Monday, July 23, 2007
posted by dave at 1:13 AM in category notable, ramblings

You know what's annoying?

I know who she is now. I say it all the time. I'll mention her name, and whoever I'm talking to will ask, "Who's that again? Did I meet her?"

"She's the one," I'll say.

I don't hesitate at all. There's no doubt in my mind, not now. But back when it mattered, back when it might have made a difference, doubt tainted every thought and every action and every word in my life. And now, I can't find it anywhere. It's gone, like it never existed at all.

There's nothing I could have done differently. I know it. She knows it. I did what I had to do, said what I had to say, felt what I had to feel. And so did she.

We're not even friends anymore. Not really. We're just ghosts that haunt each other from time to time.

And so now I know, without a doubt, who she is, and it's too late. Sometimes I think it was too late before it even began.

I found the one.

Now, I have to find another one.

Hope that there's another one.

And hope that doubt doesn't come back.

Friday, December 8, 2006
posted by dave at 1:18 AM in category notable, ramblings

I remember the Spring.

What started as screams are now nothing but whispers, and even those soft voices are fading fast. One by one the demons inside me are going silent. They do not leave - where would they go? Instead, they sleep. They sleep and they dream of sweet things.
And now, they stir.

They stretch their limbs and they yawn. Like a pile of kittens, they untangle themselves from each other, and they stand on wobbly legs, and they open their eyes.

"Something is happening," they whisper among themselves.

I can hear them.

Monday, November 13, 2006
posted by dave at 11:58 PM in category notable, ramblings

The title of this entry, I didn't make it up.

It was something said on the show Heroes tonight.

No, I'm not in the habit of getting my deepest thoughts from television. I just thought that it fit something that I'd been thinking about lately.

Because the thing about grief, as I see it anyway, the thing about grief is that once it hits you, it sticks with you. Grief swoops in and drives a stake through your heart. And then, it's just there. It's a part of you.

It's convenient.

And when you need something to liven up your otherwise dull and pointless life, grief is there. It doesn't need constant reassurance, the way happiness does. It doesn't need compromise and commitment and honesty, the way love does. It doesn't need to turn a blind eye to the selfishness of others, the way friendship does.

Grief is simply there with you, beside you, inside you. Fucking fused with you.

Two days ago I observed the anniversary of my father's death. Yesterday I visited his grave, and next to it, the grave of my mother.

What I realized, while I sat on the cold ground and stared at the even colder granite of their headstone, what I realized was that the grief was gone. The sadness was completely gone.

I was alone with myself, for the first time in a very very very long time.

I once wrote:

Sadness didn't sneak up on me, it exploded all over me. Something happened to make me this way. Is it unreasonable to want something equally dramatic to change things back?
Anyone who knows me at all, anyone who's been reading this drivel for any length of time, knows that those words were not written about the grief brought on my the death of any person. Nope, that particular entry was born of a more recent and avoidable tragedy.

One that I caused. Not the death of a person, but the death of a friendship. The erasure of a potential that my mind still cannot quite come to grips with.

And now, it never will.

Because that grief is gone as well. It was my anchor, holding me steady even as the waves of time smashed against me. It was my fortress, isolating me from the ravages of existence. It was my shield, protecting me from the monsters of living.

It was also my cage.

Yesterday I sat on the cold ground, talking to the ghosts of my parents. I talked to them about grief. And I realized that, everything I said, I said in the past tense. No matter how much I tried, I could not become sad. Not for losing them. Not for losing her. My grim companion had finally abandoned me.

So I stood up. I brushed the dirt and the leaves from my pants, and I came back home.


Some things seem too powerful to just fade away. Some things deserve an exit that's every bit as grand and dramatic as their entrance. Some things should stick with you forever.

I feel like I've been robbed.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006
posted by dave at 10:27 PM in category notable, ramblings

Sometimes, the thoughts come as if from nowhere. As if they just materialize out of thin air.

But that's not where they really come from.

I've written about that night, back when I couldn't control myself enough to stop my words from flowing out my fingers onto my screen and out into the world. I've written about what a good person I was. What a good friend I was. I've written about how I wondered what might have happened. If I'd been less of a good person, less of a good friend. If I'd been like most guys, on that night so long ago.

Sometimes, the thoughts come unbidden. And they refuse to go away.

Everything I did that night was wrong. Or, more accurately, everything I didn't do that night was wrong. When I pretended to be noble, told myself that I was doing the right thing, what I was really doing was cowering in fear. I patted myself on the back for being so selfless, but I'd done the most selfish thing imaginable.

Sometimes, the thoughts get stuck in my head. And I dream the thoughts, and I rip myself away from my dream, and the thoughts are still there.

Even when I wrote about that night, even then I was being selfish. Weighing the alternate possibilities and judging their merits based on would I be better off if, just if, I'd reacted differently.

I wrote about how I might know the answers to some of the questions that had been plaguing me. I wrote about how I could have traded certain and predictable pain for months and years of random anguish.

How could I have known? I asked myself. I was just doing what I thought was right.

Sometimes, the thoughts take me back to a place and a time. Sometimes, they leave me there to find my own way out. If I can.

I should have done something.

I should have brushed the hair from her eyes, and let my fingers linger just a bit longer than necessary against her face.

I should have looked into her eyes, and asked her in my softest voice if she was okay.

I should have pulled her to me, and told her how special and pretty she was.

I should have kissed her, and let her dictate what happened next.

I should have done all of those things. But not because I was a bad person. Not because I was a bad friend. And not even because it was what the world expected of me.

I should have done all those things because she expected it.

And I let her down.

She needed to feel special and pretty, on that night so long ago, and I let her down.

Sometimes, the thoughts abandon me in the dark, to force me to see the light.

That night was never about me. It was never about us.

It was about her.

And I didn't realize that until just a couple of nights ago.

It was about her.

And I let her down because I thought it was about something bigger and more important. On that night, in that place, the only thing that mattered was her.

And I let her down.

This is not another what if entry. This is not another entry about how I wish I'd done things differently. I've written enough of those to last a lifetime.

This is an apology.

I don't know if she will ever read this. I like to think that she will, someday when she's bored and maybe feeling a little nostalgic.

There are a lot of things that I've wanted to apologize to her for. Most of them will fade with the passing of time and the resumption of separate lives, but not this one. This one will remain. Because this one was, as far as I can tell, this one was the first time.

I let her down.

And I'm sorry.

Monday, June 19, 2006
posted by dave at 12:27 AM in category notable, ramblings

When I was a child, I imagined the life that I would lead.

I knew that I'd be married, and that I'd have a couple of kids. I knew that my wife would be beautiful. I'd be rich, somehow, though I never put much effort into imagining just how I'd find wealth. I mean, I was never going to be a doctor or a lawyer or even an astronaut. Those thoughts seemed irrelevant to me back then. What was relevant was that I'd be a father, and a husband. I'd live the American dream. I'd have a good life.

When I became an adult, I did my best to live the life that I wanted.

For a while, I clung fiercely to that hazy childhood dream. Despite the failed marriage, despite losing my mother, despite all of the other bullshit that comes with the coming of age. I fought the disintegration of my dream as hard as I could. But its loss was, in the end, inevitable. And when that dream was completely gone, I found a new dream. One of contentedness and, every now and then, quiet happiness.

And then that dream evaporated too.

Pressures from family and friends and work, they'd just keep massing at the walls of my safe little fortress. Finding and taking advantage of the smallest cracks in the walls that I'd so carefully erected around myself. Eventually, I found myself outnumbered and surrounded. My life became less about me and more about those around me. And I lost myself in the confusion, along with the focus I'd spent so much time perfecting.

One day, a couple of years ago, I found new focus. I found new meaning for my life. Welling up from a place inside myself that I'd forgotten even existed, I found a new dream.

That one didn't turn out so well, either. I might have mentioned it here from time to time.

When I reached middle age, I stopped thinking about living a life. I instead began to think about salvaging a life out of the time I had left.

The past stretches behind me, a testament to the failures and the missed opportunities and the broken dreams. The future looms ahead of me, but all I can see is the end. The finish line. I tell myself that there's still enough time to live the life that I want to live, but I first have to decide what I want that life to be. And then, once I decide, I have to act. I have to stop being afraid. But it's tough, because there might not be many dreams left. I need to be sure and pick a good one. A possible one.

When you're old, you give up on your dreams. You accept that what you have is all that you're ever going to have. You realize that the life that you wanted, no matter what it was, it had always been, and would always be, forever and fucking ever, out of reach. For it was a always moving target, always staying ahead of you as you raced helter-skelter through the years.

I haven't reach that point.

I haven't given up.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006
posted by dave at 11:47 PM in category notable, ramblings

On nights like this when the sea is calm and the breeze is cool and the sand is still warm under my feet, I can understand why I came back here.

