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It’s 1230 am. Sunday.
The night is slowly coming to a close, although I don’t want it to. This is the kind of night that, would all things be equal, would have me sitting at a bar, slamming Jack and Coke, smoking Camel Lights, telling stories way too loudly, and talking with the wrong kind of woman.
All things are not equal, though.
Instead, I am in my apartment. I finally turned Hank Moody off my television. I’ve now spent the last 3o minutes pacing the house, ready to go out but sure that leaving is a very bad idea. I’d surely make a wrong turn somewhere and end up where I can’t be.
I desperately miss those days. Particularly late in the evening. When I am home, writing. Or trying to write. Staring at the screen remembering the days I wrote. Often.
I must – daily – remind myself that life is better today than it was back then. That what I remember is only a fictionalized version of the non-fiction. I’ve stripped away the remnants of the lost mornings that followed the lost evenings. The sinking horrors of memory flash that blinked, strobe-like, throughout my life. Recalling just the emotion. The horror. The emptiness.
I must remind myself because this way of thinking about that is not native. And won’t ever be.
It’s 3 am. Sunday.
I spent the last 2 1/2 hours digging through old pictures. Trying to remember. But I’ve only kept the good stories. The truth is gone in those photos now.
At least the whole truth.
There are hints, though. My body has changed throughout the years. Not in the ways bodies change. Something more subtle, more profound. I can see the puffed cheeks and sullen eyes for what they are. The angry flicker my eye.
I should not miss that, but the truth is I do. I miss that edge I once had, the one that aimed to drive me directly over it. Full speed. No skid marks.
I was more interesting then.
Which, if I’m truthful, is only true because I was wreck-less. With everything.
It’s 937 am. Sunday.
I’ve been up for an hour, flipping through old emails. There’s one from a particular friend I’ve been reading. She’s from a different time and place, one that makes less sense to the people around me today. I found her again after 8 years.
We’ve been in casual contact since then, but the question is always: what are we?
That’s the question we have to answer every time one of sits down to write an email. Every time we make the conscious decision to – or no to. Every time we sit down to share the bits that filled the last 21.6 percent of our lives.
Actually, when you do the math we’ve only known each other for 16.2 percent of our lives. A precious, small percentage of our time on the planet buffered on either side by large periods of un-knowing.
And yet I have this desire to re-know her again. For now, not then. Because we meant something to each other back then, in the dark days when we roamed through the night with reckless abandon.
But even then there was no consistency. You don’t make time for anything – or anyone – during the insanity. That 16.2 percent is misleading. That number is far too high.
This is not an uncommon problem in my life.
It’s 1040 am. Sunday.
Everything is a little bit off right now. Just a bit messy. Or out of place. Or askew.
I leave for Arizona in four days, the start of 2 1/2 weeks of travel for my Writing Life, the one I had planned on diving into leading up to this event but instead of not. I have piles of “I’ll get to it’” piles around me. I would like to say I got side tracked, other things kept me from it.
That would be a lie. And right now I don’t have the insides to lie.
The piles simply are. There is nothing I can do to change that right now. The writing hasn’t happened, but it will because it must. I will begin to sit down and put the words on the page.
The Next Right Thing.
This is what we do. And the off-bits, the messies, the out-of-places and the askews eventually slip back into place.
This too shall pass.
The run will begin to clear things away. The writing I will do later today will clear things away. The inevitable conversations coming will clear things away.
I’ll remember again why today is better than yesterday. Why now is better than then. Why the answers for today’s problems don’t come with running to yesterday’s world.
All of this will happen. I know this because I have been through it before. It’s how my mind works.
This comforts me. I know my search for answers, for meaning, will begin anew. That I’ll never escape the sifting I do. I’ll never pull free completely from those days, those times, and those people where everything was infinitely easier because there was nothing happening, nothing to look forward to, and nobody to keep around.
I am not there anymore and sometimes the happenings, the forwards and the people are too much. An emotional overload. A cornucopia of the uncontrollable.
And my mind wanders.
Some where else. Some when else. Some time else.
Because eventually it reminds me that here and now is better. Eventually.