Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Her life had been reduced to sitting in a wheel chair, looking up at the ceiling for nine hours a day. The bed was pointed towards the windows in her small room with all the furniture and decorations designed to have a certain look and feel to them to make the occupant feel more at home. All of them having a cabin feel, something homey and likable about them. In reality all these things did was make her feel like she was getting farther and farther from home the longer she stayed here. In her mind she’d made peace with the fact she wouldn’t see the place she called home again. She’d never say this out loud. She’d never admit to coming to this conclusion and being strangely alright with it. This was where she lived now. Her real home, not her house, had left a few months prior. This was what made not seeing her house alright. Although she missed it; the carpet, the furniture, the pictures on the wall; it wasn’t her home.

This had all started when she had decided to get her hip replaced. This was something that had bothered her for some years now, it was late in life to be having such serious surgery but it was worth a try. If it went well it would mean that she would be able to walk with relative ease again. It went well at first. She was making a full recovery until they found what appeared to be a staph infection. If left untreated this could eventually travel to her heart and kill her. More operations followed. It became about saving her life instead of trying to make her walk again. The more operations she had the more her quality of life was forgotten. She spent most of her time so doped up on pain medication that the person her family knew and loved wasn’t present. She’d become the shell of the person they once knew. Her husband was constantly at her side while all this was happening. The hospital they had chosen was an hour away from their home and he made the trip everyday to see her, just to spend time with her. After all, she was his home. Sleeping alone at night was something he hadn’t done in fifty-some-odd years. Visiting hours was a term that didn’t apply to him, it didn’t matter that he was 84 and couldn’t stand on his feet for more than 20 minutes at a time. There was no other option. The person he called home was lying in a hospital bed unable to speak most of the time, but still awake and alive enough to know when he held her hand that it was him.

“I don’t know what to do. I can’t help her and it’s killing me. I want to take her home. I need her home with me.” He told me once, while going to get her some more ice and something soft to chew on.

I didn’t know what to say. I’d never seen love and dedication like this in my life. Nothing real, nothing I could feel in my heart as the real thing. Every other example of love between two people had failed, or wasn’t something I that felt like I could reach out and grab it with my hands. In a time where the institution of marriage failed just as often as it succeeded, when most couples who weren’t already divorced seemed destined to cross that bridge soon, it was strange to see something so solid. Something so tangible.

My own parents divorced when I was 10. I had watched my father remarry again and seem happy, while my mother went through relationship after relationship that all seemed doomed to failure. There wasn’t anything solid about any of them. Maybe what I should say is, that from a young age I’d learned that love fails. Love is not something to set your watch to or take to the bank. I was fine with this, because it was the way it always was for me. It wasn’t until I saw the way that my grandparents were so willingly and lovingly dedicated to each other that I discovered what love could be. What love could do to people. How, for some people, it truly was something to trust, something you could count on, regardless of what was happening to the other person. Love worth fighting off death for.

After her numerous surgeries to try to rid her body of the infection, my grandma’s leg was all but useless. She did get to go home but, because of condition she had to sleep in one of those electric hospital beds, separate from her husband. He adapted though. In their room they had a big reclining chair that he had used to watch TV in. His solution to my grandma being in a separate bed was to move to her. The chair was put right next to her bed. This became my grandpa’s bed while my grandma was able to live at home. Her days at this point were spent watching television with my grandpa, visiting with people who would come to visit and check to see how she was doing. Eventually the infection returned. What made it different from the first time around was that this time they had also found cancer. They found lumps that had developed all over her body.

The chemo started right away. Back to the hospital again. This time it was more serious. It was something that couldn’t be cleaned out with a series of surgeries. Her once full and white hair had begun to fall out. This broke my heart. I had spent a lot of time with my grandma. When I was younger she used to take me along with her to the neighborhood hairdresser where all the older women in the church got their hair done. She had gone once a week, it was something in her schedule that had to be done. She had the nicest hair in he group. It was perfectly white and was always well maintained. Always in the same shape and appearing to never change. It was something I loved about her. Her hair hadn’t changed since I was old enough to notice it. In my head, my grandma was the most lady-like and refined women I’ve ever known. There wasn’t a crass or uncultured bone in her body. When I was 12 she sent me to an etiquette class. When I was in junior high she insisted that I take ballroom dancing so that I could learn how to dance, because this is a skill that all cultured men should possess. Even when she’d lose her temper because of something that I was doing, she was never actually able to lose her temper. It was something I had to fight laughing at because I knew it was something that was so forced for her. I took it serious because I knew that it took a lot of anger and annoyance to push her to this level.

