Is the light from my window beginning to reach my eyes? No, that’s the artificial light from the lamp beside my bed. Should that make such a difference in how I start my day? I would like to be greeted by something a little more comforting than this light that is a lie. It shouldn’t mean anything to me, no, but still I find it a little bit more than upsetting. Disturbing. Unsettling. How can we as a people be happy with such false artifacts, false signs of life, surrounding us in our daily lives? The real can wait behind the security and convenience of the fake. Fake, like their smiles in the face of their flickering false lights, burning fluorescent light bulbs that line the ceilings of the bars and basements. Fake. How do I know if what I am feeling is nothing more than a false light, a fake…
The cold bites away at already frost bitten toes while my tongue feels glued to the roof of mouth. My eyes are trained on the only source of light, the ever so bright sight of moving pictures; the modern marvel of television. They are meaningless sitcoms, containing characters nobody has ever been in “real life”. The noise goes in one ear and out the other. The shows are only there to provide different shades of lighting, pseudo-creative illumination for my mockumentary. Are the walls closing in around? No, rest assured, it is only the sound of your own hollow breath being caught up in your chest, no longer reaching your lungs, stopping the process of turning oxygen into carbon monoxide. Brain cells die. One by one by one by one… This really is a never ending process…
I no longer get cold in the winter. That is to say I no longer care if I get cold. Of course I am affected by the wind as it hurts my face; I am blinded by the snow that covers my hair and shoulders, tripped by the ice under my feet, covering the streets, invading my fingertips as it travels up arm, shooting across my spine, burrowing into my chest, giving birth to one cold breath after another. I’m heaving and choking on the cold air that bites at my teeth and clings to even a dead soul like mine. Yes, I feel this winter, a ballad of walking death, beautiful in it’s whites and winds, bitter and forever in its icy glare, it’s frozen grasp over all it touches.
Help me find my way back into this heart, back into myself and the soul I’ve forgotten. I buried them both under years of tears, scars and screams at my blinking check engine light. I haven’t lost every part of me though. I’m still able to find a laugh, squint up at a winter sun and find hope while shivering on congested Ohio highways. Little things still matter, like smiling at the cashier while they ring up my midnight junk food runs, or becoming a regular at the local Pizza Hut, so you can text the manager on Saturdays and have your “normal” order delivered within 15 minutes.
I like small talk, office banter. It’s not deep, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s complaining about missing sleep and having to work late on a Friday. It’s hearing someone ask “what’s up?” and responding “Good! Wait, shit, I mean nothing, what about you?” and laughing at the over-used, lame-ass Dad joke, because cliches are often the best part of life, and it was funny the first time you ever did it and it will never not be funny.
I like spending hours prepping up food to make a feast. I’m talking entire Saturdays dedicated to trimming up some Top Round Roast and rubbing in all the best seasonings; salt, pepper, some paprika and a dash of granulated garlic. Mix that with a bit of vegetable oil and slow cook that sucker. Then making red skin mashed potatoes, a thick, southern style country gravy, and a side of roasted artichokes, all set off perfectly with a cold glass of apple cider. Being in a kitchen, around the heat and the noise, soaking in the rush of stimuli to my senses, makes me feel at peace in a way I can only replicate when I’m on a roll writing something.
And I like writing. Journal upon journal, notebooks filled to the brim with failed attempts at poetry, love novels, dystopian futures and screenplays. I write something every day, even when I’m tired and stupid and making bad choices at 3AM, I still get something down on paper.
So I still have things I like, so my heart can’t be all the way gone. I’m lost, but I can be found, because I can find myself in little things still. I’m lost, but I clearly haven’t completely given up yet. I’ve buried my heart and soul, but I can still dig them up. I can do it…I just need a push…
I had a dream last night, and you were in it. I was talking to you, just like we are talking right now. And I said some things. Not important things. Every day, hey how ya doin type things. I said those things, and then you were gone. I said those things without really saying anything, and then you were gone. You were gone without me even saying a word that mattered. I wasted that chance on small talk. I didn’t take the risk. You are worth the risk; this is worth the chance. My words need to be more careful; thoughtful. When I see you in my dream tonight my first words won’t be hello or hey, hi or even good evening. My first words will be words to describe how you make it hard for me to talk because I stumble over my own tongue in my rush to talk to you. My first words will entail all my joy at seeing you here, now, even if it is only just a dream. My first words will speak volumes large enough to fill a library, loud enough to be heard from across the continents, meaningful enough to move your heart and with enough conviction to make you echo them back. My first words, “I love you…”
It’s crazy, the things you’ll miss about a person. You’d think, being raised in the hyper-sexual culture that is the twenty-tens, the thing people would miss most is the sex. One glance at the top Apps for all smartphones and you’d find all the evidence you’d need to prove that thesis correct. So yes, having someone whom you feel comfortable being naked around is something I miss. I want to think I’m above that base-level, the driving forces of human instinct, but I’m just another human. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting sex, right? It’s a natural part of life, and it’s a super fun natural part of life, so why do I feel this guilt? I guess I let that Catholic school teaching dig in deeper than I thought. But yes, at some point throughout the day sex will cross my mind, and linger there in the forefront until I can either repress the urge, or something happens to jolt my other emotions back into place, dominating my everything.
