Posts Tagged ‘alone’

Fondly: Table for one.

September 18, 2014

fndlygrphc

In my reckless youth, living up to the cliche by searching the vast map of Europe for myself, I never had a problem being alone, free to witness or interact as I pleased.

More to wit, I once relished such exercises.

I could fall in love with a stranger and live out my life without saying a word or lifting a finger. I could fall into the shadows and watch stories unfold, or develop my own.

Somewhere along the line that stopped. With little warning and even less fanfare, going out with others became a chore, unthinkable alone.

The outside world didn’t change, but sadly, I had.

But then, lets be clear about something; having worked so diligently at honing my skill and rank of functioning alcoholic, sitting alone at a dark bar, staring into my old fashioned, was an entirely different exercise.

I could drink alone like a professional. What I could not do is sit down at a table for one and dine alone.

When I sat at a bar I was never alone. I wasn’t in a bar, I was in my drink—in my mind. I was at home.

Dining alone, however was an altogether different thing.

Perhaps it harkened back those lonely moments, sitting at a high school locker, a brown paper bag and book my only lunchtime companions. Such invisible spotlights can be rather blinding.

Perhaps I didn’t like the reminder that I was, indeed, alone. The reminder that the only better half I possessed was merely the left or right side of myself.

Or perhaps I simply didn’t like eating alone.

“How many will be dining tonight?”
“One.”

This is Independence Day.

July 7, 2013

rs

 

The parade still passes by.

Families still walk past.

Folding chairs, little American flags, open containers.

The sidewalk bleeds into the street, a pedestrian anarchy.

Dogs announce their arrival and departure, as they pass.

Alone on the steps, drinking, smoking, longing.

The fireworks will happen, if I look up.

This is Independence day.

Fondly: Deep Down

April 13, 2013

fndlygrphc

I was sitting on the porch. I’d been back there pretty much since getting home, save for a moment to eat and empty the dishwasher. The weather was so beautiful…so perfect…The sun was starting to set, and the cicadas were singing loudly—calling out and answering to another group off in the distant elsewhere. I wondered what they were saying.

Probably good-bye to the summer.

Earlier, I got lost staring at the sky, still warm and blue, as the clouds rolled by at a low, lulling pace, shifting as they went. I hadn’t really done that since I was a child, sitting in the grass under a tree in the park; the park I played baseball and soccer in, flew kites with my father and sister—the park I would one day smoke cigarettes and have sex in. I just sat and stared at the clouds, finding the shapes and silhouettes of dragons, a drowning man, a bear and a lonely hand reaching out towards the sun.

My dog was keeping himself entertained behind me, occasionally getting distracted by a twig, or the sound of another dog off in the distance, calling out to anyone who would listen. We played fetch for a good long while,  him panting and wagging his tail and smiling. It had been a nearly perfect evening.

All that was missing was her.

 
Deep down, I knew it wouldn’t work. She wasn’t going anywhere, and neither was I. But when I tried to imagine life without her, it left me feeling empty. I felt a yearning. I felt what I had always hoped I would feel for my soon-to-be ex wife, but somehow never did.

It was nothing I was used to, but perhaps, something I had always wanted—needed.

I wanted a spoon. I wanted to feel like I wasn’t going it alone. I wanted to have someone’s back, who had mine. I wanted to cook together, eat together, shop together. I wanted to wake up to her.

Not to someone. Her. Every morning.

I wanted to know I was all she needed. I wanted to be that.

But deep down, I knew better.

mtchmid

Fondly: Shift, settle, creak, pop and moan…

April 6, 2013

fndlygrphc

There was no avoiding it. I had to do it sooner or later.

Besides, it was a full day and I was tired.

I had slept alone plenty in my life, but I had never slept alone in my own place.

 

I had never had my own place period.

 

Laying down in what was to be my bedroom going forward felt like some sort of metaphorical final nail in the coffin housing my former self. My former life, now a strange montage of memory left waiting to become fond.

I was scared.

I missed my dog.

This was it. Here I was. Unfamiliar walls that would become common, just as my new life would become merely my life.

I crawled into bed and tried not to hear the strange creaks and ominous noises emanate from the darkened bungalow just outside my open door. These were all new phantom noises I could not yet explain. I knew every shift, settle, creak, pop and moan that came from the home I left. Time gave me that.

A bright beam of light from an alley street lamp cut through my back window, hitting my face. I could see the light, even with my eyes closed.

I rolled over and wondered if she was sleeping in the middle of the bed yet. I wasn’t. I didn’t know how.

The light was still attacking me, even with my back turned.

I wondered what side of the bed she slept on, or if it would ever even matter.

It didn’t matter where or how anybody else slept. This was my room, my bed, my home. I had to learn how to sleep for myself.

“Mental note,” I thought, “Buy some curtains.”

newestrings

Fondly: Grabbing Smoke.

September 21, 2010

fndlygrphc

I had never lived alone. For years, I was quite certain it would rest amongst my largest regrets in life. I had resigned myself to this fact. I never fully accepted it, but I was resigned, nonetheless. At night, in those waning moments before slumber I would imagine it. I would decorate and redecorate. Sometimes, the walls were exposed brick, other times, floor to ceiling windows. I dreamed of sunken living rooms, and an Eames lounge chair and ottoman. In all that time, however, I never thought about what it would actually be like. Aside from artwork and furniture I would never own, I hadn’t ever really imagined how being alone would feel. How could I, with nothing to base it upon, save for a few solitary Friday nights in high school, and those rare, temporary weekends when business called my wife away?

