I received a large ledger size envelope at my door and this envelope would hold some of the most fascinating documents I had ever seen. As I moved my fingers under the flap to open the envelope I could tell it was padded down and secured with bubble wrap. I removed the bundle out which included many photographs and a letter.
I looked over the images in these old photographs, there were some in sepia and some in black and white. The faces staring back at me were unbelievable, but not only the people, but also the background, the old homes, the yards, the neighborhoods, the furniture, and it all was fascinating. I did not know of these relatives until recently. I have never seen these photographs, but I knew in my gut they had to exist. They just had to.
Here it was. Evidence of what I knew but had no way of showing. Wonderful, irrefutable proof was had that would add and adjust the story of my family. They must understand it all now. They must believe it. It felt good and I felt vindicated and secure in all my efforts. I don’t know who else knew. I could only speculate, but others knew the research I was doing. I picked up the letter and started reading.
I had a vision of how I wanted my life to be. This vision had dreams upon dreams and dreams wrapped within dreams. Some of these dreams were a series of wants and desires that could be labeled as deeply superficial. I could not abide by them or treasure them because of their nature and because of the place in my mind they originated. I searched and worked to discriminate the virtue-validated desires of my heart against those that did not measure up. These nesting doll dreams revealing either cheap plastic trinkets or refined gems. Again and again I would be moved by material possessions or guided wrongly by seeking to have certain relationships, all neatly cataloged and crossed off the list as being “owned” by me. Then by possessing these, my life would be more perfect or more rewarding. At this time true meaning could be had.
As I put aside my impulses I would have moments of full clarity where the sanctified visions I had were not steps to completing me but ultimately were pure versions of myself or simply put were pin-point accurate insights to a part of myself that I knew were approved, true, and meant to be. So those that were vetted and aligned with goodness and grace were worth pursuing and they were worth dedicating my time and energy. I wanted to be known for and remembered by those purposeful visions. And all the remaining ones were straw men of deceitful lies from an aimless, sick, and desperate heart.
Jessica felt my raw energy and she felt my anxiety that were swirling together like dirt and spit; something that was a positive force was also pulling against my relationship to her. She didn’t know what else to do. “You are neglecting me”, she said. “You aren’t putting me as a priority”. I thought, “I can’t make you care about my passion.” “I can’t make you apart of what I am doing.” I thought to myself, “partner up with me and join me on my journey.” Then I said the same thing in a different way to her, “help me instead of working against me”. “We can be a team, sharing “our” purpose instead of just sharing “my” purpose.” “Todd”, she said. “I just don’t care about all of this.” “Maybe this isn’t love, if you can’t sacrifice “caring” for “us”, “you have to fake it to make it”, but that was not the answer. If authenticity is something of value, then faking anything is not good for anybody. I didn’t have the answers. How can something that has made my life for the better also dismantle another part of my life that was for the better? There must be some balance to be had here. I should have considered a thoughtful way to include Jessica, she should of thought of me. We had a lot to learn about sacrifice and a lot to learn about taming our selfishness.
We got along great. I do believe I cared for her. When they talk of chemistry, I suppose we had it. Even reflecting on our status, on our “relationship”, the question that would disrupt what we had was brought up by her because I sensed she was pushing the conversation to this question, though she had no idea she was opening the door to ending what we have.
Sometimes irritating what you have will lead to something better.
Leaning over the granite countertop as we were sharing some honey covered toast she asks, “What do you want from me”? I answered quickly, perhaps, I should not have, but I said, “Something you cannot give”. In hindsight this was abrupt, arrogant, unfair, and impulsive; but my experiences had brought me here and I believed it was true and maybe was true.
I then said, “…a relationship”. She looks back at me and says, “We have a relationship”. I said, “That’s true in the simplest terms, but what I mean is a ‘one flesh’ type of relationship. You are way too reserved, and don’t lean on me or confide in me. I know you trust me, but you don’t “trust” me fully. I’m not talking faithfulness, but me as a person in all things. And I think you know I’m holding back too.”
“How can two people be together and share so much and when it’s time to move forward, we are seeing things so differently?”, she said.
Is it too different? Are we digging too deep or are we not digging deep enough. Shouldn’t communication and being together be effortless and simple and this is the test that we failed.
All good things, all purposeful, all meaningful things require work. She thought these things and hoped I thought them too.
I had a bird’s eye view of the land that was promised. I could see nothing but a solid color of green.
Through the blanket of green something stood out. I could not make out what it was though it sparked my curiosity and there is nothing I could do to put it away.
Every day there it was. It surely wasn’t alive but did it stay in the same place? Was it watching me? You could not believe how I thought about this thing.
It was just across the street and one day I walked downstairs and headed toward it to seek it out.
I lost it. How did I lose it? Did it move? I didn’t see it move? Now I was alarmed and my heart was beating rapidly. How could this happen?
This was in the middle of the day under the hot sun. Bad things don’t happen in the daylight. I decided to run back to an open space and find the object again.
Summer – 2019
Spinach salad, plucking the leaves…
Asked what kind of dressing [to my wife]….
She has a [sic]…
Godzilla is moving through the streets….
A bigger, stronger, and badder monster…
He uses a long blade to cut the opposition down…
I escaped from his reach…
[Dropped] Godzilla and [sic] through the trees…
A system of tangled limbs…
My wife who was sick I realize is not my wife…
I have been following her through the rain and a hall of many lockers…
I’m being followed…
Seeing myself under the hand that was.
In line with a time and place where the love
I knew showed me what was to be
And I lamented and wept for what was
But she showed me, and I am unsettled
Out of sorts with the intersected alternate life
Where I experienced synchrony with a life that soon vanished like a fading sweet sentimental fragrance.
The memory of her face still resonates, I hope to see her again as I by faith expect we were meant to be.
I wonder if this is a future or if this is a cruel glimpse of what was lost.
The rebel anthems of Generation X framed the chorus that carried on the counter culture opposition to authority and encouraged a stance for the denouncement of education, family, and order.
The resistance, the disillusionment, and the hypocrisy of the moral systems and the realities of growing up without righteous guidance.
Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 by Pink Floyd (1979)
We’re Not Going to Take It by Twisted Sister (1984)
Fight For Your Right (1986) by Beastie Boys
I’ve left the season of plates and started the season of bowls.
Everything I eat is done from a bowl, what I take up and what I measure out is done in a bowl.
Steamed vegetables are taken up in a bowl and divided out into a bowl.
The bowl is a perfect vessel for consuming snacks and carrying your dinner,
Towering edges to keep food in and less chance of bits spilling out.
I was in the season of plates, where I grab a salad plate or a bistro plate or a full dinner plate.
I would use them as a cutting board or just used different ones for parceling out ingredients.
For as long as I can remember I was in the season of scrambled eggs.
This was the only type of prepared egg I made.
Scrambled and loose or in my preferred omelet form.
Sure there were bursts of other states but they were coups.
But now I am in the fried and steamed season of the egg.
Simply, I break, set, and cover until it is done.
Flat, white and silky with the yellow core,
They slide into my bowl
ready to eat.