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Dear God

Sure, it appears that I’ve lost faith. But, for far too long I dutifully prayed for this or that. As a kid I learned the lesson about not praying for superficial things such as a new bike, but I did pray for a family. Didn’t get it. As an adult I knew the lesson well enough to not pray for a lottery win, but I did pray for everlasting love. Didn’t get it.

I learned to not pray for silly things, but only for things that cause a greater good. I gave money away, I volunteered, went to church alone as an adult,  made sure (over arguments) that my children received the sacraments, and I doted over children who were being ignored. When I prayed it was for something meaningful such as a marriage that lasted forever, someone who would be there ‘for better or for worse’, for extended time with my children, for a meaningful position, for a chance at better education, for a way to save the only home I’ve ever lived in and for an end to icy loneliness. Didn’t get it.

I carried a set of rosary beads in my pocket for months and prayed on the way to work. I had long conversations with the Man. I read the Bible. I watched religious shows.

And now, finally, I get it – I won’t get it.

As John Lennon said There ain’t no Jesus gonna come from the sky, now that I found out I know I can cry. For me that means that though I have experienced exquisite emotional pain and damaging, altering bitterness as a result, there’s no such thing as something divine that sees and acts on those in blistering trouble.

God, maybe only for me, has been relegated to the folklore of the ancients along with Juno, Ra, Zeus, Fu-Hsing, Airmid, Great Spirit, Givinda and Vishnu. The god I followed has helped me just as much as Thor has.

There is no God. Only me. Me and you.

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It Was Only Today

It began as most every other day begins – opening the door just before, or exactly on the stroke of midnight. He could always tell the time because the clanging bells from an old church gonged faithfully, and steadily each hour. This time, there were three gongs left as he locked the door behind himself.

A chill escaped from the region of his lower neck through his upper back that caused him to shiver ever so slightly as he took off his coat and hung it up. It was the date, he knew. That date had come again.

Rich in self-loathing, he muttered an “Oh God” and drew on a freshly lit cigarette while he stared down at the empty street. He thought of the semi-celebratory opening of a beer, but was tired enough to deny the impulse. Standing in the shadows and grappling with a bout of ennui were to be the circumstances of the moment. He knew that today would not be unlike many of those days in the past. The past that alarmingly seemed to be distancing itself from his memories.

The church bells had gonged one AM before he realized how long he had been staring at the night zenith and mulling out of focus, listless in his stance with his broad shoulders drooping.

Sleep was alternatively deep and on occasion, frustratingly light – waking for no reason and without even a remnant of a dream sequence that might have caused him to awaken so sharply. Bright early morning came with the reminder that because he hadn’t slept his normal and consecutive hours in a row, he would probably take a late afternoon nap. A reminder that the date was just another to later tear off of the daily word of the day calendar.

Moments came that would bring capricious bouts of apartment cleaning spasms, but flickered and were extinguished within minutes. A brief, forced march to the outside world and through a local park had made him shower, dress and reintroduce himself to the warm sun above. The white noise of the busy city washed his brittle thoughts, and people watching as he sat on an empty bench handed him distraction.

The bells of the church gonged twelve times, each stroke deeply resonant and uniform with the last and the one after. The day was moving forward and already half had been lost forever.

“Is this how alcoholics begin?”, he wondered as he sipped on a long-necked beer back at his kitchen table. The growling that had begun as a plea had now grown to a snarl and he peered into the freezer for a morsel of microwaveable late afternoon snack. None called him to attention so he grabbed the closest package, heated it and gobbled even as it sometimes burned his mouth causing him to suck in air sharply to cool it off quickly.

Even more frighteningly than spending the day alone was the thought that if the opportunity presented itself, he was comfortably within the frame of mind that he would politely refuse. It would have seemed forced and would have come out of pity. The invisible barrier between his determination to make it alone and the unsettling shouting of loneliness had eroded to gel thin. What he wanted did not coincide with what he needed.