“Shit!” She’d say, like she was trying to pronounce a word in some foreign language for the first time.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lemme guess, some sort of team sport...

I love it the way that you love a distant relative. Someone you met when you were too young to really understand what family is and how it molds and shapes who you are. There's something magical about it. The way the field is leveled, the grass perfect, the players positioned perfectly throughout the expansive green that is the outfield. Barely watching the pitch, I hear the crack of the bat against the ball. Standing out of instinct, my head tilted toward the sky searching for the tiny speck of white, trying to gain some reference by watching the rest of the crowd. Finding the ball just before the loud snap of it finding it's unwanted home in the outfielder's mitt. I watch as the players move as if attached to strings, propelled by some grand puppeteer, moving as one into the perfect positions to cut the long toss to second off, perfectly aimed, throwing the ball 200 feet like it was nothing. Reaching it's destination, second base swings his arm which is propelled by the energy of the ball down to tag the runner trying to make his way back. It all plays out like some sort of mythical play. The way that nature seems to have a designer; it all works too well together.
Double play. The inning ends and it's time for the seventh inning stretch. Fans stand, stretching mostly out of tradition than any real need to stretch their legs. The game had been close enough to keep everyone in their seats instead of wandering around buying hot dogs and beer. The combination is floating through my head, and oh, what a combination. Nothing in this world can make you feel so good and as bad in equal measures. Standing up to participate in the tradition that has no traceable origin, I lift my arms above my head and feel the soft and cool breeze in the early September evening. The crowd is chattering and waiting for the obligatory take me out to the ball game to begin. As expected the chords begin to pulse through the loud speakers that are attached and placed through out the ballpark. There's no point in resisting and hell, who would resist singing the national anthem of baseball?
Waiting for the last lines I turn, announcing that I need a fresh beer and ask if anyone wants anything.
"I'll get a dog with some relish and onions please."
"Alright, I'll be back in a second."
Lifting my legs I make my way up the stairs to the main concourse. I see the food stands placed throughout like the gauntlet thrown before someone trying to just make it to their seats with their kids still attached to their hip. I hear the usual excuses given to small children when asked if they can get a hot dog or some cotton candy. I hear all the things that I remember being told by my parents. One hot dog a game, maybe a coke if I was lucky. The memories flooding back and filling me with happiness that has to be shaken from me like dew from a blanket laid on grass in the evening.
I'd been waiting in line, so drunk with season's memories past that I didn't notice I was next. I hadn't prepared myself properly to bark my orders clear enough. I knew I was going to be one of those people who fumbles nervously and takes too long when all you want to do is get your food and back to your seat in a timely manner.
Sure enough, I was that guy. Mumbling, being reduced to just pointing to what he wants as he walks down the line. Handing over a $10 bill for my 6 dollar hot dog, I head to the beer vendor next. This is a lot easier than ordering the hot dog. It's a simple, generally two-word order.
"One, please."
Balancing my food and full plastic cup of beer I start the long journey home. Trying not to drop the hot dog or pour my drink down someone's shirt as hard as I can, I make my way back to my seat. The inning's just started and I haven't missed much. First pitch, the familiar crack and slap of a pop-fly, hit and caught. It's amazing to me the way that sound travels. It had always been something I craved. The sound was so familiar, so apart of the fond memories that it could put me to sleep. You could play just the sound of a baseball game in my ears at night and before you knew it, I'd be sound asleep.
It had always been this way. The green of the grass, the stiffness of bolted down seats, the smells all mixing to create the potpourri of baseball.
My seats and friends are just where I left them, some not so intent on the score and some rubbing those one's faces in it. It was all here. There was nothing outside of this park that life could need.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

