Sitting In The Dark

Here I am, again.
In the dark.
Alone.
The cat sleeping
On my lap.

I suspect a normal person
Would give up,
And go to bed.
“Tomorrow’s another day.
I’ll be better.”

Or perhaps they’d
Have a drink.
And watch a movie on TV.
Or something like that.

Perhaps a normal person
Would text message a friend.
And the two of them
Could keep each other company.
Cheer each other up.

I don’t really know,
You know.
What a normal person would do.
On a night like this.
When their depression
Cuts them to the bone.

Sometimes I scream at God.
“Why?
Why me?”
But I know.
It wasn’t God.
It was random chance.
The luck of the draw.
The way the genes
Of Mom and Dad
Mixed.

No sense,
And no use,
Being upset about that.

I never told anyone before.
Why I stopped Prozac
In 2003.
December 6th.
I remember the day.
It was the day I took
The last pill.

I’d taken 20 mg a day
For three years
And two months.
And for the last six months
I felt it.
The depression.
Growing.
Gaining strength.

I knew the Prozac
Wouldn’t work.
Wouldn’t help.
So I stopped taking it.

Now, I’m at that point again.
But I know so much more.
I know how to manage
My biochemical imbalance.
My screwed up neurochemistry.

I walk.
I visit the flowers
In the Botanical Garden.
I watch the ocean
As I walk on the sand.
I stop.
And breathe.
And remember now.
This moment.
This heartbeat.

I used to think
My hands
Were a curse to me.
I’ve learned.
They’re not.
They’re a gift.

I can feel the air I breathe
With them.
I can spread my fingers wide
And feel the air move
In the room.
Feel it pass between
My fingers.
Flow across my palms.

My hands are not a curse.
They’re a gift.
They remind me,
Even in my darkest times,
Even on my darkest nights.

I’m alive.

And I can feel.

I can feel the carpet
With my toes,
And the soles
Of my feet.

I can feel the shirt I wear,
Where it touches me.
If I decide I want to.
All I have to do is stop.
And remember.

I’m alive.

Prozac didn’t teach me that.
I didn’t learn it from a book.
From a friend.
From a doctor.

I learned that
Long ago.
When I was so young.
I had no words
To explain
Anything I’d learned.

And I buried everything.
To be like everyone.

But my heart
And soul.
They knew.
And they found a way
To explain the truth
To me.

I’m not broken.
I’m not evil.
I’m not defective.

I’m Me.

I don’t know
What a normal person
Would do
On a night like this.

Somehow,
I don’t wish to ever know.
Instead,
I wish
The normal people
I have known,
And know now,
Could stop.
And listen.
To their hearts
And souls.

And perhaps they’d know
The drugs,
The medications,
They don’t cure a thing.
All they do
Is help.
Let you catch your breath.
Give you time
To get back on your feet.
And remember how to walk.

No.
The meds don’t kill
My depression.
They don’t remove it
From my life
At all.

Its me that cures
What ails me.
It’s me that remembers
I’m alive.
That learns to live
In each heartbeat.
And each breath.

It’s me that learns to walk.

So I sit here.
Alone.
In the dark.
And I face my self.
My heart.
And soul.
And my depression
That never really goes away.

And I take care of me.
Until I can once more
Smile.

#MWBB 29 : Stay

It broke my heart
To answer you today,
When you asked me,
Please,
Stay.

You asked me to stay with you.
To hold your hand.
To walk with you
Out on the sand
Down by the water’s edge.

“Stay with me,
Please”
You asked.
“Wrap your arms around me
As we watch the sunrise.
And then kiss me again.
And again.”

“Stay with me,
Please”
You asked.
“Hold me when the sun sets.
And then all through the night.”

But I could not stay.

“Stay with me,
Please”
You begged.
You pleaded.
“We can walk through the roses,
Hand in hand.
And spend hours on end
Watching the butterflies
Again.”

My heart ached
As you spoke those words.
If only I could
Spend time with you.
Sitting on the sand at sunrise.
As the sun
Brings the colors of the world
Back to life once more.

If only I could
Kiss your lips
As the ocean waves
Played their songs of life
Once more.

“Stay with me,
Please”
You whispered,
As your fears
brought tears
To your eyes so blue.