I walk along the shore and I see what gifts the tide has brought for me. I keep my head down though, or straight ahead. I dare not look to my left, where the jungle's illusions of safety and refuge beckon. I must not look to my right, where the sea still shines with the last vestiges of sunset, and where the reflections of the night's first stars blink at me from each ripple in the water. Speaking to me in code that only I can understand. Calling to me.

Pieces of driftwood deposited at my feet in swirling foam. Some I ignore, and some I hurl back into the water, and some into the trees. Others, others I carry with me to make sure that the next receding tide doesn't reclaim them.

These are my most cherished possessions.

For I know that, on those days when the sea rages against me and sweeps my feet out from under me and pulls me away from my beach, I know that these treasures I've collected will keep me afloat until I can make my way back to shore.

For I know that, on those days when the beasts of the jungle emerge slobbering to attack and devour me, I know that these treasures I've collected can be wielded against them and can fend them off until they tire and move off to seek easier prey.

It's not such a bad life that I find myself living. I walk this beautiful beach and, though I am alone, I am safe.

I can understand why I came back here.

It's paradise, after all.

Friday, May 5, 2006
posted by dave at 12:59 PM in category notable, ramblings

It's not my fault that you're beautiful.

So beautiful that, when I catch myself looking, I have to tear my gaze away from you no matter how difficult a chore that seems to be.

Someday, I fear, I will delay for too long. And my eyes will become so spoiled by your face that they will from that moment on refuse to see anything else. They will betray me just as my heart once betrayed me. They will go on strike, and they will demand concessions that are not mine to give.

This is why I turn away.

Because I must.

Because, for now anyway, I can.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
posted by dave at 12:02 AM in category notable, ramblings

Right now, right this second, I'm actually in the mood to write something.

This is a good thing, I believe. At least for me it is.

I was really starting to wonder if this mood would ever strike me again.

Anyway, here goes.


I don't know who you are anymore.

I'm not sure that I ever really did.

Your face has become murky, your body nondescript. Your voice, your eyes, your hair - I can no longer imagine any of them with any consistency and not with any certainty. I don't know who you are.

For the longest time, longer than I care to remember with any accuracy except that just I happen to know the year and the month and the day and the hour and the minute when it began, I knew exactly who you were. What you looked like. How your voice sounded. How your eyes sparkled. How you'd smile at me, and my heart would stop, and a part of me would silently wish that it would never beat again, so that I might die in such a perfect moment.

Well, sometimes wishes don't come true, and sometimes I end up being grateful for being denied that which I'd wished for.

Like right now.

I was so sure that she was you, so sure that you were her, that I stopped looking for you altogether.

I was wrong. I see that now. If you were her, if she was you, then you'd be here beside me right now, and I wouldn't be writing this drivel.

You're still out there somewhere though. I imagine my future and I can almost see you lying beside me. I can almost hear your voice as you tell me that you love me. I can almost feel the heat from your body as I hold you close.

Hope is a strange thing. It exists only to disappoint, for once it's fulfilled, it vanishes. But hope still drives me. It drives me to keep looking for you. Misjudgments and misconceptions and miscalculations, and failure and collapse and loss, they might slow me down at times but they will never completely deter me.

You are out there somewhere, and I will find you.

And when I do, and when I do I will take your hand in mine. And I'll look into your eyes. And everything that's been missing in my life will be found. And all of the pain will fade away. And I'll know in my heart that it was all worth it, all worth it so that I could be standing there with you at that moment.

And you'll feel the same way.

Because you're the one.

Monday, April 17, 2006
posted by dave at 7:45 AM in category notable, ramblings

I've often wondered how I would know that this was over. Or even if I'd ever know.

What started as screams are now nothing but whispers, and even those soft voices are fading fast. One by one the demons inside me are going silent. They do not leave - where would they go? Instead, they sleep. They sleep and they dream of sweet things.

I wonder, will they ever wake up, and once again tell me about their dreams?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006
posted by dave at 3:20 AM in category notable, ramblings

I know this one chick, she's the maestro of the metaphor and the sultan of the simile.

Me, I'm neither. The best I can come up with is that tired old cliché phantom pubic hairs equal feelings.

Confused? It probably won't become any clearer.

Sometimes, I sit at Rich O's after work, and everything is almost perfect. The place is empty enough that I feel like I'm the only one there. My mood is decent but not good, subdued but not sad, alert but not anxious. The music is at a comfortable level, and it's not fucking Johnny Cash. The beer is yummy.

Almost perfect.

After work today I sat in the throne, drinking a pint of Spezial Rauchbier (1190), and it was as close to perfect as it's been in a very long time.

Too fucking close.

I found myself getting irritated because I'm not supposed to be content in that place. There are reasons that I go there, and those reasons do not include beer or conversation or music or any of that crap. That crap I can get anywhere, and that crap is not why I go to Rich O's.

I go to Rich O's because that's where it all happened. Because that was the scene of my crime. Because that's where the ghost is. Because I know without a doubt that Rich O's is the place where, if I have any chance at all of resurrecting anything even remotely resembling actual human emotion - it will be there.

So I go.

I sit in the throne or at the bar or at the island and I grasp at gossamer wisps of emotion, but they evaporate when I touch them.

I tug, ever so gently, on threads tied to memories of that place from so long ago, but those threads break with the slightest tension.

I pull phantom hairs out of my mouth, but I can never quite get a grip, and my fingers emerge from my lips with nothing on them but moisture.

A tickle in my throat, a quiet voice in my head, a tiny and brief rush of adrenaline when someone walks in the door. These are the new highlights of my life.

I am not heartbroken, though I should be. I am not happy, though I long to be. I am not sad, though I deserve to be. I'm finding, more and more lately, that I'm simply content.

Fucking content. What a load of crap that is.

A wise man once wrote:

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this - it just doesn't seem right to let things fade away. Some things deserve a grand exit. Some things deserve closure. Some things do not deserve to be pushed aside so they can fade over time and eventually be forgotten completely.
But that's exactly what's been happening. The fire burning inside me has used up its fuel. Nothing but glowing embers remain and though someone or something may occasionally blow air over those embers, and they may flare up for a brief time, I fear that their flames will never again consume me the way that they once did.

That is my fear. That the time for love is behind me forever. That I've missed my exit, and that I'll never pass this way again.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
posted by dave at 12:55 AM in category notable, ramblings

The nice thing about this is that it's giving me something to think about, but the bad thing about this is that it's giving me something to think about.

Too many things, actually.

My mind is aswarm with thoughts, my heart is teeming with feelings, all with their own agendas. Some will merge for a brief time, join forces in fierce battle against their enemies, swear allegiance to false alliances, but all the while only truly working toward their own vision of an idealized conclusion.

Others are adversaries from the start. Like dogs and cats, like Arabs and Jews, they are born into this war which began long ago and which will continue long after these individual skirmishes and battles and betrayals have become nothing more than forgotten footnotes in a history book.

And the individual combatants, so full of resolve and so possessed of purpose, they will become nothing more than patches of ground where the flowers, nourished by the blood-soaked earth, grow vibrant and strong.

And me?

Well, I'm Mars, The God of War.

Sunday, March 26, 2006
posted by dave at 1:16 AM in category notable, ramblings

I'm sitting in a protective bubble. It cannot be seen, and it cannot be felt, but it is there nevertheless. For proof of its presence one need only recognize one simple fact.

I am not crying.

I should be crying, but I'm not. I should be devastated, but I'm not. I should be so upset and heartbroken that even the reflexive tapping of my fingers against this keyboard should prove to be impossible for me.

But I'm not.

Where this bubble came from, I don't know. It certainly wasn't any of my doing. The last time I found myself in what I thought was a safe haven, what I perceived to be a secure harbor, the last time I thought I was protected from harm - well that turned out to be the biggest lie I'd ever told myself.

And when that bubble burst, when that bubble burst is the day that I died. And I vowed that, if I could somehow manage to bring myself back from the dead, that I'd never lie to myself again.

For now though, I'm still here. This bubble still somehow manages to protect me. Though the monsters of this new reality rage all around me I am somehow, miraculously, still here. Still safe.

I don't understand it.

I don't believe it.

I don't trust it.

This bubble will burst, and then the monsters will claw me to pieces, and I will die once again.

This will happen. It's only a matter of time.

Friday, March 17, 2006
posted by dave at 12:53 AM in category notable, ramblings

As, apparently, I'm still me and I can't really see any way around that dilemma right now, I'm still doing what I always do.

I pick and poke and I examine and evaluate and I analyze and appraise, and after a while I start to make some sense out of whatever the fuck happens to be wrong with me at that particular point in time.

Because if I can understand it, or failing that at least be able to describe it, then theoretically that puts me one step closer to being able to deal with it.


