I am stuck between two worlds. Between the world of who I was, and the world of who I may now become. Gone are childhood aspirations and dreams. Gone are the friends that would have traveled with me to the stars. Ahead of me the way is open to a thousand roads, each leading to a future I never envisioned. Yet I am stuck. I don’t know which road to take, nor even how to begin. Ahead of me there is everything, and nothing, my dreams and my nightmares. Time and life keep moving as I stand still, afraid to make the wrong choice, or perhaps more afraid to make the right one. Today the roads that lie ahead of me are what they are. Tomorrow they will be different. It is up to me to take the first step, but my feet will not obey. My heart sees me as I was when I was young, full of life and eager to tame the world. My mind sees me as old and afraid. My feet don’t know who to listen to, so I stand still waiting to make my choice.
What You Gave Me
You gave me John Mayer,
a taste for wine,
memories of chasing sunsets,
dreams of places I’ve never been,
Walt’s chili dogs.
You taught me the joy of Wonder,
the Thrill of Hope,
the Peace of Confidence,
the Power of Magic,
the Warmth of Love.
I may never forgive you for any of them.
Where does one turn when hope has died? When faith has abandoned you?
What is there to do when what you have believed in all your life is gone? For years I knew what I believed in, what I stood for. I have given up jobs because they went against what I knew was right. I have ended relationships because I believed in something bigger than my happiness. I have ended friendships because I was asked to make a choice. I don’t claim to be a saint, over even a good man. Through the years I have failed more than I have ever succeeded. I fall short every day. Still, I always knew in my heart what was right. Now, after years of trying, I am not sure I know anymore. Where do I turn now? Where does one go when everything they have lived their lives believing in makes no sense anymore? Were all of these years a waste of time? I used to know, with all my heart, how things would end. I used to know that in the end everything would work out the way it was supposed to, right would win, evil would be locked away and all would be as it should be, not that I would make it to Heaven, but still, it was how it was supposed to be. Now, I am not sure which side will win. I am not even sure if there are sides. In the end, if there is an end, will either side have won? I would end my life now if it were not for a very small part of me. A part that holds on, however loosely, however shakily, to the dying hope that my faith was not misplaced. The hope that it will all be alright. I know it won’t be alright for me, my day has come and gone. I will live out my time, however short or long, and pray that you, whoever you may be, will not lose faith as I have done.
**if anyone has an answer I am listening**
He is and He isn’t
The old man sits alone at the end of the bar. A mug of beer, half full and half empty at the same time, sits in front of him. He stares into the mug and in it he sees his past. Fifty years passed him by in the blink of an eye, and then again another twenty. He tries to drink away his regrets but every sip leaves him thirstier than the last one. The bartender smiles lightly at him as he orders a shot of whiskey. He never drinks it, only inhales the aroma of lost days and abandoned dreams. He spins the whisky on the table in a ritual that only he understands. I watch for a moment, then turn back to my conversation as he orders a second beer. My friend and I talk of nothing, and everything, of meaning and nonsense. A beer or two later I remember the old man and look back to see if he is still there. He is, and he isn’t. His head rests on the bar, a sad smile on his face. The bartender is in a panic. She franticly dials the phone but it is too late. He is there but gone. He died in the only place he ever truly called home. I shed a tear for a man I never met, but knew so very well.
(I promise that one day I will write something a little less…um…sad(?), but for now I will stick with what I know well).
I was deeply in love with a woman. Well I should say I am deeply in love with a woman. A beautiful, smart, kind woman that lights up the room when she enters. She is my everything. Or, she was my everything. I devoted my life to her. I gave her everything I had. It just wasn’t enough. She taught me more about life than anyone. She taught me more about myself than I care to know. The time with her was the best I have ever had in my life. She made me feel loved, cared for, wanted, even special at times. Life however, has other plans for a soul like mine. She is gone now. I am left alone. I wander through life with no purpose, not knowing my direction, or my destination…not caring. I find myself returning to the places we used to visit together. Not a wise thing, I know, but I know of no other place to go where I can still feel her near me. I remember the times we spent chasing sunsets, and the afternoons under our oak tree. The pain is nearly unbearable but I would not trade a single moment with her for the release of the pain.
I squandered much of the time I had with her. I wasted precious moments fixating on trivial things never thinking that in the blink of an eye she could be gone. The hell I endure now is the hell I created for myself. No one can take it from me unless I choose to give it up. I used to think I knew many things and was certain I knew what was best. Now I know only one thing with any certainty at all. I know that Hell will be a welcome relief from the pain that I feel now.
I took a trip back in time today and made myself sad. It wasn’t intentional, this time, it just worked out that way. I traveled down roads I have not been on in years. I thought of faces I have not seen in decades. I recalled regrets that I thought were long dead.
