Inside My Eyelids (10)

It had been a rough night, filled with tossing, and turning, and destroying the covers on the bed. Finally, I gave up, got up, made my pit stop, got some clothes on, and made my bed.

Then I went to brush my teeth, only to forget to brush them, and instead spend my time staring into the mirror, and wishing I could see anything but her. She was there, in the mirror, looking at me, just like she had in that dream, endlessly, all night. Asking that one question, over and over, “Why?”

“Why are you haunting me?” I put a hand on the mirror, right where her cheek would have been. “What’s wrong?”

I knew damn well what was wrong. I knew she was trapped in her home, not able to get out, and visit her friends. Not able to work. Not able to go to the library, which had been her favorite place. Not able to do anything she’d always done.

“You’re someone I have only seen one time. Why are you always in my dreams?” Because I wanted to be able to visit her. Spend time watching movies, or listening to music. Spend time eating chocolates, and drinking soda. Spend time. With her. And be her friend.

That’s why she was in my dreams. That’s why she asked why, endlessly.

I looked to God in heaven, and asked again, like I have countless times before, “Why can’t I help?”

242 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 401 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. And more words in whatever it is that’s writing itself have turned up. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up every week.

What If I Get It Wrong?

A blank screen. Yeah. That. Nothing on it. And I’m supposed to fill it in with words. Make a story. Produce a literary “big bang”, producing something from nothing. Creating a world where none existed.

Yeah. That.

Life.

Life disturbs me. I find myself thinking, this morning, “Life’s another blank screen, ain’t it?” Yeah. That. Nothing filling it. No plan. No plot. No dreams. No goals. Nothing. And I’m supposed to fill it in. Make it something. Produce a living “big bang”, turning an empty slate into something. Creating me from a blank sheet of paper.

Yeah. That.

Such simple questions. People ask them all the time. “Who are you?”, and “What do you want?” “What do you believe?” and “What do you think?” and “What do you feel?”

And I’m learning, slowly, painfully, that I don’t know. I don’t know the answers to any of those questions. I live. I work. I do what I’m supposed to. But, what does that mean?

Yeah. 54 years old, and I can’t answer the same question our social system expects children to answer. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Well. I can answer it. But no one likes the answer. “I don’t know. And I don’t really care. And why does it matter anyway?”

There’s oceans of pressures in life. Everyone saying, “make a decision.” I’ve figured that much out. “What do you want to be? What do you want to do? Who are you?” I couldn’t tell you when those questions started. When I started feeling like people were always asking them of me. How many times I’ve felt like they want an answer. Something other than, “I don’t know.” Certainly something other than, “Why do I have to answer that? Why can’t I just wonder around, and see what happens?”

Sometimes, I think I don’t really want to know the answer to any of those questions. Sometimes I think I don’t want to know who I am. What I want. How I feel. Sometimes, I think I should just be happy, and content, not knowing. I don’t have to make any decisions, do I?

See. I’ve learned. Making decisions is painful. That’s the best way to get hurt, wounded, hammered, scared. Make a decision. Make a choice. Take an action. Deliberately. I did that. I did!

Four years ago.

It didn’t end well.

I’ve tried before. Like back in high school. And in college. Making decisions. Taking action. It never ended well.

My doc says, “You’re being vague, Mark. Be more precise. Be definitive. Be direct. Stop being so vague.”

But. But. But. If I’m vague, I don’t have to say what I think. I don’t have to figure out what I feel. I don’t have to know the answers. Any of the answers. To any of the questions.

Like “Who am I?”

I hate that question.

That question terrifies me.

If I know who I am, if I answer, what does it mean? How does it end? What happens next? What happens if the world around me knows who I am, what I feel, what I want to be, what I want to do?

Yeah. That.

Do I have to make a choice? Do I have to figure out me? Is it so wrong to not know? And to not want to know?

And what if I get it wrong?