Some things are tougher to deal with than others. Some things I've been dealing with for years, and if I've shown any progress at all, I assure you that it's been purely accidental.

The current thing that's wrong with me, this lack of motivation that I've been feeling for the past couple of weeks, this is really a simple thing, with a simple cause.

For what seems like a million years, for what is actually more like a year and a half, I've been running on inertia. The events of late Summer and early Fall of the year 2004 - they gave my heart and my mind a mighty shove. The force of that shove proved to be all that I needed to maintain some semblance of a life. To hang out with my friends. To write in my journal. To leave my house. To breathe.

But now, now that inertia is gone. It's run out. Too many outside forces have acted upon me. Hell, too many inside forces have acted upon me, as I strove to divert myself from the path I was hurtling down, to turn myself around, to at least fucking slow my progress, or maybe even halt it completely.

Careful what you wish for, asshole.

That inertia that served me for so long has gone. Now I've coasted to a stop and I don't know where I am. There are no breadcrumbs to lead me back home. There is no sunrise or sunset to give me a sense of direction. There is just me, and this gray place.

A part of me knows that I cannot stay here. A part of me knows that I need to pick a direction and just start walking. But which direction? They all look exactly the same.

I could end up in an even worse place than before, as unimaginable as that may seem. Believe me, I can imagine a worse place.

I should start walking though. I don't like it here. I should just pick a direction and start moving.

But I can't decide which way to go.

I need a sign. I need a landmark. I need fucking anything that I can point to in the distance and tell myself, that's where I'm going, and I'm closer now that I was yesterday.

I'd scan the horizon for such a landmark, but there's no horizon. There's just me, and this gray place.

I need a sign. Or a shove.

Yeah, I think that a shove would be better. That way if I once again found myself moving in the wrong direction, that way I'd have something to blame besides my own stupid heart.

I tell myself that I want to be shoved, guided, perhaps even carried away from this place. I tell myself that I wish I was moving again. I tell myself that I wish there was a destination in sight.

Careful what you wish for, asshole.

Sunday, March 5, 2006
posted by dave at 1:40 AM in category notable, ramblings

I am shades of gray, snarling and clawing at the colors swirling around me.

One swatch, full of confidence, approaches too closely. After a brief but painful moment, it jerks away, but not quickly enough. Its leading edge, once a vibrant hue, is now a dead and dark and dreary gray. The color of fog on a moonless night, it wilts and it rots.


I am shades of gray, watching in awe all of the colors making up the world I inhabit.

I live inside a kaleidoscope, yet I am not a part of it. The colorful blobs don't even notice my existence, and for that I am grateful. I am free to observe the cacophony that surrounds me, without fear of contaminating it. Or it, me.


I am shades of gray, and I am alone.


I am shades of gray, and another swatch of color settles in beside me.

It does not put out feelers. It does not acknowledge my presence at all. It just is, existing at my side. To my left to be precise. It is but the slightest inkling of the faintest memory of the most tenuous presence, yet it is more real than anything else in this, my world.

I try to pull away, but I am too late.


I am shades of gray, but my left edge is tinged with color.

And that color is spreading.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006
posted by dave at 8:46 PM in category notable, ramblings

I never end up writing what I think I'll write.

Sometimes I get lucky and end up with something decent anyway, but not often.

The thoughts are there, running around inside me, but they flee when I try to capture them. They hide behind trivia and inane bullshit, and they snicker among themselves about how easily they evade me.

Only the weakest among them are ever at risk.

Sometimes I manage to catch one of these lesser thoughts. Then I'll dissect it and expose its innards to the world. And its brethren watch in horror from their hiding places, and they stop their snickering, for a while at least.

It's only a matter of time.

They can't hide from me forever.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005
posted by dave at 11:35 PM in category notable, ramblings

It starts with a sound.

Not just any sound, but the sound of a voice from an almost forgotten past. Just a word or two, snaking their way through the din of the crowd. It's not much, but it's enough. I prepare myself, as much as I can anyway.

I think that I'm ready. I believe that I've steeled myself for what will come next. I tell myself that this is what I've been waiting for, that I'm prepared. That I will be strong.

I'm wrong.

I see the sparkles long before I see her. Walls inside me begin to crumble almost immediately. Pressure that has been bottled up for months is suddenly free and unrestrained. Something deep within me is exploding. I cannot prevent it, and I'm suddenly not sure that I want to.

I see her face.

For a fraction of a portion of a second, I am afraid. But the fear is quickly overwhelmed by something else. By desire. By determination. By relief. By the knowledge that the world is finally right again.

I stand up.

My knees are shaking. My heart is pounding. My very soul is shattering and rebuilding at a frantic pace inside me. I take a step, then another. My legs, miraculously, are still amenable to my will. They are no longer a part of me, for I am naught but a heart on fire, but they obey my will nevertheless.

Our eyes meet.

Time stops.

A million eternities pass by in an instant.

I reach out the hand that I somehow still control, and I take hers into it. The circuit between us completes, and it flows with ferocity. Our fingers fuse together.

But it is not enough.

Suddenly aware of the eyes upon us, I crave privacy for what will come next. I pull her through the crowd, then away from the crowd. She resists shyly, more from surprise than anything else. By the time we reach our destination, a dark and empty room, I'm unsure as to who is doing the leading.

We stop. We breathe. We exist. Together. Alone. The heat from her body warms my very bones.

But is it not enough.

I pull her to me and I embrace that part of myself that's been missing for such a long time. I am finally complete. I am finally whole.

But it is still not enough.

I pull my head back, and I open my eyes.

In her eyes I see, not myself, not her, but us. I see everything I've ever sought, and I see a future filled not with pain, but with desire, and with passion, and with hunger for each other.

In her eyes, I see love. Mine. Hers. Ours. It's all the same.

But still it's not enough.

I move my head towards hers.

Our lips meet.

Sunday, November 20, 2005
posted by dave at 10:11 PM in category notable, ramblings

I was thinking today about eyes.

I love eyes. I love how they're the window to the soul.

There's just something primal about looking into the eyes of another living being.

Look a wild animal in the eyes, and it will either run away, or it will attack.

Look a child in the eyes, and some of their innocence and enthusiasm crosses over to you.

Look into the eyes of the one you love, but use caution, because you may not like what you see. Sometimes, that affection that you see, it's nothing more than your own feelings, being reflected back at you. Sometimes those feelings you glimpse are nothing more than pity or concern or even fear, twisted into something that's not really there, an illusion born of your own desperation. Sometimes, though they seem to be looking at you, their eyes are in fact focused a million miles away.

But every now and then...

If you're lucky...

Sometimes you meet the gaze of the one you love and what you see in their eyes, it combines with what they see in your eyes. It multiplies. Like feedback from a microphone placed to close to a speaker, it quickly overwhelms you with its intensity. You each feed off the emotions of the other, and for every moment that your eyes are locked together, your bond becomes stronger. You get lost, but it's okay because there's someone there with you, sharing it all with you. You're where you want to be. In their eyes. You never want to leave.

I love eyes. I love how they're the window to the soul.

posted by dave at 1:00 PM in category notable, ramblings

All of the times I think about her, I think about holding her hand more often than I think about anything else. It was like we were separate, but when we held hands some circuit was completed and the energy within each of us became our energy instead. There's just something sweet about holding hands.

As a child, we hold our parents' hands, and it makes us feel safe and loved.

As we get a little older and enter grade school, holding hands is that first timid step towards romance, even when we're too young to know what romance is, and would be grossed out if we ever discovered the disgusting truth about what hand holding can lead to.

Older still, and hand holding is often replaced with making out, sex, and all of the other "adult" activities. Holding someone's hand seems to become a burden, an intrusion into our personal space. Besides, it's what kids do.

Then, at the end of our lives, if we're lucky, we find ourselves sitting on a porch with some special person who's shared their life with us, holding hands. It makes us feel safe and loved.

We spend our entire lives reaching out. Every now and then two people will reach out at the same time, and their hands will find each other.

When I think about her, I miss just about everything. But holding her hand, I miss that most of all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005
posted by dave at 11:17 PM in category notable, peril

I wrote this as several different entries, over the course of several months, in reaction to some things that were happening in my life. I kind of like it except for the ending. The ending sucks. I've since realized that the ending was nothing but an illusion.

It's all a metaphor, of course. I like metaphors. You can hide behind them and still get your point across.

I'm not really sure why I'm combining them into a single entry like this. Probably just boredom.


(January 25)

Chest heaving and heart pounding, he fills his lungs with sweet, sweet air. All of his senses activate at once. He relishes the sight, sound, and smell of his brief surfacing into the world of light. Before going under once again, he uses the last of his precious air to scream out a name. The depths are peaceful, but he knows they will kill him eventually. He begins to sink, smiling.

