Archive

Posts Tagged ‘alone’

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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

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?

Read more…

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?

Monday the 14th

It’s always such a chilly and barren apartment the day after. I typically feel emotionless but somehow can easily brim up if I dwell on them or look at their pictures on the bookshelf. I’m someone who can walk, I can mindlessly stare out the windows, I eventually eat when the pangs are loud or anxious and very curiously, have a compulsion to leave everything in the apartment exactly in the condition it was when my children leave to go back ‘home’ after they’ve spent the weekend with me.

Today is a dreadful hangover of emotions. I’m painfully giddy when I pick them up but lifeless flotsam the moment their car has turned the corner moving away from me.

The three of us had fun this past weekend. The highlights for me were the menu items I chose and made: Cajun turkey/chicken burgers with spiced fries, scrambled egg muffins, chicken curry and I even bought an electric mixer so I could produce a red velvet cake. They loved it all and I loved all the time I had to spend in the kitchen chopping and mixing and baking and cooking for them.

My oldest didn’t come over.

I remember how hard I cried when he was born – the relief that he was healthy. That morning my heart, that now pumped for him, gave me my first out-of-body experience. I recall how he ran to me and held up his hands with tearful eyes when he was hurt and it took my breath away. The only message that I have retained on my cell phone is from him wishing me a Merry Christmas in his still little boy voice from 2007 – the first Christmas I was forced to spend without my children.

He wanted to spend the time with his friends instead.

Because of this new work schedule I have, I am only able to see them every other weekend now. The same schedule used for someone who couldn’t care less. It’s my only time. My only time face to face. My only too-hard hug until they tell me to stop. My only time of sitting on the couch with him, letting him lie down the length of the couch and pulling his feet on to my lap. My attempt at physical closeness.

My oldest didn’t come over.

I smiled and laughed with such sincerity this past weekend for the sake of my other two, that they never suspected my mental and emotional geography had quaked, ruptured and split.

Just another day after they leave Monday morning made all the more hurtful by the presence of a tribute to falling, or staying, in love.

Another reminder to add to the list of everything I don’t have.

I look at what is surrounding me – the unwashed stack of dishes, the wrinkled and crooked couch, the fluffy and clean pillows that were tossed onto the floor, and note that I have preserved the lovely stage of where happiness was just a day ago in order to gaze upon it and imagine that I’m recapturing and reliving the good feelings for another day or two.

I hear and see  joy thriving outside my window.

Just another Monday.

I Missed a Family

When I was a kid I used to hear the usual stories from other little kids centered around the scorn they had for someone in their family. “I don’t like my sister”, “My Dad is making me help him” or “My parents are making me go with them to visit my grandmother”. Emphatic declarations common from the mouths of children at one time or another.

I’d smile and nod in agreement just because they were friends and we were all supposed to have these shared experiences that we either loved or hated. But the truth was, even at 9 or 14 or 21, I’d be swearing at them in my mind. They were in the position of always having been surrounded by something that they had never been without and it was imprinted in them just as solidly as their own fingerprints. They never realized how fiercely jealous I was and how bitter I was when I heard them utter those seemingly innocuous statement.

I grew up in a series of foster homes and adoption agencies.

My brothers and sisters and I were separated when we were very young. I was the oldest at 6 or 7, and my four siblings were all younger. From the day we were ‘put out’ as it was called, I didn’t see my sisters again until I was about 18. I lived with my brothers for a while, but we were later separated. The ‘siblings’ I knew were not my own brothers or sisters – and where I grew up, they let me know it. The only contact I ever had with my real family was the occasional Social Worker visit (while wearing my best clothes of course) where they would ask me how I was doing and then they’d tell me that my brothers, sisters and Mother were fine.

Once, in a very great while, I’d be at a playground, and I’d hear a voice shout out my name.

Someone at the playground would get my attention and point to a random car where my name was being called from. I’d come closer and see that it was my Mother. I would be at the sidewalk side of a car door while she sat inside and she’d be in tears, reach out, pat my hair and tell me how much she missed me. I remember that my heart would be running so rapidly that at times I almost felt as if I’d faint. She’d tell me that she would be coming for me soon, very soon, and that she was saving money to get a house so that we would all be together again. I’d stand there, thunderstruck at the visit while she talked and I mainly answered in stunned, nervous mono-syllables. She’d ask me to lean in so she could kiss me, and then she would drive off. Again. A few more years would pass and then it would happen. Again.

Growing up without a family from 6 or 7 until you become an adult made it very difficult, I realize in retrospect, to deeply connect with anyone. When I did connect, it was age appropriate to connect with a friend. Then it would be disconnected when a sudden move to another foster home occurred. A different set of rules, a different set of siblings and another set of friends. And another set of miles from any former ‘family’ stability I knew. More importantly, another step away from what I could remember about my own ‘family’.

Growing up this way forced a hard and frightening reality upon me as a young adult on my own – now that I was older, and had not grown up with my brothers and sisters, I no longer had any family at all! We had become strangers in one another’s company. Years apart had created a hard, crusted distance between us. We became those friends that I had when I was very young, and when we were shown to one another we could barely recall each other. We had no common memories of playing together, no memories of rivalries, no snapshots to show that we share a bond, no pictures of a house we lived in together, no remembrances of holiday gifts given to one another, no family meals together, no shared time together and inevidably, no sentences that would ever start with “Remember the time …..?”

I was never given the chance to engage in a conversation that included “I don’t like my sister”, “My Dad is making me work with him” or “My parents are making me go with them to visit my grandmother”.

And to this moment as I place fingers to keyboard, I miss the family that I never had.

More, after the Break

%d bloggers like this: