fast?

Dark days, dismal nights.

I was calm. Outwardly.

But inside I could feel fear hardening in my belly like a ball of antimatter. And I knew if I let it out of its containment field, I would explode into a spreading flame of helpless fright. I knew I couldn’t do that. I had to keep it together for my baby girl. And my sons. And even their mother, who I was sharing more moments with than I had since our divorce over ten years ago.

It was hard. So hard. Sitting there watching her unconscious, tubes of all sizes sticking out of her from all locations top and bottom. The rhythm of my day was the harsh hiss and sigh of the breathing apparatus she was hooked up to, keeping her alive since she couldn’t breathe on her own. I would watch her laying there, wanting so desperately for her to wake up and talk to me again. About boys, about soccer, about work, about life. Anything. Even an annoyed eye roll would have been joyous. And she did wake up on occasion, but there was no joy then, only more agony for us both. Her drugged stupor would temporarily wear off and I would witness frantic desire to be rid of the tube in her mouth, throat and lungs. A wordless mouthing of an impassioned plea. “I want to go home. Please.” The tears would roll out of her eyes, each drop speaking clearly words she could not say.

But still, my own eyes remained dry. I could not let her see my agony. I could not be weak when she needed strength. All I could do was brush her tears away, stroke her hair and whisper “I know baby, I know.” and try to calm her as much as possible until she fell back into unconsciousness as the drugs swept her once more into whatever place they took her. I wondered if she dreamed. It’s possible, I suppose. Her brow would furrow, her hand, restrained to prevent her removing her tube, would make motioning movements. I could only wait in helpless agony, wanting to do what a father should do and make it all better. Protect my child, ease her pain, calm her fears. But I was helpless. It was a helplessness that made me feel as if I were in a wakened form of her current condition. Unable to express what I wanted to say, unable to move in any way that mattered, unable to do anything but wait and watch and hope and look forward to the day she could wake up and talk to me again.

And then she did.

Now, though there is a long fight to get back to where she was, and things are not normal, we can talk, we can hug, we can say I love you and we can even argue. Sometimes. Which seems stupid as well as…normal. Even though things aren’t. I’ll take it. I’ll take those dark days disappearing into the distance. I’ll help them along by driving fast down the road of yesterdays. I’ll scream with joy with my head out the window.

And in the dark, at night, by myself where no one will see I’ll let loose the fear, little by little, not so much that I explode but just enough to let it leak out of my eyes.

parental philosophy and teenage confusion

I tried to have a philosophical discussion with my daughter last night. I failed miserably. It’s not because my daughter doesn’t have brains. She’s a sharp gal. It was more that I couldn’t find words that adequately described what I was trying to illustrate.

Here’s the thing.

I was trying to tell her that in reality we can be anything we want to be at any time just by doing it. For instance, I’m being a writer right now as I am typing this just by the fact that I am stringing words together in (hopefully) a fashion that makes sense to tell a story or – as in this case – to make a point. She herself is a soccer player just by going out on the field and playing soccer. She is a singer when she sings in the car or shower. An actor when she does her little video bits. A model when she takes pictures of herself. So on and so forth.

Then here’s the tricky bit, where I started to fail in my little discussion.

It’s when we start adding what I was calling The Dream to these activities that we start running into trouble. When we start to quantify and qualify what we are doing in levels. Sure, I am writing right now which makes me a writer, but when I add on The Dream of being a well-known, published and, of course, well-off writer that things tend to get off track. I start getting depressed when I realize that The Dream is not only incredibly difficult to achieve, but also more than likely unattainable. I catch myself not calling myself an author simply because I’ve never had a book published by someone else. This blog, to me, doesn’t count. I haven’t been validated by someone else’s money. That is what – to me – would make me good. It’s really a superficial definition.

I illustrated the odds by using football. When compared to the over all population of the United States those playing football professionally are microscopic in number, yet many people who actually do strap on the cleats and go out and play on a regular basis have The Dream to one day be a professional football player, when in fact they are already football players just by playing football. Adding The Dream and then not achieving it sends countless people crashing down into bitterness and despair simply from adding that extra level of desire and complexity to what they are already doing.

