Mundane Glory

Love is not glamorous.

It is tiring. Simply being in a state of being in which you care about someone, caring about what they do, and coming o terms with their individuality, especially as it pertains to your own, is exhausting.

It is infuriating. That other person is going to do and say things that stir the fires of your anger in a thousand different ways. Sometimes it will be justified. Most of the time, you will be covering up your confusion and your embarrassment with a flash of fury. Sometimes, just the way they walk into a room will get to you.

It is painful. There will be times when your own shortcomings make you wonder if they will still be there when you wake up. They will say things that cut you to the quick, because no one knows how to push your buttons like they do. They will shine a light on things you prefer not to think about, sometimes so swiftly and suddenly it will make you wince.

However.

None of this is bad or wrong. It simply is.

The balance remains.

Because love is also calming. Walking through the door after baring your teeth at the world all day and seeing that person there…it reminds you that you do not struggle in vain or alone.

It is encouraging. It gives you the strength to work towards something. It inspires you to pick a goal and run towards it, and it spurns you onward towards the person you have always suspected you should be.

It is both exciting and mundane, because life is. Nothing is a white-hot blaze all the time. Sometimes, much more than half the time, it will be quiet. Calm. Ordinary.

It will bring both the best and the worst out in you, and you will remember once in a while that this is exactly why you love anyway.

Because they have seen every color in your spectrum, and you have seen them at every shade. You’ll realize that, just like you, they see all this, they experience all of this, and they choose to remain.

That’s where the beauty truly lies. It is between the star-struck moments. It is in the day-to-day. The choosing, every day, even when you want to pull out every last hair on your head, that this is the life you want. You want their mess. And, for some ungodly reason, they want yours.

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Wishes of Memories for When the Present Becomes the Past

If I am so lucky as to live a long and full life, I have but one wish.

When I am old and grey, and my memory begins to fade, I hope I can hold on to all of this. The worries, the stresses, and frustrations, those can all fade away. I have no need for them. It’s the little things I want to enjoy forever.

I want to remember the golden moments. Those moments that shine bright, glorious little mercies that are easy to miss, those are the times I live for and the ones I want to hide away in my soul.

Moments like tonight, where my newborn boy lies sleeping in his bed, soothed by the sounds of a babbling brook playing from his swing, while the beautiful woman I will one day call my wife quietly washes dishes, blissfully unaware that I have been staring at her, completely awestruck, for the last ten minutes. I hear my son coo, and my beloved walks softly on tiptoe to check on him. Her face lights up as she watches him sleep, and she gingerly touches his cheek with her thumb.

I know I am not long for this world. Be it one more day or eighty more years, it will not be long enough to truly appreciate the magnificence of this ordinary thing. This is my life. This is what I live for. The world and all its troubles is little more than a whisper outside these walls, for tonight, I have found perfection…and it is right here in my home.

If there is an afterlife, I would hope it would be something like this.

Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight, wish I may, wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight. I wish I could remember this for as long as I have breath, and after, if there is an after. But even if there is not, I will have found heaven in my living room.

The Blood Inside My Pen

As dark as this is, it’s still one of my favorites.

out of the hive mind

“That’s it,” he says to himself. “I’m done. I can’t take this anymore.”

He walked along in the rain, head down, hood up, seething. He despised it all; existence, his situation, and his damn sore luck.

“There’s no reason to keep going. Nothing is working. I can’t pay the bills, I can barely keep food in my belly, and there’s nothing I can do to change any of it.”

He walked up to the front door of his apartment and walked inside. He stood there in the dark for several moments, thinking about his predicament. Try as he might, he just couldn’t find a way to make things any better. He couldn’t get a better job because he wasn’t qualified. He couldn’t go back to school because he still needed to make money to survive; granted, he was hardly surviving as it was. He wasn’t truly living; he was merely…

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Motality, Pending

I spend a lot of time driving down dark roads in the middle of the night. On warm nights, I can roll the windows down and feel the breeze blow in the otherwise still night air. It is during these times that I find myself lost in thought. My little red hatchback carries me both down the physical and metaphysical roads before me. Tonight’s headlights illuminated something that has been silently growing in the damp shadows of my brain like a patch of mushrooms.

I guess I think about mortality quite a bit. Mine, others’, the general concept…all of it comes to my attention on seemingly a daily basis. Tonight, it has been all of those. I realized that I am immortal. We all are. At least until we are not. Every day, we get in our cars and drive around, arguably the most dangerous thing we do habitually. Yet, somehow, we are okay with this. People get in horrific car accidents every day. But here we go, driving at speeds much faster than we realize, surrounded by other humans (arguably the most dangerous species on the planet.)