Six in total were the distinct reverberations of the gong. That meant six in total left. Six more to mark in sequence before it ended, lost to waves of eternity.

The inevitable call came later. First on the line sounded upbeat and he could almost touch his smile through the voice box. Second came, and with some enthusiasm expressed happy thoughts of love. Third spoke and uttered in teenaged monotone. It always happened the same way during this act: he asked more questions in order to keep the conversation flowing then they did, he always told them what a wonderful day it had been and that no, of course not, there’s more planned for later. “I Love You” to each having been dispensed, the line was vacated once more.

Inspiration to venture out once more was doused. Enthusiasm was strained from the nakedness of the phone call. It would have been a sham to drive somewhere random, find a seat at the bar, order a beer, have a small meal and smile. He felt that his thoughts would have been on display as if continually flashing on a rolling, red-lettered neon billboard circling above his head. Better to lazily lounge in the environment in which he was at ease with. One that knew the widening boundaries of his frustration and self-pity. One that knew with certain clarity what was stealthily bubbling up ever so incrementally and would be erupting soon enough.

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The Amount of Time

It’s mainly about trying not being alone.

It’s tiring and deflating to walk in after midnight, open the door and see everything clouded in darkness. When the first light is turned on, the shadows around the disarray seem longer and rough edged. The stillness is loud and has a wry grin. The air is limp and never forgets that I will sigh loudly while I take off my coat and have an internal debate about whether I’ll hang it up in the closet or simply let it lie on the chair where I sit to take off my shoes.

The refrigerator light that engulfs me as I open the door seems the open eye of a witness who takes note of my late night slouch, my weary countenance and my disregard of civility as I pull out the gallon jug of iced tea and swig greedily.

I can look mere feet from where I stand and notice the dishes that need only to be placed within the grill of the dishwasher, the socks that make dramatic splashes across my bedroom floor, the unmade bed awash in wrinkles, the spot where a plant fell and still has beads of soil that need to be vacuumed up, the stack of pages, letters and mail that is opened, or needs to be opened, the shameful dust on the bookshelf, the stark white walls interrupted only briefly with photographs, the half filled storage bins with their covers scattered, the cabinet doors left open which look like broad wings in the darkness and the couch blankets that have been thoughtlessly tossed and are spread wide open.

The couch can attest to the lonely moments. I sit on the middle cushion, slightly hunched over and close to the edge so I will not sink in and stare at a random object. Not for the sake of study, or contemplation of some matter, but an effortless and blank gaze without the whirring of thought.

Sometimes the distraction of a TV channel causes mild focus and my mind blindly adheres to the chain of conversation or story on the screen and a half hour has gone by. A commercial interrupts the bland interaction between us and I stand, stretching out my arms, back and legs and the thought of lying down occurs. Not out of exhaustion, but out of boredom. Most nights it”s right there on the couch, the oldest inanimate object in my apartment – one that was given to me, where I surrender, without benefit of taking off my work clothes, to the loveless ennui and close my eyes not for weary eyelids, but for lack of emotional stimulation.

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I Just Kept Writing

Is it uncool to admit that one is looking for love? The FWB thing is something that I’m simply not attracted to. Is it taboo to be actively seeking out someone who has taken care of themselves?  Have all the clichés been written out too many times to have meaning anymore? Going for walks on the beach, sitting by the fire with a book, watching my favorite movie, jeans to a little black dress, snuggling on a coach all seem unnecessarily mandatory when ads are posted and get glossed over quickly.

What happened to the stomach-tightening thrill of a second date with someone who actually matters and is elevated beyond a time-filler? The anticipation of perhaps touching hands over a coffee and a smile that, surprisingly to you, and unknown to her, gently warms the thin, brittle frost that has chilled your heart? The nervous preparation before seeing someone for a second time that includes taking a much too long shower, spending twenty rewarding minutes achieving a close and careful shave, taking out the barely used ironing board and remembering how to smooth out wrinkled clothes, going to the mirror more times than you can last remember to see if everything fits and matches, tentatively splashing on an expensive and stylish cologne, and inhaling deeply many, many times throughout the process to remain calm even as you feel your mind racing.