(January 29)

As his feet touch bottom, he instinctively jumps. He is surprised - these waters had seemed a lot deeper the last time. His head and shoulders break the surface, and once again he gasps for air. A quick turn of his head reveals land, perhaps a small island, off in the distance. He dares to have hope, and once again begins to sink.

(February 1)

As he nears the beach, he feels the rip tide beneath him, trying to pull him back into the depths. He struggles frantically, and finally, miraculously, feels solid ground beneath his feet. The waters, losing their grip, switch tactics. They send monstrous waves into his back, threatening to smash him into the rocks. He continues undaunted. His salvation is in sight, he will not die here. Not on this day.

He scrambles through the water that is neck-deep, then waist-deep, then suddenly he is free. He collapses onto the wet sand and crawls his way to safety.

From the jungle, glowing eyes watch.

(February 7)

The jungle envelopes him, claws at him. He doesn't know where he's going anymore. There is no sense of direction. There is - nothing at all except the sound of the twigs snapping under his feet and the rustling as his trail heals itself behind him. Even the sound of the ocean has become lost in the past.

He runs, as well as he can through the thick brush. Something is following him, some thing has been following him since he left the beach. And it's gaining on him.

(February 18)

Once again a claw rakes his skin, and he cries out. His refuge is not solid - there are small openings everywhere, and it is taking full advantage of them. Sharp talons reach in and grab at him, not able to get a firm grip but doing plenty of damage anyway. He tries to steel himself against the pain, but it always comes without warning. He begins to contemplate the impossible. He doesn't want to die like this, bleeding and cowering in the dark.

(March 1)

The dawn light snakes its way into his refuge, and he opens his eyes to the new day that he thought he'd never see. It is gone, but the deep gashes covering his body tell him that this was no dream - no terrible nightmare from which he has mercifully awakened. Cautiously, carefully, he picks himself up off the ground, pries himself loose from the sticky grasp of his own coagulating blood. The pain is nearly overwhelming, but he does not cry out. He emerges from his hiding place and warily surveys his surroundings.

He is alone, and, to his astonishment, he is no longer afraid.

(April 8)

His strength has been slow in returning. His wounds are healed, but he knows that the scars will last a long time. He wanders aimlessly about this, his island, and reflects constantly how lucky he is to at least be alive - to at least be safe.

He doesn't see it coming.

The tsunami roars in from the West, and sweeps him back out to sea. Back to where he'd started.

The depths welcome his return. The depths are so beautiful.

He opens his mouth to laugh, and his lungs fill with water.

(April 18)

There is...Nothing.

Blackness and silence surround him, seep into him.

He wonders how long it has been. A minute? A day? A million years?

Even the familiar thump thump of his heart has stopped. He ponders this, and reaches his hand to his chest, but he finds that he has no hand, and that he has no chest.

He simply exists, seeing, hearing, feeling nothing.

He waits for something to happen, and wonders if he is dead.

(June 5)

It starts as a tickle. An itch. An inkling of a sensation so faint that he hardly recognizes it. When he finally notices it, this faint ghost of a feeling, it explodes. He suddenly feels his body again, and it is on fire. For a million eternities he has felt nothing, and now he relishes in the pain.

For the pain tells him that he lives. That he exists.

Through the pain, he feels his body rise.

(July 6)

His reawakening complete, his body restored, his pain faded, he begins kicking furiously, driving himself upward. His head breaks the surface, followed by his torso, his legs, and finally his feet.

He continues to rise.

Looking in wonder at the waters below him, he realizes that he is finally free of their grip. He soars, free and safe.

But only for a moment.

For he died in the depths, and he was reborn in the depths. Without their cold embrace he cannot exist.

He is smiling when he evaporates.

It was so worth it.

The end.

(July 7 - Epilogue)

Yeah, I know. I don't really like it either. The ending sucks, and so does the writing.

I just couldn't leave the poor guy in pain forever, so I had to end it somehow.

A happy ending was not an option. Never was, really.

I could have done a better job of wrapping things up, but I decided that it would be better to just get it over with.

Anyway, thanks for reading!


As it turned out, I could have let the guy live, but the metaphor would have broken completely down before too long anyway.

Sunday, September 11, 2005
posted by dave at 7:52 PM in category notable, ramblings

People, friends of mine, 'blog readers, whatever, keep telling me to stop bottling things up. They tell me to just let it out. That I'll feel better afterwards.

Well I've tried letting it out. Too many times. When, exactly, do I get to feel better? The most I've managed to do is empty myself completely. I then spend a few days waiting for something to fill that void and - surprise! - it's pain again! Sometimes I can conjure up something else, like anger or shock or disappointment. But none of those quite fit this hole in me. Nope, it's a pain-shaped hole, and pain seems to be all that can fill it.

People tell me that time heals all wounds.

How much time should it take? Does the passage of time even matter when the wound is constantly being reopened? When I continue to be drawn, day after day, week after week, back to the scene of the crime? Am I just supposed to feel a little bit better every day until I eventually wake up and I feel fine? Will I then say to myself "Wow, that was kind of fucked up," and then I'll get on with my life? Or will I just all of a sudden not hurt, like somebody flipped a switch? Wouldn't the shock be too much for me?

People tell me that I will get better. That things will work out.

How can anyone know for sure? How can anyone tell me, with any kind of certainty, that I won't be laying on my deathbed in forty years thinking "I wonder if she'll come to my funeral?" Every answer to every question I've asked has only unearthed more questions. There's no end in sight. This beast just continues to feed on itself.

People tell me what a good person I am. How lucky any girl would be to have me in their life.

I had lunch yesterday with a girl that's not feeling very lucky, I guarantee it. She's told me that she waited her whole life to meet me, but that she met me three months too late. She says that she's just as trapped as I am, but she started out as an innocent bystander. She says that she wants out but she can't find the right door. She says that her life is like a nightmare where all of the hallways twist around and keep leading back to the same place. Back to me. No, I don't think she feels particularly lucky to have me in her life.

People tell me that I'm blowing this all out of proportion. That it just doesn't make sense for this to have affected me this much.

I know it's absurd. It's stupid. It's beyond ridiculous. That doesn't make it any less real. Telling me that there's no good reason for these feelings only makes me feel worse. Trying to reason with me is the worst thing you can do. Because I already know all that shit.

People try to help. They really do. And I appreciate it. It's just not doing any good, and I kind of wish they'd stop.

Hey, I know! Let's play a game. I'll go back to my old ways. I'll bottle all this up, and you won't have to see it anymore. I'll pretend that everything is fine, and you can play along. It'll be just like old times! What the Hell, I'll even give MixedSignalGirl what she's been wanting. We'll probably get married and maybe even have a couple of kids before I get too old to appreciate them.

You'll all be so relieved that I'm finally okay again, and that I'm actually happy. "See?" you'll tell me. "Everything worked out in the end."

And I'll nod and tell you how you were right all along, that I just needed time to heal, and then one day I'll explode into a million pieces.

Monday, August 15, 2005
posted by dave at 1:57 AM in category notable, ramblings

I guess I've given up on sleep for the night.

I developed a bit of a fever this evening. I hope I didn't catch it (or give it to) my grandmother while I was at her house setting up this 1960s technology medical alarm doohickey.

So anyway, I got this fever, and I laid down at about 7:00. For the night, I thought.


I woke up a little while ago and, though I'm still feverish, sleep is beyond me.

What woke me up was dreaming about this one part of this one night last Summer. One night a week before the first part of this entry happened.

That night, my dear readers, was what you call a golden opportunity.

A golden opportunity to be like every other guy on the planet. A golden opportunity to jump in, dick first, without a care in the world for what would happen later.

After all, what could be better? She'd just broken up with her boyfriend in front of my eyes. We'd both been drinking. There was nobody else around. I had, for a while at least, her undivided attention. We even hugged each other goodnight, first time that had happened. It wouldn't have taken much to press things further. To see where they might lead.

Yep, a golden opportunity. A wasted one.

I did nothing.

For you see, I'm not the type of guy that's going to make a move on someone that's been single for less than two hours. I'm not the type of guy that's going to hit on a girl that's been drinking heavily. And I'm most definitely not the type of guy that's going to try anything with a friend of mine unless I know damn well that's what she's wanting me to do.

I hardly ever think about that night. I have plenty of other moments, much more dramatic, seemingly much more pivotal, to occupy my mind. I don't think I've really thought about that particular night in months. But I'm thinking about it right now, and I'm thinking, once again, that I'm a dumbass.

Everything hinged on that night, on those two seconds when we pulled away from our brief embrace. Nothing that's happened since then would have been the same, if only I'd been like every other guy on the planet. If I'd just leaned back in. Put my hand aside her face. Pulled her to me. Tasted her lips. Things may not have turned out well - they probably wouldn't have - but I'd fucking know. I'd know and I wouldn't still be guessing a year later.

