I’ve waited minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, and year after year for the pain to go away. But it seems the longer I wait, the worse it gets. The more I medicate the more I think about it. And when I manage to let it go for a bit, the harder it hits me as I lay my head down to sleep.
The pills and the powders and the trees and the booze are unpredictable. It doesn’t matter the amount I take, the pain, it never subsides. Most times it intensifies, or becomes so horrific I scream bloody murder on deaf ears. I smile and wave, I might even dance a little bit, but I never let it go. I can still see the images, feel the abuse, remember the smell of the moments that are imbedded in my head forever. They are always with me.
I can smell the smoke of the bridges I’ve burned and feel the intensity of the death I dream.
The family fishing outside my apartment can’t tell, but I envy them. They cast their lines and worry only of the fish that may grab hold and reward their efforts, and the ducks that stroll politely by, picking at seeds and running from the geese. They know not that I glance their way and wonder what it feels like to be happy and calm.
Even the trees that offer their shade are something to be envied. Their budding branches shuttering in the cool breeze while basking up the days last offering of warm sun, worrying only if their roots will soak up enough water before the summer drought.
I envy these things, and many others; not because I am a jealous man sitting on my deck, but because I am lonely child of the Earth seeking understanding.
Every day I wonder where I missed the road sign for an easy life, a stable life. Where I fell asleep on auto pilot and changed course. I guess what I missed was the workshop where they handed out the owners manual to living in America. Where they explain that you’re screwed unless you’re white and rich. Or even just white. Where they explained its not the good things you do in life out of kindness and repsect for others, but that it’s about the money you make for the people that force others into need and create an environment of class and sub-standard equality.
I missed the story in the Bible that told us that fathers beating their children over shoes was acceptable and mothers giving up their children for sexual affairs should be expected. I missed the lecture in history class that told me blacks killing blacks was right and blacks killing whites goes against the plans. I missed the lecture that informed us racism should be passed on from generation to generation and all movements to abolish it will be dealt with quietly, but swiftly by the government.
I take a few more pills and chug an American beer and wonder why clothes mean more than integrity. Why a person who spends a hundred dollars on shoes becomes more popular than the person who spends twenty. I wonder why one side of town looks like England after World War 2 and the other like the TV shows we all worship so much; and yet both sides want the same thing, a recognition of their being. And one side hates the other for having all that money and the other side hates the first for trying to obtain what they so freely flaunt in front of them as the “American Dream.”
I burn another one down and let the smoke settle in my lungs before I exhale and wonder why the government doesn’t legalize this stuff and make itself billions. I wonder if it is truly about its side effects or the fact that Native Americans weren’t as willing to pass the piece pipe as our history books depict. I wonder why we don’t talk about the genocide that as white pilgrims we inflicted on the people that wanted to share their knowledge of this beautiful land and learn as much about the lands of far as they could. I wonder if it was because they were a people of color and not because they made unreasonable demands. I wonder why this beautiful land we thought was so rightfully ours is now being destroyed by an ignorant society balling up a clay model and throwing it away.
I push the really bad thoughts away a little while longer and wonder if anyone else understands what I’m thinking every day. I wonder why that matters to me, and conclude it is a last ditch effort to not feel as alone as I am right now, as alone as life has been since I realized how little value we put in the lives of strangers. Why is it ok to stare blankly into the distance and ignore the people that could hold the answer to that question we have been stuck on our whole lives. The question that lets us take that next step. And we sit there cooly in our groups of mild manored followers posse’s agreeing on the dumbest topics and holding back our deepest fears, not realizing our only real fear is coming off as vulnerable.
But as I chug my last beer and pop my final pills while pulling on the last of my trees, I wonder if tomorrow will offer any change or if I will continue to ask these questions of anaudience of one because no one has the guts to question right from wrong.