Alone in the Past

My toes hang over the precipice as I stare down into the void, each year hoping that this time it might be different, that I won’t fall into that vast chasm of loneliness in my heart, that this time, maybe, I’ll walk home feeling less alone than when I walked there. Maybe I’ll break through my shyness and meet a woman I might eventually find love in, maybe I’ll meet a stranger and through good conversation see the promise of a true friend.

This year, maybe I’ll find my way out of the shadows.

In the green room we again say our rushed hello’s and how are you’s as they all get ready for the night – the majority of the people living less than ten miles away, yet still I only see at most a few times a year, and then only at events. Again the questions invade my mind, wondering who I am to them, and who they are to me.

Though in conversation I would call many of them friends just for ease of description, I hold that title with a certain reverence – and with the exception of a scant few I wonder and doubt if it holds true any longer. Perhaps once upon a time it did, but now, these days, I feel as if I am nothing more than an apparition from the past, chained to their present and still trying to belong in a place I don’t anymore.

Each year I walk out my door with the hope that maybe this time, it will be different – but each year I walk home, again alone, again feeling lonelier than I was on my way there.

There was a time when I changed my life completely around somewhat frequently, a time where I earned and lived my chosen name of Flux – but that person was lost somewhere in the eighteen months in hospice and years after, teaching myself to walk again and rebuilding the atrophied muscle. All I was anymore was the guy who fought death and won.

Now it’s time to be someone different. It’s time to change. Time to let go of the past and who I was, and become, again, someone new. Something new to be known for – and possibly, be remembered for.

It’s time to step back from the edge of this oppressive loneliness, meet new people, and in the process earn my name again, and again make my dreams into reality.

After all – that’s what I’m good at.

an empty victory

I avoid the mirror, the bloodshot eyes stained from the tears brought by years of frustration, 
I look instead inside, searching for an answer, a reason. 
Some sort of justification. Anything. 
The energy it took, the agonizing pain I forced myself to get past or swallow or get through, the stench of my own flesh decomposing, rotting away on my legs…
So many times I could have stopped fighting, so many times I wanted to. 
It wouldn’t have taken more than a few weeks until I went away, and if the pain got too unbearable I had the pills stashed. 
An hour at most, into one last dream – 
and then nothing but a name
forgotten in time.

But I had hope. I believed that things could be better.
That they would be.

How wrong I was.

So now, I search inside
for the passion
the rage
the anger
that i have found 
and hold so dear

I search for the love,
a reason,
a purpose…

but these past months
the deeper i go
the less i find and
the less i find a reason
to go on.

Seven years since I left the hospice, seven years fighting against the current, trying desperately to make it to calm water… 
and for what? For THIS fucking life? This life, where loneliness eats away at my heart, where I seldom know where the next meal is coming from, where I can’t even pay my bills.
This is not what I fought for. Not what I lived for – and I can’t help but think, at times, that I made a mistake.

But here I am. If it was a mistake, it’s already been made, and it’s far too late to give up now.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll sell some jewelry, maybe I’ll soon finally be able to buy a car so I can not only do the things I need for my business to make it grow, but escape this city and just drive until I find a place – a beach or forest somewhere, alone, where I can find my heart again.

Maybe.


Because I need to keep believing

1
Yesterday
I saw a building I hadn’t seen before, though I had walked by it at least a few times a month. I stood on the corner for three lights, while we caught up on lost time.
I heard five people’s voices rise in pitch as they walked by me, saying “puppy!” I looked down at Ruby and thanked her.
I bought a man some food so he could eat, using money a friend loaned me so I could.
And I looked into the eyes of everyone I could, hoping to feel a new friend, or love. Hoping my soul might see her and kind of say “Oh, there you are. I’ve been looking for you.”
And it would feel like two people finally meeting each other
after a lifetime of not meeting each other.

Words in a wishing well (scattered thoughts)

The beginning and end of these recent days bring the same thoughts, without answers, without release. I try to be strong, I search pages and my Self for some vague semblance of peace, and occasionally, for a short amount of time here & there, am able to fight it, though all I feel I’m doing is coating the bitter taste inside with a sweetness that quickly fades as my acidic reality eats through the superficial shine.

