Much like the frequent postings here so unashamedly rambling in their nature, and so unfiltered in their intent, I can find neither rhyme no reason tonight, not when the weight of another segregated pandemically-fringed night bears down on a terminally lonely man sitting solitary in a little blue house in the heart of the city of Wayne. A man trying his masked best to keep his head above the infections and his heart free from the frequent fevers running hot and hard through the streets, shimmering and flickering tantalizingly outside the hazy reflections of a smoke-stained window closed tight against the threats of a dangerous locked-out world lurking just outside.
The overnight started the same as they do now most days, with hastily scribbled notes captured on little sticky squares of bright yellow paper to help keep them from slipping off somehow into the wispy abyss of middle-aged forgetfulness. There was the aimless pin-balling around through the cavernous echoes of an empty house, only made tolerable by the muffled music thumping in from the kitchen, unattended. There was the opening of yet another bottle of wine, the only constantly reliable companion on hand to help keep me grounded while I sat and watched the skyline of a city I never fully understood gleaming predictably hard through the early spring haze wrapping around the night like a security blanket around a sleeping child.
But here tonight there is no sleep, well, not much anyway. Instead, there seems to be only the constant grind of endless hours left unfilled and the rhythmic tick-tocking of a clock now meaningless in its function. There are many gaps left behind from the pieces of my humanity now missing in the equation, gaps that no bottle could ever hope to fill.
I turned to my music in some last-ditch booze-fueled effort to salvage the night and to maybe give me hesitant inspiration enough to write something meaningful for a change. I was relying selfishly upon the creativity of others to help fan the flames of my own muse, so often stubbornly fickle in its availability. I looked to other artists far more talented than I could ever hope to be to help tease out that festering splinter of her name inside me, before the infection spreads and leaves me numbered among the fallen.
And, I couldn’t even do that right.
Maybe it was the wine. Or maybe it was the medically prescribed dosages provided to help take the edge off the pain of a terminal case of middle age aches and pains. Or, quite possibly, it was simply because of my own stupidity, but the fact remains that I failed to fully vet the newest pandemically inspired playlist with my usually dependable attention to detail.
I was blindsided by a song that I particularly did not want to hear. Not tonight. Not when the nostalgic ghosts are already on the hunt for their next victim, creeping hard and so potently hungry. Not when I have worked so hard to forget her. Not when I am almost drunk enough to send that text, the one that has been sitting in my phone for the better part of a year, tagged with the accusatory label of DRAFT, a digitally tactile reminder of just how much was left unfinished. And unsaid.
There was once a time when I freely gave to her my everything, expecting nothing in return except maybe the simple acknowledgements of my many sacrifices, perhaps now not so noble in their foolish intent. But when the moment came for me to be noticed, she instead addictively chose that next drink. And I realize now that it could never have been any other way.
With the benefit of socially-mandated time spent inside my head, I can ride these wildly tumultuous waves of hindsight and clearly see that she was nothing more than an emotionally stunted childish disaster of lies and mistrust perpetually caught in the minefield of unfulfilled adult responsibilities and ever-evolving expensive addictions. Never having benefited from the grace of maturing responsibly in the later chapters of her story, she instead stubbornly clung to the deceptive and ill-advised promises of a carefree youthful abandon, believing wholeheartedly that the next drink, or pill, or line up her nose, would somehow keep her relevant and youthfully desirable.
Even worse than the seemingly endless flood of foreign substances polluting her body and rapidly toxifying personality, were the constant streams of sexualized comments of others passing by that seemed to feed her ravenously shallow ego and damaged ideas of meaningful sexuality more than a genuine, responsible love could ever hope to do. And she craved that attention, endlessly. She welcomed it greedily and did all that she could to manipulate situations brilliantly in order to help feed that hunger, using one new sin to hide and camouflage the last old one, until it all combined into a staggering crescendo of dysfunctionally poisonous validation.
After so many years, and so very many pointlessly turbulent arguments fought in the vain hope that maybe she would see the hurtful effects of her addictions, I finally came to the realization that no matter how hard you try, or how long you stay in the fight, there is just no way possible to ever love someone healthy again. Not when they are so stubbornly addicted to things that I could never provide. Not consistently, anyway.
So I was unceremoniously kicked to the curb and set “free”, on a cold and frosty morning when the rest of the city of Wayne was busy celebrating that bare and bright Christmas morning, leaving her finally free to chase down that next good time without having to be questioned. Or held accountable. Because apparently, that’s just no fun.
Like the bite of too many needles into the tender, yielding flesh of too many arms, this is starting to bring me down. The only remaining trace for me to pursue in this infected and slowly suffocating world is to change the song and to change how my story ends. Not for her, but for me and for the potential promises of better days possibly ahead on the back side of a hopefully receding pandemic.
I refuse to let my mistakes define me, not when the whole world seems to be ending and I am left standing here on the last vestiges of my experience. I respectfully decline the accusations and the lion’s share of the blame because I know that, despite my many flaws and my many failures, at least I was always honest.
And I don’t know how to be anything else.