Fairies : For Rose (Part 5)

By the fourth day of his journey, Sword was feeling tired. He’d slept better that night, but he wasn’t sure if he was getting used to sleeping in trees, or if he was just so exhausted that he couldn’t help but sleep. He only knew that if he kept heading west, he’d eventually come to the lake, or to the river feeding it. And he knew he had at least 3 days left on his journey.“This is where it gets hard,” he thought. His mother, Oceana, had taught him to be prepared for the middle of things. That time when the excitement of starting had ended, and the end wasn’t close enough to draw you in. That time when you felt defeated. When you felt you couldn’t go on any more. When you felt you’d never, ever reach the end. And you wondered what you’d been thinking when you started.

Sword had never tried anything like this 6 plus day journey to the lake. And he found himself wondering if he should just give up, and ask Musica or the dragons for help. As he continued moving from tree to tree, he found himself wondering if he could make that short flight between trees again. He found himself wondering what the point was.

He wound up falling into a pattern. “Don’t think. Just do,” and an endless mantra of, “Just one more tree.” He was so tired he didn’t even watch the birds, rabbits, squirrels and other animals. He concentrated on just continuing his journey. Tree after endless tree.

He thought he should try something. Anything to pass the time. So, he counted trees as he moved from tree to tree. At first, that helped. It was new. It was a change. “One. Two. Three. Four.” But the counting went on, and on, and on. “956 trees. 957 trees. 958 trees.” Even setting targets for mini-celebrations like, 1000 trees, 2000 trees, 2500 trees, became old.

As he moved from tree to tree, his pace slowed. And he came to a complete stop several times. His journey had gone from, “How hard can it be?” and “I can’t wait to see Rose!” to, “I’ll never get there. This will never end. I’ll be lost in the trees forever.”

Sword took a break during the day. He washed himself in a creek. That felt good. Getting clean. Washing the dust, dirt, tree-bark, and bits of leaves off of his body helped. He found some berries, and he ate them. It wasn’t meat. It wasn’t seaweed. And while the berries did fill the empty space that his stomach had become, they didn’t give him any new energy. He still felt exhausted. And helpless. And beaten.

He climbed back into the trees. And sat down on a limb. Perhaps he should just take the afternoon off. Collapse. Sleep in the trees, and try again tomorrow. Perhaps he should admit defeat. That this journey was too much for him to handle.

That’s when a white owl landed next to him in the trees. There was something oddly familiar about that owl. As if they’d met before. And that’s when the owl spoke. “Don’t give up, young one.” The owl looked right at Sword. “Don’t give up.”

Sword was surprised. And he finally recognized the owl. It was the owl that was always around the fair girl, Dream. The owl, Whisper.

“Sword, young warrior, know the truth. Know that you are locked in battle. A battle to believe. A battle to become what you wish to be. A battle to become the warrior you dream of being.”

“What do you mean, Whisper?”

“Young warrior. You fight the greatest enemy. You fight self-doubt.”

“Self-doubt?”

“Yes. On the one hand, you try to believe in yourself. In what you’re doing. What you want to do. What your dreams are. And on the other, you doubt yourself. Believing you are not worthy. Not capable. Not strong enough. Not good enough.”

Scream nodded. He knew the words Whisper spoke were true. He knew those words explained what he’d been feeling that day. Explained why he had struggled all day with moving from tree to tree. Why he’d been unable to think of anything all day other than how endless the journey was.

“Whisper. How do I learn to believe in myself? How do I defeat self-doubt?”

“One step at a time. One hour at a time. One day at a time.” The owl hooted. “By remembering why you do what you do. By understanding that tired is normal. Exhaustion is normal. And self-doubt itself is normal. But understanding everything you feel is normal. And just what you feel. And it’s OK to feel. And what you feel changes over time. Changes with each step you take. Each hour you breathe. Each day your heart beats.”

Sword placed his hand over his heart, and felt his own heartbeat. He felt himself breathe.

“I just have to feel? To remind myself why?” Scream asked the owl, “How do I do that? When I hurt this way. When I’m this tired. When it seems I’ll never get there.” He shook his head. “How do I do that?”

Whisper spoke once more. “By believing you can. By believing in you. And in the dreams you reach for.”

