Personal

Of Love and Nerds

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For the sake of my mental health, I decided to go for walks. This isn’t a new thing for me; in the past, it was what I did almost every day after work. It started off as something more serious – I’d walk and began pushing myself further until it was a sprint, a job, a run.

These days though, I walk in hopes to build some strength back in my lungs.

And, of course, to people watch.

For those wondering, people-watching is essential to creative writing – be it fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Jose Skinner taught me of its importance, though it had been a pastime of mine for some time.

When you observe your surroundings with a creative eye, you register things that would otherwise be overlooked. The way a young wife moves away from her husband when he sits next to her. Or how a child darts across the street while his mother scrolls across the screen of phone. Or the mannerisms of a young couple.

They paid no mind to the scent of rain that lingered in the air; they were more focused on studying each others smile. The groove between their hands, their teeth. With the first drops, she pulled him into the open space. They wrapped their arms around each other.

It took me back to a moment in life. One taken for granted. When a girl pulled me outside to kiss in the rain.

Continue reading “Of Love and Nerds”
Poetry Break

“A Life of Errands” by Leonard Cohen

We all think about it at some point, don’t we? The purpose of our lives, the time we spend at work – all the things we miss out as we while away the times doing a job “that makes us happy.” Perhaps it’s become more prevalent in my life as I watch my son grow, wonder what important things about his life I have missed. There are moments when I notice the aloneness that has crept into my life. When I wonder if someone will enter my life who can hold my interest and I theirs.

Are we more than just a life of errands? Do we long for more than providing what others need? Do we only await to embrace our next commissions?

For the fourth poem, I have chosen Leonard Cohen’s “A Life of Errands.” I hope you enjoy it.

More Leonard Cohen:

Personal

A Letter to 38yo Me

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Did you ever believe that you’d live this long? As a child, we used to map out our futures. What we’d be like as teenagers. In our twentysomethings, batting away quarter-life crises. And we’d imagine being 32. Then it was just dark, unplanned. Nothing lay beyond its horizon. It is uncertainty whether we thought our story came to a halt at 32, or if our imagination was limited. This Saturday, we will meet for the first time and we will have outlived our expectation by six years.

Continue reading “A Letter to 38yo Me”
Personal

“You can think that you’re in love…” (Part 2 of 3)

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Sometimes we create fantasies because the reality isn’t worth facing. We create happy marriages when all we think about is running out the door. We glue something broken beyond repair in hopes that things will get better. We do this because the alternative is scarier than what we have.

After we split, I spent hours every day day dreaming that she’d come back. There were mornings I’d hear her trying to sneak into my room like she had in our college days. I’d feel her warm body curled beside only to find her side empty when I opened my eyes.

And I spent hours contemplating the outcome of “the talk” I had with V. How, in every scenario that played in my head, things turned out better than they did. Because I had this one right. I read all the signs correctly. In the end, I projected my feelings onto her and just read what I wanted to.

Maybe it’s time I stopped clinging to this maladaptive daydreaming and accept reality for what it is. Take charge of the things I can control. Focus on my return to writing, book/movie/television reviewing. So I dropped $60+ on a new theme. It was time to start fresh, you know?

Also see:

Stream of Consciousness

A Trilogy of Heartbreaks Part 3 of 3

In the end, we were on separate islands. I had the boat, but you kept the paddles. No matter how hard I tried, the tide would drift me out farther into sea.

At night, our phone calls were sparse. An echoed sentiment of what we used to mean to each other. “How do you do?” to “I’m fine. How about you?”

Once I left you on hold as I collected myself in another room. I painted you a portrait with my tears, though I had no watercolor. Blank canvas – visual epitaph of our relationship.

You were the chapter I never read past. The book left in rough draft. A manuscript left on a train.

To say that you were the one who got away is a misnomer. I never had you in the first place. You belonged to the air, loose leafed notebook paper dancing a sweet bellow.

Personal

“I’m exhausted by my heart”

It’s complicated,” she whispered softly the other night. Several nights ago. And I never knew what that meant all those nights ago. In these sleepless nights, I stare at the oblivion unraveling before me. The darkness has crept in, hasn’t it? And I understand what she meant.

“Why do some people insist on staying in a toxic relationship,” I ask my friend one night.

“Because they’re used to being in it and change is hard. And scary,” she responds.

Maybe it’s that I’ve forgotten. Forgotten what it’s like to be in a relationship. In a romantic relationship. The need of having someone who you can wrap yourself to and just let all the heaviness fade away. It’s been eight years since Jeanna, nearly as long apart as we were together. I tried to remember how it was in those days. Feeling empty. Abandonment.

“I miss you,” her text message read. And a part of me wants to respond with a cynical line: It would be hard to miss me if you stopped leaving me behind. But I don’t have the nerve. Because somewhere along the line, I stopped being the self-centered, selfish asshole. And I start thinking that this is some sort of self-issued penance for the years I was a terrible person to those I loved.

“I feel like this a healthy relationship for you,” my friend texts.

And I bite back the tears as I respond: “So I ask again: Why do some people insist on staying in a toxic relationship?”

“I don’t know how you do it,” my supervisor tells me. We’re in her office at work and I just broke the news that I want to leave the library. After everything I’ve been through in the last two years and now COVID-19, I’m feeling less and less content at work. Every morning it’s a fight to convince myself to go in.

“Do what?” I ask. But I know what she’s going to say. Because I ask myself that every day.

“After what you told me about the accident. Your father last year. I think I would have broken down already.”

“And yet I smile,” I say, rolling my eyes at the fact that I just quoted a zombie show. “The smiles aren’t for me. They’re for everyone else. Because if I crumble, the I feel…” and I let that fade into the silence.

“A friend one told me,” I continued, “that I carried the world on my shoulders. That I made everyone’s well being my responsibility. And maybe I do. There’s Jeanna. There’s Shaun. There’s you and there’s Doris. I do it for others and rarely for myself.” And before I go too far into the good guy complex, I fall silent. “I’ve been thinking of seeking someone,” I end my part of the conversation.

Six years later, things are still complicated. And after a lengthy text conversation, she ends it with, “This could be the wine speaking…” And the oblivion wraps its arms arms around me in a welcoming embrace, an old friend falling back in step with me. And as I close my eyes and welcome it, my mind whispers, “Is this all there is?”