You should know.
I love you.
I really do.

But I cannot stay with you.

Both our hearts know
This is true.
Although someday
I may find a way
To return.

Right now
I cannot stay.
For I would be in the way.
I would halt the flow of time.
So you could never change.
And never grow.
And never learn to walk
On your own.

For I know the truth.
I know why you asked.
You pleaded.
You begged.

I know
You are afraid
To be alone.
You are afraid
Of you.

If I stayed
You would use me
As a crutch.
You would put me
In your heart.
Where you need to be.

You would look into the mirror
When you wake up
Every day.
And see me looking back
At you.

You would do everything
I wanted to.
And love every minute of it.
Because you wouldn’t
Have to live
With you.

You would never learn
To see your own eyes
In the mirror.
Stare into their
Clear,
Strong
Blue.

You would never take the time
To stand out on the sand,
Down by the water’s edge.
And listen to the songs
The ocean sings to you.
Watch the world prepare
For its healing rest
As the sun fell from the sky.
Feel the world
Come back to life
As the sun restores
All the color
Painted over by the night.

You would hold my hand
So you would never get the chance
To feel the breeze
Flow between your fingers,
And across your palms.
And your fingertips
Would never feel the texture
Of the sand
On which you stand.

And you would never see
The beauty of the roses
Of the butterflies.
Because you would see me.
Keeping you company.
So you wouldn’t be alone.

If I were to stay
You would never get the chance
To meet yourself.
To be alone.
And learn to see you
As I do.

If I were to stay
You would never learn
Why I love you so.

That is why
I cannot stay.

That is why
I have to go.

533 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry for week 98 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

No One There But Me

I’m afraid of being alone.
With myself and no one else.
When there’s no one to talk with.
Except for me.

But I’m learning.

I’ll have completed
The next step of my journey
When I can spend time
Alone.
With no one but me.
And being alone
Doesn’t hurt me
Any more.

When I’ve learned
How to appreciate me.
The things I like.
The things I feel.
I know right now
I don’t.
At least not all that much.

I have a lot of fears
Of being alone.
If having to face me.
Having to deal with me.
Openly and honestly.

I have a lot of things
I have to change.
Things I have to relearn.
Rules I have to break.
And when those rules are broken,
I have to sweep away
Their remains.
Not let them be rebuilt.

There are so many things
I’ve got go change.
But they all come down
To the same thing.

I have to learn
Not to hate myself.
Not to be afraid of me.

That I’m not defined
By how many people I know.
By how many friends I have.
By how well I get paid.
By how big my house is.
By how nice my car is.

None of those things matter,
In the end.
When you get down to it
What matters most of all
Is learning
To live with myself.

And that’s what I’m working on
Right now.
In this journey
That began
Two years ago.

I’ve come so very far
In only 24 months.
How far, you might ask.

Far enough to know
And understand
I have to learn
To live
With me.

So that on afternoons like this.
When I’m at home.
Alone.
With only me.

I won’t hide from myself.
I won’t find endless things
To kill off time with.
So that I won’t feel
Like everything’s wrong.

So that I’ll be content
To be alone.

With no one there
But me.

Dreams : The Rhododendron Were In Bloom

I parked my car.
Turned the engine off.
Turned to look
At the passengers I had.
It has been a long time
Since I’d had passengers
With me.
A very long time indeed.

My passengers were young.
At least,
Compared to me.
I was pretty certain
I was older
Than their parents.
And both of them were adults.
Both being photographers.

I’d promised them
I’d bring them
To take pictures
Of the flowers
In the garden
That I love.

I couldn’t understand at all
Why they had agreed.
But then again,
It had been a long time
Since anything
Made sense to me.

I’m not that good around people.
Never have been.
And it showed.
I didn’t say much at all
On the drive to the garden.
About the only time I spoke
Was when they spoke to me.

Which pretty much translates
To talking when I had to.

Something bothered me
On the drive
To the garden
That day.
Something in the way
That they behaved.

Or perhaps.
Something in the way
They reacted to me.
I couldn’t tell.
I never knew
When I was doing
Something wrong.

I had a million questions
Racing through my head.
Was it appropriate for me
To be around
Either one of them?
I found I had to ask.
Because I knew
I wouldn’t have clue
How anyone would feel,
What anyone would think
About me taking them
To the garden on that day.