I think she finally got at least a glimmer of what I was trying to say. Which was be happy doing what makes you happy without stressing yourself out worrying about being famous at it or getting a lot of money for it. That just ruins both your happiness and the thing you enjoy doing.

It’s a lesson I need to learn myself.

But I’ve always been a crappy student.

Idea

I woke up with an idea in my head one day so I sat down and wrote this intro while it was still fresh. I have a vague idea, but nothing substantial, but I wonder if I should explore it further (once deadsville is finished). What do you think?

 

The call came in at 9:30 pm on Tuesday.

Officers Mortelli and Jackson were first on the scene. They were now lying in pools of their own blood on the floor of an otherwise nondescript living room in an otherwise nondescript neighborhood in suburban America.

Mortelli had been the first to go. He lay spread eagle, studying the ceiling. A large chunk of his head was missing and he was most assuredly surprised to be dead. You could tell by the look on his face. His eyes wide. His mouth open.

Jackson was still alive, if only just barely, as evidenced by his kicking leg and clawing hand, and was thinking of his kid and the fact that they were supposed to go to a ballgame the weekend coming up. It was an idle thought, one born of shock. It was also his last thought, something that will never be known by anyone else. His leg was kicking in a rhythmic, almost hypnotic fashion, sliding up and down the hardwood floor as if he was trying to escape his fate. He was attempting to speak but the words got caught and drowned in the dark, red liquid that was flowing from his mouth. Whatever he had been trying to say disappeared along with Jackson in one last gout of coughed up blood. Jackson’s hand stopped its clawing motion and his leg followed soon after.

It was 10:07 pm.

But the house wasn’t still. There was frantic motion as someone stepped over the mess the two police officers had made as they died and took a furtive look outside. That someone was Fred Durkinson, 42, father of three children (now deceased): daughter, Terri, 16; son, Paul, 14; and daughter Alice, 10. Alice hadn’t been in the plans but Fred and his wife, Martina (also now deceased) had just shrugged and buckled down. Fred hadn’t minded that much. He loved his wife and kids, heart and soul. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for them and their well-being.

Which is exactly why he had shot them all to death.

On the surface that wouldn’t appear to make sense. After all, why would a man who was completely in love with his family and wanted only the best for them end their lives in such a violent manner? The answer for Fred Durkinson was simple. He couldn’t let them be stolen. Not by those things. The things that haunted his dreams and were slowly and insidiously working their way into his waking thoughts, whispering to him. Telling him to do such horrible things that he could hardly believe the evil that was slowly taking over. He felt he was no longer Fred Durkinson, happy father of three and loving husband of Martina. He was a dark thing now.

Mostly.

There was still a small spark of Fred left inside of him and he was determined that before that last spark was snuffed out, whether by the bullet he had saved for himself, or by being totally consumed by whatever it was that was eating him inside out, that he was going to have his say and tell the world what was happening. Someone had to know, even if Fred could see absolutely no way of stopping it. It would get everyone sooner or later, Fred knew, and there was little that could be done about that. But maybe if the world was warned it could start putting up a fight. How, Fred couldn’t begin to guess.

People had to sleep after all.

And that was the reason Fred Durkinson hadn’t put a bullet into his own brain before anyone had a chance to try and stop him. He still had some work to do. He cursed himself for not writing the letter already, but he had a rare moment of lucidity and he had decided to take care of the most important thing first. Taking his family away from all of this. After that he was going to write his missive to the world, but before he had barely sat down at his computer the cops had come banging on his door. He had smiled and lulled them into complacency and then he had taken care of them too, but he knew he only had a short moment before more came beating on his door and he also knew that there was no way he would be able to take care of all of them. He had to write and write fast.