The owl stayed on the tree branch with Scream for a time. And somehow, Scream started to feel better. “I just have to believe in me. And in my dreams,” he though. And before long, he was smiling.

He remembered, “I’m going to see Rose. And her sisters.” He remembered, “I’m going to get to hold her hand.” He remembered how he felt when he had held her hand before. How it just felt right. Like he was meant to hold her hand. He remembered what it felt like to just talk with her. To just walk with her through the trees. To just stare into her eyes. He remembered how everything was OK when he was with her.

And he smiled. “Thank you, Whisper. For reminding me,” he told the little owl. “I remember now. I’m going to visit Rose.”

Whisper hooted, flapped his wings, and then took too the sky. And as he left, Sword heard him say, “Hang in there, young warrior. You will be OK.”

Through the rest of that day, Sword made good progress, moving from tree to tree. And reminding himself, “I’m going to see Rose.” And somehow, that made everything OK.

I Remember…

As I sit here tonight.
Writing down these words.
I remember.
God help me.
I remember.

I remember a hug.
That wasn’t supposed to happen.
That was a big surprise.
That I never saw coming.

I remember the texture
Of the clothing she wore.
My fingers burning the sensation
Of the fabric
Of her sweater
Into my memory.

I remember
The way her hair felt.
Against my cheek.
Another memory.
Burned into my brain cells.
Forever.

I remember.
So much.

Other memories are there.
Like another hug.
Oh, so long ago.
I can still remember
The smell of her perfume.
The texture of her hair.
How it felt
To have her arms
Around my neck.

I can remember other things.
So many other things.

Watching tears fall.
From hazel eyes.
And wishing.
I could somehow.
Turn back time.
And change the things
That caused those tears.
That caused the hurt
I could not help but see
In those eyes.
That is forever
Burned into my memory.

I can remember
Countless things.

The time I reached
Across the barrier
Of socially acceptable behavior.
Of the rules
That I’ve never understood.
And touched the hand
Of a friend.
Because I wanted her to know
That if she ever asked
For my help
I’d always find a way.

I remember
Gifts like these
From life to me.

Priceless memories.

All my life
I’ve wished.
I’ve prayed.
That God would free me
From my hands.
From my ability
To feel such things.

Why, God?
Why?
I’ve asked that countless nights.
I’ve screamed that to the heavens
Out beneath the stars.

Take my hands from me!
I can’t take this anymore!
I don’t want to feel
The things my hands feel!
Why did you give them to me?
Why!

Never once
In all the years
Did God answer me.

Never even once.

Instead, time passed.
And I collected memories
I sometimes wish
I didn’t have.
I sometimes wish
I could forget.

Until I finally understood
A little truth of life.
That shocked me.
Stunned me.
Caused my heart to ache
Within my chest.
And my soul
To shed more tears.

Until I came to understand
That not everyone has the gift
Of hands like mine.
Not everyone has memories
Forever burned into their mind
Of the things they’ve felt.
With the fingers of their hands.

Until I came to understand
That not everyone
Can see the hurt,
The pain,
The loneliness,
In another’s eyes.

Until I learned
That my heart aches
When one of my friends
Cries.
And the hearts
Of so many others.
People that I’ve known
All my life.
Don’t feel anything at all.

There are times,
Like tonight,
As I sit here
Writing down these words.

That I wish
I had a way
To just turn my hands off.
For just a little while.
So I could get a break
From all the things they feel.

But I know.
I know.
That the sensitivity of my hands,
And all the thngs they feel.
Is a part of me.
And without them
I would not be,
And could not be,
Who I am meant to be.

My hands feel so many things.
And because they do.
I can see the pain
In another’s eyes.
I can hear the music
In another’s laughter.
And my heart remains alive
Inside of me.

God gave me these hands.
So that I could learn,
And know,
And understand.

That it’s OK to feel.
And it’s OK to care.

I remember the texture
Of the sweater
That she wore
On the day that she hugged me.
Even though that happened
Years ago.

I remember things like this.
As if they happened
Yesterday.

Can you?