I worry about such things.
I do.
Because I just can’t tell.
I don’t feel any of the pressures
Other people do.
That silent language
That tells people
How to behave.
I’m completely deaf to it.

The only way I can figure out
How to behave
Like everyone expects
Is to make mistakes.
Do things wrong.
And learn.
Because when I ask
What’s appropriate.
No one answers.
They laugh.
Or they tell me
That everyone knows that.
And so do I.

No one understands.
I don’t.
I don’t know at all.
And God,
I wish I did.

Every bit of me
Wanted to escape.
To make sure everyone
Everywhere
Would know
The two of them
Were safe.

That I’d given them a ride
To the garden on that day.
And then I’d simply
Vanished.
So the two of them
Could have fun
Together.
Taking pictures.
Enjoying the beauty
Of that place.

I could feel the panic
That’s a part of me.
A fight or flight defense.
That had kept me alive
For so very many years.

I knew.
I knew
I’d take flight.
The first chance I got.

That’s when the youngest
Of the two of them
Stopped me
Dead in my tracks.

“Show me
Where your favorite flowers are
At this time of year.
I’ve only been here
A few times.
So I don’t know
Where to look.”

That young lady
Looked right at me,
“Show me.
Please.”

All I could do
Was stand there
For a bit.
And look at my two hands.
Shaking like leaves.
As I told myself
Several times,
“Breathe.
Just breathe.”
Until my hands
Calmed down.
And I was able to get past
The fear I was feeling.

At which point
The second of the two
Smiled.
And nodded.
And said,
“Yes. Please show us.
Please won’t you?”

I knew what time of year it was.
I knew what part of the garden
Was in full bloom.
I’d been there
A few days before.

I visited the garden
At least once a month.
And many months
In spring and summer,
I visited the garden
More than once.

I nodded my head,
yes.
And away we went.
The two of them
Walking with me.
Through the garden.
Down the trails.
To where I knew
The rhododendron
Were in full bloom.

Where the two of them
Could take all the pictures
That they wanted too.

And as I walked
Through the rhododendron,
I forgot.
I forgot all the things
That bother me.
All the things
I have to think about.
The things that I don’t know.

And once more
In the garden
That I love.

I was free.

Free to feel.
Free to smile.
Free to cry.
Free to laugh.
Free to be.
Me.

But even then,
I kept off to the side.
And tried to stay
Out of their way.
So they could take the pictures
That they wanted to.
And not worry about me.

So that I would know
That I could not do something
That was not normal.
Something that would disturb them.
So that they would be
Safe from me.

When the trip was over,
And we returned to the car,
They both noticed
I’d grown quiet once more.

That’s when they told me
How much they’d enjoyed
Visiting the garden.

And the oldest of the two
Said something to me
That I’d heard before.
Perhaps a thousand time.
But I’d never understood it
Until then.

“Why are you
So very hard
On your self?
It bothers me.
It bothers us.
To see you
Hurt yourself
The way you do.”

Then the young one spoke,
“We came here with you.
Because you are our friend.
And we wanted to
Walk through the garden
With you.
And take pictures
With you too.”

The oldest spoke once more.
“What’s wrong?
What’s bothering you?”

No one had ever asked me that
Before.
And I was completely lost.
Not knowing what to say.
Or what to do.

And I remembered,
As I stood there,
Unable to speak.
Shaking like crazy.
Trying to remember
Just to breathe,
The words that someone
Had told me
Many years before.

“Why are you so hard on yourself,
My dear friend?
Don’t you know how much
It hurts me
To see you treat yourself
That way?”

I don’t know how,
But I found my voice
On that day,
As we got ready
To get into the car.
When we would all return
To our separate homes.

That’s when I finally spoke.

“I don’t know how
To care for me.”
I looked straight at the ground.
“I never learned.”

And those few words
Would bring more change to me
Than any words,
Or any thing,
That I’d said
Or done
Before.

For I finally understood
What I had to learn.

I had to learn
What the two of them,
And the others
I call my friends,
Saw in me
That I didn’t.

I had to learn
Why they cared for me.
And then perhaps,
Some day.
I could learn
To care for me too.