well, today started off terrible and has ended terrible. the only nice thing about it was you. you’re the only nice thing about most of my days. it’s too bad you occupy such a small part.
i slept like shit. woke up again every couple of hours. the dreams were not good. dreamt about you in one. i was crying when i woke up from that one. the last dream i had, though, it is the dream that wins for now. another dream that wasn’t a dream. it was a flashback. when i was thrusted awake from it…i was striving for air, in a cold sweat, wide-eyed and stiff as a board. it was the first time i would tremble today.
some things are better left not remembered.
and then, in the dark, after i could move i searched for you. of course, you were not here. i then searched for anyone. no one. alone. cold. in the dark. one small step up from my dream. the step up part being that i was alone. in the dream…i was not alone. the dream this morning, the memory disguised as a dream, would be the first time today a man would scare me with his fists and words.
after i was awake enough to stop hyperventilating, i felt for you in the dark and there you were. on here (as in on my phone, not this). better than no you. if i would have been less proud i would have begged for you to come right then. perhaps it wasn’t pride, though. perhaps it was fear. or knowledge. they pretty much go hand-in-hand. the fear of the knowledge that you would not come, of course. so, no request was made. i spoke to you in silence. a silent scream for you to hear later.
as is always the case, though, i felt on the bed and grabbed the pillow that makes me feel like you are here with me. it probably makes me feel like that because it smells like you. not the real you…but the fake you. i grabbed the pillow and pulled it close. i refused to shut my eyes again until it was light out. yes, i do have awful dreams in the daylight, however waking up from one of those dreams when it is light outside is easier to recover from.
i held the pillow you tight and close as i continued to calm myself and adjust to the dark. it is hard to realize that you are not really in a dream when the dream is a memory. an actual event. and that at one time, it was not a dream and i was there.
so with the phone in my hand and me over you, i wrote my silent screams of horror…in the forms of whispered pleas for love. eventually i calmed down enough to loosen my grip on pillow e and move on to social networking. probably one of my first mistakes this morning. i am on a social networking site and then, out of nowhere, i see posts that contain porn! porn!!! i mean, hell. i wasn’t born yesterday and i certainly never lived life as a prude, but i have never been one who is big on the porn. and this stuff was right there. even on my way to turning it off, i had to see it.
the porn just really started to fucking piss me off. that’s when i realized why i have never liked it. you people (not you). men. you aren’t happy until you’ve made a woman feel less than. always less than. and you choose the most demeaning and debasing ways possible. that got me all fired up. which reminds me, i have questions for you about your people in regards to this subject. you’re one of them…a man. i have nominated you to be their spokesperson. you’re the only one with any sense.
so, that happens. i move on. then, my jackass f comes in bitching and leaves. i catch a break for a bit after that and i get to escape to a world where only you exist. in that world the noise is softer and my heart is calmer. you were my morning sun. i always have to say goodbye to you too soon, though. while you are away, i get rejected (which i have already told you about). after tonight, he’d better be really fucking glad he said no.
you know, that pisses me off, too. that motherfucker. i was only wanting to fuck him to…well, it won’t make any sense to you but, to get back at you. yes. that is why i offered him myself this weekend. because you…because i wanted to…it just wasn’t about him at all. let me tell ya, if i would have stopped and looked at who i would’ve been fucking…it would have been over before it started. why? because of nights like this. he was a vengeance fuck, though. yes, i’m very glad he declined now. the thought of having that asshole inside me, e, makes me physically ill. i don’t want his tongue in my mouth (or in other places), i don’t want his fucking violent hands on my body, and i sure as fuck don’t want his dick inside of me. or around me at all. the days of me giving my body away for no reason have passed…there are no drugs anymore. besides, better men than him have called me so many worse things…done so many worse things…he isn’t even bad enough to get to have me let him willingly…nope. nope nope. guess what? someone will just have to tell him that he isn’t tall enough to ride this ride anymore. fucking asshole.
so…no more vengeful fucking in an effort to relieve my mind of you. i will gladly keep you on my mind and keep the rest of them out. out of everywhere. anyway, after i was thankfully rejected i pouted. he was a dick all day. came and went. who knows where. i don’t care. i did things around the house. and then you came back to me, and made everything calm again. not near as good as when you are with me in person…but man, e, you settle me.
you and i talked back and forth for a bit, and then you went to take a nap. you also didn’t sleep well. different reasons, though. that’s when everything changed. the air, the tone, the wind…i don’t know. everything. i became ice cold again. and then my thoughts, my heart, my soul plummeted. a free fall dive at 13,000 feet. yes. all three, all at once and none of them packed a parachute. that’s because i never saw it coming. i should have, but i didn’t. the signs were all there. the dreams, the unusually extra miserable days, the horrible news, f being a larger jackass than normal and that small ember inside my being that i kept ignoring. we saw it last week. everything was taken out of me. i was a shell that day.
it all lead up to today. i can’t believe i was so blind and so…i don’t know. truth is, i might’ve seen it coming and just not gave a shit. i never fully expect these things to feel as bad as they do.
