Will You Wait Me Out? Or Will You Drown Me Out?
She steps outside a small downtown bar, it's a cold, rainy Sunday evening, water glistening on the empty street in front of her. She sits on an old wooden bench just outside the doors, admiring the way the rain looks as it falls in front of the streetlights, taking in the faint sound of music pouring out into the sidewalk next to her. There’s people existing all around, some running for shelter from the rain, some stumbling in their heels, some passionately embracing one another without a care in the world. She sat by herself, examining each interaction she witnessed, even taking in the way the scent of the rain mixed with those standing across from her smoking cigarettes in their own worlds. Life seemed eerily peaceful to her, almost as if it was standing still. She closed her eyes, letting this insignificant fragment in time take her over, the stillness of it all. “No way” she hears from a distance, it's a voice she hasn’t heard in years, one she’d never forget. Her eyes quickly open, in shock of the familiar voice. “It is!” It says excitedly. Turning her head to the side, she sees a sight she believed she’d never see again, him. He’s aged a little, his long dark hair, now buzzed and slicked back in a beanie, no longer hiding those incredible green eyes. His piercings are absent, tattoos hidden under a black leather jacket that’s glistening with rain, he looks the same, yet so different all at once. Her heart sinks, it's been years since their last encounter, since their final goodbye. “I’ll be damned” she says in shock as she rises from the bench, nervously standing as the familiar soul excitedly runs up to her. “How have you been” he says with a smile as he leans in for a hug, embracing her with a warmth she hasn’t felt in what seemed to be an eternity. “I can’t believe it's you” she says as she clings to him, her mind replaying the past like a movie, reminding her of who they once were. “I could say the same.” He says softly, pulling away from her and gazing into her eyes that hold a sea of memories before him. “Last I heard, you were traveling on your motorcycle, I had no idea you were back in town.” She says nervously, trying with everything inside of her to keep from getting lost in the eyes she once fell so madly in love with. “Yeah, I went off to clear my mind for a few years” he tells her, triggering the memory of the last time he spoke those very words, the last time they ever existed as an “us”. “I hope you were finally able to.” She says with a faint smile, trying to mask the pain that slowly is bleeding through to the surface of her mind. He smiles at her for a moment, his eyes studying her as if trying to read chapters of a new book. “It was good to see you.” She says shakily, quickly turning away from him to step back inside the lively bar behind her. She walks calmly to the entrance, the neon signs casting colorful hues onto her face. “I never stopped loving you.” She hears from behind her. Immediately, her heart stops, her eyes swell with tears, and her nerves skyrocket. She knows silence won’t win this game, there’s no way to pretend she didn’t hear him, or to walk away as if nothing ever happened. She slowly turns around to face him, he’s standing just a few feet away from her, the rain falling onto the shiny leather of his jacket, his breath a misty cold fog in front of his face. “It was always you, I was just too stupid to see that.” He continues, stepping closer to her. She’s frozen in time, she used to wish for this moment, him coming back and saying these words to her, but those wishes were long gone, even if the memories still ached in her soul. “You think I stopped loving you?” She questioned, her voice cracking as she fights to contain the tears she knows will inevitably fall. “I’m not sure what I think” he mumbles, his eyes anxiously looking away from her, being lit up by the pink and blue lights pouring from the windows in front of them. She sighs heavily, she’s waited for this chance for so long, to tell him everything. “I never stopped loving you. Hell, I never stopped wanting you.” She says as her eyes look to the ground, trying to gather her thoughts as quickly as she can. “I still want you” he says quietly as he moves closer towards her, his tone serious, one she’d only heard on a handful of occasions. “I’ve hoped for years we’d run into one another again, that we’d get this chance” he continues as he pushes a strand of her curly hair behind her ear. His words seem to echo around her, causing tears to stream down her face. “I love you, I’ve always loved you. But you’re too late.” She says through her tears, her eyes meeting his yet again, watching as they fade before her. She pulls her hands out of her pockets, and lifts her left hand up into view, revealing a beautiful diamond resting against her ring finger. His expression shifts to shock, eyes wide, jaw dropped, for once it seems he’s showing a genuine emotion. “I thought you’d wait forever for me” he says to her. “Forever is a precious thing, and you took advantage of it for far too long.“ She expresses as she wipes her tear stained face. “I guess our forever doesn’t exist in this life” he tells her as he begins to shed tears of his own, his voice shaky much like her own. She moves in close to him, studying the man she once gave everything to one last time. He looks down at her as tears run down his face, she reaches up to him one last time, leaving a gentle kiss on the side of his cheek, a parting gift she knows he’ll cherish for an eternity. “Maybe the next life we’ll get it right.” She says, stepping away from him as she recalls memories of when they were teenagers in love, when sex on the beach and smoke breaks while playing piano were a regular occurrence. “Goodnight, my love” she tells him as she turns away, leaving everything that once was.
