#MidWeekBluesBuster – Week 06 : A Rainy Night In Soho

I didn’t live in Soho, and never would. But, it was a rainy night, and I couldn’t help but hear the rain striking the windows to my apartment. It wasn’t a downpour, just a good, steady, soaking rain.

I turned out all the lights, then pulled the curtains aside, so I could look out, over the street. I pushed the ear buds for my music player into my ears, and turned on my music. Wouldn’t you know it. The first song it randomly picked, “A Rainy Night in Soho”. I’m not a fan of that song, and for a moment I considered pushing the next button. Instead, I let the song keep playing.

I looked out the window, watching the rain fall and the black clouds shift around in the sky while that song played. I saw a couple hop out of a cab, him first, opening his umbrella, and helping her out. He paid the fare, and the two of them walked, hand-in-hand, into the building across the street. I don’t know why, but that made me smile. Maybe I was imagining they’d had dinner together, at some expensive restaurant, then returned home for a night that started with betting naked, and went from there. Maybe I was imagining I was him, and when we got to the apartment, I turned on the music, and took her in my arms, and we slow danced, just enjoying the feel of holding each other.

Whatever the reason, I knew it was something I shouldn’t have done, because it made me remember. Her. I sometimes wondered why we have memories. Why we just can’t forget, or erase them, like we can erase files on a computer. “I don’t like that song any more, I’m deleting it.” Or “That book makes me cry, I’m deleting it from my library.” But that’s not how our memories work, is it?

And by the end of that damn song, I remembered how she’d told me, one day, “We will always be friends.”

I’d asked her, “Really?”

She’d smiled, and hugged me. “Yes. Always.”

The next day, she was gone. I woke up, and she’d left during the night. I’d called her number, but got no answer. I’d gone all the places I knew she went, and never found her. She left. And never said, “Good-bye.”

That was two years ago. And that night, watching the rain, watching that couple from the cab, listening to that stupid song, I stood there, looking out my window, and remembered her, and her last words to me. “Yes. Always.”

Sometimes, I wish I could erase my memories of her.

451 Words
@LurchMunster


At the request of Ruth Long, I decided to try my hand at Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

Wishes : To Be Understood

[Originally Written on Saturday, 05 March 2011

NOTE : I’ve decided to re-post this one. Given what happened today. Given the truth that’s hidden in it. A truth too many people will never understand. A truth too many people simply can’t accept.]

There is a wish I have.
A wish I’ve always had.
A wish I’ve never spoken of.
A wish I’ve had to hide.

I have always wondered why.
Why don’t I understand
What I’ve done
When I’ve done something wrong.
What I’ve done
That scares someone.
Or upsets someone.
Or makes someone wish
I’d just go away.

I have always wondered why.
Why I always hide along the wall,
Or someplace out-of-the-way,
At a birthday party,
Or a wedding,
Or a lunch at work
When someone’s going to leave.
Or a social gathering,
Of any other kind.
Why I never speak
To anyone at all,
Unless they speak to me.
And even then
Why it’s so very hard
For me to say
Anything at all.

And always,
Why it seems
That everyone’s relieved
When I finish talking.
When I go silent
Once again.

I have always wondered why
No one believes
Anything I say.
Like this past Thursday.
When I told my boss,
“I’m a 51-year-old.
In a 51-year-old body.
With a 51-year-old intellect.
But I’m just a teenager
Emotionally.
And I don’t know
That I’ll ever get much further
Than that.”

And my boss,
He said to me,
“You will.”

And I told him
What I’d told my doctor,
And the Fit for Duty Examiner.
That I had no idea
When this whole thing started
What it was I’d done
That got me banned
From work.
That I didn’t understand at all.

And my boss,
He said to me,
“Yes. You did.
You just had never had to face
The consequences
Of the actions that you took.”

I told these things
To my doctor
The very next day.
And when I told him
I was just a teenager
Emotionally.
My doctor said to me,
“And you may never get
Beyond that stage.”

And when I told my doctor
That I didn’t know
In October,
What it was that I had done
That got me banned
From the land of work,
My doctor said to me,
“I know.
And after all this time,
With us having reviewed
What happened in those days.
Now you know
What got you banned.
And you know
What you won’t do again.”

Damn straight.
If you put your hand
On the burner
On the range,
While the burner’s glowing red,
It’s frakkin’ gonna’ hurt.

And I’ve learned
That if I do the things
That got me banned from work,
It’s frakkin’ gonna’ hurt.

No one ever told me
They were wrong.
No one ever explained.
And I had to learn things
The hard way
Once again.

So there is this wish I have.
That I’ve always had.
A simple wish, really.

All I wish for is to be
Understood.
Not punished.
Not abused.
Not bruised.
Not penalized.
Not ostracized.
Not locked away.
Not barred from life.

I just wish to be understood.
And I’ll know I am
When someone finally explains to me
All the things
That I don’t know.
All the things
That every one of them
Takes for granted.
And assumes
That everybody knows.

Because I don’t.
And I never have.

And no one save my family,
My lady
And my children.
And my doctors.
Have ever really understood
That I am this way.

And that I really
Just don’t know
All those secret things
That everyone assumes
That everybody knows.

Saturday, 05 March 2011

Wishes: To Be Understood

There is a wish I have.

A wish I’ve always had.

A wish I’ve never spoken of.

A wish I’ve had to hide.

I have always wondered why.

Why don’t I understand

What I’ve done

When I’ve done something wrong.

What I’ve done

That scares someone.

Or upsets someone.

Or makes someone wish

I’d just go away.

I have always wondered why.

Why I always hide along the wall,

Or someplace out of the way,

At a birthday party,

Or a wedding,

Or a lunch at work

When someone’s going to leave.

Or a social gathering,

Of any other kind.

Why I never speak

To anyone at all,

Unless they speak to me.

And even then

Why it’s so very hard

For me to say

Anything at all.

And always,

Why it seems

That everyone’s relieved

When I finish talking.

When I go silent

Once again.

I have always wondered why

No one believes

Anything I say.

Like this past Thursday.

When I told my boss,

“I’m a 51 year old.

In a 51 year old body.

With a 51 year old intellect.

But I’m just a teenager

Emotionally.

And I don’t know

That I’ll ever get much further

Than that.”

And my boss,

He said to me,

“You will.”

And I told him

What I’d told my doctor,

And the Fit for Duty Examiner.

That I had no idea

When this whole thing started

What it was I’d done

That got me banned

From work.

That I didn’t understand at all.

And my boss,

He said to me,

“Yes. You did.

You just had never had to face

The consequences

Of the actions that you took.”

I told these things

To my doctor

The very next day.

And when I told him

I was just a teenager

Emotionally.

My doctor said to me,

“And you may never get

Beyond that stage.”

And when I told my doctor

That I didn’t know

In October,

What it was that I had done

That got me banned

From the land of work,

My doctor said to me,

“I know.

And after all this time,

With us having reviewed

What happened in those days.

Now you know

What got you banned.

And you know

What you won’t do again.”

Damn straight.

If you put your hand

On the burner

On the range,

While the burner’s glowing red,

It’s frakkin’ gonna’ hurt.

And I’ve learned

That if I do the things

That got me banned from work,

It’s frakkin’ gonna’ hurt.

No one ever told me

They were wrong.

No one ever explained.

And I had to learn things

The hard way

Once again.

So there is this wish I have.

That I’ve always had.

A simple wish, really.

All I wish for is to be

Understood.

Not punished.

Not abused.

Not bruised.

Not penalized.

Not ostracized.

Not locked away.

Not barred from life.

I just wish to be understood.

And I’ll know I am

When someone finally explains to me

All the things

That I don’t know.

All the things

That everyone of them

Takes for granted.

And assumes

That everybody knows.

Because I don’t.

And I never have.

