loneliness has become my second nature
is being too numb to respond usual here
colder now is the returning winter, still it's less intense and cruel
than that from some Novembers ago, the one with dilated pupils
the day I began to mourn all the wasted years
way out of there was my sole remaining desire
she, the angel of my purpose, died for a moment
treats of all kind seemed to have tragically ended
me, a failure yet again, or so they say I was
in the absence of all hope, faith, and trust
the same place I'm sitting, writing this chapter
dark days as such would revisit me much later
The courage to embrace
“That’s not what I mean… but it’s just - it just is.” Hand in other hand, I play with my own fingers in growing anxiety. It’s just… it’s difficult, you know?
“Hm… what just is?” The blank turmoil in my mind comes to a slow stop as his eyes look up at mine. They’re all that I can see.
“Umm… mmm…” Scratching at my head has never been a habit of mine… it seems like one today.
“Look at me.” In a loss of certainty, I’m thankful for a sense of direction. The ground shakes amidst my faltering focus.
His gaze never wavers, and I’m not sure if he expects something from me.
But I don’t say anything.
We just look into each other’s eyes.
Not searching for anything in particular…
But hoping to hold one another in any way that we can.
After a while, he speaks.
“I don’t mind crouching down on these steps. I don’t mind being out here with you late at night. I don’t mind spending this moment the way that I am right now. With you.”
If there were words I could’ve found before, they were gone now. All I can do is stare.
“I don’t know what you’ve been through… I don’t know how you’ve lived your life so far. But… I hope that you can trust me. It’s not the most difficult concept, but it’s definitely not an easy thing - right? Mm… I’m not perfect. But… I have confidence in being honest with you. I’m not too prideful or stubborn, but I stand by my beliefs. I’m not easily shaken, and I see the beauty of life for what it is.
“I want to love you. I already like you. I want to show you the beauty that I see… and I want to know you better. I want to be a shoulder you can lean on. But only… if you’d let me.”
I’ve never known how to see a person for who they could be. I’ve always seen them for who they are.
This person in front of me… who looks up into my eyes as I sit on the step above his.
I don’t know who he is.
And I don’t know if I can trust him.
I can’t help but feel drawn.
To his warmth. His kindness. His genuity.
I guess it’s moments like these where those sayings around meeting a good person when you don’t expect to…. happen.
To be sure, I hold his gaze the way he does mine.
And I feel the courage…
To embrace it.
“Tis better to have loved and lost...”
Person 1: "tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all"--I feel that eating a McDonald's burger is just like that.
Person 2: Now…why is that?
Person 1: Because everyone has at one point. Even if they lament doing so. Just like bad love.
Person 2: Now…is it fair to compare love to something like a McDonald's burger? It can't love you back.
Person 1: But it can! It can be bad and good…just like love.
Person 2: Really? But…how can love be bad?
Person 1: Love is a game. It is bad to losers. Bad love is just like eating a McDonald's burger: the initial taste may feel good, but overtime you find, that really, it's the other way around…that the burger is really consuming you.
Person 2: …Is that possible? Could dead meat eat somebody?
Person 1: Not literally--figuratively. Once inside you, it begins to eat away at your heart...consuming you from the inside out!
Person 2: You've just spoiled my appetite.
The second bottle thudded to the floor, clinking against the first. In reality, it wasn’t the second bottle, and its friend down there on the floor wasn’t the first, either. A more accurate way to classify it would have been “the second bottle of that night." The carpet was musty and stained throughout from the spills of hundreds of beer bottles over the last decade. Many of them still lay around, long empty. It didn’t take him long to drain them anymore.
Footsteps sounded in the room over. That was his daughter, clearing away the mess left by supper. They had ordered it, as always. He couldn’t remember the last time they’d eaten something other than pizza or take-out Chinese. Granted, she was barely thirteen. It wasn’t like she could be expected to cook for the two of them, and he certainly was in no shape to do so. He hadn’t been for a while now.
Her silhouette appeared in the doorway. She was so small, with hunched shoulders and limp hair. She seemed aged in a way that no child ever should.
If he had been sober, he might have sobbed but for the childhood she never had, should have had. The childhood he had never given her.
She all but tiptoed into the room, gathering beer bottles and other garbage as quietly as she could, like she was trying to fade into the shadows around the edges of the room.
If he had been sober, he wouldn’t have been able to stand the look on her face when she shot him a quick glance. It was a mixture of pity and disgust, but worst of all was the fear. Her fear. She was afraid of him.
It wasn’t his daughter’s fault. Of course it wasn’t. She had only been a toddler when it happened. Barely walking, the only words she had even known then were Daddy and Mama. But the latter had soon faded from her vocabulary.
If he had been sober, he’d still have been able to hear his wife’s scream, the squeal of tires, the crunch of shattering glass and twisting metal.
She was too young to remember. His only child held no memories of her mother, the beautiful woman that she was growing up to so closely resemble. All she had were empty bottles for company and that ugly gash on the side of her forehead.
If he had been sober, he would have realized that it had been him who had given that to her, to his own daughter. And before that, the black eye. He might have noticed her scars. But even if he had been thinking clearly, he wouldn’t have been able to recall the incident anyway. The beer made sure of that.
His daughter didn’t understand, couldn’t understand. With no way to remember her mother - even pictures removed from the walls, since the memories hurt him too much - she would never know how much her father had loved his wife.
If he had been sober, he would’ve been able to feel every ache that the painful memories brought with them. Every gash and every wound, reopened. He would have remembered exactly how much he had loved her. Unfortunately, he also would have remembered that she was gone. That fact was what kept him firmly planted in the moldy recliner, surrounded by an army of empty glass bottles. He didn’t want to remember.
Despite the terror lurking in the shadows of his daughter’s face, the remnants of the blood she’d tried to clean from her temple, and the way she kept to the edges of the living room, as far away from him as possible, there would be no changes any time soon.
There was nothing left in this world that could drag him out of the grave he’d dug himself. The only person that could’ve done that was his wife, but she was in her own inescapable grave.
Sobriety was no longer something he could handle.
Belly of Breezes
Answer me this -
why did love
pass us by
and can you live
with your shadows?
as thirsty roots
as love remnants
stalk at our heels,
prance in hunger
of life’s discrepancies
miracle and curse.
Close your eyes,
seek your answer,
in belly of