A Hope Chest of Light Keeping

down the drain

I am thinking about the word “damage”.
I am thinking about how that conjures up the image of a bombed out building.
A package ruined in the mail.
A mis-sewn pair of jeans.
A limb that no longer functions in the full way a limb should.

I think of loss.
And I think of fear.
I think of the smell of something burning.
The black ice on the road ready to send a car down a ravine.
I think of adrenaline.
I think of a criminal.
I think about pre-meditation and pathological lying.
I think of lying. Of being a liar.
I think of manipulating.
Funnily enough, I think of bowling-how the pins fly about as the heavy bowling ball rolls fast on it’s own path of destruction.
And then I think of destruction.
Of rainforests burning and deer flying from the trees the white’s of their eyes showing as they gallop towards anything other than the fire.
I think of ice caps melting and polar bears starving and colonies of bees shriveling up from pesticides.
I think of smog and sweatshops and red-light districts and how fast and simple one can open a little foil package with one’s teeth and throw the wrapper next to the bed.

I am thinking about white powder.
How fast it is bought.
How fast it is consumed right into the sinuses.
How it alters reality.
How it changes the chemistry of the person.
Of the room.
Of the life they were building.
Liquid courage. Social lubricant. Friend, ally and enemy.
All tasting like cheap margarita mix.
I think about all the times I’ve hung up the phone angry.
All the times I’ve left and slammed the door.
All the times you didn’t listen.
All the moments you could have come home and didn’t.
All the missed calls on your call log and a number that doesn’t belong there once more incorporated into your contacts.

I think about breathing.
About how I can’t.
About how maybe one day I will but for now I am this burned out house.
One you ransacked and lit on fire.

I am thinking about how stupid I feel for missing you.
For trusting you.
For loving you.
For falling for it.
For thinking I was different.
For hoping for a happy ending.

And then I think about Bella.
And I think about guilt.
And I think about her barking while we would scream at one another.
And how the prong collar edges into her neck.
I think about how I will never touch her soft nose again. Nor play tug-of-war.
And it is easier, in this moment, to pretend that she died so I can grieve and not contemplate the fact that she is right down the road.
And so far away.
Like you.
So far away, never really here at all.
And that is the worst part, yet.

That the life I built in my head, I built without you.
You didn’t want it and I pushed anyway.
Or maybe you fed me just enough to keep the fire burning so you could steal my dreams slowly.

Humiliation is a well and at the bottom is the dirty water of isolation. I’ve been swimming for months around and around like a goldfish unable to anything but move in hopes I wouldn’t die.
And I wouldn’t let you down.
I wouldn’t give up.
I just grit my teeth.
I just laced my fingers.
I just put my shoes on and did what needed to get done.
Because that is what love is, right? Doing what needs to get done?

There is a whole world out there of tenderness. A garden of pleasure. A home full of light and companionship.
There are hands that will not leave yours. There are eyes that long to see what you are doing, writing, reading, saying. There are people who will hold you and not let go. Who will trust you and cherish you.
That exists. It’s real. I’ve seen it around me.
But for me, for me this year it was sorrow.
It was cosmic debt.
It was the chickens of my young adult life home to roost and now I must bear the burden of all I’ve done by entombing myself in desperation.

I am thinking about the word “greed”.
I am thinking about the word “grief”.
I am wondering how many more days I will wake up and remember
and then pray to go back to sleep.

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