The Night Run

Sneakers on gravel, the weight of the day unravels as the familiar background circles and curtails.  I could run from my monsters for miles.  But instead I run with them, and they whisper in my ears.  And I pay careful attention, because every fault they mention is the next step.  The next step.  Closer to better but better is just a point off in the distance, the path of most resistance like running through a thousand rubber bands.  I’m tired of being the reason you cry yourself to sleep at night.  I’m tired of exhausting all my passion on the explosion, rather than the slow- mellow – burn of two lovers sitting fireside.  I’m tired of being an overturned table and a forked tongue, when all I wanted… all I wanted was to love and be loved.  I hope that my self-loathing means I’m growing into some mettle I can stand.  But for now– I run.



The Long Drive

You walk in beauty and in grace.  You give me the best sleep I’ve had in twenty-three days.  And I know I’m undeserving of this mercy.  Stepping careful’ not to get tangled in what has been or what could be.  With the foam of the ocean, and the chill of the night breeze, you curl up next to me.  With our limbs intertwined, you give me the best sleep.  Your dashboard’ with the tiny flashing lights; I’m careful not to count the miles.  How is it possible to feel hope and regret at the exact same time?  How could I forget how soft your face feels against mine?  This is a perfect moment, that’s slipping from us swiftly.   Come morning, when the rocks and fissures are revealed, who will we be?  This is a perfect moment.

Bump it with:

Letters to my future Wife: Through the view-finder

In this moment, we are strangers.  You, are just an idea in my head: blurry and out of focus, far off and in the distance.  And I would run without sleep or rest’ from here until the moment our lives meet and intersect– if I could see you or if it meant’ I could be with you any quicker.  

But in this moment, we are strangers.  Your name has never graced my lips, we have yet to share our first kiss.  I’ve yet to brush the hair from your eyes, I’ve yet to make you breakfast in bed.  Ahead of us, are nights where we fall asleep next to each other like two Twix in a wrapper, and I wake entangled and enthralled with your face inches from mine.  Ahead of us, are a thousand little talks, where I’m smitten by your clever words and turn of phrase.    Ahead of us are passionate nights, and sun soaked days.   Ahead of us, are a million four-legged-steps, hand in hand as we traverse sandy beaches, and shopping malls, salsa two-step while I step on you with my two left’  “oops sorry” and slow-dance through weddings, and parties, and banquet halls.  Ahead of us is our first home purchase, and me rubbing your swollen stomach every day before the birth of our first kid.

Ahead of us are trials and tribulations, like when I compare you to your mother, though you know I love her and I say things without thinking sometimes.  Because you know that this mouth of mine runs afoul with the taste of foot’ every now and again, but I make up for it’ in the long view– I’m good for you, for every moment when you needed me I was there, with the right words at the right time, and the right arms and the right life — and before the lights go out I’m forgiven and we’re living in linen and in love.

But in this moment, we are strangers.  And I can’t wait to meet you.  But it seems I’m going to have to.

Or maybe, just maybe… I already have.

A Chance Encounter

“Do you know where the longs is?”  She asked me.  Her eyes peering over large sunglasses, her breasts, peeking over her close cropped top, an unlit cigarette in her hand.

I was dressed in my dress shirt and tie having just slung some resumes and done some interviews; she was mistaking me for somebody worthwhile.

“It’s right this way” I said with a smile.  “In fact I can walk you there.”  As we walked, we spoke.  Her name was “Joanne” on vacation from the mainland her luggage in tow.  This was her last night in, but she the hotel had under-booked her reservation so she was a day short.  She stopped right outside of the doors of the store, “do you mind if I smoke?”  I didn’t so she did, and I waited.  And she laughed at the jokes that I made, and we were good company so I exclaimed:

“Would you like to get a drink, somewhere?  …with me?”