Everything changed with one decision I made, choosing to fight instead of fade away, but now in this loneliness it’s so hard to find another reason. I want to be a better man, have a purpose, someone to make proud – but it’s been years, and I don’t remember how not to be alone, and love is only a memory – so now, again, I throw words into the well, wishing I might come true.

I know with all I’ve been through I can get past this as well, in time – and maybe then love might come my way again. For now, however, I need to keep writing – it’s the only thing that’s always been there for me, the only friend that’s never gone away – and again I’ll use them to strip the darkness in my heart clean.

And show myself & the world, again, why I decided to live.

And who I am.

Saying goodbye to my little friend

It’s always there, reminding me. Reminding me that I’m sick regardless of how well I may feel, reminding me that there’s something wrong, something that would never let me believe, even for a moment, that just like nearly everyone else I could relax.

Every time I looked in a mirror it made certain I wouldn’t forget.This monstrosity. This hideous thing sticking out of my abdomen.

Every single time I saw a woman that enticed me – a playful look in her eyes, a laughter that sounded like music, the language in her body and a beckoning gaze  inviting me to approach, I would begin to smile inside with the hope of putting an end to this everlasting loneliness – then turn away.

What if we ended up liking each other? What if we laughed at the same absurd things, our eyes sparkled a bit brighter as we looked at the other… what if one night we went home together, and it came time to take off my shirt?

Of course I would have warned her, told her about it, but hearing and seeing are two entirely different things. When she actually saw my umbilical hernia, that I have a tennis-ball sized mound of flesh & intestines sticking out of my belly that looks frighteningly similar to a scrotum, what then?

For years I’ve been destroying any possibility before it began. For years I’ve been pleasing with the surgeon to cut me open and fix it regardless of the consequences, knowing that they couldn’t be worse than what I’ve been putting myself through.
Knowing that they couldn’t be worse than facing the near-guarantee of a lifetime without anyone special to share it with, knowing I would never get close enough to let myself fall in love again. Knowing that this loneliness would forever be a part of me…

Now, over six years of begging & pleading, I am 18 days away from the surgery I’ve wanted all this time.

He finally agreed.

Sure, it’s risky as hell for me, with a roughly 30% chance something may go wrong and I’ll die, but weighing the risks against spending the rest of my life afraid to even approach & flirt with a woman? I’ll take my chances. I really fucking miss being in love.

Eighteen days.

Shit. I need to try to remember how to actually talk, flirt – and date  again!

Maybe this surgery isn’t the best idea after all.
(Just kidding – FUCK YEEAAH!)

The Complications of a Kiss

For hours we talked. We talked of the Sun & the Stars, of everything around & under them. We talked of writing and authors, of our pasts and present. Of herbs and addiction, of friends and difficult relationships. We talked of romance. She said she was a hopeless romantic, I told her I was a hopeful one which made her smile. She talked about lovers, of past boy & girlfriends, but not having anything current to say from my side, I mostly kept quiet.

I looked into her ice-blue eyes and I could only think of clichés to describe them, and worried about a piece of the glitter surrounding her eyes falling into one. I found it kind of dorky and cute the way sometimes she stifled her laughter by pressing her tongue against her upper lip. We talked outside of time, the world moving on around us.

Although we could have sat there enjoying each other’s company for much longer, the growing soreness in our asses had something else to say about it. It was time to stand, to go. It had been a lovely time together, getting to know each other, finally meeting a decade after she had first heard my name from a mutual friend.

Instead of parting ways outside the café, we sauntered down Market Street, side by side weaving around the people & construction, enjoying the continued conversation & moving slowly, more as if we were strolling through a park on a warm spring day than in the rush of San Francisco as it left work & headed home. As far as I could tell, we were the only ones there.

“This is where I turn. I’ve had a wonderful time.”
A warm hug. I answer, we go our separate ways. On the way home I walk faster, at my normal pace, the hint of a smile playing on my lips as I hope that it actually will be soon, and, newly inspired, think about what I’ll write.

