I remember how I survived those dark times. It wasn't luck, and it wasn't strength - it was calculated insanity.
This is from a Saturday night in September, 2005, in a blog that I kept anonymous:
You always hated sitting at the bar.I wrote that on what was a typical night for me, back then. Breaths and heartbeats had become voluntary, and I used my imagination to invent reasons to keep doing them both. I did that night after night after night after night. I did what I needed to do, to keep living. To keep waiting.
But you would sit there, if there were no other seat available.
You would sit there, if I was already there.
Tonight, I sat at the bar. Not because there were no other seats available, but because at the bar, you're not expected to join in any conversations. You're not under any pressure. You can just sit, and drink, and everyone else in the place can enjoy their Saturday without your input.
I wasn't in the mood for company tonight. I wasn't in the mood for anything, really. I just wanted to have a couple of beers. Relax a little. So I sat at the bar to ensure myself some privacy.
You know the layout of the place. As well as anybody, you know how the room is set up. If you're at the bar, your back is to the room. Your back may as well be to the rest of the world. All sorts of things can happen behind you and you'd never even know it.
In fact, if you don't bother to look beside you, you won't even know what's going on at the bar.
It's just you and your beer. And your thoughts.
Very rarely, I find myself in a decent mood. Not good, not bad, just decent.
I cherish these times, and I cherished tonight.
For tonight, with my back to the world, with my attention focused on the beer and the ashtray in front of me, I could let my imagination out to play for a while.
I imagined that you were sitting next to me. Just like the old days.
I could almost feel the heat from your body. Hear your voice. Feel your fingers as they touched my arm to emphasize a point.
I miss you so much.
I miss what we had. Nothing more. How could I miss the other stuff? How could I miss what never happened? People just don't understand. I loved you first as a friend. That's what I miss. If I'm sad, it's because of what I lost, not because of what I never had.
The person I was back then, the person who wrote that tortured drivel - I'm still that person. But tonight, as with so many other recent nights, I didn't need my imagination. Instead, I could simply turn my head a little bit to one side, and open my eyes, and let reality overwhelm me with its intensity. Let beauty carry me far away from the gray place that has been my home for so long. Let the simple sound of laughter vibrate my bones into putty.
It's not that I don't want to write about the joy that I sometimes feel, it's that I can't. It's simply not possible. Sufficient words do not exist.