So, I miss sex. I miss the rush of blood as the kissing starts, slowly building until it unleashes as a frenzied, uncontrolled, mad rush to see who can consume more of whom first. It’s a drug, and more feels like it won’t be enough. Our hands balance out the insanity that is our faces, and I know I can lose myself in you, because your hands are still in mine…
I miss laughing as we take off our clothes, shirts flying across the room and socks somehow getting lost in between the sheets. How long did we both spend doing our hair in the morning? It’s probably over a third of our lives, using the magic of combs and straighteners and moose to tame the beasts who call our domes home. Haircuts every-other month and a first-name basis with the local Sally Beauty Supply, all in hopes of feeling pride in something as silly as our hair. And it suddenly didn’t matter when we were together. We tossed and turned and rocked and rolled until cowlicks came out and pony tails were a must. I miss that, feeling like I wanted to show off my best features so you could be proud of me and remembering that I can drop it all at any time and you’d look at me the same.
I miss the feeling of another person’s skin against mine. It always drove me wild, how some parts of you were cold but the same parts of me were warm, and we’d explore every inch until a map was etched into our heads. It was rough, but gentle. It was wild, but nothing could feel safer. It was magic, but my Harry Potter hardcover box set, complete with replica wands for everyone who went with Harry to the Ministry to save Sirius, was still locked safely on the bottom shelf of my bookcase. How else could you explain the fact that we both knew the other was smiling, even when we couldn’t see each others faces? It’s how I know my letter from Hogwarts has just been lost in the muggle mail for 10 years, or how you know exactly when I need a hug and for how long (you never let go first, thank you). I call that shit magic, or if I’m trying to save myself a letter, love.
I miss the way I didn’t rush to get dressed after we finished, because I felt fine never being clothed again so long as we never had to leave that bed. I had to see myself naked plenty in my life, because mirrors are a thing, and while some days I can feel confident, I think I’m not alone when I say most days I’m feeling less than enthusiastic. But your eyes? They didn’t blink, aside from when you have to naturally blink (and I watched your face enough to know if you were blinking more than normal, I’m sorry, that sounds creepy, but trust me, you had a super interesting face). You looked at me like I was a double scope of mint chocolate chip ice cream on a record-breakingly humid day in mid-August. And you looked at me like that even when we were done. When we were buying groceries so I could cook you dinner, or when we waited at the airport to pick up your cousins from New York, or when I didn’t get that new job at the mall, or when I screamed my head off, sobbing like an insane person, when I found out my Dad cheated on my Mom, or when you first looked at my upper arms and thighs and stomach in the light and I tried to quickly cover everything up while muttering some excuses and you grabbed my hand and stopped me and you made an obvious effort to not blink…you still looked at me like you wanted me.
I regret a lot of things. I regret not getting into bitcoin when it was just starting up. I regret going to college for a degree in Accounting when I hate all things business. I regret not upgrading my popcorn to a large bucket at the movies last week, and using my savings to purchase an indoor training bike I have yet to assemble, and for that time I yelled at Chef Robert Irvine to use the secret ingredient peanuts to make a peanut crusted tilapia with a peanut hummus and he did just that and lost his elimination match on The Next Iron Chef. I have regrets, more than I can count, but I don’t miss those days. I don’t miss wasted money or my years in college. I don’t miss watching Food Network with friends or that savory, salty popcorn I totally should have ponied up an extra $1.50 for. I don’t miss those things, because they are still here, inside of me, as moments I can revisit any time I choose. I can regret the choices I’ve made and wish things had played out significantly different (I’m so sorry Chef Robert Irvine, you will always be my Iron Chef), but I don’t miss them. They were moments, and they happened, and that’s life.
But you? I made the monstrously huge mistake of choosing to make you my life. So you can’t become another part of my life, something to reflect on, good or bad. I knew my mistake, every step taken towards that mistake, but I still made them.
I don’t regret you.
I can never regret you.
I miss you.
I don’t have much to say about Dawes, because whatever I say will fall short of capturing what Dawes music makes me feel. Dawes is just something you need to feel for yourself. I’ve been in a bad spot for a long time now, and I always write to try and get my feelings out, and while I find songs that speak to me nothing has been so comforting as A Little Bit Of Everything. Enjoy.