No Answer

The computer screen flickers bright and clear. Saturday afternoon has become saturday night. The short nap in the afternoon sucked all the time I counted on having. It was perfectly clear. I'd done this to myself. There was no avoiding or passing the blame. Waking, I found my phone on the bed next to me. Only three hours. Only three hours for a nap that I had planned on spending a half an hour. It was the difference between waking up and finding something to do and waking up and going to 7-11 to buy tea and food to last the night. The bare essentials to survive a night at home spent watching movies and sitting on social networks wishing I was out with the rest of the world.
My feet rest square on the rug jutting out from beneath my bed. I rub the sleep out of my eyes and try to refocus on the task at hand. Baby steps. Baby-step, stand up. Baby-step, go get a glass of water. Baby-step, have a cigarette. Visions of Bill Murray inside his tiny cramped apartment talking to his fish and the mental anguish that plagued his character flash inside my brain. Could this be me in 10 years? 10? Who am I kidding, with the way tonight turned out it's likely to be five. Oh, well. Such is life.
Baby-step, find my keys. Baby-step, find my shoes. I could see myself doing this for the rest of the night. Wandering around my apartment completing baby-steps to an end goal that didn't even exist. Insanity, they say, is doing the same thing and expecting different results. I don't know why this comes to mind right now, but it makes perfect sense.
They say that dissent into madness takes time. They say it is a slow and meandering process by which a person finds themselves at the end of path they didn't even know they were on. I know that my dissent into madness was short, it was something I saw, a path I knew all too well that I was on. My dissent into this so-called madness began on a certain day a little over a year ago. It was the point from which everything that I am spins off of. The center of the insanity that is my universe. I'd been on this path for what seemed like an eternity. I know I just said it had only been a year but that'd be putting too much blame or credit depending, into one thing.
The cigarette calmed my wandering mind a little. Still thinking about all the possibility that had been thrown away and the disappointment that followed. I open the door to my apartment and walk down the halls to my room and find my bed once again. All I crave is contact. All I want is some sort of human interaction. I find my phone again. Baby-step, find someone. Baby-step, make contact. Baby-step, get out of this apartment. Baby-step, evolve. Baby-step, be the solution instead of the problem. No answer.

Monday, September 15, 2008

As we know it...

The world was falling apart, but we didn't care. Everything around us falling down around our feet, but we didn't care. There was more than enough to go around. Each time our lips met and parted and met again the world seemed to fade farther and farther away. I couldn't remember the last time I cried. The last time I felt alone. The last time I pictured myself as an old man, alone and trying to remember some long lost love from his youth. Your hand moved from my arm to my neck, twisting my hair between your fingers. There was nothing between us. Nothing to hold back. I spent hours holding you close to me, hoping I'd never have to endure a world without you again. You mirrored my every move, back and forth we'd play, the danger growing more and more, but we didn't care. I felt like a child inside. I felt small and loved and whole. Finding a lost toy, hugging your mother, or taking a bath in the kitchen sink. Minutes turned into hours and hours into days. It could never end. I was positive breathing was pointless if you weren't close.

"I'll always love you. There's nowhere I could be without you."

I couldn't muster a single word. The words I had once spun through my mind like a twine wrapped around barbed wire were lost to me. Scrambled somewhere inside the chemical reaction forming in my brain. Dopamine traveling from one synapse to another, I knew I loved you too. Your hair hanging down in your eyes, I see nothing but your mouth, nothing but everything. Each strand clinging perfectly to the one next to it, forming each perfect lock hanging in your face, meeting your skin so softly. I brush it away, I need to see those dark brown eyes staring back into mine. I need the windows to your soul open and clear.

I hold you close, I sleep. Deep and dark and complete. In these dreams I'm trapped. My dreams are not dreams at all. I can't move. Like I walked into wet cement and decided to wait around until it dried. I watch you leave. I watch you leave me standing there. Alone again. The fear already building in my body, I feel the adrenaline begin to pulse, my hands begin to shake. Darkness. In and out. I see you huddled below me. Darkness. Pure and complete.

My dreams fade faster and farther from me these days. I wake up in this place, not knowing where I am and wonder: how did I get here? How long have I been waking up here not recognizing these people surrounding me. I'm 89, I live with people I don't know, and I love a woman I haven't seen or touched in 65 years. It only lasted one night, but how could something so real last any longer than that? It wasn't love that allows for anything else. It didn't allow for kids, a lawnmower, and a golden retriever. Nations have been built and destroyed by less than what happened then. I don't expect you to understand. I don't even expect you to care. I know I'm close now. I know I won't be around much longer and I've made my peace with that. What I do want you to understand is that these things you seem to care so little about and treat so frivolously can haunt you. They will haunt you. I promise. I wake each morning crying, not fully understanding why. My dreams fade faster and farther from me these days. I know you don't understand. I know you probably don't even care. This couldn't possibly happen to you.

After all these years I'm not entirely sure it even happened to me. I welcome sleep, seeing her as I once knew her. I see the possibility in her eyes and all the love I couldn't possibly contain. I rise every morning remembering the way I left her. Remembering the way the blood trickled down her chin landing softly on her breast. The love her eyes had been filled with changed to horror and disbelief. I'm 89, I live with people I don't know, and I love a woman I haven't seen or touched in 65 years.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

In our society.