That wasn’t being alone; it was far too fleeting of a notion to wrap my mind around—like trying to grab onto smoke.

Hell. Even now, I still couldn’t figure it out completely.

I spent the first month in complete silence, my voice trapped within the confines of my mind. I did not want to start talking to myself…at least not this soon. I tried to fill my hours with reading, but I just couldn’t settle down and focus. The words always seemed to vibrate right off the page. I retained nothing; as if I were reading a foreign language I had never taken the time to learn.

Writing was equally futile. I just couldn’t express myself the way I used to—Ie didn’t know how I felt most of the time, other than alone.

So I sat. Quietly. I sat and did my best to feel nothing at all.

Fondly: Kitchen aid.

September 18, 2010

fndlygrphc

I had been spending a lot of time in my kitchen.

My living room, a mere 20 feet away, was a fine room to wile away the hours; it had a stylish and inviting leather couch, a soft area rug and even a TV. I wasn’t avoiding the room.

My dining room had a nice table, a comfortable chair and old, original artwork from an era I could just barely recall.  But aside from dinner, the room served only as a passageway to the kitchen.

My office was quaint but inviting, masculine but tasteful. It had a desk, a shelf full of random oddities and conversation pieces; an authentic wrestling mask from Mexico sat next to a Candy Land board game left over from the previous tenant… Books littered every corner, though I kept my favorites in the living room. The walls were a mix of remnants from my art school days and framed pictures of dogs playing poker—All formerly relegated to the attic.

I never worked in there. I barely remembered the room existed most days.

Somehow, I always ended up in the kitchen.

I looked out the window into my backyard, the unmowed lawn hiding in the shadows of the old oak tree next door. I left the kitchen door open to let in a breeze. It was that perfect time between seasons where the weather didn’t know whom to serve.

I lived in the type of place that was full of those “One day you’ll look back and laugh” features. Tiny imperfections littered my quaint little house. All houses have them. But minor annoyances that would have previously sent me to the mad house now posed a challenge and promised warm recollection down the road—providing the road was long enough to water down the context.

My little bungalow was not unlike my life, in certain respects; it was nice enough, but certainly had plenty of flaws—nothing major, just a lot of little imperfections and minor annoyances that ultimately build some sort of character, for better or worse.

My bathroom, however, was another story entirely. It would take an awful lot of time and an entire ocean to water that one down.

The toilet was built for a giant; my feet dangling, toes just barely able to reach the floor when seated, and the cramped quarters left no space to hang a roll of toilet paper.

But it was the shower itself that truly tested me, day in, day out.

That first morning when the faucet handle broke off in my hand, I thought to himself, “One day I’ll look back on this part of my life and laugh.”

The engineering conundrum that kept my tub regrettably lacking in a shower rod reinforced that sentiment on a daily basis as I consistently flooded the bathroom floor. When my bath tub mysteriously closed its own drain one morning, I scratched my head, thought it odd; then attempted to open it back up, only to find yet another unattached handle in my quickly pruning hand as dirty water slowly began to rise up to my ankles.

The tub itself was long and narrow, and I had to stand in it sideways, as if I were on a surfboard; I had to wash himself one side at a time.

Water pressure, it seemed was a whim of some evil spirit that possessed my home’s pipes, waiting until just the right moment of maximum lather to recede to little more than a lazy drip.

Currently, my shower refused to fully relent, spitting out a small, yet steady trickle no matter how tightly I twisted the faucet closed.

I was going to have to call the landlord for this one.

I let out a little sigh, possibly a curse, then smashed an ant sprinting across the kitchen counter with my thumb.

The ants moved in about a week after me.

Aside from the uninvited guests in search of a picnic, it wasn’t a bad kitchen, really. There was plenty of counter space to perch upon as I drank and smoked and pondered yard work.

It had a nice little alcove for my bar, and was one of the largest rooms in the house. There was a severe lack of power outlets, making a coffee maker little more than a wet dream, but that was part of the charm—at least, one day it might be.

I did the most thinking in the kitchen. Lonely nights spent leaning against the counter, staring at my reflection in the darkened window often brought me the most perspective. It felt less like looking in a mirror, more a glimpse into something deeper—an internal truth beyond the normal trappings of self-denial.

I rarely did any actual cooking in the kitchen, other than schemes and half-baked ideas. Yet I was almost always sitting on the counter, as if I were waiting for something to come out of the oven.

The oven hadn’t worked in months.

Hour upon hour was spent chain-smoking—watching the smoke float effortlessly up and away, stretching like taffy until it dissipated into nothing before my eyes. Sometimes I wished I were the smoke. Other times, I wished the world were.

None of these imperfections bothered me too deeply, though. They were just quirks, small reminders that nothing in life is perfect. Not bathtubs or broken ovens, neither unwelcome guests nor forgotten corridors.

“One of these days,” I thought, “I’ll look back and laugh.”

Fondly: Bedtime

June 2, 2010

fndlygrphc

I sat quietly in darkened room, watching the occasional headlights cut through the blinds, racing across the wall. Beneath the crack of the door, I saw the lights go out, one at a time, my heart sinking with each new patch of infringing darkness. I would soon be the only one left—no one to watch over me. As the last shard of light extinguished and the paternal thud and click of a door closed tight, I began to cry.

I was alone; no one to hold me, no one to protect me from the shadows.

Someday I’d crave that feeling, but at that moment, five-year-old me simply cried.