“Sure.  The things I need, I don’t really.”  She was clever.  And over a pitcher of beer at a tiki-tourist-bar I became all the more enamored.  We spoke about politics and art, and hikes and beaches, we talked about eating animals, and the potential flavors endangered species.  And the more we spoke the more, I smiled and the more she twirled her hair.  One pitcher became two, and then food.  As the sun was setting across the water, and the masts and sails like a thousand little toothpicks sticking out of the glowing sea.  With an equal red glow on her cheeks she whispered, “You might just be the best thing so far about Hawaii.”  To which I replied, “Volcanoes.”  The red was creeping up both our faces and we leaned in closer with each of our exchanges until our stools were practically intertwined.

“So that hotel?” I asked.
“If you don’t mind, if I could get a ride.”   And we drove.  And in the morning I awoke to unfamiliar paintings, and unfamiliar settings and  a tangle of her.  Grateful she had asked me that one question, that changed absolutely everything.

– – – –

“Do you know where the longs is?”  She asked me.  Her eyes peering over large sunglasses, her breasts, peeking over her close cropped top, an unlit cigarette in her hand.

“That Way.  I pointed.”  And she walked away, stopping once for a long moment to look back at me.  And by the time I realized the opportunity I missed, she was already gone.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

She was always ready with the needle and thread for when I  got caught on that same barb-wired fence.  The same roadblock that I absolutely needed to mount, but instead of triumphing– it ripped my insides out.  And she took the time with gentle hands to undo my vestigial heart from the steel wired teeth.  Gently easing my bleeding, pulsing organs back inside of me.  And with measured loving strokes she tenderly resewed all the damage I had done.  She wrapped me in her arms and laid with me on the couch.

Once I was better– I left her.  In search of that roadblock again.  Until the next time when she found me tattered and dripping, impaled by my own pride and ignorance.  With the same patience and love, she pulled me from the steel brambles and carried me to her bed.  Stitch by stitch.  Inch by inch.  She held my hand and’ nursed me back to health.  

Once I was better– I left her.  To climb the wall I could not climb.  To fall the fall I was destined.  When next she found me she looked at me sadly.  “I’ve sold my needles.  I’ve packed up my thread.”   But she sat with me and cradled my head. “This time, you face your monsters alone.”

And she was gone.

Laments of a Prisoner

He asked, ‘can you keep the door open just a crack, so when my monsters consume me I know I can get back, so when I’m at my worst so long as I see that tiny wedge of light– I’ll know there’s hope.’  But She bolted the doors, put planks on the windows, and snuffed out every candle.  She called the guards, who chained him up and shot his horse.  Come morning when he limped back to her door, she fled when she saw him,  threatening him with the garrison again.

He found himself in stocks, without any escape.  He waited desperately for her, but she never came.  So he lived off of the passing scraps of strangers and well wishers, eating where he could.  Waiting.  Surviving.  At last she returned with scorn in her eye.  Condemning the prisoner, for eating to get by.  “You should’ve waited”, she said.  I might’ve been baking bread in the house I boarded up, in the oven you couldn’t see, in the place I plucked from your reach.  You should’ve waited.  

The Fire and the Darkness

There were a million friendships just waiting for me, had I only made the time for them.  Instead, I hurried home every night, to be tender tinder in her furnace; in love and on fire every waking minute intertwined with her life.  I never learned the stories of my peers, never sat under the wise words of old mentors, or rekindled with old friends.  Instead, my life was built around one – big – flame.  And when that fire burnt out many small candles were lit to take her place.

And I– know she’s on fire somewhere out there.  And someone is running  fingers through her tender tendriled flames.  And I am in this cave of nothing… trying to remember what it was to see again.  And in the darkness I can’t remember the shape of my face, the cleft of my chin, finding only deep pockets for my eye sockets where my eyes used to be.  

And I–  press on through darkness.  I realize am not blind, just more sensitive to the light.  More aware of its impermanence, how thinking too hard or breathing heavy might’ extinguish everything that’s left in me.   I press on through the darkness.  Because there is no where left to go.  I press on through the darkness.  Because that is all she left for me to do.

Bump it with:

Letters to my future Wife: The Man I Will Be

I started writing this on a crumpled napkin in my car, sitting in the parking lot after work:

I realized the failings of this past relationship were my fault.  I was not strong enough to ask for what I needed, and to leave when she could not provide it.  So we fought, hungry and angry making demands only to be met with disappointment.  We loved each other so much, but were too blind to see how bad we were together.

I deserve someone who doesn’t cheat on me.  I deserve someone who is proud to have me as their boyfriend.  I deserve someone who will not ignore me when I am in need. I deserve someone who will not throw me away so casually: someone whose love outweighs her anger.  I deserve someone that carries in their heart, Me at my best, and forgives the me at my worst.  I deserve love.  Real love.

And in return, I promise you, whoever you are:

I will be the kind of man you want your father to meet, and the kind of man you want your sons to grow up to be.  I will be the kind of man who provides for his family not just by working, but by cooking, and by being an equal partner in the household.   I will be a man strong enough to protect you, but gentle enough to hold you.  I will be a man who reads to our children every night, a man who goes to every play, every game, every recital, and takes off from work to chaperone field trips.  I will be the type of man who treats your parents as if they were my own.  I will be a man who admits to my mistakes, and apologizes when I know I’m wrong.  I will put your feelings before mine, because I know you’re doing the same for me.  I will tell you everything, my fears, my worst mistakes, so you may know me, and so you may love me entirely.

I am not that man yet.  Not even remotely close.  But when I get there… just you wait.  I will earn the rest of your life, and you—the rest of mine.

The Orange Dress: A Moment of Clarity

In a moment of clarity, I know these will be few and far between.  I know the struggle that lays in front of me, the jealousy the monsters, the doubt the rage.  And I know what will become of me if I don’t beat this.  I’ve tasted the drowning waters, the wretched sea of loneliness and a life barren and without you.

So in my moment of clarity– I release you.  I release you from the promise of the big house, with a big yard, with big dogs.  I release you from the dream of reading to our children together.  I release you from the memory of thousands of home cooked meals, conversations over wine, and movies together curled up on your bed.  I release you from your father walking you down the aisle to a sea of smiling faces, and me standing there waiting for you at the end, which would have truly just been the beginning of everything for us.  I release you from the promise of a life together, of growing old together and ultimately dying together.  I release you from everything we spoke of, everything we dreamed of and everything I ever hoped us to be.  I release you from every time you told me you loved me, and that I was “the one”, and how those words carried me forward for so long.

This was our dream.  Now it is just my dream.  And it is time to fold it up and put it away for someone else to one day have.  I release you from all of this.  Goodbye love.

The Orange Dress Part V: The End of the War

No one writes stories about peace time.  No one comments about the lull of happiness, the daily bliss of being together with someone.  The trivial things, cooking a meal together, watching a movie, falling asleep next to each other.  It isn’t until it’s snatched away that we feel the gaping hole it leaves.

The relationship was a constant struggle of “if you could be a little less you” and “If I could be a little less me“, like two obtusely misshapen pieces of luggage trying to fit into a specifically finite amount of space.  With craned necks and tucked knees we tried so desperately to fit each other.  But like luggage we are made out of soft spots and hard surfaces.  Some things we can bend and adjust, but other things, our core, our fundamentals, our essence, will simply crack under the strain of change.

I realized she would never be caring and compassionate like all the women who filled my life growing up. I would never be cool and stalwart, able to take weather her fury without retaliation.  I would always be a clingy heart with a short fuse and a hair trigger.  She would always be a passionate megaphone attached to a fist.  These are things we cannot fix, things that should not be fixed, because that would change the very core of who we are.

Try as I might, love alone could not brute force fix us.  Relationships are more than just about love. It’s about comparability and timing, and people told me that repeatedly but I could never understand that until now.