in all honesty, i’ve been thinking about the bowling ally so much lately. it was the doctor, e. the doctor affected me so much more than i ever thought he would have. and i’m devastated by the events that have taken place. i feel tossed out, thrown away, discarded as nothing. and if my life doesn’t matter to him…why the fuck am i fighting so hard to keep the one i don’t even want? it’s pretty much in his job description to care. and he knows me. he knows how…fragile…i am. so, i’ve been thinking, fuck it!
more into that, you and i weren’t talking. you get so tired of me. and then i work so hard at not talking. i do a decent job. but i always pay a price. it kills me inside, when i don’t have you. i’m always fucking up with you. saying the wrong thing, saying something the wrong way, not saying anything when i should’ve said something…waiting too long to say anything. i’m a fuck up. i just want to keep you happy and safe. i make you so unhappy sometimes. i never make you unsafe…but i make you sad, angry, exasperated, exhausted. and then i panic. abandonment.
all of this is in my mind before today. like i said, i have been thinking about the bowling ally very seriously since i got the letter from the doctor. when the atmosphere changed here this early evening, though, i froze. f wasn’t around. it wasn’t him. i actually knew what was happening before i knew what was happening. today, it came down fast.
i believe the handsome man, in the expensive suit, took an extra liking to me today. it was powerful and fast. all of it came crashing down on me.
within seconds it was there. date, time, place. set. in my brain. set. in my heart. set. in my body. set. in my lungs. there was nothing i could do about it. quite frankly, there’s not much i wanted to do.
there it is. life. death. everything you amount to and didn’t amount to, and the finality of it all. i was so cold then. perhaps it’s just a preview of what will happen someday to our bodies. lifeless, cold…dead.
i sat here in this place in my head for a good long while, fully taking in the scope of everything that had just happened. everything i had actually just witnessed right before my eyes. slow motion. i’m always amazed at how different it happens each time. no two times are the same.
somewhere in my silent reflection, relief washed over me again. it is always a load off, knowing i won’t have to live in this miserable world any longer. today i watched a video that broke my heart. they put a child out in 5° weather, one of the larger cities somewhere. manhattan maybe? and for an hour people came and went, right by this freezing, alone child. alone. during that hour not one person stopped to help this poor kid, until a woman. a woman in a red coat. she stopped to ask him if he was ok. he told her that he was cold. she gave him her coat. she asked him if he was all alone. the story they set up-his mom just left him there. the woman started to cry. she grabbed her cell. over an hour they shot this mini documentary. and over an hour came and went, and a child froze on one of our busiest streets in our nation.
i clearly did not cry because of that video specifically. although, by the time that woman came, i was so worked up i could’ve went through that video and hugged her myself. obviously i was upset because of what that video represented. truth. our world. humanity. such a selfish world. such a self-involved people. day in and day out, situations like that occur somewhere. how long do actual children (and adults) have to be passed up before they are offered help? how do you simply walk past another human being freezing and not give them your coat? perhaps i am faulty. because you don’t just stop there. offer to take them somewhere warm, get them some help.
people will say, “p! that’s dangerous!” perhaps. but no one has murdered me yet. the only outcome has been me going home knowing i didn’t leave someone to freeze, or starve, on the side of a road…or in a parking lot…or on the highway. i just don’t get it, e. how can people value a coat more than a life?
i will tell one story. after dad passed, i remember being outside smoking (ah, smoking) on break one day at work. we were a community action agency downtown, ya know. all our corporation did was help those who needed it, in various areas. we were also right across from the library, back before they moved it. when it was still available for people who needed it to go in to…and simply rest. i was outside with another coworker. a nice woman. and as our break went on, in this below 30° weather, a homeless woman comes walking through the parking lot carrying a trash bag of her possessions.
as she walks past us, my coworker smiles and does the polite head nod. the woman then lowers her head and continues walking. she makes no eye contact with me. she hurried her pace. this would have been right after dad had passed. so, mid-february. i only know because i was wearing his coat that day.
not his only coat, but one of his favorites that he had somehow managed to hang onto for over a decade. it was very warm. however, it was more than a coat. it represented one of the few memories that was gentle, nice, peaceful. that coat. i had coats of my own, you know. his coat had actually been at my house for years. i had borrowed it one day when i didn’t have one…and neglected to return it, as women do. he never asked for it. i never wore it but maybe once or twice after that over the years. after he died, though, the coat was comforting. and as you know, i was in a very bad place.
on this day in mid-to late february (dad died on the 16th), everything was still extremely fresh. in fact, i think it might have been the first week i went back to work. i’m not positive. there was a brief moment of limbo there after he passed, before all hell broke loose…because i opened hell’s doors. so anyway, the coat i had on that day meant quite a bit.
so i watched this woman walk passed me, with her head down. walking with your head down is almost a signature move that i invented. my coworker stated that she was going to go inside, she was too cold (she also did not smoke lol). so i said bye to her and stayed out. i watched the woman walk slowly with her bag around the corner. she was in old, worn thin jeans, worn out tennis shoes…and the thinnest shirt ever made. tshirt. it was freezing out and she had a tshirt on.