He went into the spare room he liked to jokingly call his office, and there, among his sports memorabilia and his family photos and his books and his collectibles, he hunkered down over his laptop and began to type furiously. He resisted all impulse to spell check and look for typos. He just typed. He let the words flow as they would. It could all be sorted out later. Maybe someone somewhere would take him seriously. He hoped, but he doubted. Even in his heightened state he realized he sounded like a crazy person. The news stories would paint him as a monster who had snapped and taken out his whole family in a moment of insane fury. The story would be both true and untrue. He was a monster but he wasn’t insane. Nor was he angry. In fact, as he typed, he felt calm. He had a sense of urgency about him, but he wasn’t anxious or scared or angry. He was empty. He was ready. He wanted to see his family again.

His fingers flew. Almost there. Almost there.

While he typed Officer Jackson twitched again. Once more his hand began to claw the floor and his leg began to kick. It was almost as if the events previous were happening in reverse throughout his body. The twitching ran up his arm and his arm slid up the floor. His legs did the same and soon he was on hands and knees, except his right arm didn’t work too well from the torn tendons and shattered bone that Fred Durkinson’s first bullet had created as it flung its way through his body. That one had hit Jackson’s lung and was the cause of the frothy blood gurgling up and out of his mouth once more. Jackson sat back on his feet and put his left arm on his thigh as if taking a short rest before the truly hard work of rising to his feet began. He noticed his hat and reached out for it on impulse and sat it firmly upon his close cropped graying hair. Jackson was a veteran and he knew looking good at all times was imperative to presenting the best front to the public as an officer of the law. Even when one was a bloody mess otherwise.

Finally Officer Jackson began to rise. It was a long laborious process, pitiful if anyone had been there to witness it, consisting of a lot of lurching and swaying and accompanied by the uncomfortable sounding noises of bones and joints popping and grinding. There were a couple of close calls when it seemed that all progress would be lost in a collapse back down to the floor but finally the job was done and Officer Jackson was once more among the upright.

He smiled and blood oozed out of his mouth and fell on the floor. It didn’t spatter because it splashed down among the rest of his blood congealing on the hardwood floor of the nondescript house in the nondescript neighborhood in suburban America.

His eyes were shadowed by the brim of his hat, but they gleamed in those shadows. And they were black. Oh so black.

 

Fred Durkinson was so focused on finishing his tale that he didn’t see the figure standing in his doorway for several minutes. The figure just stood there quietly, grinning its malicious grin and waiting patiently. When he did finally notice, Fred Durkinson let out a short scream and reached for his gun. He had just been about to hit the send button to email his story out to all the major news outlets he could think of when the awareness of the police officer standing there startled him and caused him to forget to click it. He would never get the chance again. His computer would disappear and no one would know Fred Durkinson’s true reason for his actions. Fred Durkinson would die and his nondescript house would always be tainted and avoided. It would sit and sit, unable to be sold and at last it would be demolished and a small park dedicated to his family would be placed there instead.

Fred had no way of knowing that at the moment. Fred could barely think. Terror filled every part of his being. The cop standing there glaring at him so malevolently was dead just moments ago, Fred knew this, but even so here he was. Fred raised shaking hands and braced his wrist holding the gun with the other hand. It didn’t still the shaking one bit and it didn’t seem to deter the police officer, although he stayed put with his good hand stuck casually into his belt. Next to his gun.

The police officer tried to speak but only managed to cough out blood. He shook his head frustratedly and coughed again. And again, this time with more force. Fred knew he should pull the trigger but fear had him in its grip. It felt as if he had rigor mortis and he wasn’t even dead. Yet. Finally the officer seemed to have cleared it all out for he straightened up and spoke.

“Fred, Fred, Fred.” the police officer chided. “What do you think you are doing? What is this going to accomplish? Your family is dead. There is no stopping us. We are coming, like it or not. And no one will believe your insane story. Even if it is true.”

He grinned a bloody grin and took a step forward.

Fred found enough nerve to use his voice. He stiffened and pointed the gun at the officer with more resolve.

“Just stay right where you are. You didn’t get my family and you aren’t going to get me either.”

