Monday, July 23, 2012

safety in numbers

At 5 am BC and I are laughing as we pull into the roofing yard.  Through the open window of little red the laughter drifts to the Boss securing the trailer hitch, double checking the lights for the trip up the interstate.  He looks up, “You two having fun?” He asks, it is less a question and more of a compliment from one old marry guy to another: they still like each other enough to be laughing at 5 am.  Ten years ago, right at the time we hooked up, BC walked away from roofing.  Ten years ago.  In fact, today would be our anniversary if we had one... 
And just like that I am alone in the driving beneath the mixed up clouds of early morning.  This is also the anniversary of what would have been the last week of my sister’s life.  How many years ago, 5 or 6, I don’t have any idea any more.  What I do know is who I am now is not who I used to be. 
BC laughs at me every time he busts me watching episodes of Ghost Hunters.  “Still looking for religion?” He teases.  No, looking for proof of others like me, people who are not what they once were.  I am a residual haunting of my own life.  It’s not all bad in fact mostly I am probably a better personal than the original, which was occasionally too prideful to be of much good to anyone. 
I often feel like there is a door somewhere that I will stumble upon.  It will open and set me loose on society again.  I used to tell people, ‘I feel like I just stepped through a door and things are so much clearer now.”   But I now understand there are no doors only windows.  Occasionally I manage to clean one well enough to push my nose against it and feel ‘out’, moments on a trail alone wrapped in the smell of pine needles, moments surrounded by my best friends watching the children play, moments when I am running…I am almost there.  I am almost me. 
It's not scary.  And I want my friends to understand how much I must love to be with them because everyday I fight the urge to vanish, to pull the plug on all things social.  I long to walk away from the work of trying to be, to remember to do and say all the things I would do and say.  I have friends who fight shyness: I am not shy, I am an incredibly social animal.  That is the paradigm here, I crave my friends and yet it exhausts me.  Not them, me, I exhaust me.  I constantly battle the part of me that tells myself I'm not really wanted there with them, that I am somewhat of an inferior friend, a last choice or a mercy invite.  The old me would not have given a fuck.  The voices would still whisper but whether it was true or not, the old me at the first signs of doubt would have walked away, bridges burning.  That was a long time ago.  I have learned how to hold on to things that matter.   Arson is now a last resort not a first responder.
There is nothing bad here in admitting how hard I find life past my nose.  This isn’t disease or defect and my sister’s death was only the last passage here.  I’m not describing depression, I am describing adulthood.  I am so at peace that I am tired.  I found happiness and safety and it makes me want to rest here just a moment longer.  And that make me not who I used to be.  I have enough time, experience, and scars behind me to know that the past builds the future.  
Yes, part of me wants to be left alone because that part knows how dangerous and painful life is, that part knows it doesn’t end well.  That part is settled and not looking for anything more than being alive.  The other part of me is mischievous.  It loves every little thing, the clouds at dawn, the sound my tires make driving over the train tracks, the heat of a dusty summer trail.  Nothing escapes its notice and nothing is too small of a pleasure or oddity to be enjoyed.  I suppose that is the advantage of being your own passenger you don’t miss any of the beautiful scenery going by.  Life is sweet and without loss I would have never known that.  There is a stance in the BNL song Break Your Heart which makes total sense to me, not about love but about life:

And if I always seem distracted
Like my minds somewhere else
That's because it's true, yes it's true
it's this stupid pride that makes me feel
Like I have to follow through
Even half-assedly, loving you
 Happy Anniversary, to my second chance self & life. 
And to my past, wishing you well from paradise found under glass.  

1 comment:

  1. "No, looking for proof of others like me, people who are not what they once were."

    They are all around you, so close and ubiquitous, they are like air: you only notice it when it's gone.

    When you live a life of snap-shots, seeing people only once or twice a year, or less, then the changes jump out at you, like an object moved across a room while you aren't looking. But if it gets moved in inch a day, you'll never see the movement.