A Sitting Dog

This apartment is one large open room with a corridor connecting it to four others: the kitchen, a washroom, and two bedrooms. One of the bedrooms even has a washroom of its own. The walls are white and the carpet a dirtied white, owing that distinction to the sleeping ward beside me on the couch. Generally, I would have enforced my own rule of her not allowed on the couch but she was well-behaved and even more so when she was curled up neatly in to a ball on the grey cushions: I on one side, her on the other.

I am here because my friends are out of town and couldn’t bare the thought of their little girl being alone for the long weekend, and in the long gaps of time between walks in the sunshine that both thrill her and heat her like a fever I can think. After the first five hours of movies, T.V. shows, and wandering through social media I’ve felt like Captain America waking up from the ice to the exile of an unknown space and time. Getting up for food means cracking knees, ankles, and feet, and the night has darkened the apartment and awakened the city lights outside. They’re a wonderous thing the lights of a city, both a beautiful and inspiring sight that is toxic and destructive of the very horizon it decorates.

I was thinking of my friends as I set the Greek food on the kitchen counter (It was take out I was no longer hungering for but I figured I’d eat it at some point.). While they had been preparing to leave they had told me they would be moving out of this place and the city as a whole soon. Three months, as a matter of fact, because they had both found better jobs and could afford to live somewhere with more trees than concrete. I was feeling retrospective now that the hour was late, and I envied what they had and experienced. Both are attractive people, both had followed their goals and let their ambitions guide them, and both were thriving as individuals as well as they thrived as a pair.

I, on the other hand, found myself happiest right now. A visitor in the home of someone else, standing in a dark and quiet apartment listening to the light traffic outside and the humming of the air conditioner. I envy the lives of my friends but also know that I would be miserable in their shoes, and that makes for a strange mixture of emotions. I’ve ducked opportunities and hidden when I could’ve thrived, and that brought me happiness. I’m here alone with someone else’ view, and I feel happiness.

Back on the couch, without food because my stomach feels empty in a way that doesn’t rumble for food, and I don’t know whether to turn the T.V. back on so I sit. No lights on, phone I think still somewhere in the kitchen, and repeat the same disheartening thoughts on repeat. Thoughts of my life, in the past, present, and future, and thoughts of happiness and how I can’t make sense of it, and the thought spinning around and returning like a chicken on a rotisserie of loneliness. I wish I didn’t feel most comfortable alone.

Beside me Mischa makes yelping noises in her sleep and so I reach out to pet her and let her know everything’s alright. She wakes for a second then readjusts to return to sleep.

No Children

He went to school on the early 7 a.m. bus to work on brightening his future.

He would bus from school to work his job for 6 hours.

He rode home while listening to 5 different songs.

He felt a deep pang in the 4 chambers of his heart as he told his love there was homework to do.

She replied with 3 frigid words and a long silence.

2 hours passed with out word from her.

If only this was the 1 time he caught a break.

The first time he felt distance from disappointment it devastated him. It did the second time too, and the third, and the two dozen times it came next. Like a sponge he was constantly rung and twisted over what he did wrong. The hurt was new and foreign in a way he had never experienced in such a way that he truly saw himself as a clumsy monster unable to understand the space around or how he interacted with it. Again, again, and again the broken vases and scoldings rivaling those of a furious parent came. The heartbreak struck like lighting splitting the tree of his heart, only to then pull it up and break ground with the roots struggling to keep hold. Again, again, and again. He struggled like a child on an equation he was never taught how to answer, until the day came where he questioned whether he was looking for an answer that didn’t exist.

Every broken heart, every time something was ruined by the distraction, and every time he blamed himself he crept closer to the notion that maybe he wasn’t a careless buffoon responsible for shouldering all the weight, but instead was suffering through something that was just not worth the effort.

When the time came he didn’t need to let go. He simply placed the period on the last page of a story he had grown exhausted by.

 

Paris

I’d long ago given up and said good-bye to teeth fitting inside the hypnotic turning of the larger mechanical works. A little redheaded step-child to a wretch whose affection I’d never garner.

A face like home came around with a voice of warm chocolate. Better, in fact. All the comfort and place of the sweet without the belly-fat and sugar lows it sires like rotting time displaced and wasted.

It comes and goes. In like sunlight until it’s gone like hoping to sunbathe through an overcast.

I want to catch it all and press it in to a single thing I can hold on to. I want to clutch it in my fists and carry it through each punch I throw during this brawl of one.

The dark holds no space in my heart, and like an astronaut I want to rocket through it with waves of fire and discover the stars. The blood pounding in my ears would be a good friend if I knew the way to speak to it, as would the drumming against my chest with the sticks of my plaque-slowed heart. The only friend I have right now is the shortness of breath that you try to avoid at a party, with all the dead-end small talk and barely-there smiles that fun elicits.

The debate does neither side any favors unless they were hoping to exhaust one another. In that endeavor they are royalty reigning with tropical winds and drenching anyone close by with their insufferable, stormy rule.

My true love is bright, sunny, and without so much as a consideration for some of the things that I have surrendered to, and to juxtapose that against the malevolent greys back-dropping tired pines could signal a lack of self-awareness.

I’ve long ago given up on a fit for my zipper teeth and said hello to buttoning up my tattered coat. The blue light will flicker and maybe even die completely, but it won’t be without me resurrecting my fight till the cat curses its nine lives and prays for me to let it retire beneath the city to sleep.