And walking towards what could be.
#movingon #lettinggo #heartbreak #breakup #inlove #younglove #anotherlife #lovestory #prompt #letgo #future #itsover #toxiclove #toxicrelationship #iloveyou #inlove
I worked as a draftsmen for a civil engineering company back when I first married and knew we needed the money. It was the only job I could get having never lived in small town middle America and right out of college where I'd been trained as I was trained first as an artist, second as a creative writer in the early 1970's culture of absolute personal freedom. I didn't fit in this world of engineers intense about their airports, roadways and sewer projects. I had never known strict schedules. I had never had to bend my abilities to perform with accuracy and perfection measured by a standard not my own.
I hated it. We needed the money and jobs were scarce in 1974 with interest rates at 9% making $3.00 and needing to drive 23 miles one way with gas prices up to $.53 a gallon...and expected to dress the part of a professional. It was taxing. It was not what I wanted. Engineering the polar opposite of the free will artistic muse-guided life I had become my 4 years of study. It was asking me to be someone I wasn't, someone I didn't want to be, someone I'd never be, but we needed the money.
I resented my boss. A little man named Alan who was there because he had been in construction but fell off a roof and now needed to support him family seated. He had no education having to drop our of high school to married a girl he got pregnant with a child who inherited his unfortunate hook nose and his hostility toward people like me, then a long haired hippie college chick put through school on her parent's money to get a useless degree. He resented having to teach me how to make my work look indistinguishable from his. We hated each other from the start. Training was hell for bought of us. A war of wills.
Finally I was given a real project, to draw up a project for a roadway extension, and found my mind getting lost in the challenge of applying my abilities in new ways. I was immersed whole. A feeling I loved. Every cell engaged in unlocking this new fascinating world. In those days I felt myself unfreezing, shifting, changing. Alan complimented my speed and accuracy. The top engineer came down to meet me. He talked to me and told me they had some display and promotional projects coming up. I could be an asset.
What changed? I hadn't. I was still an artist first, then a writer. We still needed the money. The company hadn't. They needed what they needed when they needed it. My boss still expected his working mine to merge as coming from one source. And yet, I had shifted. Instead of coming to work from a place of hate, need and divisiveness...looking down on them looking down on me, I stopped investing in my rigidity and began priding myself in my resilience. Changing where I placed my emotional and intellectual energy allowed me to prove myself, my same self, in their world. Put simply changed the way I looked at things, the things around me changed.
The take away has been provided by Albert Einstein, "The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe."
My awakening came today. As I'm typing this, I'm still not sure whether to continue talking about my cleaning ordeal. It still has its fresh burrow in my memory: skittering, crawling, crunching. I'm not bothered by many things, but I'm reassessing that. Though I'm no stranger to insects, like many I prefer the more troublesome ones to not be within my walls. Even so, I normally tolerate them. Letting the occasional spider or house fly on its way through the perpetual cycle across the rim of the window. The fly will often bump its compound eyes against the glass while the spider levitates: eight gracious legs spinning in their meditative stance. Their circular existence brings intrigue, but in the mildest flavor.
While I rarely mind anything small crawling or flying, I surprised and embarrassed myself when I ended this evening recoiling back from the roaches shooting out from under piles of litter in the boiler room. A year from when I'd walked into the Florida apartment, my demeanor had begun as a passive flowing energy and coagulated into something hot and unmoving. My sticky sweat that never quite slid off of my body only hastened this process. I was a bitter vessel of rage, pulverizing any brown oval speeding across the floor. Any shape moving at the corner of my eye brought me into a frenzy. Their sudden maneuvers made me jump. I craved annihilation from the shoe. In the end, I couldn't understand what brought me to that state.
It was a far cry from the large roach standing perpendicular to my face on a poster over my bed four years ago. I'd just looked up and stared at it in relaxed curiosity. Little concern came about where it might go or what it might do, I'd simply let it sit and disappear. Roaches were never a problem for me back then. As far as I was concerned, they stayed in tight spaces where I was not. They were no more of a problem than a wasted post it note. But something has changed in me all these years. A heightened warlike instinct that has devoured my core, but only slowly. Perhaps that's what makes it worse. The slow burn. A slow eating within I had little knowledge of until it bore itself in the milky flesh of twitching helpless legs.
The eating started as what I could only picture as a large man shouting at his game counsel on the floor above me. He did it every night and occasionally at noon. The shouts came out childish, but loud. A hard thud followed. Sometimes I wondered if the wall would crack and would dismiss the thought as silly. That never stopped me from locking the door, however. If not the front door, the door to my room. As far as I was concerned, my bathroom and bedroom were my inner sanctum. My roommate could let in coons elsewhere in the unit for all I cared. But if any body or thing came into my room, it was game over.