Every once in a while, something happens, or doesn't happen. Something that's important. A brief period that doesn't seem like much at the time but turns out to be one of the most important moments in a person's life.

I could have tried, failed, and then moved on.

I could have tried, and succeeded, only to have things fall apart later, and then moved on.

I could have tried, and succeeded, and been deliriously happy for the rest of my life.

These were some of the the paths that lay in front of me on that night last Summer. I chose instead to do nothing. To just stand there. A part of me is still standing there I suppose. Wondering.

Saturday, August 13, 2005
posted by dave at 12:09 PM in category notable, ramblings

I want to write something, but I think I should wait a little while. I should wait until this nagging little something rattling around in my head slows down enough for me to recognize it for what it is. Anything I write now will be just a guess.

But I want to write something, so I'm going to, dammit.

The other night, after the fucked up shit happened, I reacted pretty much as I expected. I then laid awake all night, all tensed up, waiting for it to happen again. Hoping it would happen again, at least on some layer. I mean, on a conscious level I wanted it to stop, but some small part of me was actually excited over the prospect.

I'm not completely sure which part of me that was.

Was it a part of me that stands over whatever small spark of hope for the future I still harbor? Perhaps it was a part of me that still clings to the idea that this can all be fixed somehow, that given the proper opportunity, I can still make everything okay. Maybe even better than okay. Maybe even great.

Any of these things would be understandable, certainly. Even expected, as long as you're looking at me from the outside. Through this 'blog perhaps.

From in here though, from here inside my head, I know that it was none of those things. Those parts of me are gone. Perhaps comatose, perhaps dead. Maybe they've just gone off to Tahiti and are getting plastered with Koko. I dunno, but wherever they are, they're not in my head now, and they weren't in my head the other night either.

So what was it? What was it that dared to hope for the bullshit to continue while the rest of me screamed for it to end?

Perhaps, and I hope that this is correct, there's just a part of me that's become so bored with drifting about that it'll welcome any stimulation whatsoever. That would at least make some sense, right? I can deal with that, if that's all it is.

But I don't think so.

I think, I'm afraid, I really hope I'm wrong, but maybe that small part of me hoped for another chance to...

I'm having a hard time thinking of words here.

The other night I didn't react in the most mature manner. I reflexively did what I felt needed to be done, but I don't think I did it for the right reasons. I did it for me, to ease my own discomfort.

Since when did I become important? I'm not the victim here, and I never have been.

By reacting the way I did, I put myself first. I gave no thought to what effect it might have on anyone else. I saw a hand timidly reaching out to me, and I slapped it away.

This bothers me a lot, that I'm capable of doing this. What bothers me even more is the possibility that the small part of me, the one that hoped for more bullshit the other night, that this part of me wanted to cause more pain. To be in control of the situation. To dish it out for once.

To get a little bit of revenge.

I've known for a long time that I'd come out of all this as a different person. I hope the person I become is not this shallow self-centered prick I fear is sitting inside me now. Waiting, hoping even, for a chance to lash out...

Man, even thinking about this is upsetting me. I don't want to be this person. I hope I'm not this person.

I really should have waited a while before I wrote this entry.

Thursday, August 4, 2005
posted by dave at 11:45 PM in category notable, ramblings

I look down at my fortress. The newly-rebuilt walls. The gleaming metal protruding from the sniper towers. The moat, and the drawbridge. The main doors, long rusted shut.

All useless, for now. Protecting nothing more than an old dream.

I see her trying to scale one of the walls. Striving to gain purchase and pull herself just a little bit closer to her goal. Inch by inch, day by day, she's actually making progress. She's doing much better than I'd have ever expected. Most have given up by this point.

I don't know what she's expecting to find. Back when we used to talk about that sort of thing I never got the same answer twice. If I had to guess, I'd say that she just wants to share this haven I've constructed. To be safe for a while. For I am, if anything, safe. Good old safe and boring and reliable Dave.

So she climbs. Every now and then she falls into the moat. But she gets right back out, shakes herself off, and tries again. Stubborn. I like that. Foolish perhaps, but who am I to judge foolishness?

What will she find when (not if!) she makes it over that wall?

I think she'll be disappointed. My courtyard is bare except for one thing. A statue. Of a girl that isn't her. But that's not what will disappoint her, or surprise her. What will be a shock to her is what's not there. Who's not there.

She'll spend all this time and energy and still find herself alone. For I'm not there. I'm up here drifting.

I suppose that she'll look up eventually and catch a glimpse of me. Then she'll start working on a flying machine.

Stubborn. I like that.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005
posted by dave at 11:22 PM in category notable, ramblings

I heard an interesting story today. I don't want to get into too much detail. I suspect that it was a little more painful for those involved than the retelling indicated, and I've got no business opening up anyone else's wounds.

Just a little story about a promise kept. An impulse followed. A relationship tested. A drunken jaunt similar to those that have run rampant in my own imagination for months.

I was thinking about this tonight, as I tried to put into words some of my imaginings. As I was trying to do the homework I wrote about the other night and, failing miserably, I thought about this story I'd heard.

This was a story about people that cared about each other. Each in their own way, to be sure, and I'm not going to sit here and say that I completely understand everything, but all of the people in this story definitely cared about what was happening. And even if they didn't like it, they at least understood.

I tried to use this story as an inspiration for my own.

And, as I said, I was failing miserably. I failed miserably.

See, a story of understanding and caring just does not apply to me right now. There are things that have happened to me, or because of me, that I still don't understand. Things that I may never understand. Yet I don't care. I've said so many times in these writings that it's all irrelevant. I believed it each time I wrote it. This time as I write it I don't just believe it - I know it. And if understanding is irrelevant, then I don't need it.

Everything that once threatened to pull me Westward is still there. Every answer to every question is still there, behind those sparkling eyes. It's not that I don't want to know the answers to these questions. I still do. But what was once an all-consuming force has been reduced to mere curiosity. Sure, it'd be nice to know the answers, but I don't really care what they are. And if these secrets wish to remain as such, well that's fine too.

I guess you could say that I've given up.

You could say that, but you'd be wrong. I haven't given up anything. Whatever it was that I had, whatever it was that was driving me for so many months, I didn't give it up.

It was taken from me. In the middle of the night, two weeks ago, I lost focus. Not because I'd turned my gaze elsewhere, but because the world itself had shifted around me. I'm still stumbling about, waiting for my vision to clear. I have no idea what I'll see when and if the world solidifies.

And, right now, I really don't care.

So I won't be writing the story of my search for answers and closure. I won't be writing of how I'd face my fears and my desires and walk through the desert to bare my chest and offer up my heart. I won't be writing about the pain or the joy that would result from such a journey. That story just isn't inside me anymore. Exactly what's inside me I'm not sure.

And I don't really care.

Saturday, July 9, 2005
posted by dave at 4:00 PM in category notable, ramblings

When you see me for the first time, you won't pay much attention. Just an average guy, doing average stuff. Sitting at the bar drinking a beer. Boring, really.

But if you're bored enough yourself, you might keep looking. Maybe there's something about me that you're curious about. Maybe it's that I look a little sad. Maybe you think I look out of place. Or like I'm waiting for something. Or maybe dreading something. Or maybe I'm just the only other person in the place.

I'll catch you looking at me, and I'll give a little smile. You'll quickly look away.

The next time you see me, you'll smile first and I'll frown and then smile back. It takes me a second to recognize you, and this bothers you a little. You can also tell that you're not who I was hoping to see come in.

This is the point when you should run away.
But if you don't run, if you stay, if you keep coming back, eventually you'll find yourself talking with me. We'll talk about the weather, the crowd, the beer. We'll learn each other's names and even shake hands. We'll have a pleasant conversation about nothing much in particular. I seem friendly enough. It's nice to meet new people.

After a while, we'll start to look for each other when we go to the bar. Just a couple of regulars that know each other. I'll save you a seat. You'll sit with me and we'll talk about our days and our lives while we drink our beers and watch the other people. We both like people watching.

You should definitely get out now. While you still can.
But if you don't get out, if you stay, if you keep coming back, things will start to change. We'll still sit together and talk. We'll still laugh at each other's jokes. We'll feel more and more comfortable around each other. But things will be starting to change. I'll be looking at you a lot more often. Stealing glances. I'll look at your hands a lot, while my own hands twitch but remain stationary. I'll sit a little closer to you, so I can feel your body heat, maybe sneak a whiff of your hair. I'll watch you sway when you walk to the bathroom. You probably won't even notice.

But I'll notice. And I'll start to be afraid. This can't be happening again.

Others will notice too. They'll see me looking at you. They'll see us together all the time. They'll start to see us instead of me and you. They'll start to assume that the things I've only just started to imagine are actually true. That we're a couple now. They'll probably think we look good together. Happy.