1 to 4

Out from the past with dusty words that could make me six years younger came a message. The old bitterness in my mouth returned easier than I would have ever imagined. Time passes and you think you grow up, wisen up, and give up some of the more fallible parts of days gone. Here’s a chance to maybe prove that though, as the first reaction that comes to me is nothing more than an old habit; a learned way of coping. These are different times though, and it is my responsibility to act like a man that has learned his way away from the child he was.

I respond with firm honesty and without malice. The beats of my heart are stepping to a quicker rhythm as the minutes follow in wait of a reply, and the two letters I receive do nothing for me.

Ok.

I feel no more than I felt a second ago, but the absence of indignation speaks to me in my own voice with words iced with pride. I did what I could and defied a lower road, and though I didn’t receive beyond or level with expectation I am proud of myself.

To my surprise a second response follows. Something honest and unexpected, and for not the first time in recent memory my own adjusted response opens the door for something more than my assumption to reign. Where the story goes next is unwritten as of this writing, but I see a lesson worth noting here. It is easy to move a piece to draw out another’s response, but by granting freedom to their actions and responding with sincerity and openness you may allow yourself to be surprised.

11- 4:02

What light would be cast on me should I disappear? If I fell like a watch over the side of ship to sink in to the depths for eternity, would I be thought of as lost treasure? Would anyone snorkel and explore in search of my greening edges?  If one moment I was there like chicken, rice, and vegetables, stirred in to one on a white and reflective dish of white porcelain, would any regard be given to my flavors before I was consumed? What would be remembered of what was there merely moments ago?

“I’ll never forget you,” he says.

“But will you remember?”

“Well yes, I’ll never forget you.” A laugh orbits his words.

“But will you remember?”

Frustration like fumbling fingers trying a zipper.

“What are you talking about?”

“It’s not hard to not forget. There’s no time in keeping a memento of me in your thoughts to collect dust and serve as a quick response when inquired. My hope is that I come up in your thoughts for no other reason than you’ve enjoyed our time together.” A pause breaks the exchange and within it his mind races.

“That’s what my hope is, anyway.”

“I don’t know if that’ll happen. You mean a lot to me. You’re special. I love you.”

“I……….”

His heart reacts like a start gun. The racing is on and he didn’t ask to be at the starting blocks.

“What?? What’s wrong??”

“I….. I always hope for more.” She pauses again. He wants desperately to speak in the silence but the disorder in his head prevents him from starting.

“I’m tired of being more in love than you are. I’m tired of knowing that those hopes are not who you will ever be.”

He tries to speak a few more times. Finally, the pages and pages of things he wished to say sent out nothing more than a simple “but I love you.”

“Thank you,” She says “but I hope you find a love that suits you better.”

Like that, she begins to disappear. Painful nights and realizations that he’ll never experience her laugh or share a bowl of ice cream with her again are two small pangs of many that await him in time, yet he does begin to forget. He forgets and heals and lives on.

She walked away with every step a few miles ahead of him. She knew, had known, and consequently felt little in the end. She had come to no insight that had not previously occurred, and while she knew he would be hurting it was offset by the knowledge that they would be happier a year from now down this road than the one they’d been traveling together. This wasn’t the love she’d hoped to share with someone, and she knew she owed it to herself not to quit before she found it.

Imperfect Misery

The cook with his carroty head is begging us to eat; he beckons with his ladle to everyone that passes. He bargains and blusters like he is the bastion of life keeping us from the grave with his cobbled together soup. His eyes twitch and bulge without so much as a rhythm to go with the piffle he serves as an unwanted side to the lumpy brown water, only passing as food thanks to the orange of the carrots. They sometimes listen but mostly donate as little as they can to justify the food, cupping the bowl with warming hands against the rainy winds.

I sit low to the ground, a bucket my throne while I regard this fool, my knees up to my aching chest. The closest I’ll come to feeling that warmth is the burning the swishing in my flask can do. I don’t need him or his lined, long face or thin, patchy hair. His lack of respect pains my ass more than this bucket, and amongst us, a group of men fighting in mud and death, he does not belong. I wish more than anything he would quiet and let us weigh the fighting we’ve faced, and will face again soon, chat with us. Let us break bread and understand one another. Let us feel it a little more and a little less so we may greet it as it comes.

But no. Instead he barters his soup for an ear and a little self-importance to fancy when the night comes.

Cult of Personality

Their own reflection is glory

Staring back with the smile of a lover

“You’re the protagonist of this story!”

Just plot devices are the others.

 

No one else understands

Or maybe they’re not smart enough to

“This game can only be played by my hands

Everyone else fumbles, grovels, and misses their cue!”

 

If everything is a ladder

They’ll knock you off to scuttle up the rungs

Lest they feel like they don’t matter

Anymore than the rest of us.

 

Once armed with enough noise

To justify their abuse and control

“We worked smarter” or “Boys will be boys”

You will never score a goal.

 

With peace and equality so easily toppled

Like sheep submitting to the will of any wolf that makes the effort

These sick brains relish in spreading the most awful

Eating our lives for dinner and our dreams for dessert

 

On a planet of so much water

Our lakes and oceans are poisoned by narcissism

The infection unavoidable as it spreads to slaughter

Our uniting to rebel, and so it succeeds in the schism.