I never had too much concern for a break in from the upper floor, but that didn't stop me from pondering his strange existence. Night after night, I tried to picture his conundrum in greater detail. A late twenties man shooting up from his couch, shouting at his TV, slamming down his heavy figure to the seat, repeating the movement three times a round, several times a night, around four days a week. A perfect circular motion of events. I could never picture his clothes, other than some blank large gray shirt and basketball shorts over his swollen middle. His shouts were too irate for a sports fan watching the competition in third person. This was a game much more personal to him. He was at the control board, his opponent someone or something not currently in the room with him, but besting him every time in strategy or spirit.
Whoever it was, had captured this person in some twisted sort of groundhog day. Every time the shouts came, they delivered in the same cadence, rhythm, and storyline. At night, it locked him in a perpetual state of war, no way out except the bitter bellows that echoed through the walls. His situation was a glowing trap, battling a force that he could not defeat as the tissues of his brain were not strong enough to keep its troubling presence from worming through. A set of ingrained code instigating the opposing actions ran his life in their intricate arrangements of ones and zeros. They were nothing but a set of commands manipulating the pixels, allowing them to be picked up by the retinas, into the brain, grow the worm. Doing their proper job.
A few months into my stay, I experienced closer screams. These came from my roommate, an engineering student with not much to do but work. Unlike the upstairs man, they varied in mood, purpose, and delivery. The most common screams were the greeting screams. A high, joyful cry, greeting her caged rats in the living room. This happened about every day, seven days a week, like a loud, but happy set of noises a mother may give to their baby. Then came the angrier screams. Something being thrown, or loud vocalizations followed. Her enraged remarks undulated from her thudding into her room or circling through the entire unit.
These events would happen during the day at sporadic times and weren't as predictable as the upstairs man, though I had better context of their reasons. The screams were responses to the small furry bodies, skittering in the wood clippings and running along the squeaky hamster wheels. They were angered replies from deadbeat relatives, parents, and extensive reports. Telephone signals transferred through towers, though small speakers, and into the inner ear. And much like the upstairs man, they were rants coming from the source of arranged pixels on a screen.
It was a month ago when I saw a roach rush into the house. The creature slipped into the doorframe so seamlessly that I almost admired its dexterity. As much as people don't like to admit it, roaches are creatures of survival. Their hard shells remain unscathed from the whack of a broom and need the full weight of a shoe in order to be defeated. A roach body shape is flat. They slip into thin spaces like pieces of paper in a filing cabinet. One must not forget the craftiness of the roach, they know when to run, how fast to run, and where to escape. Millions of years of evolution to defend and hide. This makes roaches a tough fight when humans make opponents of them. They are the enemy that divides in silence.
When I came across the roaches during my cleaning, they seemed like foreign invaders. Filth of the neglected apartment running amok into my tidy sanctuary of a room. I couldn't unsee the outside vitriol emanating in their bodies. Pushing their repulsive energy into my peaceful space. Digging the angered man's shouts and roommates screams into the once clean corners of my walls. That's when I snapped. I made war on the insects, stomping them into a thick paste. Eons of evolution reduced to a sludge. Through this I reveled in a sense of victory I knew was false. There were many more, hiding, eating, and living. In their minds being no bother. They would always return. No apologies. Just a drive to live and exist.
My soul had become eaten. There was nothing but a cocktail of rage boring into my skull. I had entered the cycle. Fighting an enemy that I choose to exist. There was no end to the game, only an awareness of its systemic parts that had no obligation to enrage or please me. Nothing could be done but sit back and see it work in its mysterious ways.
Changing the Standard Point of View
The challenge of challenging the rule maker. Turning something serious into game or fun. Instead following a predetermined destination on the normal pathway how about going off road going to a totally different destination. Personally, "normal" was never my forte oh I tried to be normal long time ago, but I've already learned to accept being and thinking differently from most others. I moved around a lot when I was younger a different roughly every 2-3 months different schools due to behavior from age 10-17 didn't try to form bonds, I knew I would leave so hardly any friends. Why bother making friends having a girlfriend when I would have to leave randomly one day without notice? That was my mind set until my 11th grade year was when I stay at a school for more than a year met ex-girlfriend. My black-white view turned into color HD seeing things in literally different light. Love it definitely changed me more patience than usual, learned to turn thinking around, thinking outside the box etc... It changed how I conducted myself around other people and influenced my thinking. I'm just grateful to be able to rather not able to see others point of view of things. From a life of loneliness/depression/anger to full of love and curiosity/ideas also around the time I actually started writing in my 1st journal. Find your way to enjoy life.