The officer laughed.

“I’m already dead you idiot. Shoot if you like. It won’t matter. And as for you, well, we never wanted you. You were just a test.”

The officer moved like lightning and drew his weapon. Fred screamed and fired, his bullet hitting Officer Jackson in the middle of the chest, but it didn’t so much as slow down the inevitable. Fred’s scream was cut short as Jackson’s own bullet tore into his open mouth and splattered bits of bone and brain and blood all over the wall behind.

 

When the story finally got told there were a lot of questions about what could have possibly driven such a seemingly normal man to such horrific actions, what could be done to prevent these things from happening again, and, as always, lots of pondering and pontificating without any conclusions ever really being made. There were lots of all of the kinds of things that go on around these types of shocking stories.

But what there wasn’t was true understanding. What Fred Durkinson wanted people to know the most was never spoken of.  Not one person ever mentioned Fred Durkinson’s last email because the only person besides Fred Durkinson that had seen it was Officer Jackson. And Officer Jackson wasn’t talking because he, like Fred, was six feet under and silent in his grave.

§

Al Bellington sat in his undershirt and dirty boxers, stained with spilled beer, the powdery orange dust from a bag of cheese flavored nacho chips, and most definitely the semen from his latest round of porn watching. Al Bellington was currently taking a nap in his favorite comfortable chair, the aforementioned bag of nacho chips resting on his well rounded belly, riding like a ship on the gentle waves of the folds of his fat as it rose and fell in time to his breathing. He snored loudly and his body jerked.

Al Bellington was dreaming.

It started out as a pleasant dream. A wet dream would be the colloquial term. He was currently being serviced by two nubile young beauties, their smiling faces looking up at him with adoration as they took turns sucking his massive member. He was in the middle of telling one of them not to forget his balls when the dream went south on him. What had just been two beautiful, bouncy, full-breasted women turned into horrors beyond compare. One bit his cock off. The other sat on his face and her vagina – a dark, impossibly large cavern of utter darkness – swallowed him whole.

Al Bellington awoke from this dream, this nightmare, but he didn’t awaken with a start. His breathing wasn’t rapid, nor was he particular sweaty. No. The only thing Al Bellington did was open his eyes.

And they were black. Oh so black.

Wait

“Wait!”

Such a small, simple word.

But one time, it saved my son’s life.

It was years ago. Me, my son and a neighbor boy were kicking the soccer ball around in the front yard of my house. The neighbor boy and I were on one end of the yard and my son was on the other end. We lived in an older neighborhood and my driveway and the driveway of the corner house were together, making one large shared driveway. I kicked the ball and my son missed it and it rolled underneath the car of the neighbor whom we shared the driveway with. I waited while he got behind the tire of the car to retrieve the soccer ball. What I hadn’t noticed was that the neighbors were in their car, it was running, and they were about to take off.

But the neighbor boy had noticed. And that is when he saved my son’s life by shouting that one simple word.

I still remember that day at odd times and it still hits me hard. How close it was that I almost lost my boy. How unperceptive I had been not to see them. How irresponsible I had been to let him crawl under a car like that. Every time it pops into my head it’s like a nightmare. How close it all was. How fortunate we all were that the neighbor boy, (that we never see anymore, who is off living a life I know nothing about) was there and that he did see.

I get the shakes thinking about it. And I want to tell that neighbor boy – again and again – like I told him that day and beyond, (but it never feels like I said it enough) “Thank you” for saving my son’s life by shouting

“Wait!”

it’s a rocky sort of world

think of the world, the world we see the most of every day, as a large rock half buried in the ground. take that rock, dig it up and turn it over. sure, underneath it is where the creepy crawlies live, the grubs, and the bugs and the other assorted things that make our skin crawl. could even be a snake lying in wait. but it’s also where the life is, the animation, the discoveries. and that is just the top layer of what lies beneath the boring, never changing rock of a world we look at every day. if we dig even further beneath that top layer, down into the soil, what other wonders and fears might we uncover? our hands will be dirty, heaven forbid in this day and age, but that dark soil is cool and damp and also has the potential for life. so i say dig under the rock you observe every day and see what is lying beneath. go to where the life is. make your skin crawl. make your heart beat faster with a slight twinge of fear.

