I didn’t get immediately out of bed. I stayed there for a short while, listening to the rain. Lingering. Between worlds. Looking as the blue hum of hue, cased in right angles, snuck out from behind the blinds.
Listening to the rain, I thought of romance.
Which is something I am only currently capable of in hindsight. There is no present. No other soul to engage. In such a way. And I have stopped trying to predict the future. My success rate in that area of soothsaying is poor, at best.
Still, I thought of eyes that once knew mine before my feet hit the cold and bare bedroom floor. And the moments that match up with each set of eyes. Blues and greens and browns. Tears and smiles. Questions. Answers. Uncertainty, fear, and hope. There are even glimpses when I can hear the words echo through time. From their voices. And mine. In dark rooms and setting light. On train cars and front porches and other shores.
All memories. And all removed by quite some time.
I really gotta stop looking through that damn phone first thing in the morning. Does little good to stir up good. Does wonders in bringing up thoughts I’d be better off without.
But like Will Smith once said to Tommy Lee Jones, ‘it is better to have loved and lost, then never loved at all’.
It’s not sadness, though. That is not what hovers ‘round me. Been more at peace as of late than I’ve been in years. But toxic nostalgia doesn’t do much for the man trying to look forward. And seeing the current reign of wedding rings, long term flings and the freedom of late-night metropolitan outings is not exactly conducive to a healthy mental state. It’s not as though I can forget. Not the big stuff. I don’t play lightly on heart strings. Beethoven, not Mozart. Rock and roll, etc.
But anyway, I got up. No reason to stay in bed alone all day. Not when there’s things to do. Work to be done.
Yesterday featured good conversation. Something I am either lucky or skilled enough to have keep occurring in my life.
One of the senior guys on my job, and myself. I suppose it was more listening on my side. But folks forget that is an integral part of good dialogue. Plus, its an old, but good habit I have. To listen more than speak when the senior man says something. Might just gather yourself some wisdom.
But he spoke of the universe and destiny and purpose. And in all the broad senses, we found agreement.
It’s a game, he says. Life. Existence. It’s a game to be played and is only as important as we make it. Our perception molds its shape. Because we’re all dust eventually. And money and influence and charm cannot seem to change the blip that much of our existence is. We hardly even statistically rate as a phenomenon in the universe. Haven’t been around for very long and have hardly been able to leave this molten rock from which we were formed.
So, cosmically, and for the most part, globally- we don’t matter.
Hell, I don’t even think many of those aforementioned romances think much of me. Not much hope to change the world if you cannot change someone’s mind.
But we humans love the talk of second comings (implying there was ever a first, of course). We love prophecy and destiny and fate. We love the idea that things are meant to be. That a very specifically intended purpose has brought us here with each pre-prescribed step and each one already set in the future.
Even I do, despite the rational portions of my mind being pretty sure that existence isn’t much more than slightly structured chaos.
I once thought very highly of myself. Along the lines of destined for greatness. Which may have been a façade that not even I could detect. As time passed, eventually opposite reigned supreme. At times, disgust was all I could feel towards my own being. Ashamed and upset with who I was.
Now, lots of folks don’t like to hear things like that. They say ‘confidence’ or such. They say you must love thyself and all. That each is special and must feel special all the time.
I suspect many of them fear feeling such a way concerning themselves, so they cannot allow those around, both vague and intimate, to feel such ways. They fear the collapse of their own diluted esteem. And that to witness yours would cause their own to fall almost immediately.
And, some people just love you and don’t want you to feel less about yourself than they do. But those folks never sound preachy. They usually, don’t make much in sounds at all. Those sorts of folks tend to be better listeners.
Then some of those ‘love thyself in perpetuity’ humans are just plain dumb. To feel that everything is always cool, all the time, no matter what… you kind of have to have an insubstantial intellect. Apologies, but a lack of cognitive ability is the only thing that convinces me a person truly believes all of life, all the time, is peachy and grand. Only an idiot would enjoy such mundane happiness.
And good for them. The idiots. There are times where I can truly feel jealous.
But now, I’m just working towards ‘I am’.
Not good. Not bad. Just a bit of the old fashioned ‘is’.
What once led to the feelings of grand self-esteem, wasn’t much more than participating in the ‘what is’ of life. Doing what I felt desire to chase. Picking up skills and talents that I wanted, and honing those which I was already having.
That and the impervious to reason joy of being a high energy young man.
Yet, the inverse moments and moods that were to follow, well, those were just that. Felt who I was fading away. Participating in behaviors which inspire bad feeling, if anything at all. Watching my own foolish hope at some preordained destiny begin to fall out from the fantasy and shatter on the ground.
Which, looking back, is one of those things that was better for the ragged, old self than I had long been able to see. And harder still, to grant credit.
I know some of them still think of me. A few even tell me so. And there are those that likely think of me that I shamefully don’t think of much at all. I have never claimed to be anything more than a charmingly flawed being. An idiot in my own right.
And fortune has shown in my life often enough. The romantics included, even if forever only in past tense.
So many young, heterosexual young men approach such matters of the heart and body statistically. A condition, I suspect, of spending far too much time watching professional athletics and not enough time reading poetry.
But I don’t think I would ever want encounters that don’t even retain in my memory. And that’s where fortune smiles upon me. I can recall almost all. Some people and moments, as clear as day. All senses firing to recreate. Tastes and tones and aroma.
And I remember the moments that shattered me. Or at least, that was how it was seen at the time. The granite bench at four AM. The sidewalk before a long since closed local. A late summer afternoon. A hole in the wall dorm, the next day. And lonely streetlights, knowing someone is crying in your wake.
Those echoes last forever, even if nothing else about it did.