Dreams Past

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I fell into a dream.

A dream that decided to make unto itself a nightmare for both herself and I.

But like all nightmares, it has proven to be simply an inconsequential mental exercise which simply serves to make of me a better me. A thing to learn and grow from, and to never return to afterwards.

And as all nightmares go, this one too can not last forever.

I fell into a dream, but now the daylight beckons, the nightmare is almost complete.

And I will be able to dream again, once it is finally over

All The Sad Men, revisited

His name was Daniel, but he answered to Dan. As in when his mom called out, “Just tell the man ‘no,’ Dan.” 

From my register I was asking him the same questions (those designed as blatant pleas to grab even more of your cash before you leave the store) that I ask everyone. I was doing so, both because we’re supposed to, and also because I didn’t want Dan to think that I saw him any differently than those customers that preceded him. Even though I did.

In fact, my interaction with him reminded me of a post that I wrote a little over two years ago now. A post remembered as I asked God to bless Dan and his family while they happily left my store. A post that I’d like to revisit here today…

She sat there, munching somewhat sloppily on her burger, occasionally spitting forth bits as she yelped out to no one in particular. And I sat there and stared. I felt bad that I was staring, but I wasn’t doing so out of rudeness. No, it was more like envy than superiority that I felt. It was more a case of “what if” than of “thank God not.” And here’s why.

Whenever I experience one living with severe special needs, I become somewhat immersed in what I imagine is their imprisonment. Their imprisonment in a world who wishes that they just weren’t around. Or at least, not quite so visible. But at the same time, I find myself jealous of their freedom. Freedom from this same world that ofttimes judges them in ignorance.

A world, mind you, that can be far more handicapped than they will ever be. A world filled with folk who care more about little dollar bills than they do each other. A world that places much more emphasis on the cut of the cloth than on the content of the character. In my very humble opinion, this world isn’t nearly good enough for people such as her. This world is a damned and empty shadow of what it could be, and I feel that we’ve all worked pretty hard at making it so. Or at the very least, sat back and simply allowed it happen.

So what of the poor girl-woman that suffered under my “not intentionally rude, but extremely rude nonetheless” stares? Why do I sometimes feel jealousy towards people like her? How could I be so crass as to make mention of the concept? Well, imprisoned as she appears, I would love to see the world through her eyes, just once. Just once to see if what I think to be true, actually is.

You see, I’m of the belief that her vision is much clearer than mine. I’m quite sure, in fact, that mine is muddled beyond the point of ever recognizing the Truth. A Truth that I believe she most likely sees quite naturally, and on a daily basis. A Truth that she may even long to share with the rest of us, if only we weren’t so ignorant to her language.

She sees the Truth, and I see only what I choose to see. And yet she is locked in the wheeled chair, while I roam free…

I suppose I should step back for a moment and let you know where my meanderings on the topic come from. I’ve no personal experience in my own family, but when I was young, I was forced (yes, I meant to say that – or at least did at the time) to volunteer at an institution that cared for people like my incidental lunch companion.

As my parents felt it was important to teach us about stewardship, part of their education to this end included a trip to a local long-term care center that managed the severest cases. As a young and unappreciative pisser, I recall hating the place when we first arrived. The stark white walls did nothing to conceal the smell of piss and medicine. The painted-over drop ceiling served more to rebound, than muffle the occasional non-sensical shout or yelp. The halls were clogged with wheel chairs, and in each sat an alien life form. A being so far removed from my knowledge of the world as to be almost comical, if only they didn’t frighten me so.

Being young, and being a pisser, and being there against my will, I decided that hatred would be my best response. Hatred towards these creatures. Hatred towards their needing my assistance. Hatred towards their being around at all. I did as I was told, but only just. How dare they make me? How dare they be here? How dare they exist?

And then, as happens so often in life, something happened. And that something was this. One of them began wailing. And not just a whimper or a sob, but an honest-to-Jesus moon-raising moan. One that would make you think that they were seeing Satan’s ghost himself. And for all I know, maybe they were. The wailing only made me feel uncomfortable. But to another, it provoked a different reaction. I can’t recall if it was an employee, a volunteer, a random passer-by, or maybe even an angel in disguise. But I do remember watching one soul walk deliberately up to the young wheelchair-entrapped wailer, and hugging them. Simply hugging them. The wails continued, but so did the hug. And eventually both were quietly put to rest. Both the hugger and the wailer were at peace. I stood there dumbfounded as the blinds were torn from my eyes, my little stupid pisser attitude backhanded to the floor.