or, leave the rock where it is, doing what it does best.

sitting there. lifeless. being a rock.

at least it gets warm in the sun.

but it’s still just a rock.

standing at the foot of key mountain

i have chains

bound all around

wrapped within

held by one simple lock

it’s ugly

rusty

suits me

it would make Jacob Marley proud

but i know i can unlock it

and let the chains fall

all i have to do is find the key

no problem

it’s right here in front of me

in this looming pile of keys

of which i stand at the foot

all i have to do is find it

shouldn’t take more than

the rest of my life

i hope

so if you need me just follow the sound

of keys being chosen

shoved in the lock

and then discarded with a

“tink”

follow the “tink”

if you need me

i’ll be standing at the foot of key mountain.

mirage

I poured out my heart into the desert of Nothing.

Now I am empty.

My lips dry.

I thirst.

Will that next promise quench me?

Or be yet another mirage?

random thoughts

Ft. Knox has nothing on trying to reach a guarded woman’s heart.

You can lead a heart to love…but how do you make it believe?

Go ahead. Run as fast and as far as you can. Call me when you’re exhausted and I’ll come pick you up and take you home.

Come, my love, and lie with me, come speak with me wordlessly, let my touch tell you everything, let my kiss mean something.

My heart’s compass always points at her.

If I built the tallest building, wrote the greatest novel, or became a famous man, and it didn’t win her heart, it would all mean nothing.

If I played the song of my heart for you, would you sing along and share it with the world and tell them you helped write the lyrics?

There is good love in this world. I have evidence of this in the lipstick kissed letter and present left on my porch this morning.

It’s up to me to stop chasing the darkness.

I am a stupid, stupid man.

I gave so much time to a woman made of ice. I found myself frozen in turn, unable to enjoy the warmth of another, so freely given.

Ever grasping at what lies beyond ensures we one day over reach and cause our own downfall. The quest for more leaves us with nothing.

I ponder these things on the day that celebrates my fatherhood and wonder: what can my children learn from a man who has learned nothing?

I have found your answer. It is no. Now I must find a new question. One whose answer is yes.

There is the fire of agony. There is the fire of ecstacy. Let both forge you into stronger steel.

My heart is large like the sun, for no matter how it burns, I find more fuel to feed its flames.

Apparently I never wrote for love, merely ego.

Sex is a poetry of emotion in motion. Or at least, it should be.

Lust and love both have four letters and are often confused for each other. Twins that appear alike yet are different on the inside.

She came packaged in long legs, silky hair, and beautiful lips. But someone had removed her warning label and when I opened her I got hurt.

I keep traveling down this lonely road wondering when it is going to lead me home.

I loved, I lost, I tried, I failed, I was right, I was wrong. I am a man that loved a woman wholeheartedly and for this I am not ashamed.

possibilities

Perhaps I should have been more patient. I know for a fact I should have been stronger. Fucking love. Makes me weak when I need to be strong. I always thought it was the other way around and love made you strong when you were weak. But I suppose that is only the case when the other person loves you back. It requires strength to be patient and I lost both when she told me she “Didn’t feel it for us.” Those words exploded every little hope and dream I had. Once uttered it seemed such a waste to even pretend anymore. It seemed pointless to continue to torture myself when she seemed so certain about her feelings. So I left. But doubt began to creep back in. What if all I needed to do was keep fighting? What if all I had to do was keep showing her what she meant to me. What if I had been more patient? What if I had bucked up and been strong and worked through the pain her words caused and kept going? What if it was only insecurity on her part that made her say that? She couldn’t really have known already. Could she? We hadn’t spent that much time together and the time we had spent together was fantastic. I thought. And she seemed to think so too. So what made her say that? She listed off the reasons but when she got to “My heart” my blood froze and my own heart struggled to deal with that fact. I had been so, so certain that once we got to a certain point that she would see what I saw. That we would work. I guess it was the depth of my feeling for her. I loved her so much that there was nothing I wouldn’t have done to make us work. No sacrifice I wouldn’t have made to let her know I was in for the long haul. But no. Those words cut me to my core and I ran away. If she had said anything but that I think I would have stayed, but knowing she didn’t feel us as a couple was more than I could take then. So here I am left with nothing but

possibilities.

