Saturday, November 21, 2015

High Hopes.

The amber haze, illuminated from the burning light above, slightly stung my eyes. Sitting there facing the rest of my life, I couldn't help but consider that cold day in February, oh so long ago. A rushing river diverged at that moment, left to meander and crawl through life's deepest valley. We had our time in the sun. Those memories and regrets were left to be packed away by careless moving men, longing to punch the clock and down a beer. To call the whole thing hopeless would be a massive understatement.

Living apart from someone doesn't mean you stop loving them. In the days and weeks that follow, you tend to love them even more. I came to understand this first hand. It's funny... you miss the things that used to drive you crazy most of all. I hated it when she borrowed my toothbrush or locked her keys in the car. Even worse, those times when she'd call me just to argue over something trivial. Ironic how those trivial matters don't seem so insignificant in the long run. You forget about the fancy jewelry and expensive vacations. You remember getting caught in the rain and impromptu evenings spent in bed.

It occurred to me over lunch the value of a sandwich. Two perfect pieces of bread create this pocket of wonder from which we attain nourishment. The beautiful part is that anything can be put in that pocket -- ham, lettuce, potato chips, tuna salad, mustard, eggs, horseradish, pickles, leftover turkey. As of late, no matter what I put into my sandwich, they all taste like the same thing -- regret.

My lungs are beginning to burn, but in a way I hadn't expected. The best way I can describe it is to imagine swallowing a mouthful of black pepper and glass. Is there an elephant sitting on my chest? No... that's the weight of my guilt finally pressing fully against me.

Where did we leave our love? Was it on that train to the city for Christmas? Maybe on the street with the garbage and happy people. Or was it much later, after the new year? Somewhere along the way, I missed a step. Though, she would say I missed the whole damn staircase. Maybe she's right. It's not like my whole body doesn't ache. When I hit the ground, did I fall on her knife or mine?

Honestly, I didn't know where I'd wind up tonight. The green highway signs and falling snow began to meld into this warped blur of a trailing spectroscape. Just keep going north, no matter what. Keep driving. Through this clearing in the forest. Down this dirt road. A barn up ahead. Overgrown with brambles and thorns, I forced my way in. And now, only an old oil lamp to light my swelling darkness. If not for the rudimentary illumination, I wouldn't know where I ended and the twilight began.

My senses are beginning to play tricks on me. There, behind that stack of logs, a brash gremlin skitters across the floor, umbrella in hand. A sparkling hornet sprite whizzes through my cabin, sprinkling confetti. The apparition in the backseat, clipboard in hand, is telling me to hurry up.

Tick. 11:09 and one second. Tick. Two seconds. Tick. Three seconds. Nothing chimes louder than a watch on a dead man's wrist. The hose coming through my window is the closest I've been to her in what seems like an eternity. As the warmth fades from the lamp and the night paints my skin the color of nothing, I compose one last, fleeting promise. Eternity itself can't keep me from making this right because I have high hopes. On a distant shore, in a different life, we'll make our love grow anew. You can use my toothbrush. Don't worry about the car keys. Let's allow ourselves to get caught in the rain. Next time, I'll know what really matters. Next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment