Thursday, December 25, 2014
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
I believe in friendship, in camaraderie. I believe in loyalty. I believe we can only face a single direction in a given moment, and that it’s up to us to look out for each other. It’s up to us to protect one another from the threats that attack from directions we can’t see. Once upon a time, my #1 sidekick, my first choice in who I would share my foxhole with, fell prey to drugs. The rumors had been flying for months, every time one hit my ears was like the deafening crack of enemy fire. Under shelter of our friendship, I hid from the attacks, sticking my neck out from the barricade every now and again to hurl my rebuttals. I fought long and hard, constantly on the defensive, but it seemed like we were surrounded on all sides.
Eventually the shelter began to give way, and under constant bombarding the stronghold of our union began to crack. I turned to my counterpart, frantic and desperate, hoping he had back-up ammunition to return fire with because I had long since run out. But when I finally faced him, I didn’t see what I was expecting. He wasn’t on the other side of our base, at the ready. He wasn’t waging the same war I was. He had curled up on the floor, numb to the constant attack on the shelter I had given my heart and my reputation to protect. What happened next shames me to this very day.
For all my conviction on the subject of loyalty, for all the strength I believed myself to possess concerning the matter, I abandoned him too. Once I realized I was the only one of us fighting, I turned and left, waving my white flag of surrender. I like to think that I was shell shocked, that I had fought to the point of exhaustion and that my decisions were no longer my own. The fact is, I was weak.
Once the truth came out, which it inevitably does, I dropped those convictions. I like to think it was in an effort to distance myself from unsavory behavior and potential downfall, but the reality is I turned traitor because I felt betrayed. My weakness was my vulnerability, and I let my broken heart overshadow the fact that my friend’s life was in danger; he was in need.
For a time, I joined the other side, firing off insults and throwing grenades built of malice and spite. But after awhile, I realized he wasn’t defending himself, he never fought back. The mortally wounded, as it happens, often don’t.
Not long after that, I came to my senses and found myself again. I went back and looked for him. I dragged him out of that ditch and nursed him back to health. With the civil war over and our little social web quiet on all fronts, we let bygones be bygones. In every war, there are casualties, and there are friendships that never recovered from the battles that shook us all. But for the most part, we, most of us, forgave each other our trespasses. It took much longer for me to forgive myself. I can’t say with certainly that I ever really did.
Our friendship resumed. It picked up where we left off, and never again have I doubted in his loyalty, and thankfully, nor he in mine. We’re better friends now; we’re better people for living through the fallout of that year, but I haven’t forgotten when I let my weakness leave a fallen soldier behind. I’m sure I never will.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Saturday, January 11, 2014
she's my blood, my air.
...haunted or not, ghost or not, the fact is she's still fucking gone.
Friday, January 10, 2014
In my waking life, I swear to never indulge that kind of obsession again, to never fall prey to temptation and addiction and hallucination again. I won't do it, I won't bear the pain, or the loss.
But I do bear it, the worst of it, over and over.
I relive her death every night.
Sleep or no sleep, moon or no moon, I lower a cheap pine box into the ground, with numbers on it instead of a name. I throw a handful of dirt and rose petals on top. I say my goodbyes, quietly tearful some nights, hysterical and violent on others. I say goodbyes that I never got to tell her, and things I didn't think of until she was already gone. some nights they're hardly goodbyes at all, just accusations and insults born of confusion and hurt and lonely, lonely, lonely... I trudge off, turning my back on the hole that my heart lives in now.
And then I wake up and the mourning is fresh. The grief is as raw as it ever was. Imogene, my Imogene, is a memory. A tri-fold pamphlet with an outdated picture and a poem I didn't write.
She's as gone as she ever was.
...which is to say, she isn't gone. At all. Not really.
Now she's the wind that turns my hair unruly. She's the rain that runs slick down my up-turned face, dragging ribbons of mascara with her. She's the ache in my stomach.
She's a ghost, silent and cold, descending from her watchful spot on the ceiling in a haze of TV static. On nights I can't sleep, she settles on my skin like mist so she can weep into my pores while I lay there and stew. So she can gather in the corners of my eyes, pool in the hollows of my collarbone. So she can work her oppressive chill into my sheets and pillows, grind into my mattress with every fretful toss and regretful turn. On nights I can sleep, she lays next to me like a thick blanket of fog, watching my eyes twitch under their lids as I dream of her funeral again and again.
Why do you keep burying me? she asks. I'm right here, she insists. She walks next to me at the supermarket, sits by my side at dinner, politely requesting attention in her quiet, unassuming way.
I smile, swallow, laugh.
I'm the only one that sees her.
When she loops her icy arms around me in the middle of a crowded room, I stiffen and excuse myself to collect my bearings. It's difficult to hold a conversation with an honest-to-goodness person when the dead half of your soul is draped around you, nipping at your throat, begging for kisses.
I'm late for a funeral.