 

the insanity of cupid’s arrows

Is it cowardice to armor one’s heart against the barbed arrows of a Cupid gone mad? One who shoots his arrows without regard to consequence? Is it cowardice to wish to avoid the pain of his pernicious arrow sinking in to my heart alone? The arrow that he so maliciously forgot to also shoot into the one I fell in love with?

“Perhaps, it is. But I don’t care.” I think as I buckle the armor on and shut my beating heart away into the darkness once again.

shaking & shattering

I’m shaking.

I don’t know whether it is from the coffee on an empty stomach or the flurry of emotions that are swirling inside of me, bumping themselves along my nerves and up against my skin. I think it may be a combination of the two and I hope that the emotions aren’t able to find a crack in my facade and work themselves out. They are trying with everything they possess. I feel as if I have an earthquake dwelling within me and it is only a matter of time before I break from the constant shivering.

What started it? What was the butterfly effect? What seemingly innocent action somewhere else set into motion the little ripple that grew into this tsunami inside of me that threatens to drown me in ruin? I don’t know. It’s probable I don’t ever want to know. I wonder how he did it? What words did he use? What caught her eye about him? Did he make her laugh? Did he make her feel special? Did he make her feel sexy? What did he do that I never could? What was it about him that turned her on so much? What the fuck did he do or have that turned her away? What caused her to leave me here

shaking and shattering?

constructing the kingdom of nothing

you keep busy. it doesn’t matter what you are doing. you just have to keep yourself busy, keep the mind occupied. make a lot of noise. scream inside of your head. whatever it takes, just so long as you drown out what your mind and your gut are trying to tell you. because you really don’t want to hear it. your heart starts pounding on the walls of its cage of ribs desperately trying to raise a ruckus. it covers its ears. screams “lalalalalalaaaaaaa” at the top of its lungs like a little kid that is trying to ignore some unpleasantry. you can’t let yourself think. you have to keep hammering the nails into those boards. sawing, sanding, shaping. keep building. keep moving forward. because if you let yourself stop, if you let your mind think and your gut knock the wind out of you, if for just a second you make your heart be still and shut up and listen to those tiny voices trying to nag their way to the forefront, you’ll be forced to look around and realize you’ve been busy constructing the kingdom of nothing.

and then where will you be?

a word too far

There is that excruciating moment of fear when your heart is pounding her name but you don’t know how much you should tell her. Your heart is at a gallop but you are afraid to give it free rein because you are nervous it might ride you both right off the cliff, because every time she crosses your mind (which is literally all the time) you just feel like you have to talk to her right then or you won’t be able to sleep that night. And it feels so amazing but you don’t want to blow it by making it too much. But nobody ever explained what the hell the limit is or why the hell there is even a limit in the first place. I mean, something that feels this fucking amazing just can’t –  shouldn’t – be limited. Right? Apparently it is. And so you find yourself in that paradox where everything you think you know about romance is telling you to climb the highest mountain and shout out your feelings to the whole goddamn world, while reality is saying that you need to reel it in, parcel it out, don’t let yourself get carried away. Which is maddening. Especially since you can’t remember the last time your mouth longed to kiss someone so much. How long it has been since your trembling hands longed to trace every lovely inch of a woman’s skin. It is ancient history, barely remembered, since the last time your knees got shaky and your heart skipped a beat. And there she is, talking to you at last. Right there. Her eyes looking into yours. So close but yet so painfully far. The journey has started but still so many miles to go yet. You’re quivering for a kiss, a touch. You want to tell her all of the crazy ways she is making your insides jump around, like you swallowed a whole bag of jumping beans. You argue with yourself, a whole schizophrenic conversation playing out in your head, while you smile and do your best to win her heart. You’re going to say it. Fuck the rules. She has to know. You draw in your breath. But what comes out is something inane and safe. You do more listening than talking so you don’t kill the fragile new flower that you hope will blossom into the full beauty of love.

If only she knew of the inferno within. If only.

But better to play it safe than to lose it all simply because you went a word too far.

some thoughts on parenting

Being a parent is hard: You have to be counselor, bank, judge, jury, advocate, friend, enemy, clown, advisor, transportation, biggest fan and too many other things to list. It’s a schizophrenic pursuit. But also something I would never trade for anything. I don’t know what sort of people my kids will be when they grow up, but I hope they will all be good people: kind and strong. And it will be hard for me to not blame myself if things go wrong for them, because I feel responsible for teaching them and guiding them and preparing them for life. I realize that ultimately they are their own selves regardless of what I do or say and a parent can only do so much, but I still struggle with the parts where I feel like I fail miserably and can only keep my fingers crossed that whatever screw ups I make will cause minimal damage. And in the end, no matter who judges my success or failure as a parent, that person can be no harder on me than I am. But, like all the good ones , and unlike all the bad ones, I have done my best, for better or worse.

I guess that is all I can expect of myself.

fright

“Hey, I have this friend I want you to meet.”

That sentence terrifies me. Why? Because it almost always comes from my lady friends trying to set me up. What they are trying to set me up for I am not exactly sure, but it always make me nervous. For one thing, it puts a friendship at risk. If I happen to start seeing this friend of theirs and then decide it isn’t working out, then I have two pissed off females on my hands. One of which was a friend of mine before that whole deal started. Because no matter what the circumstances, a man can’t overcome “The Network”. Break up as nicely as possible and you are still the dick that hurt her friend. *sigh* It’s just a bad scene all around.

Then there’s the whole attractiveness thing. I am not sure if I just have a completely different set of beauty guidelines or if these ladies are merely being charitable with most of their friends’ beauty scale, but what she may call beautiful I may call passable. You can usually gauge a little by looking out for code words. “Oh she has a great personality” is usually a big ass red flag. “She’s a lot of fun” is another one, which can be true, but only if you like them drunk and promiscuous. (Which I do, but not a quality I’m looking for in “The One”, mind you.)

All in all, it’s something I’d rather avoid, but me being me, I’ll do it anyway. You never know.

that elusive goddamn…something

You know that thing you really, really, REALLY want?

Whether it be a particular career, that member of the other sex (or same sex, as the case may be), or merely some material thing you are just going to die if you don’t get, it seems as if you will never obtain it because for whatever reason it seems the whole fucking world is standing in your way. You know that thing?

What do you think about that? Is the universe telling you you don’t need it or is it just making it so damn difficult so that once you do get it, you will value it more? I tend to lean toward believing the latter. I mean, instant gratification is all well and good and everything, but once you’ve had to bust your ass to get something you really treasure it more. Or at least you should.

heart, mind and love

When it comes to love which rules? Does the brain rule the heart or does the heart rule the brain? Or perhaps they work in tandem with each other. First the mind convinces the heart that it is in love and then the heart takes over from there. Whichever the case, the heart seems to rule with an iron fist over the brain when it finally gets into power. No matter how logically you attempt to approach love, you find your mind swerves and crashes like a car on a rainy road, completely out of control. Your heart lives for those times it beats for another and it will not willingly give up its throne so that the coldly calculating brain can take back over and rein it in from its joyful romp. Even when the heart finds itself broken it only extremely reluctantly gives up the scepter, maddeningly pulling the mind down with it. The heart plays movies of your beloved in the theater of your mind, sometimes with no sound, just sitting there lonely in the dark watching the images move across the screen, painful images of what was and what could have been. But finally, when the heart has had its fill it looks back with one last wistful glance, shuts off the projector and closes the door. Leaving the memories in the dark.

quitter

Quitting still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

I still can’t give up the thought that I just needed to hold on a little longer. One day more, a month, what did it matter? In the long run I had already put so much into it, a bit more time was nothing. But it seemed that the rope I had held on to so desperately had whittled itself down to a thread and I was in danger of falling into a chasm of waiting forever. Nothing was given to me at that point to believe holding on was going to make any difference.