At least that’s what I expected to happen, but we kept walking, taking now about hidden treasures in Golden Gate Park. She says she’ll take me to the “Faerie Door”. I imagine her being able to take me through it to her true home. Now walking through Civic Center Park, I begin to wonder where she’s going. My mind starts spinning. Maybe she has an errand to run that just happens to be in the direction of my apartment. Yeah, that must be it. If it were ten, fifteen years ago, if we were walking away from a bar a little tipsy, if pretty much everything were different, then I could accept that she might be coming home with me – but these days? A lovely woman I just met coming home with me? What a silly thought. That just doesn’t happen to me anymore. She must have someone else she wants to visit close to me. Maybe she wants to get some Vietnamese food to take home. Quit having such foolish thoughts, kSea. You know better.

We wander up Hyde Street together, each step getting closer to my home and she is sill by my side. I start to get nervous, confused, trying to remember how to do this… this boy/girl thing. The game, the ritual. I can’t. Hell, the last lover I had was three years ago, and I don’t have the slightest idea of how to read all but the most blatant & obvious hints anymore – and those I’d likely even have trouble with, looking around the room for someone else and wondering if they were actually directed at me.

I need to calm down. This could be, and most likely is, entirely innocent. I don’t know what I’m thinking. Really. I have no idea.

We turn the corner to my apartment, which is now about 20 yards away. A friend of hers once looked at an apartment in the building next to mine I find out, and then I’m opening my gate. I apologize beforehand about the mess & dog hair everywhere. I refrain from saying that I wasn’t expecting company, thinking it might come across poorly and accidentally give her the idea that she isn’t welcome & make her uncomfortable.

I quickly grab the clothes off of my couch & toss them in the walk-in. “That’s your closet?”
“Yeah! I have another one right there.” That’s it, kSea. Suave as ever. Christ.

She sits on the couch without asking or waiting for me to say anything, and I like that. It makes me feel like she’s comfortable here. I offer her anything, and thankfully she’s happy with water. I can do that. I have water! I pull my finest ex pickle jar out of the cupboard for her & make sure it’s company clean, not just “me” clean. It passes. Must have been a good day when I washed it.

When I come back into the room I notice that she’s taken her hair down and nearly drop her water. It’s beautiful. She’s even more beautiful. I sit down beside her, leaving a good foot & a half between us. It’s a small couch. I mentally take the word “loveseat” out of my head.

The talking continues, she likes my knives (are you fucking KIDDING me?) and says she used to have one exactly like this one. We talk about knife throwing. (I can’t even make this shit up. Dear gods.) I tell her stories o fme as a child, crashing my mom’s car into our house at 11, setting my mattress on fire at 8. We laugh. Compare notes of families, talk about adoption & blood.

I’m terrified. This is what I’ve been doing my best to avoid every time I went out, and doing it very successfully for over three years. With clothes on, I look okay, but I’m reminded at the times I have to look in the mirror what I look like without them. Scarred & discolored legs, the umbilical hernia looking like a fetal twin sticking out of my abdomen, the inguinal hernia less horrible, but at the top right of my pelvic bone. Even if you know what to expect it’s hideous. I try not to look at it unless I have to. I don’t want anyone else to have to.

Even as rusty as I am, I know I could have swayed our conversation with a couple questions to a place where I could have found out if it was alright to kiss her, if she would allow me to, if she wanted me to… and I would have loved to. But everything inside of me wouldn’t let it happen for fear of the possibility of it going further. After some time she puts her hair back up. I feel like an idiot, just wishing I could get past all that’s inside of me. A warm hug, and we take the elevator downstairs. I bring Ruby so I have a reason to walk with her just a little more.