I could physically feel myself growing up a little bit that day. One of the first of many times I’ve had the experience.

A little while later I was pushing along one of the more talkative residents who would speak and speak and speak, and occasionally even say something. At one point he looked me dead in the eye, and with no prompt or reason whatsoever, told me very lucidly the exact day it would start snowing and the exact amount – in quarter inches – that we would receive. I’m sure you already know by now that I’m going to tell you that he was exactly correct on both counts. EXACTLY. Dumb luck? Could’ve been. Dumb luck does seem to have a way of getting around. But I’d like to think that there’s something more to it.

In fact, I’d like to think that maybe – just maybe – there are certain people who are so spiritually in-tuned, so close to God, that they’re incapable of making themselves small enough as to deal with our little shambles of a “reality.” They’re exalted over the angels, but trapped on this mortal plain, and they simply can’t function at such a junior level. They need our help in this world, but only because we’ll need theirs in the next. We just don’t know it yet. They’re not “retarded,” we are. They are of a higher prominence, yet we sit smugly by and laugh at their superiority.

I know. It sounds a little too naive to be true. And that, in part, is why I wanted to jump into my lunch mate’s head. Just once I really would like to see if I’m right. Or if I’m an idiot. Or both. It’ll never happen of course. For one thing, we don’t live in a Disney movie, and switches of this nature just aren’t possible. But even if they were, I don’t feel that the swap would be a very fair one. For her, that is.

•••

I feel it’s important to note, I’m using this song today not in jest, but in respect.  I too, long for the day when all of us “sane men” are locked away, and we allow the “mad” ones to finally be free.

Happy Easter, kids.

 

All Of Him?

Unbeknownst to me, my youngest took the liberty of listening to me proof-read this, and upon its completion said, “I want to be with you – I want to see what you see.”

One who already sees far deeper than I will ever be able to, I really love that kid.

With the prompt in bold, here is this week’s Write On Edge response – I hope you enjoy…

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He didn’t smell exactly bad, mind you, but he didn’t smell entirely “right” either. It might have been the damned John Legend song in that moment spewing lies overhead tainting my assessment, but to me he smelled sad. He smelled musty. He smelled – well – he smelled alone.

And at that moment at least, with the possible exception of me, he was.

But I’d the feeling that he was alone most all of the time, that his aloneness was a state constant. A permanent scent that accompanied him. A shadow that always stood immediately behind, whispering softly into his ear, “I’m here. It’s just you n’ me kid.” A constant reminder that his death would be much more a release than a burden. Much more a connection with those loved, than a separation from those lost.

As he stood swaying at my register, complete with tattered grey plaid vest, blue ball cap (emblazoned with one of the two infamous Buffalo losing teams that so many locals seem to love regardless), and worn-through red and white blotched flesh, I found myself wishing even then, that I could remember the music he was purchasing in CD format, as it somehow felt integral to this tale.

But much like his face itself, the purchases seemed to have immediately faded from memory, leaving only my recollection of those confused eyes and scattered beard.

His eyes were the dug-in sort that said so much, whilst the beard-encrusted mouth said so little. Damn it Troy! THIS is a lesson you’ve learned often, and yet – being bred apparently of the hard-knock school – one that you seemingly refuse to graduate from. If there was ever anything that the ex said true, it was that (in the hands of the devious or arrogant at least), “they’re only words.” Not that this customer could be counted amongst that ilk, all the same he was in the end, far more communicative in eye than in speech.

And those eyes spoke volumes. His babbling diction and scent screamed at me as well, but it was those eyes that made me see truly and finally – as was told to me by a friend, advice provided them by their wizened grandmother: “As you are, I once was. And as I am, you will someday be.”

Christ, don’t let me end like that – like the man I think I see standing before me. Please hear my prayer for him, and hear it please for me.

Making change, I made certain our hands touched at least once. So I could know that he who stood before me was real – not some sort of future self ghosting back in warning – so I could unite with that perceived loneliness, begging that it not remain a shadow constant to either he nor I.