"​We'​re desig​ned to be hunte​rs and we'​re in a socie​ty of shopp​ing.​ There​'​s nothi​ng to kill anymo​re,​ there​'​s nothi​ng to fight​,​ nothi​ng to overc​ome,​ nothi​ng to explo​re.​ In that socie​tal emasc​ulati​on this every​man is creat​ed.​"

-​David​ Finch​er

Don'​t worry​.​ We'​ve done this to ourse​lves.​ The path of least​ resis​tance​ is now the mothe​r of inven​tion.​ You proba​bly won'​t even notic​e the world​'​s been rotti​ng away from under​neath​ you until​ they take away your wal-​mart.​ Just give up. Let the world​ destr​oy itsel​f so we can rebui​ld it. Why fight​ to save somet​hing that'​s broke​n and beyon​d fixab​le?​ Is it worth​ it to destr​oy yours​elf to save somet​hing that will,​ in the end, destr​oy you anywa​y?​ Let it go down the drain​,​ quit delay​ing the inevi​table​,​ quit grasp​ing at straw​s.​ Give up. Wait for the chanc​e to build​ somet​hing new. Somet​hing worth​ savin​g.​ I'm no excep​tion to this rule.​ I like my super​marke​t just acros​s the stree​t and I like my overp​riced​ cloth​ing desig​ned to infla​te my overl​y sensi​tive ego. The key is knowi​ng that event​ually​ you'​ll be force​d to be a human​ being​ again​.​ Trust​ me, it won'​t be long.​

There's nothing left to save. Our society is so broken that any attempt to try to right it will be futile, like throwing rocks at bullet-proof glass. Like trying to empty a lake with a teaspoon. Our society coddles those who aren't willing to take care of themselves and rewards stupidity. We work against nature. We work against the very forces that allowed us to make it this far. We're so worried about being politically correct and making sure no one is left behind that we've begun to reward and even value the one's who, if nature took it's course, wouldn't even still be breathing. Don't say it's a lack of compassion. Let's face the facts. When you begin to punish the successful in order to reward the weak, what have you got? What do you encourage? The fatter, slower, dumber you are, the more you get. This thinking is broken. If we were still living in the conditions we were designed to we wouldn't even be having this discussion. This would be a non-issue. Don't tell me we're better than that. We're not. We trick and fool ourselves that this is what is 'better'. I pray that one day it all goes down. It all goes down the drain and we're dependent on our own skills to survive. How many of these people who are too fat to leave the house would survive? How many? None. It's the way of nature. It's not greed, it's not cold heartedness. In other species of animals it's common practice when a member of the herd is weak, sick, or disabled in some way to kill it. Birds will peck a fellow bird to death.

This is reality. This is the way the world is designed. We work against it every time we think otherwise. Be stronger. Be smarter. Be better. Survive.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


My legs feel heavy and I want to go home. My ass is numb, and I want to go home. Alcohol and nicotine pulsing through my brain, and I want to go home. I wonder if anyone's ever overdosed on nicotine. It seems unlikely but not impossible. I've been sitting on this curb for 3 hours, trying to sober up, and I want to go home. People still shuffling in and out of the house from where I'd just come, still trying to reach the mystical plateau. That tiny cliff at that top of the giant hill that is just enough but not too much. Everyone chasing the light while hanging out in the dark. Everyone on the same fabled conquest of substance; trying to get it without letting it get you. Isn't it funny that we all go out and push, push, push to get to the point that I'm at now, and then all we want is to go back down, walk backwards down that hill so we can get back to the familiar? I vaguely remember calling a taxi a few hours ago but hadn't been able to convince myself that it was time to go, it was time to stop doing shots, time to quit doing lines in the bathroom; but I'd missed my chance. I'd probably missed my only chance to get back to the only place I wanted to be right now. Safe and warm, curled up on my bathroom floor. I hear car doors opening and closing. I hear engines starting. Why am I not friends with those people and why am I not leaving with them? Lying down might be a good idea, the spins have taken hold and mixed with the taste of what must have been 100 cigarettes and whatever I'd been drinking in there, it all begins to blur.

We all tell ourselves while we're punishing our bodies to free our minds that it'll be a good story, it'll be something that will make our friends laugh, regardless of how awful the things we did were to get it. Right now, I don't give a fuck about my friends or what they're going to say when I tell them about how awful I feel. I don't give a fuck because I can't; I'm focused too hard on not freezing to death. I start to think about the snow on my back, and the cold burning feeling on my skin. If the snow was still melting on my skin, I must be alright. The house behind me is still full of people. I wonder if they're ever going to stop. The sun will come up soon. It has to. I wonder if that's the signal everyone inside is waiting for. The sun is up, we have to leave now.