my very first instinct was to run after her and see if she was ok. however, i didn’t want to scare her. my very first instinct was to give her my coat. when i realized that, though, i paused. i thought to myself why today? why did i not have any other coats with me? because normally i did. somewhere. i never liked to smell like smoke, remember?
by now i was finished smoking and i was just standing in the parking lot, running my now frozen hands absently over my jacket. i had given away coats before that i was wearing. that isn’t the issue i was wrestling with. coats are coats. you can buy more. and if you can’t…well, i had a warm place to work and a warm place to live. i also had warm transportation to and from. i could live to freeze here and there. but that coat…
i have never really spoken about the events of his death, or that lead up to it. i’m certainly not going to do that here. but that damn coat was so…and then as i stood there i realized it. that damn coat was a coat. sure, it was more than a coat to me. but it wasn’t more than a coat to the woman who was in a tshirt in freezing temperatures. a tear came down my cheek. i felt like a child giving up her favorite blanket. so many thoughts and feelings were racing around me. then i remembered something.
dad was…many things. many things. but he would have already given that woman his coat by now. he would have offered to get her help. he was a very good man, in that respect. never wanted anyone to suffer. odd how he defined suffering on such a limited basis, though. yes?
so, i ran after her. she was fast. she had made it to the ally by now and was fast on her way to…who knows where. when she heard my running she got scared and began to run. i have never been one to shout or yell. i am quiet and reserved in many areas, as you know. and in those days…i was…a very quiet person. so, i ran faster. i finally caught up with her after about three blocks. her eyes were wide! lol. she was freaking out. to her credit, though, she remained as silent as they come.
so i asked her if she had a coat. she lied. said she had one in her trash bag. i’m great at spotting liars. i did, after all, teach the course on lying. i chose to move on. i asked her if she was homeless. she said she had a place to stay. so, yes, she was homeless. however, yes she had a bed at a shelter nearby. i believed her on that. we stood there. she was afraid to move i think. poor woman. so i told her that if she came back with me she could come inside, up to my office and i’d get her some coffee. find her something to eat. told her that a department in our building offered transitional housing…
the thing with people who have nothing and feel like they are nothing…they want nothing. even if they need it. so, she of course declined it all. we stood there a little while without saying anything. finally i decided it was best to just leave her be. i told her who i was, pointed to where i worked and made it clear to come find me any time. she nodded, head down. then she went to walk away.
the entire scenario was one of my most shameful scenarios. i have never forgiven myself for being so selfish that day. for hesitating about a stupid coat. for even entertaining the thought of keeping it and letting a woman freeze. every winter i think about her.
she slowly started to walk away. and as if i had been defeated in a war, i shrugged out of my coat and caught up to her once again. i handed it to her. my head was down. it was one of those times where you are ashamed, in the moment. the first thing i should have done was give her the coat and then asked questions. that’s what i normally did. she politely declined it. sometimes people need to take things anyway. i dug in my pockets and pulled out what money i had in them. i placed the money and the coat it in her hand and turned around to go back into work. she said as i was leaving that, again, she had one in her bag. so i stopped and i turned around and i told her that if that was really the case, then perhaps she could give that coat to someone who didn’t have one. and then i slowly walked back to work. when i turned to go cut through the ally, i looked back. she was wearing his coat.
i don’t know if i have ever thought less of myself as i did that day, in those moments. i am still extremely ashamed. you are the very first person i have told this to. it’s the hesitation and selfishness that get me. that i prioritized a piece of fabric over a life. the end result matters little in my story. giving the coat is not the story. that’s like telling my boss that i worked for the 8 hours they just paid me for. there are duties and responsibilities that we have to one another. so, giving the coat is nothing. hesitating about giving the coat before i gave it…that was a character defining moment. that day i decided who i was going to be while i was alive. a person who cares more about her own memories, or a person who cares more about the other person who just needs a coat. you know me. i’ve never forgiven myself for that day. but e, i have never hesitated on giving another coat. the video made me remember that.
it is now the next day.
so anyway, after watching the video i was a big ol’ mess of tears. it had been a full day. nightmares revealed to be true, no sleep, etc etc. and i had just decided when to go bowling. yes. bowling. oh, and let’s not forget how physically worked up i was over you. it was a strong day in that area. not much has changed today.
since it is now the next day and a whole new world has occurred between then and now, i am unsure of where all i was headed with this. i’m sure i was going to talk about how my day ended with being cursed out and somewhat threatened. i’m judging that by the title. i really do wonder sometimes if you men go to some sort of university to learn how to treat women poorly. you seem to know just how to say certain phrases and words so that they really cut on their way down. and a simple smack of the hand across the face sometimes seems like being hit with 5 fists. i’ve never fully understood. and when you do hit with your fists, it feels like you are hitting with a steel pipe. wherever you go for training, they train you well. it’s a shame they don’t provide a similar school for women…so that we will know how to properly block your blows. instead, i went to the school that taught how to properly take a punch and remain standing. i guess they both have their advantages.
however, you already know what happened pretty much and it didn’t really seem to be that big of a deal to you. so, i see no point in actually going over it here right now. i have other things on my mind…for another letter.
i love you.