It's almost too late. You really should leave now.
But if you don't leave, if you stay, if you keep coming back, you'll start to notice things. The way I look for you the instant I walk in. How relieved I am when I see you. How quiet I get when you talk to another guy.

What you won't see is how disappointed I am when I come in and don't see you. How, a lot of those times, I'll just turn around and leave. How, when I do stay, I jerk my head up every time I hear a woman's voice. What you won't know is that, while you go to the bar to hang out with your friends and have a good time, I go there for a different reason.

I go there to see you.

By this time, I'll be starting to fight what's going on inside me. I'll be telling myself that I've learned my lesson well, that I there's no way I'll fall into the same trap again.

Seriously, get the fuck away from me. It's for your own good, and mine as well.
But if you don't get the fuck away from me, if you stay, if you keep coming back, you'll definitely start to notice. How I won't even look at you while we're talking, but I'll steal glances every time you turn away for even an instant. You'll start carrying most of our conversations, because I'm afraid to say anything lest I blurt out my feelings. You'll notice these things, but you won't talk about them with me. You'll think I'm angry at you over something, but you won't be able to figure out what. Maybe you'll even start to suspect the truth, but you certainly won't want to talk about that with me. You won't want to risk our friendship with any romance. Besides, what if you're wrong?

Our time together will become more and more quiet. You'll try to tell yourself that we're just growing more comfortable with each other. That we can be silent. That there's no need for us to just blather on and on. We're friends, after all. There's no rule that says we have to fill every moment with conversation.

This is when the last one left. You should follow that example.
But if you don't follow that example, if you stay, if you keep coming back, then I'll reach a point where I can no longer be in the same room with you. I'll think about you constantly. I'll miss you when I'm not with you, yet suffer when I am with you. Being your friend will not only be just not good enough, it will become impossible. What used to be relief at seeing you will turn into disappointment. My smile will disappear. The others will start to talk. They'll figure that we've had a fight. A big one from the looks of it. Some of them will try to help.

They'll ask me what's wrong, but I won't want to talk about it. How can I tell them what I haven't even told you? They're not important to me. What they think is not important to me. What's important to me is that I'm reeling, that I'm desperate to keep from hurting you, but I can't see any way around it. It's inevitable now.

This is your last chance to escape.
But if you don't escape, if you stay, if you keep coming back, then I'll be the one to leave. I'll simply stop coming to the bar. It will be too painful for me to be with you but not with you. I'll be afraid to say goodbye, terrified of what that could lead to. I'll just stop coming. I'll know that you'll be hurt by this, but I'll also know that to tell you the truth would hurt you even more. Since you won't leave, I will.

But you'll miss me. You'll ask people what happened to me. Eventually someone will tell you. Or maybe you'll figure it out on your own. But you won't quite want to believe it. You'll be sure that I'm just mad at you over something, and you'll want the chance to talk it over.

You'll call me and ask for an explanation. I'll be unable to refuse, but I'll insist on telling you in person. Some things just aren't said over the phone. So we'll agree to meet that night.

You'll be sitting in your regular place in the bar, but I'll know that we'll need privacy. I'll take your hand and pull you off to a quiet corner. I'll ask the waiter to give us some time, and I'll take both of your hands into mine. I'll look you in the eyes for the first time in months.

I'll tell you the truth. I'll tell you that I love you, that I don't know how I can possibly live without you, but that I must live without you.

Your heart will skip a beat. A million thoughts will go though your head. You'll try to see me, for the first time, as something more than a friend. You'll imagine us together, and you'll like how that image makes you feel.

So you'll take a breath, and you'll laugh, and you'll tell me that you love me too. Then you'll realize what I've just said. You'll ask me why I feel that I must live without you. You'll already be preparing to counter whatever I say.

I won't lie to you. You'll deserve the truth. I'll tell you that no matter how much I love you, how much I long to be with you, that there is no way that we can ever be together. I'll tell you why. I'll tell you everything. It will take a long time to tell you, but finally I'll finish.

You'll start to protest, but something in my eyes will tell you that I'm telling the truth. You'll realize now, after all these months, why I looked sad when you first saw me. You'll realize that there is something bigger than me and you, bigger even than us that's standing between us. And you'll see that I'm right. I cannot be your friend, and I cannot be anything more. You'll see that I'm taking the only choice left to me.

So you'll remove your hands from mine, get up, and walk away to cry in private.

I told you to leave. You had plenty of chances.
But you won't have left, you will have stayed, you will have kept coming back, and you'll end up wishing that you'd never even met me.

Monday, July 4, 2005
posted by dave at 1:22 AM in category notable, ramblings

I've spent some time tonight reading back through my old entries.

  • Reading about how much pain I was in.
  • About how I had put that pain behind me.
  • About how the pain had caught up once again.
  • About how I'd finally been healed.
  • About how much pain I was in again.

Monotonous, isn't it?

One of my favorite entries is the one in which I wrote this:

To cross one range, and see before me nothing at all between me and the next range, to know that the next hour or so of my life would mean nothing and would contain nothing of interest - that's a pretty good analogy for what's going through my head this morning.

I don't know what that has to do with anything, really. I'm just muddling through here after all. I think that paragraph about the Nevada desert may have struck a chord tonight because my mood has been like those hills and valleys.

Happy then sad. Excited then bored. Accepting then stubborn. Angry then furious.

Well that breaks the pattern, doesn't it?

I've always figured that I'm about average when it comes to forgiveness. Most people are able to apologize to me, and that's that. In fact, until recently, there's really only been one person that's ever mistreated me so badly that forgiveness is virtually impossible. It's been well over a decade and I'm still furious, still stinging. Nope, I don't think I'll be sending any Christmas cards that way.

Now there's another one. Now there's another person that has done their best to fuck me up for life. He's done a pretty good job of it too.

I don't really care if he meant any harm or not. It was obviously inevitable, and I tried very hard to get him to just butt out. To just leave well enough alone.

But this fucker, this unbelievably selfish asshole, he just had to keep on pressing. He just had to see just how far he could push things. He'd gotten this idea into his head and, by God, he was going to see this idea through to its conclusion.

Or die trying.

Or destroy me. Or ruin a friendship. Or upset an innocent person.

As much as my mood has fluctuated over the past several months, one thing has remained fairly constant.

The anger I hold for what this fucker did to me has not lessened one bit.

So I'm wondering if I'm ever going to be truly healed. I don't think that I can do it while this anger rages inside me. If I'm ever going to get over this, I think I'll first have to forgive him for what he did. I just don't know if I'm capable of it.

Some things are just too hurtful. Some wounds go too deep. Forgiveness for this may not be possible. I may hate him for the rest of my life.

I hope that's not the case. I hope that I can somehow find the strength to forgive him. He just fucked up, after all. There was no malice, just stupidity. Forgiveness seems like such a small price to pay if it helps me regain my sanity.

If I'm ever going to be able to live with myself, I need to first forgive myself.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005
posted by dave at 12:51 AM in category notable, ramblings

Back in January, I wrote about this time I drove from Seattle to Las Vegas.

One thing I didn't mention about that drive was what happened after 3:41 AM that Saturday morning.

So I'll write about it now.

At about 1:00 AM I was just barely into Nevada. I'd driven all day, and I was pretty tired. I'd read that Nevada laws allowed overnight parking on the side of the road, so that's what I did. I left the two-lane highway, drove a short distance down some unmarked gravel road, and pulled off onto the shoulder to get some sleep.

I was out almost immediately.

At 3:41 AM I woke up. The clock in my dashboard was just incredibly bright so I definitely knew what time it was. That clock is burned into my brain.

I stumbled out of the car to take a piss.

About halfway through my piss I guess I woke the rest of the way up or something, because I noticed.

The stars. Those stars are also burned into my brain.

I'd gone 28 years without ever really seeing the heavens. I guess most people go their whole lives without it. City lights brighten the night sky, drowning out all but the brightest stars. Air pollution puts a haze over everything. Most people don't even notice. Most people don't even question what they're missing.

I know, because I was one of those people. Until that night.

That night, that late hour, that remote location, that high altitude - all had combined to provide me with a display that was quite simply breathtaking. It still gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

It was like the sky had decided to show off just for me. The Milky Way, shit I still can't get that image out of my head. It was like a pearlescent scarf, stretching from horizon to horizon. Easily the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

And the colors. The night sky is not black and white. It's full of every color imaginable. You just have to see it to believe it.

On that night, at that time, beside that unnamed Nevada road, I was truly humbled for the first time. I knew then that my problems were nothing. There I was, fretting about a love that could never be, while the entire universe spread itself out before me.

I just stood there, enthralled, for hours. This was as close to a religious experience as I've ever had. I remember thinking that anything so beautiful just had to be planned. Just had to have a purpose. It was hard to accept that what I was seeing was real at all. It just couldn't be random.