And no one save my family,

My lady

And my children.

And my doctors.

Have ever really understood

That I am this way.

And that I really

Just don’t know

All those secret things

That everyone assumes

That everybody knows.

Finding My Wings : For Amy

Tonight,
I make this wish.
A wish for a friend.
A simple wish
For I have learned,
Those are the best wishes
Of all.

I wish  for you tonight
To find your heart and soul.
Your self.
The you that life intended
To bless this world with
On the day your were born.

It won’t be easy.
I speak from experience.
But that’s not really the point.
Nor is finding that answer
To the question
“Who am I?”

It’s a question I’ve been asking
Of this life
More than twice as long
As you’ve been alive.
And I truly don’t know
If there’s an answer
At all.

But I’ve learned.
It’s not the answer
That matters.
It’s the journey.
The walk.
And all the things that happen
On the way.

It was almost 2 years ago
When the journey I am on
Changed dramatically.
I’ve told you that before.
And that change
Was wrought with pain.
More than I have ever known.

But it seems to me
Sometimes
Pain is what we have to face
To take the next step
Down the path
Of the journey
Each of us is on.

I know to many souls
That stopped walking
Long ago.
The pain got in the way.
And they became afraid.
And settled for staying
Where they were.

They haven’t changed.
They haven’t grown.
In years.
Some of them in decades.

I know this to be true.
Not so very long ago
I was one of them.

But you,
My friend,
Have not let fear
Stop you.

I can’t imagine
What it took
To take the step
You took this week.

I wish I could tell you
What it is you’ll find
On this journey you are on.
But I know I can’t.
For it’s your journey to take
Not mine.

Life’s like that.
We’re each different.
We each walk
A different path.

But I’ve seen you take
Your next big step
Along the way.
And I can‘t help but feel
It was so hard to do.
And I can’t help but know
It’s what you heart told you
You had to do.

And that’s good enough for me.

Follow your heart,
Dear friend.
For written in your heart
Is the story of the path
Life wished for you
On the day
You were born.

If you listen carefully.
It will never lie to you.
It will simply be your guide
In life.

On your journey
To find you.

Tonight,

I make this wish.

A wish for a friend.

A simple wish

For I have learned,

Those are the best wishes

Of all.

I wish  for you tonight

To find your heart and soul.

Your self.

The you that life intended

To bless this world with

On the day your were born.

It won’t be easy.

I speak from experience.

But that’s not really the point.

Nor is finding that answer

To the question

“Who am I?”

It’s a question I’ve been asking

Of this life

More than twice as long

As you’ve been alive.

And I truly don’t know

If there’s an answer

At all.

But I’ve learned.

It’s not the answer

That matters.

It’s the journey.

The walk.

And all the things that happen

On the way.

It was almost 2 years ago

When the journey I am on

Changed dramatically.

I’ve told you that before.

And that change

Was wrought with pain.

More than I have ever known.

But it seems to me

Sometimes

Pain is what we have to face

To take the next step

Down the path

Of the journey

Each of us is on.

I know to many souls

That stopped walking

Long ago.

The pain got in the way.

And they became afraid.

And settled for staying

Where they were.

They haven’t changed.

They haven’t grown.

In years.

Some of them in decades.

I know this to be true.

Not so very long ago

I was one of them.

But you,

My friend,

Have not let fear

Stop you.

I can’t imagine

What it took

To take the step

You took this week.

I wish I could tell you

What it is you’ll find

On this journey you are on.

But I know I can’t.

For it’s your journey to take

Not mine.

Life’s like that.

We’re each different.

We each walk

A different path.

But I’ve seen you take

Your next big step

Along the way.

And I can‘t help but feel

It was so hard to do.

And I can’t help but know

It’s what you heart told you

You had to do.

And that’s good enough for me.

Follow your heart,

Dear friend.

For written in your heart

Is the story of the path

Life wished for you

On the day

You were born.

If you listen carefully.

It will never lie to you.

It will simply be your guide

In life.

On your journey

To find you.

The 9th Friday Night Write : Somewhere Down That Crazy River

I watch people, you know. Yeah. I do. I watch everything they do. It’s something I have to do. Even though it’s really hard sometimes. That’s why I visited Nick’s at least once a week. Almost always late on Friday night. To watch. Groups of friends. Couples. And to wish. Just once. I understood them. I was like them.

Like that group at the table along the windows. Eight people. Eight friends. Laughing. Drinking. Eating chips and dip. Sharing stories. How’s that work? How do they know what to say? How to behave? When to laugh? When to be quiet? When to talk? I watch everything. I’ve turned my mind into a recorder, recording everything I see. So I can go over it. Take it apart. Analyze every motion. Every smile. Every word. Every laugh. Every look. Everything. How do they know what to do? How do they know when? I’ve never been able to figure that out.

Sometimes I think it’s useless. Like some part of me is missing. A part they all have. So I always end up watching. And never understanding. Sometimes I feel like I’m on a tiny life raft. In the ocean. With no fresh water to drink. Water, water everywhere. And not a drop to drink. People, people everywhere. And not one I understand.

There’s a couple in a booth along the wall. Holding hands. He leans forward every now and then, and kisses her. Right on the lips. In public. Everyone can see. She sits right next to him. His arm around her shoulders. Both smiling. Talking. Laughing. Flirting. Isn’t that what it’s called? Flirting? I think that’s what it’s called. I asked a girl once. What is flirting. She just grinned. And put her hand on my arm, and did that “push him away” kind of move. “Oh, you know,” was all she said.

But I don’t know. Is it flirting or something more? Will they walk separate ways when they leave Nick’s tonight? Will they go home to separate houses? Or will they get in the same car? I don’t know. I can’t tell. And I feel like everyone at Nick’s knows what’s going on with them.

Except for me.

There’s the five guys, sitting at the bar. One drinking. The others not. What’s that all about? I watch them. It’s like the one drinking is telling all the stories. Doing all the talking. And the others are there listening. Nodding their heads. “Yeah, man. That just sucks.” Did something happen to the one? Something bad? And the others are there, just being his friends? Or are they there, celebrating something? Getting a friend totally blitzed. I don’t know. I can’t tell. All I can do is watch. And wonder.

All I can do is watch.

And wonder.

And wish I was like them.

Finding My Wings : For Deborah

Deborah.
You were right.
I do need to find my wings.
I do need to fly.
I need to show
Everyone around me
They have nothing
To be afraid of.

I need to remind them
Of the words of Jesus.
“Don’t be afraid.”

My soul cries tears these days.
I know you know that.
I know you’ve see that.
Those tears are true.
They are there
Because they should be.

I can no longer close my eyes
To the hurt I see
In those around me.

It’s time for me
To find my wings.
And fly.

Deborah.
My long time friend.
There are times I wish
I could just talk
With you.

There are times I wish
I could ask you
How you cope
With all the hurt you see
In the people around you.

But when I stop
And listen to the words
My heart whispers
In my ear,
I know.

You understand.
There’s nothing
To be afraid of.

And I know too.
That’s what you tried
To show me.
Years ago.

Just like I know
I need to show
The people around me
They don’t have to be
Afraid.

I wish there was a way
I could explain it to them.
But I know I can’t.
I know they have to learn,
Like I did.
To listen to their hearts.

I wish it was not too late
For some of them.
But I now it is.
I know they’ll never change.
Never wake up.
Never see
What’s going on.

I wish there was a way
I could tell them
That the emptiness
They sometimes feel.
Is real.
Not a figment
Of their imaginations.
Not a bad dream.

I wish I could show them
How much they run.
How much they hide.
All the ways they escape.
From life.

It’s not just the ones
That turn to drugs.
Or sex.
Or alcohol.

It’s the video games.
The chat rooms.
The smart phones.
Facebook.
Twitter.
Tumblr.
The erotic romance novels.
The oceans of books.
The movies.

