A curious brutality is born whenever hearts combine.
It is often accidental. Seldom intentional. And if it is, that’s a type of abuse better captured by other, more competent, writers. My talents aren’t nearly impartial enough to ever capture that peculiar complexity.
It just sort of happens; no one is really at fault. Feelings and expectations combine as the commonality of mutual experience meld into a comforting pattern of disconnect. One that eventually erupts unexpectedly on some random Clinton County Wednesday morning.
It was a long time in coming, that breakdown of communication. There is only so much compassion one can find after only a few hours of sleep stretched out hard on thinly padded living room patio furniture. And before the strength of the second cuppa punches an unwilling brain into sharper focus.
We parted that afternoon saddened, though briefly. A gentle October rain uncomfortably soaked The Mitten. It seemed somehow fitting, like the snuggling warmth of your favorite cliche enveloping you from within a conversation you never expected to have. And I had to give props to the universal screenwriters for their continued predictability in providing the perfect backtrack scenery to our lives.
She was inwardly embracing the place she most craved; I was left to wander back out into the undomesticated wilderness. Back to being, however temporary, that lost little boy. The one in worn out shoes. And again sporting the embarrassing insufficiency of an anemic bank account.
Wandering and pinballing around familiar curves at 60 miles an hour. Chasing a life I am not fully convinced I deserve. Although I work myself to the point of exhaustion every day trying to coax that little bud of hope to grow into something more significant.
Sometimes, I get lost in the struggle of the endless list of to-dos. Little yellow notes everywhere, signaling and reminding. In a house that can often be weird. And occasionally, temperamental. Other times, I spend hours feeding an aluminum beast. The one that defies gravity every weekday night on its journey out over these flyover fields, delivering next day promises on a rigidly enforced schedule.
There is always work to be done. And, this boy who has it bad for a girl with gorgeous green eyes, isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He is only ever afraid of losing her.
Because sometimes, despite the very best of more gentle intentions, there is only room enough in the coupling for a pointless drive through a chilly Michigan rain.
And so I drove.
Outside the influence of wipers scraping away the dampness, a trio of smokestacks stood out in the distance. A lingering ghost of past days of productivity, demanding attention over a Capitol City skyline peeking through the gloom. A dependable landmark, famous for their stoic visibility.
They were once my emboldened benchmark. A conveniently towering visible reminder, helping a stranger navigate a new and complex city.
But today, they felt like tombstones. Just naked steel and concrete splinters, blinking through the grey drabness.
I left them behind in my rear view mirror; they will always be there. Instead of Fish Ladders and the inevitable absorption into the gentler fringes of urban unsteadiness, I chose instead to run to a safer place. A Little Red house where the deer nudge up against boundaries of organized civility. A place where the turkeys roam freely–except for Simon. He often gets confounded by the simple complexity of a chain link fence barrier.
Rough moments are temporary. Wounds eventually heal; apologies land with the same regularity as that big brown and white jet. Everything will be okay. Just as long as I am allowed back home.
Someone needs to check in on Simon. Because he is, after all, a bit simple. Even for a turkey.