Stream of Consciousness

This Home is Not Ours

I wrote this on the back of a dirty napkin left on the bench after a storm:

This isn’t the bed we shared. These sheets never knew our passion. And this home is not the one we once fantasized of. These walls hold no memories of our words, hold no understanding of what we meant to each other.

Passion spent on overdue rent and I think I’m coming down heavy on the world around me. No words, just muted records comprised of lyrical notes passed to each other in some sophomore Spanish class. Each time the storm passes, I’m left wondering what ever happened to the joy in your voice, the light in your eyes.

Do I punish myself for not moving forward?

Doldrums

“You find your demon’s your best friend”

Depression’s heavy. Cinder blocks lined on your shoulders heavy. Beached whale heavy. Burden-laden, love-ridden, endless insomniac nighttime, television watching heavy.

I lost myself in the rows of gravestones looking for his, Teddy’s–a high school friend who died before graduation. Izzy wanted to visit the cemetery, and since they have no dead relatives they knew or cared about, we sought out the people who I knew. I sat on the ground with Shaun in front of where my friend now rests. This being the second time I paid him a visit since he died in 2001. There was no privacy, so I didn’t talk to the dirt or rock. And it’s funny, though. After all these years of not believing in a god, a heaven or hell, a soul, or an afterlife, I still manage to talk to the dead as if their metaphysical selves linger on this earth. Some practices are not easily forgotten, and perhaps they aren’t due to therapeutic purposes.

Even if I was left to my thoughts, what words would I say? Hi, Teddy. Sorry I haven’t visited much. I’m too busy living, something you weren’t given the opportunity to experience. Not the in the same sense as the rest of us, anyway. And exactly what would have you become if you had? A doctor? A lawyer? A political figurehead that would have changed the game? Who cares about any of that, anyway? There’s this myth that it’s not who you are that defines you, but what you do that makes you who you are. I don’t think that’s true. It’s not who you are or what you do that defines a person, it’s those you leave behind in the end. The people who love you and carry you around long after your gone. This is my son and I love him dearly. His mother and I, well, we weren’t cut out for each other, I suppose. I really wish we were, though. But things are great. My son loves me. And I suppose if no one else does, at least I have that to keep me moving forward. And that’s what I most sorry for, Teddy. It’s not that you didn’t get the opportunity to make a mark on this world, it’s that you never got to feel what I’m feeling–never had the experience of fatherhood.

I’m not good at reading people’s emotions. I can’t say I lack empathy, but it’s not something I experience often enough. I tread lightly around others because I don’t know what they’re going to do. People are a mystery to me. What compels them to smile, cry, grow angry, or whatever is a mystery. I’m not a fan of Descartes, but to paraphrase him: I know I’m a creature of thought and ration, but what are you?

And the worse of it is, I never know how to react to others’ emotions. I never see them as angry or sad until it affects me. A reason, I may add, that makes me a terrible boyfriend.

A while ago, I stopped at my boss’s office to have a chat. Nothing major, just wanted to talk about–what else–my life (I’ve learned that this never works, as I’m often times pulled into a conversation that doesn’t pertain me, but I have to listen quietly because it’s social contract that if I want to talk about me, I have to listen as they talk about themselves). She starts off by stating something about the people upstairs (literal, not figuratively), then apologizes for crying (which I didn’t notice until she mentioned it). We spoke about this before. Told her a couple of times, actually. I can’t read people, and I never know how to react when someone is crying. Especially if that someone isn’t an intimate (at least I can hug them).

And something happened today, I became anxious. An emotion transferred to me by my coworkers. Even though I accredit it to the fact that their anxiety only made me anxious, and not empathy, I was proud of myself for a moment. It passed as I tried to read the face of my coworker and saw nothing. I looked at the face of my boss, and nothing.

Someone once told me I care too much about what people think of me. As a regular joe, I guess I do. But I lived my whole life not being able to see what people were thinking or feeling, that I don’t think it’s any more than I should.

When it was time to go, I punched out. But Angela was still in the back, so I remained at the seat until it was officially time for me to leave. I went to retrieve her when my ride arrived, and she looked at her watch (she’s one of the few people who I know who wears one) and asked why I didn’t call her before. “It’s called kindness,” I responded. “I do that sometimes.”

And I felt it. The creepy feeling I always get before the waves wash over me and I’m drowning. As I said my goodbyes, the undertow pulled me beneath the water and her voice and face were but a garble to my senses.

I played the absent lover in most of my relationships. The one loved the feeling of being loved, but resented the obligation of returning the affection.

Don’t misquote that. I have and still love certain people. The obvious people who I won’t list. And no matter who’s stuck around, there is one that has never left my side even in its absence. The personification of the illness that grows through me. That lies in wait for an opportunity to pounce and devour me. The thing that isolates me further. The curtain will fall one day, and hopefully I’ll understand this life when my last performance fades to black. Because, don’t we all get it in the end?

Doldrums

Hand in Unlovable Hand

In Singapore they hung people, right in the mall, for that. Her father didn’t like it and he said that was one of the reasons he never invited her there. –William Gibson

A few years ago, I found myself at a fork in the proverbial road. Like Robert Frost, I pondered the consequences that came with each. Shrugging it off, I took the familiar path. And because I’m the sort who wonders, I thought a lot about the other road, mainly where’d I be at that present junction. My idea spawn a fictional blog that I never came around to keeping up with (it never started, actually, outside that I’m not hoarding the URL).

I found myself thinking about that other road, though it’s clear that no matter what path I chose, the ending would still be here. It might have just taken a little bit longer.

With my current situation in full motion, the idea came back. Where would I be if things had ended? Another idea, another fictional biographical story born. However, as I tweaked the kinks and holes, I realized I’m done trying to reinvent myself.

The story stopped being my What If, and a character’s What Is. I’m not sure if most writers do this, but I’m guilty of putting reflections of myself into my stories. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about “David,” and wondering what a person outside of myself would handle a conversation with an estranged father – so estranged that he doesn’t even recognize his son. Of course, this stemmed from my recent run in with Javier. I thought I’d put all the anger and hatred aside and grown up as a man. I still felt the bitter taste of betrayal and abandonment when he opened his mouth to greet me. This man isn’t my father. My mother played both roles. She was the one that – poorly – attempted to tell me what was happening to my body. She was the one that warned me what girls were like – she was completely off that one, by the way. There were things she couldn’t explain to me, and I never pushed her to. She was my support and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

But the more I think about “David,” the more my mind focuses on this new nameless (as of now) character wandering about as the only world he’d know vanished seemingly over night. Divorced. Having to “divide” his friends between his ex. Finding out that he can love again, even though he will always look over his shoulder in hopes that she is following.

I started mapping the beginning and the end, because it’s obvious that even the ending I have already planned isn’t the ending that will come to light. It never is.

That’s it. That’s all I have for now.