Is it unrealistic to seek out femininity? She that is comfortable with the graces of being a woman and does not at all feel the need to “fit in with the boys”? A woman who walks with dignity, confidence and agility, who speaks whole, articulate sentences sans curse words? A woman who loves herself first and knows that it is arguably the most attractive quality about herself? Is there a woman who is chic without bold pretentiousness and who has the realization that tastefully adorning her physique is among the strongest and most alluring of all items in the arsenal of love that she possesses? A woman who can remain distinguished even as she’s engaged in playful flirting, is there one who can claim that title?

There is not one among us who can successfully argue that they are a shining diamond. We have all done things that we are not smirking about anymore, we have all said things that have caused us shame in the aftermath, we have all been mired in wrenching heartbreak and we have all spent mandatory time and effort in a relationship that has long ago lived out its usefulness. But, are there among us, some that have taken the time, perhaps over a period of months or years, to meditate over our mistakes and who have consciously made the diamond solid decision that it is not the person we were meant to be and whatever the consequences, or the temptations, to never, ever, even for a momentary breath, allow ourselves to slide backward and downward to that disgraceful plateau? Is there no greater gift to humbly offer someone than the gift of unwavering respect?

Is there room in our heart for a relationship that doesn’t include ‘the fairy tale’? Is there a workable crevice somewhere in our soul that staunchly will not include a checklist of absolute must-have’s this time around? Are we committed enough to hope for symbiosis instead of doggedly holding on to the tenant that we are not going ‘to settle’? Is it mandatory that someone already have achieved all their dreams as a person, are they looked upon as stumblers, or are we willing to give of ourselves our vast, rich experiences and enjoy guiding another toward achieving that dream? Is there any joy left in a heart for the experience of joining as one in the hope of attaining a new, adjusted and common goal? Is there passion enough remaining in our thoughts that no list, banal phrase or ragged and misplaced sense of entitlement could overwhelm the ravenous hunger of brilliant belonging?

Is it impossible for a man to admit that he has made fantastic mistakes? Is it conceivable for a man to admit in conversation that the thought of endlessly dating in a stuttering stream of misguided relationships has made him not less, but more lonely? Can a man have a greater sense of being unfulfilled after the empty parade than to decide to be alone? Can a man adore without smothering, express tender vulnerability while retaining masculinity, admit acceptance of others without lowering standards and expectations and remain committed to only one while continuing to be independent? Is there a man who believes through painful lessons learned that no matter the cost, the penultimate prize is the person who will help brave darkened discourse, tumultuous events that are set into whimsical place, and haphazardly skewed ancillary views?

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I would feel …

It’s an overcast, grey, empty streets glossy from rain, chilly, messy apartment, nothing to do day here in my building. I’ve a self-imposed schedule that will bulk up my time, but you know what would make today meaningful?

The thrill of a phone call from my children. More pulse deafening than any various form of contact from anyone else, seeing the incoming number on my cell would jar me into splendid joy. I would know how my oldest did on his Learners Permit test on Friday. I would know how well my middle one felt he did on his Thursday at school when he had multiple tests. I would hear from my daughter, in her little girl voice, what she and her friends have been doing this weekend.

I would feel that I belonged.

The low voltage of steady, streaming, hair-raising electricity conspiculously felt sizzling between myself and the woman who I felt I would never finally meet. The comfort nestled deeply and securely within my soul, during a moment when she doesn’t know what I’m thinking, understanding with bright, iris cleansing clarity how fortunate and thankful I am that she has made the conscious decision to spend precious and unretrieveable seconds, minutes and hours with a guy like me. The silent promises I would keep armed and barricaded within my heart, the sacrifices to the belief in love I would be willing to endure and the chastity of single thought romance I yearn to happily embrace would all conspire to melt the vulnerability I feel with the touch of someone who is simply there and the susceptibility to widen arms to those who extend them in unison.