When the Sun rose, and the stars dimmed, I realized that I'd been crying. For I had seen God. And He in turn had shown me myself.

Thursday, May 26, 2005
posted by dave at 12:34 AM in category notable, ramblings

So not the best of days for me.

It shows up nearly every day after work. I sit at Rich O's and have myself a beer. My thoughts start to wander.

They always head in the same direction, during those times when I'm halfway between my work life and my home life. When I've let my mind relax for the first time all day. My thoughts start to wander and before I know it this gorilla is right there next to me again.

The last few weeks have been better though. It hasn't seemed quite so obnoxious. I don't know if I've become more accustomed to its presence or if I've just gotten better at ignoring it. Hardly noticed it at all while I was in Las Vegas. That was a great relief.

Today was a bad day. It kept waving my phone in my face, urging me to do that which I cannot do.

Must. Not. Do.

It's standing behind me now, tapping me on the shoulder, grunting in my ear. Tonight all it wants is attention. I can acknowledge it and perhaps pet it a little, just let it know that I haven't forgotten about it. I can handle nights like this.

It's those times, like this evening after work, times when simple attention is not enough - those times are tough. The toughest was that night a few weeks ago when I tried to kill it. In a moment of total desperation I used my secret weapon and tried to completely destroy this pitiful thing that meant no harm to me at all, this wretched manifestation of my own emotions.

I tried to destroy it, but it turned out to be stronger, much stronger, than I'd feared. It heard the words that were supposed to kill it and instead they just bounced off. My most powerful weapon, my most potent poison, had no effect on it whatsoever.

It's stronger than I'd thought, but it's not stronger than me. I may not be able to get rid of it, or even placate it completely, but I will not give in.

I will not give in.

Sunday, February 20, 2005
posted by dave at 10:55 PM in category notable, ramblings

You know how sometimes you think you've got it all figured out, that nothing can really surprise you anymore?

Then you know how one day that thing, that thing you thought you had defined and categorized and labeled and stuck in a jar on a shelf, that thing beats you over the head and then rips open your chest and reaches in and grabs your insides and flings them all around you? And you're standing there with a smashed-in head and your heart and guts are all strewn about, and you realize maybe that you weren't quite as wise and smart and jaded as you'd thought? And then you realize that you just might be a dumbass?

You know what I'm talking about?

And do you know that, all those sappy clichés, they're all true? That the truth really does hurt, and it really can set you free? That love really is a many-splendored thing, and you can't really know it until you surrender yourself to it? Do you know how it's not all just bullshit to sell records and anniversary cards?

You know how one day you're sitting around contemplating how well you've got your shit together then all of a sudden your entire existence is turned upside-down, inside-out, every which way but loose? You know how suddenly you feel so alive that you wish you were dead?

Me neither. I'd like to know those things though. For now I just suspect them.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004
posted by dave at 12:01 AM in category notable, ramblings

In the Summer it was innocent. Just a quick peck, the first and last. It was not what I was expecting after the night I'd had. Suddenly and inexplicably desperate, I searched her eyes for, I don't really know, an invitation, a promise, anything. But her eyes were too deep, and I got lost in them, and I found nothing, and then the moment was over.

It's Winter now. Different girl, different circumstances. I actually just wanted to clear the air. People were watching, so I grabbed her hand and went to find some privacy. A hug lasted a moment too long, and our lips met. After a second, her lips parted, and I pulled away. Her eyes, those amazing eyes, searched mine for something, anything, but there was nothing there, and then the moment was over.

Thursday, November 4, 2004
posted by dave at 7:59 PM in category notable, ramblings

I've got this tradition that I try to do every New Year's Eve.

Every year since my divorce I've been alone on December 31st. And by alone I mean in a spiritual/romantic sense. I simply take that one step further and become alone physically as well. I'll walk out of the party, or the bar, or even my own home, and just get a little privacy.

Only twice since 1991 have I had to change that tradition. As 1996 arrived I was followed out of the bar by a very sweet girl who wanted to give me (and be) my first kiss of the new year. When 1999 turned into 2000 I had several people at my house and we went out on the deck and popped these little bottle-shaped plastic thingies that shot streamers out.

On every other New Year's Eve that time between 11:55 and 12:05 has been my own. I like to reflect on all that's happened in the old year, imagine all that might happen in the new year, and just generally relax and let my thoughts flow.

I'll usually give each year an informal grading - 1991 and 1992 were very good years, 1995 and 1998 were very bad - that kind of thing. I try to be fair. I try to remember everything important (good or bad) that's happened, not just those things that are still fresh in my mind.

I do this on New Year's Eve because it provides a fairly obvious division between time frames. I suppose my birthday would serve just as well. Dates that I can point to on a calendar and say "On this day I noted the end of one era and the beginning of another."

On December 31st, 2004, I expect to be alone again, and I expect I'll seek some privacy, when the time comes, to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new year as I've become accustomed.

This year though, there'll be something different. I not only expect to be alone as the new year arrives, I expect to feel alone as well. This will be something new for me.

I've always been quite able to enjoy the pleasure of my own company - In many ways I've preferred it.

This year will be different. There will be an emptiness accompanying me outside, and I have to say I'm not looking forward to the uncomfortable silence between us.

I will welcome the new year though, as I've welcomed them all. I don't yet know what grade I'll give the year 2004 but it'll certainly get an "A" for effort.

Actually the grading isn't really important. The important part is the serious reflection. The grade is just the end to the more important means.

So why am I writing this entry now, on November 4th, instead of waiting for late December like a sane person?

Because New Year's Eve is man-made. It has no more significance than any other night except that which we give it.

Sometime during the past few weeks I passed a milestone that out milestones anything that an artificial holiday nearly two months away could ever do.

I've seen great changes both externally and internally, and reflecting on these changes has made me (painfully at times) quite aware that this Fall is indeed the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.

Whether it's marked the beginning of a new emotional growth spurt, or simply the end of my sanity, that remains to be seen. All I know is that this is important and I will give it the consideration it deserves.

So tonight, when normal people are getting ready for bed, I'll be out on my deck.



Just enjoying my own company for a while.

Tomorrow I'll start a new era. One that will encompass its own events. One that will probably, for a while at least, look an awful lot like the era it replaces.

After that, who knows what will happen?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
posted by dave at 10:59 PM in category notable, ramblings

(I'm in a good mood. I'm not breaking my new rule about depressing entries. Seriously.)

Back seven or eight years ago there was a time when I thought I was sad.

Oh, maybe I actually was sad in the watered-down way I felt emotions back then.

The source of my discomfort was, of course, a woman. She'd wronged or mistreated me in some way and so I got these pseudo-emotions whenever I was around her.

I remember going to my favorite bar each weekend back then, hoping that she wouldn't be there. I was a nervous wreck every time I went up the hill and turned into the parking lot. This continued for several months until I moved away from Seattle.

Then, last Fall when I visited that old bar, I found myself nervous all over again. Even though I hadn't thought of her in years those old pseudo-emotions still managed to work their way back to the surface.

Luckily she was not there and I was able to really enjoy my visit.

For the past several days I've been reminded of those days because every time I round the curve leading into the Rich O's parking lot I find myself scanning that lot for a certain car. A car that I know is a gazillion miles away.

Someday that car will be there. Maybe weeks from now, maybe months from now. Maybe sooner, maybe later. At some point, I keep telling myself, I'll round that curve and see that car and...


And then what?

This is what makes me nervous today. Back in Seattle I didn't want to deal with the sadness I thought I was feeling. These days it's not the threat of sadness that's giving me pause - it's the threat of joy. Of unbelievable relief. Of pure giddiness. Of making a complete ass of myself.

Someday, I'll round that curve, see that car, and probably have a nervous breakdown or something.

These are not watered-down emotions I'm dealing with anymore. No matter how fleeting or unwarranted or ridiculous - they're still completely real and at times they still threaten to overwhelm me. This is the price I've paid for allowing myself to become human again.

Ha ha. I just remembered this dog we had back when I was a kid. That stupid dog. Every day when my sister Dina and I would get off the school bus this dog would come running across the yard, just pissing all over itself it was so happy to see us. It was like a moving piss fountain, a beautiful expression of love that has me grinning ear-to-ear while I sit here twenty five years later thinking about it.

I keep telling myself that she will return someday. That's what keeps me going. The alternative is unthinkable - I will see her again someday.

Every time I round that curve I just know her car won't be there but I still look. Every time a shadow darkens the door inside Rich O's I just know it won't be her but I still look. Every time I hear a woman's voice I just know it's not hers but I still look.

Someday I'll just know she's not back and I'll be wrong and there she'll be.

I wonder, though, if anything short of pissing all over myself will be enough to express what I'll be feeling when that day comes.

I'm nervous because I don't know what I'll do. Probably just try to play it cool, act all nonchalant. Maybe give her a hug and buy her a beer.