I sit up because my back is soaking wet. The cold had felt good when I first laid down in it, now it was just another reason I needed to leave. I try to stand but decide it's a bad idea and sit back down. My ass feeling like it was separated from it's long lost twin and then reunited. Inside may have been the better option. Thinking about it now I don't know why I came out here. Did I think that if I just came out and sat down that somehow, through some sort of magic, someone would come and take me home?

I can't breathe all that well through my nose, it's gotten worse as the night has worn on. The lines I'd done with that girl in the bathroom weren't helping my current situation. She'd led me in there holding my hand. I thought I was going to get laid. The reality of the situation was completely different. At the time it had all been about pushing the limits, I was fine then. Barely drunk. What's better than a pick me up? What I know now is that it wasn't a pick me up. It wasn't what I had thought it was at all. I ended up doing a small line of Oxycontin on the bathroom counter. This doesn't mix well with the amount of booze I had been drinking. I knew this wasn't the best way to keep the party going, but I couldn't help myself. Oh what I'd do to go back in time. My legs feel heavy, and I want to go home. My ass is numb, and I want to go home.

The house is surrounded by tall pines in all directions. I know this because when I wandered out to piss earlier I'd almost gotten lost on my way back in. It's funny the details that don't transfer over from sober to inebriated. I walked up the front steps and noticed the tall pines and hell, I'd even driven through them on my way up here. I mention this up because I've already thought about just walking out of here, but I'm almost positive I'll end up as one of those people you laugh at on the news who is found 50 feet from a highway frozen at the bottom of a tree. My subconscious is trying to kill me, and I want to go home. I feel disconnected from everything, and I want to go home. The sky over the mountains is turning purple, cold darkness is giving way to light. The sun is making it's way west. The lights on the fronts of the houses are fading, no longer the only thing providing light in the infinite darkness that is this night. I feel my stomach beginning to figure out that it's only sifting through different types of alcohol and maybe some jell-o from those terrible jell-o shots. I'm almost certain that it's getting ready to break free of me and find a better owner. Someone who takes care of it.

It seems like things have gotten quiet. I can barely hear the music inside. I was almost positive that someone would call the cops and I'd be waking up tomorrow in some county jail with ten other drunks standing around waiting to be released back into the wild. I'd almost welcome it right now. A night in the drunk tank for the ability to still feel my fingers. I want to stand up. I want to go back inside. I know I could at least find a small corner somewhere to lay down and just sleep all this off. I am soaked to the bone, the curb I'm sitting on isn't getting any softer, and I want to go home. I can barely feel my legs anymore and my only thoughts are about my bed and how warm my house must be, and I want to go home.

There's no sound now. There is nothing I can see moving around me. I feel my eyelids begin to feel heavy. I want to sleep. I want to just sleep it off. I'll wake up in a couple hours and be sober enough to get home. I'll be sober enough to be able to know where I am. I just... want... to.... sleep.

"Tonight on Fox News at 9, a young man found froze to death outside of a home in the Park City area. We'll have more about that and much more for you later in tonight's broadcast..."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

twenty three. 23. veinte tres, vigniti tres. twenty fucking three.

It's a milestone. Something I was almost certain I'd never be. The last year of my life is something that, sitting here now, almost seems like something I watched on a bad TV show. One of those reruns AFTER M.A.S.H but before the infomercials take hold. It's been tough, I'll admit it. There were points that I was positive tomorrow would be a day I would never see.

What have I learned? What have I taken away from this last year? I don't know and I can't really put it into words. I guess I'll try though. The most important thing I've learned in the last year, and am still learning, is that life goes on. Life never ceases because it seems that it can't get worse. If we lived our lives this way we'd never know the inherent beauty of triumph over adversity. The feeling that we lived through it, we made it, it may have seemed like there was nothing left to give but we kept breathing and through some miracle, here we are. Another thing that's been important for me over this last year is finding the beauty in everyday life. Finding that one thing that makes you smile, makes you so happy it almost brings you to tears. You know what, fuck it. Finding that one thing that actually moves you to tears. Be it, a sunset, an overwhelming song, watching people be nice to each other for a change. Whatever it is to you, find it.

Family. I never truly understood what family meant to me until this last year. I know this sounds terrible, and it is, but I never fully grasped how important family is to the human soul; how these people around me are imperative to my happiness. I'll never understand how I thought I'd be alright without them. I'll never be able to make it another day without them again though. That's a certainty.

My final thought, because I don't want to keep writing this pseudo-motivational garbage, is this: Never waiver. Never give in. Never fail to see the world for exactly what it is. Never fail to see each new day for what it is. A new day. Another chance.

the end.