So I quit.

I gave up.

That’s okay sometimes, isn’t it? Once you get to a certain point and realize you are more fool than patient, it’s okay to walk away, right? Was I a quitter or did I walk away because I had to? It feels almost like the answer to that would be: both. I had to quit. I would have never stopped if there seemed to be any point in going on, but the only person in the world I needed to tell me to keep going wasn’t saying anything. I’m stubborn. I beat my head against walls every day in pursuit of what is important and meaningful to me, but even I know that after a certain point you are just going to knock yourself out and wake up with a big headache. That brick wall isn’t going to budge no matter how hard you ram your head against it.

But I still can’t help but wonder; what if I had refused to quit? Damn the Hollywood movies that show a guy doing something desperately romantic for his lady love and winning her. I had all of these crazy ideas in my head. I was going to drive to her and make her talk to me, give her an impassioned last minute plea that would make her understand that no one would love her like I did, write her the love letter of all love letters and wrap it around a rock and throw it at her window. Whatever it took.

Then I realized, while all of that worked like a charm in Hollywood, all it would do for me was get me arrested, beat up (by her probably) or gain me a brand new restraining order. Crap. Romantic gestures like that just don’t work in reality. I would have loved to have tried, but the last thing I wanted was to have seemed crazy or scary in some way.

So after I had read what she had said, those words that cut me so invisibly yet so deeply, I sat back – stunned, dejected, hurt, seething, lost, confused, frustrated – and pondered my next move. There was a pressure inside of me as all of these emotions battered me heart and soul and grew like a snowball. The pressure began to leak out and I really had no idea what to do with it. I couldn’t direct it in the direction I wanted. It had become too massive and unwieldy for me to tame.

And so I typed an email. Hit send.

And became a quitter.

perhaps

Perhaps it’s me.

Perhaps I long for something that isn’t realistic. Perhaps I long to burn too fiercely and perhaps there’s not a woman out there willing to step into that flame. It can be intense and frightening, I realize. There’s two sides to that coin, after all, and my passion burns on both.

Or, perhaps, love and the fire that goes along with it is only ever intended to be a one way street. Perhaps only one of the two is meant to burn while the other merely enjoys the warmth. In my own experience, it has been either I am on fire and she isn’t or she is on fire and I am not. Never have the two met. And that is what I have been looking for. A kindred spirit, a kindred flame that wants to join her fire to mine so that we can burn brightly together.

But in the end, perhaps that’s the problem. I am just not meant to find that fiery vixen, full of passion wrapped in long legs and a beautiful smile. Perhaps I am meant to be the wandering soul, forever searching, yet never finding. The world needs those too right? I mean, who else is going to write the lovesick songs and poetry? Who else is going to cry out with words the pain that dwells within so that others, who are temporarily lost and hurting, can read them or hear them and realize they are not so terribly alone after all? Because there is someone else out there whose job that is. They are the poets of loneliness that will eternally scribe their pain for all to share. Yes, perhaps that is my purpose on this earth. That would explain why it always comes so hard and goes so easily.

However, I can’t allow myself to believe that. I have to believe she is out there, searching for me as fervently as I am searching for her. Perhaps she is holding her flame in her hand and looking up at the night sky and longing for her fire king to come and join her in that beautiful conflagration known as love. And perhaps, some day I will see her flame and recognize it as the twin of mine and I will smile and know the journey is over at last. And perhaps, I will still have time to feel like I have truly lived for once in my life as I burn with her.

Yes.

Perhaps.

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