The roads were the same as I remembered, straight, rough, a curve here or there. They traveled to places I called my own in my youth. There were more houses now then when I was young. As I drove, my mind wandered back through time. Passing one house, I saw myself standing in the yard, guitar slung way too low, trying to keep up with the real musicians, hoping she didn’t think me foolish. I can’t remember her name now. Further down the road Jennifer’s house passed by and I was instantly transported back to the high school library. We sat on the floor between rows of books, talking of what would come next in our lives. She smiled at me and gave me a memory that has lasted three decades. I wonder if she is as beautiful now as she was then. I wonder if she is still alive.
Next I turned towards the south and thought of all the times I had in that direction. I remember the hills and the woods and the stream and the girl I didn’t give a chance to. I remember the waterbed and how I wish I could go back and make things right. Though I would never have admitted it to anyone, I was afraid that I could never live up to her expectations. I was right. Thirty years later I had a second chance. I’m still a coward.
I thought of the games we played and the friends I had. In all that time I know the fate of only two of them. One married into the family. I hear of him only through the grapevine and speak to him only at funerals. The other one is a regret that will last another lifetime.
The trip lasted a little over an hour. It brought back many memories and many thoughts. I cried tears that had dried up years ago. It is a trip I don’t wish to take again anytime soon.
(this is pretty much how I spend my weekends, anyone got any better ideas?)
There are times, when life seems quite mundane, plain, even boring. We travel through our days doing our routines. Work, home, running kids to soccer practice, darts, whatever it is that occupies our time till the next work day. We go through time in a rut and think little of it. Then, for me at least, I read a poem. In an instant I am transported to another world, another time, another mind. I read and the words do something to my soul. They touch me in a way no woman ever has. The gently stroke my sorrows, caress my aches, hug my dying dreams. The words give me life, though I know it is only borrowed time, still I rejoice in the moment of rebirth, while at the same time I know, in the dark recesses of my mind, that the rut awaits and if the words do not come again, to save me in time, I shall lie down and simply cease to be.
I had Chinese for lunch today. The noodles were perfect, the chicken tender. It was the same as it has ever been.
Yet…it fell short.
I sat in the same spot I always sit. The owner came over and asked me how things were, as she always does. She asked about my son, my job…my girlfriend. I laughed and said “I don’t have one of those”. She made some comment in broken English that I didn’t quite catch, then laughed and walked away. I smiled and noticed how cold I was. I choked down the last of the eggroll and wondered why it tasted so bitter.
Looking over at the spot where you used to sit, I realized that the food had tasted good all those years because of you. You seasoned it with your laugh. It was never the food, it was always you. I loved to sit next to you and watch you smile, a smile so bright it warmed my cheek. It lit up every room you ever entered. I noticed how dark the restaurant had become.
I sit here, alone, plodding through some chicken dish loaded with vegetables. You always told me I needed to eat more vegetables. I absently rub my cheek wondering where you are. I am sure that somewhere someone’s cheek is warm. He is eating the best meal he has ever eaten in his life, but he doesn’t quite know why he thinks that.
and I thank you, for all the memories.
There is a world in my head. Cotton candy clouds float just above the horizon, where the sun is setting, taking with it all the leftover moments I was not able to savor. Night lays out a delicious buffet of deserts shaped like opportunity. They do not last long. Time gobbles them down like a starving beggar. The moon hangs like a giant gumdrop stuck in the middle of a black velvet cake adorned with starry sprinkles.
Each pass through the buffet line fills me but never satisfies. The sun returns, having collected all the leftover moments on the other side of the world. It brings with it new moments to savor, replacing old, dried out dishes with fresh hot-off-the-stove tastes that fill the air with smells making me instantly hungry again. I rush to the line hoping to sample each dish, leaving no leftovers this day.
The garden grew wild and unhampered. Chrysanthemums bloomed with vibrant colors. They reached for the sky and drank sunlight as though it existed for them alone. The fragrance filled the air with the sweet scent of hope. To look upon the garden filled passersby with a joy they did not quite understand. But without a gardener there is little hope that the flowers will survive. This garden was no different. One day weeds began to make their way among the flowers, choking off their life. The colors began to fade. The flowers bent their heads towards the ground. Instead of the scent of hope there was only the stench of decay and loss. Years later, when the garden was nearly dead, a new gardener arrived. Mums are a hearty flower, but in this garden few were left. Still the gardener went to work. She plucked the weeds. She fertilized the soil. She tended to the flowers that were left and planted new seeds. In time the garden began to show signs of life. The old flowers regained their color. New ones poked their heads through the soil reaching for the sky. The scent of hope had returned. The passersby regained their sense of wonder at seeing such a beautiful place. Still the gardener could not stay. Not in such a small garden. She had other gardens to tend. Larger, more beautiful gardens she had tended for years. She gave this small patch the time she could and then moved on. In a short time the weeds began to return. The garden would die without a gardener. I could not watch that happen again. From the comfort of my window I had watched her as she worked her magic on the flowers. I was not a gardener, but I would take what I had learned from her and do what I could.
The flowers are not nearly as bright under my care. The air has lost its scent of hope but the stench of death has not returned. It is a daily battle with the weeds. I pluck one only to find two to replace it. Still, I fight, for the garden is worth saving. Perhaps one day the gardener will return and together we will make the flowers smile again.