As he paid in cash, I’ll never know his name – never know his story, outside of our brief disjointed engagement. But while he wobbled off, that damned John Legend song was still blaring arrogantly overhead. A song that spoke of a love I’m guessing neither he nor I truly wanted to trust in anymore. But I thought, possibly a love that we still both hoped might – in some realm or fashion – be somehow true.

•••

A Life Straight(ened)

It’s time, isn’t it? Time to write it down, spit it out, give it up.

Yes.

But I don’t want to.

You have to.

But I’m scared.

None the less, its your bed made. You have to.

Are you ready?

No.

Go ahead anyway.

OK…

There is a thing still lying in wait.  A something – ever-hungry, heavy, dark, and leech-like – looming just beneath my surface.

I can feel it there always.

This thing, this Bastard, howls in foreboding glee. Safe in the assumption that I am too scared to ever acknowledge it. Satisfied in knowing that I am piss-fearful that if I ever did, it would surely decimate me.

Leave me for dead.

This thing, this Poison, is the same thing I have felt gnawing with greasy lips before.  The very thing I have previously – with eyes tearfully squeezed hard shut – ignored, all in the hopes that it would simply go away.

It didn’t.

This thing, this Sin, is the director of my nightly ‘mares, the driver of my attacks of anxiety, the detriment to my finally being able to straighten my life, my faith, my forgiveness, my moving onward.

My growing upward.

This thing, this parasitic Fuck, is the last thing I must give to Him. The thing that only He can destroy. I believe this to be true, I want it to be done. And yet this thing I can’t even name. This thing I need to hand over, I can’t see, nor yet look in the eye.

I only feel it, know that it is there.

Lord, please take this thing from me. I don’t know its name, but please rip this overly fattened tick from my soul. I am not strong enough to give it to you. I know this, and I’m so sorry for my weakness. But if I ask You to take it instead, will that count?

If I ask You, will that good enough?

If so, then please. Please, and now.

There is a thing still lying in wait. A something that is slowly bleeding me, and if I hope to be complete again, this thing has to be removed.

This something has to die.

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The first time I’ve ever used a prompt prior to the actual post, within the introduction. This one coming from the good people over at the Write On Edge community.

•••

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The Whole Of The Moon

“If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression of something beautiful, but annihilating.”

~ Sylvia Plath

Image courtesy of Elenacaravela

Image courtesy of Elena Caravela

As it turns out, she did have lovers other than me.

Mhmm, but what is that to you?

Well, she’s blaming me for everything, for our demise.

Again, what is that to you?

Also, she’s making people choose between us…

As those types are apt to do anyway. May I ask, what is that to you?

Oh! And she’s inventing in her head a “me” that I never was!

As is her choice. But honestly, what is that to you?

But it’s a lie!

In part, yes. But I’ve still no idea, what is that to You?

I don’t know.

I… I don’t know.

Then let go.

She has made it clear she no longer wishes you to be written into her book, but that hardly means that your story is over. Dear, it’s only now just begun.

In the past you’ve only seen the crescent, as was your choice. But I have always seen the whole of the moon. So write! Write your story with abandon! With glee! With love, and with confidence! Write it with My pen, and with your voice.

I assure you, I’ve seen the end of your tale, and I AM pleased. I am proud of you. The you that you are, and the you that you will become. The you that you already ARE becoming. I take Joy in you, and I Love you.

But what of her?

She has made herself no longer your concern.

Forgive her.

She broke her promise.

As did you. Forgive her.

But it hurts!

Exactly. Forgive her.

I will shelter and Love her as I do you, and as I do your three, and as I do your tribe. The very tribe that surrounds and comforts you. The tribe that beckons you onto your Tomorrow. Listen to them.

OK.

I will.

So, it’s truly over then?

It is.

Please, tell me… will she be OK?

Her story is now hers and Mine alone. And as such Dear, what is that to you?

•••

“Forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

~ C.S. Lewis

My thanks to the talented Ms. Elena Caravela for once again allowing me to highjack one of her beautiful works for this post. And my deepest gratitude to my tribe – especially Beth, Marla, Keri, Cyndi, Shari, Stephanie and the Memolis – all of whom daily beckon me on towards Tomorrow while (whether they realize it or not) also keeping close to my heart the promise that He intoned above.