I'm sure I'll be pissing on the inside though.

(Writing this entry made me smile.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
posted by dave at 12:11 AM in category notable, ramblings

I sit here wanting to type an entry but I find myself lacking the words.

Actually I'm not exactly lacking for words, just coherent thoughts.

My thoughts are evolving too quickly. I can't get my brain wrapped around anything long enough to make a sentence out of it.

Shock, sadness, relief, anger, disappointment, curiosity, blame, determination, grief, fear, speculation, impatience, regret, doubt, depression, wonder, pessimism, optimism, nervousness, callousness, understanding, drama, accusation, resignation...

I could go on and on. At night, instead of allowing me to sleep, my mind takes these and countless other thoughts and creates elaborate storylines that branch madly, twisting and weaving, joining and separating, spreading and collapsing. None ever finish. None ever get wrapped up in the end. I resolve nothing then finally I sleep out of sheer exhaustion.

The simple facts are that I don't know what to think, or what to say, or what to do. I don't even know if I should think or say or do anything.

Things are as they are. Life is not a movie where you get to live happily ever-after. There might not be a pot of gold for every rainbow, or a silver lining for every cloud, or a dawn for every dark night.

I suppose I'll keep looking for those things though. I'm at least open to the possibility of their existence. I've at least learned that much.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
posted by dave at 12:16 AM in category family, notable

Today is the five-year anniversary of the day my dad dropped dead.

Well that's not what actually happened. He really died at a hospital after collapsing at work. He died in an emergency room before anyone in his family even knew he was in trouble. So for us, who had no chance to say goodbye, he was there one instant and gone the next. For us, he simply dropped dead. A month before his 57th birthday.

I'd last seen Dad a couple of weeks earlier. He'd dropped me off at the airport as I was flying to Chicago for work. For us, things were still a little strange. I'd only moved home, after living all over for 15 years, just a few weeks before. We'd not really had a chance to get to know each other since I'd become an adult. Oh, our relationship was good, not strained at all, we just didn't know each other as well as we could have. All that was going to change, though. I'd moved back to Indiana and we were going to hang out a lot. I think were both a little excited, and maybe a little nervous, about the change that was about to take place in our relationship.

The last words I said to my dad were when I told him that my sister would pick me up at the airport when I returned from Chicago. The last time I saw him alive was when he drove away from the airport curb in his Monte Carlo.

A couple of weeks went by and I was again traveling on business, this time to Baltimore. I left on a Monday and when I returned that Thursday night my sister Dina was waiting at my house with her family. I knew something was wrong, and she told me the news. The words that should have been burned into my brain forever were lost almost immediately.

Dad fainted blah blah broken nose blah blah ambulance blah heart stopped blah emergency room blah tried to revive blah blah died.

Dad was dead. My uncle had gone to the hospital, expecting to give Dad a hard time about breaking his nose in a fall at work, only to arrive and be told that his older brother had died. Uncle Wayne had then driven to my grandmother's house and had somehow managed to tell his mother that she'd lost a son. He then called my sister Dina and broke the news to her. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard that must have been for him. Dina let my other sister Neisha know then drove to my house to await my return from Baltimore.

My sisters and I became orphans five years ago today. We'd lost our mother ten years earlier, after a long hospital stay. Back then, we'd had time to prepare for the worst, even though I don't think any of us really believed it would happen.

When Mom died, it was as if a dull ache inside us had suddenly solidified, become a tangible thing that we could at least get a grip on and even push aside somewhat. When Dad died it was like a stake through the heart. The shock, at least for me, completely overwhelmed the grief. In a way, it still does, and I'm oddly grateful for that. After my mom's funeral I went back to my home in Omaha and went on with my life. A sadder life, of course, but less sad because my physical separation from my family aided in my mental separation from what had happened.

After my dad's death there was, and could be, no separation. My sisters I and went to the apartment the next day to clean out Dad's things. We met with the funeral director to discuss arrangements. We went to Dad's house in the country, the house that my sisters had never had a chance to see, to collect what we could. To keep busy. To keep from having to stop and think.

For the last five years our lives have gone on. I bought a house, partially with the money from my dad's life insurance. My sister had another baby. She got divorced. My other sister has developed this obsession with Renaissance Faires. We've all gone on because we've had to. We've had to play the hand that we were dealt. Folding is not an option.

The rest of the world has gone on as well. The Internet bubble has burst, but not before creating an awful lot of new millionaires. The passing into the year 2000 ended up being more of a media event than the disaster many were predicting. We elected (sort of) a new President. And the United States, perhaps even the world, became a much scarier place when that second plane struck the World Trade Center.

Every now and then, not as often as before but still more often than I'd like, I'm struck by the absurdity and unfairness of it all. Dad worked jobs he hated for his whole life so his family would be taken care of. He lost his wife when he was forty-six. He bought a little house in the country, made it livable, and eagerly awaited an early retirement. He never got that retirement. That time to simply relax and enjoy the fruits of his lifetime of labor. What he got was a new suit and a place in the ground next to my mother.

On my bad days I cannot stop wondering (boy do I wish I could) what Dad's last minutes were like. Did he know what was happening? Was he in pain? Was he scared? I'll never know the answer to those questions, and it bothers me more than words can say. Was he there for us our whole lives and then, when he needed us the most, we couldn't be there because it all happened too fast?

We may not have been able to be there for Dad, but we did our very best to be there for each other. As hard as the loss was, it may well have been impossible for any of us had we been unable to call on our family and friends to share the burden of the shock and grief.

My father was David Martin Siltz. He was born on December 17th, 1941 (Ten days after Pearl Harbor) and died on November 12th, 1998. He was 56 years old.

He grew up in Southern Indiana with his parents, Stanley and Dorothy Siltz, and his brothers Wayne and Stanley.

He married Launa Harmon when he was 21. He and his wife had three children; David, Dina, and Neisha. They in turn gave him between four and seven grandchildren, depending on how you count them.

For several years he built fences for a living. After that he delivered propane gas. Then he turned to factory work, making, among other things, little rubber things shaped like french fries that were used by other factories to make things like tires. He worked hard both at home and away. There was never much money but there was always enough.

He pulled his son and daughter out of bed to watch the first man walk on the Moon, though he knew they were probably too young to remember it.

When his oldest children were little they'd often ask him to draw for them. His favorite things to draw were Chevrolet Impalas. He always drew a checkered flag and a trophy off to the side, and money floating around, and it made his son laugh.

He lost his beloved wife on January 16th, 1988. Just 13 days before their 25th wedding anniversary. He remarried once, a couple of years afterwards, but was soon divorced and single again.

He spent his last years in a little apartment in New Albany. "Just a place to sleep," he'd always say. His real home was the little camper, and later the little house, in the country that he'd escape to whenever his work schedule allowed it.

He loved cars, and could identify all the old cars after the slightest glance. He bought a Corvette and a Monte Carlo SS and withstood the accusations of "mid-life crisis" from his family. He even joined a car club and helped judge entries at their shows.

He could spot a four leaf clover "while driving down the road" as his brother Stan joked.

He was very good at pitching horseshoes. He'd learned from his father.

He liked to play pool with his friends, and put a pool table in his country house - the first time he'd had enough room for one in nearly thirty years.

He liked Benny Hill and James Bond and the old spaghetti westerns.

He was a big fan of Anne Murray.

All of his radios were tuned to the oldies station.

He would read voraciously, usually science fiction novels, and in his locker at work on his last day he had a half-finished book that his son had loaned to him. That book was buried with him.

He would work a crossword puzzle every morning after a night shift, and carry a book of them to work and fill them in throughout the long shifts.

He could walk into a bar that he hadn't visited in years and always be greeted by name by someone there who knew him and was glad to see him. He had friends everywhere.

His favorite beer was Falls City, and it bothered him so much when that beer's recipe changed that he switched brands until it was changed back.

He had all the state capitals memorized.

He was a fan of all types of auto racing, and would often tape races to watch on his days off work.

On his last day he took some cash from the bank. He was scheduled to be off the next several days and was planning to go to his house in the country. That money instead went to pay for the clothes he wore to his funeral.

Throughout his entire life people would constantly misspell his last name. When he died, some newspapers misspelled his name in his obituary.

At his funeral, a friend from work put a book of crossword puzzles and a pencil in his casket. They were buried with him.

His favorite song was the theme from the movie "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." It was played at his funeral.

Everyone has a father, and most people lose theirs at some point. I'm not going to say that my dad was any better than anyone else's. He was better than many, certainly. He yelled but was never cruel. He punished but was never abusive. He played a very big part in making me the person I am today. I have the same sense of humor, the same love of science fiction, the same fascination with the future and outer space. My love of pool started with the table we had in our basement when I was a child.

So much of what makes me who I am came from him.

My father was David Martin Siltz. He died five years ago today.

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