I would feel in love.

A bad, bad day

Can’t seem to get going. Simply doing … stagnation imitations.

The X is going away to Vermont with my babies on a long ski weekend. With her boyfriend.

My babies.

Away from Daddy.

My only earthly loves.

My single reason for choosing to continue pumping blood through my heart.

I couldn’t afford to do a ski weekend in Vermont. Child support, taxes, health insurance, school, rent … all dry sponges soaking up what I offer each week.

They’re enjoying time. With someone else.

Depression is winning. Only God could know how badly I need a warm and friendly palm. But even so … unbearably lonely! Difficult to hug alone.

I’m venting, but to who?

Cheer up“, “Things could be worse“, “This too shall pass“, “Hang in there“, “Look to the future” and “It does get better” – recycled thoughts that have lost value.

Pathetic and sad I know. But, my life – the film that no one is watching. Where, oh, where is the inspiration?

Desperate. Alone. It’s so damn cruel.

Write it in the blog because it’s better to let it flow somewhere than to be dizzy from fright. Anonymous is fine. Can I be moving forward if I’m facing backward?

Such a steep dive from smiles and candy hearts to thoughts of desperation and babies being so far away. Much Too Far From Home.

Lonely.

Everyone else has their own issues. I readily understand.

If you could feel the fiber in my being, the way my mind is tremoring, you’d reel back in horror.

The post took over an hour to write. Each sentance an individual iron weight in my head that has my mental muscles burning from the long and torturous workout. But it will be read in less than a minute.

It has made me cry in disgust, in sympathy and in pity. It has made me wring my hands for want of contact. It has made me look in the mirror with disgust. It has made me feel child-like. It vocalizes my helplessness. It has made me feel less of a man. It has highlighted my failures in vivid yellow streaks. But, there isn’t anyone who will be able to do the same.

I feel so vulnerable that if anyone even looked at me, I’d be fighting to hold back the tears? Who wants a man like that?

But, I’m good at pretending.

A bad, bad day.

Categories: Alone Tags: , ,

Monday’s Over

Thankfully!

It’s not that I was annoyed or fed up with hearing and seeing everything V-Day related and the blatent commercialism peering and gloating at me, but it was more about not having that one soul – that one miracle, to join hands or lips with.

There are a few bloggers out there that are going the online dating site method to find that someone unique but not having much luck so far. I did do that for a while but found it bereft of warmth and personality. Maybe that simply means that I had no real luck at it. However, many others have found it a boon and have successfully met mates of great warmth and pleasing personalities. Like anything else, maybe it’s just the luck of the draw.

It’s tough for any of us that are not willing to go to bars spewing seed money at random red dresses, or those of us who have zero interest in a Yoga/Thai cooking class, or feel awkward holding melons and cucumbers in the produce section and with a grin asking a single soccer mom for shopping tips.

Sometimes it does bother me writing about the weariness and the general blasé attitude that comes with continuing the quest of looking for love after relentless searching and restless anticipation. The nights of simply looking down at the city – not necessarily thinking about anything, but bobbing up in the consciousness every so often the thought that it would be so much easier to bear another day and night alone knowing that someone holds you close to their heart and may be looking at the moon at the same time you are.

Or, perhaps they’re wondering, and hoping, that you are thinking of them and softly smiling with eyes closed.

The day after V-Day, when all the candy was on sale at Wal-Mart, I bought fifteen dollars worth of left behind, 50-75% off, odds and ends. I especially concentrated on those boxes of candy hearts with the little sayings engraved on them and made sure that every single woman in the building received a box of them along with a hearty “Happy Valentine’s Day” cheer from me. It seemed to made them all so happy and that, in turn, made me smile.

I did manage to sneak a very small six-pack of dark chocolates to a special someone. The delivery tag said “From – ?”. I’m letting it brew. Hey, you can’t sail if you don’t at least get on the boat, right? Do you have a boat?

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