My Dr. had called me that morning, telling me that the surgeon still won’t agree to do the surgery on my hernia’s, now two instead of one. He says that there’s a 30% chance of complications due to the ascites (fluid retention) in my abdomen, but I can’t help but call bullshit. Though there may be some fluid, I work hard keeping it as minimal as possible with teas & herbs, and if he did do the surgery I’d work even harder, agreeing to even take the prescription diuretics they want me to. But still, he won’t. He’s afraid, he’s concerned, and he doesn’t have any idea how strong my will can be to live – when there’s something to live for.

It’s been nearly three years since I’ve even kissed a woman romantically, hoping that one day, with all the fighting to get the surgery done, he might give in – but still, there’s that 30% chance that I could die hanging over everything, hanging over a life that I now don’t even have the morphine to mask the oppressive loneliness.

What he doesn’t seem to understand is that, as my will to live fades, the chance of dying without the surgery keeps growing – with each memory of a kiss that never happened.

in silent screams

I leave one message for her, then another after a few days, a week… then twenty, thirty over the months. After a short while I find I’m talking to her answering machine, having almost conversations, telling it what I’ve been up to, how my day was, my week. It’s silent as I tell it that I think I’m getting better, that I wish she could meet some of the amazing people who are helping to keep me alive…

but it’s never her.

It must be around eight months now, maybe nine since I’ve heard my Mother’s voice – or heard from her at all. There’s been some amazing news that I told her answering machine; I’ve met my Blood Father with whom, on that fated New Years Eve of ’66/’67, she created me. The last time we talked, when he & I were only barely beginning to plan it, I asked her how she felt about me meeting him, & she said she was completely cool with it – “He’s a really sweet man.”, She said. He is… I was in & out of the hospital, been cured of Hep-C.
My Birthday has long since come & gone. The day she watched as I took my first breath… the day that only after we met meant anything to me slid by without a word from her.

I went to a small party which only by coincidence was the same day – dusted off & put on the well-practiced smile that hides everything else churning & twisting beneath the surface so that no one knew & it didn’t dampen the moods of my friends.
Hell, over this lifetime its gotten to the point where even I believe the mask I wear for those moments,,, until I get home, check the mailbox and again find it empty.

Maybe everything is broken, and she’s not getting any of my messages. Maybe she doesn’t check them. Maybe it is just too much for her and she has left me with nothing but silence, confusion, – and far too few beautiful memories of the times we had together… just like the others.
Maybe I did something wrong.

Maybe… this was a mistake. Maybe there was something past the smile that I never saw, the few times I was able to get up there to see her. An uncertainty, a fear…
Maybe I planted myself in her life too quickly and grew up too fast in the 47 years since she last saw me, one day a baby fresh from her womb, and the next, a man who has already lived a full life that she wasn’t allowed to be a part of.
Maybe, I did something wrong.

Maybe… I’m broken.

I’ve sent two letters now, another one will arrive for her shortly after thanksgiving. I’m thinking of sending a stamped & addressed envelope in this one. Maybe with a note to me with multiple choice answers.

Hi Casey!
Great to get your letters. I’m doing a)great b)pretty good c) busy, and I/I’m a)VERY sorry b) insanely busy with work c) have been feeling kind of down, but/and meant to write/call…

My ½ sister – her daughter, who I talk to about mom every month or so when we go to the archery range or dog park says not to worry; that maybe mom is feeling bad because she wasn’t able to be here for me, and she’s been a bit depressed lately anyways, not really being able to get around due to her recent hip transplants, or….or….

If I had a car I would have been up there long ago – maybe.
Probably. I understand the need & desire to be alone, but this has gotten to the point where it has just fucking become selfish.

It’s been 2 years & 6 days since the first time in my life I saw my Mother’s face. Could hold her in my arms. Could, at last, after 46 years… feel wanted. I found the heart that I belonged in.

I think of her every day, miss her – especially now, with the holidays here & looming, a time when we should be together – if even only through a phone call.

She always seemed so excited to see me in the few times I’ve been able to get up there.
Maybe she had a change of heart, and closed the part where I seemed to fit so perfectly before.
Maybe there will be a beautiful letter in a plain white envelope waiting for me in my mailbox tomorrow.

I don’t know.
Her answering machine ain’t talking.