Anything, and everything.
Just to avoid the feeling
That something’s wrong.

Deborah.
My long time friend.
You were right.
It’s time for me
To find my wings.

It’s time for me
To find a way
To touch the lives
Around me
Each day.

And if I can.
With God’s help.
To wake them up.
And show them.
They don’t have to be afraid
To live
Anymore.

Mark.

Fairies : Sunshine Got To Say Good-Bye

Dream looked at her adopted sister, Sunshine.
“I know I promised
I would make a dream for you.
Any dream you wish.
But, sister,
Is that really
The story you wish?”

Sunshine smiled, “Yes.”

As Sunshine slept that night,
Dream came to visit her.
She placed her little hands
On Sunshine’s cheeks.
“Dream,” was all she said.

Sunshine had a dream that night
Of the night
Her Father died
Trying to save her sister
Musica.

She saw her sister Musica,
Broken and bleeding
On the floor.
A man was standing over her.
Beating her to death.

Sunshine’s father entered,
Breaking through the door.
His fairy wings were broken.
He could not fly right then.

The roof of the house
Just lifted up
And sailed away.
Leaving Scream the dragon
Standing there,
Looking into the room.

Scream picked up the man
Beating Musica.
And crushed him
Like he was a grape.

Then Scream screamed,
He gently lifted Musica.
To take her someplace safe.

As he left the village that night
He used his dragon breath
Setting everything on fire.

Sunshine’s father died that night.
In the fires Scream had set.
He couldn’t fly
To get away.

Sunshine never got the chance
To say good-bye to him.

But in her dream that night,
Sunshine got to speak
With her Father one last time.
In her dream that night,

Sunshine got to say good-bye.

Questions On A Sunday Morning

What to do,
What to do,
What to do…
Sigh…

Here I am.
Two years into this journey
That began
On it’s own.
This journey that has changed
Every detail of my life.
That’s cost me everything
That I once knew.
Every friend
That I once had.
And forced me
To start my life over
From nothing but the dirt
And ashes
Of the person I once was.

And, God help me,
I can’t decide at all
What the heck to do.
What and who
I wish to be.

Hell,
Half the time
I haven’t got a clue
What the heck I feel.

I have a part-time job.
First part-time job I’ve had
Since 1981.
That’s longer that a lot of people
That I know
Have even been alive.

And it sometimes
Feels so very wrong
To me.
Even though I know
It’s not.

Sometimes when I go to work.
In my part-time job.
I feel as if
I shouldn’t be there.
As if I should
Have a different job
Somewhere.
Making the kind of money
That I used to make.

But I know
That’s just a feeling
That the society I live in
Pushes down on me.
The way people react
When they hear that I make
25% of what I did
2 years ago…
Let’s just say
It’s interesting to see
How people think that’s sad.
And react as if
They feel sorry for me.

I don’t.

So many of the people
That I used to know
Are gone.
They left.
And now they stay away
From me.

They saw what happened.
And I can’t help but feel
As if they’re scared
That just by knowing me,
Just by association,
What happened in my life,
Will happen in their lives too.

That’s pretty sad,
Isn’t it.

Then again,
I’m the only guy I know
That’s 53 years old
And doesn’t know
What he wants to be,
Or what he wants to do
For the next decade
Or two,
Or even three.

I’m exploring writing
As a way
To make a little money
Someday.

And I know
That with a little time
And a little effort,
I could get a few more
Industry certifications,
And thus get the paperwork
That proves
I can do certain things.

And then find employment
Somewhere.
Working full-time
Once again.

But then again,
I could explore,
Day by day,
Finding ways to work
For me.
And work independently.

It’s times like this
I find I wish
I could figure out

Who and what
I wish to be.
And when I feel this way
I have to remember
Once again,
The lesson that I’ve learned
In these past two years.

Some things
Just take time to do.
And that’s all there is
To say.