Despite every creeping danger, we usually arrive at our destinations in relative safety. Somehow.

One of these times, I will not survive. One of these days, my immortality will run out, and I will reach my only true mortal moment. And…I’m mostly okay with that. Sometimes, I need to comfort myself with thoughts of some beautiful afterlife. Sometimes, I look fondly on the day I will no longer have to feel the aches and pains, emotional ups and downs, financial and social insecurity. Mostly, though, I just distract myself with all the things around me. I narrow my focus so finely that I don’t have to bother with mortality or the meaning of life, BECAUSE HOW CAN I, WHEN SOME PERSON I DON’T CARE ABOUT SAYS SOMETHING THAT MILDLY IRRITATES ME FOR A FINITE PERIOD OF TIME?!

But then it returns. The understanding that my whole life is just a breakneck hurtle towards that solitary mortal moment. Be it accidental, natural, or ninja assassination (not gonna lie, kinda hoping for that last one), I will get there. There is nothing I can do to slow it down or stave it off. Sure, I can take better care of myself, drive safely, and try not to anger large men named “Brutus,” but really, when my moment comes, my Achilles heel will be dangerously, irrevocably exposed. And I shall…pass on.

It is that knowledge that gives my life some spark of meaning. I am no one special. The world was just fine before me, and it will carry on as if I had never existed when I have left. In these waning days, though, I can do something no one else ever will: I can be me, here, in this very second. This moment is something no one will ever be able to replicate. The unique variables and slight changes between me and the next guy just like me are what make me who I am.

I have the unique opportunity to impact the lives of the people around me today. I can interact with a very select group of people, a subset of humanity that is uniquely individual to my experience. No one has ever, nor will ever, be dealt the same deck of cards as I have. There is inspiration in that thought. There is life in that. Something that breaks up the monotony and spreads some color into the shades of grey that cloud up everyday living.

It’s a shame that we fall into that mode so easily. Monotony, that is. Each second that passes is one that does not come back. It is the unstoppable march of time and the frailty and limited longevity of existence that gives life such succulent flavor.

I don’t really know what any of that means. I was honestly hoping that by the time I had thought things out to this point that I would have some profound, uplifting message to relay, some life-changing turn of phrase. But alas, I do not. Perhaps I overestimate my ability to think beyond myself. Maybe all the people in all those cars I drove past today have already had these thoughts. Perhaps I’m late to the party. I might actually prefer that. Knowing that everyone out there has come to terms with what a jumbled, beautiful mess this life is might set my heart at ease.

Truly, it is peace that I seek along this path, and it is peace that subtly eludes me. Not entirely, however; as I fumble around blindfolded, it give me a whisper or a peck on the cheek to remind me that it is still there, unattained and available.

I don’t know what I have to say. I guess if you find yourself kept up at night by conflicting thoughts, you are not alone. If you want to find something concrete to pin your value, your hopes, and your passions onto, there are others like you.

If you just want to be at peace, and you hope that everyone else can find some semblance of lasting peace, yeah, me too.

Maybe the peace is in the passage.

Even if it’s not, I would rather live my immortal moments on a fruitless search for peace, meaning, and significance than realize in my dying seconds that I had wasted my immortality.

Father and Son

My old gaffer was a mountain of a man. His physical presence was powerful, and his intellectual stature surpassed his physical height by about a mile. I think about him a lot. Even more lately. You see, my life is about to change once more, in one of those ways I wish he could have been here for.

I am going to have a son.

I knew the guy for twenty years, and I knew I could always count on him to say the right thing. No matter how angry I made him, what he was going through, or what was going on in the world, that dude was quick with the comeback.  I knew that no matter what I threw at him, he would take a drag off his cigarette, look at me over the rim of his glasses, and the next words out of his mouth would calm me to my very soul. Even when he didn’t have answers, he had a way of phrasing things that made the world seem like an alright place. But that’s not why I miss him today.

I am going to be a father. I wish I could have one last cup of coffee, sitting on the warped deck in that overgrown backyard, with the smell of dew and smoke in the air. I wish I could tell him. I wish I could see his face light up. I wish I could feel him wrap me up so tight I think I’ll collapse like a pop can. I wish I could hear the excitement in his voice as he told me he was proud of me. I wish I could feel his happiness reverberate around the yard as he told me for the thousandth time about the day his life changed, about the day I was born.

This is one of the happiest days of my life. Diminished in no way whatsoever by my seemingly constant grief. They are parallel, these thoughts. I am exuberant, and all I want to do is call the old man, and hear him shout his hallelujah. To see him try to subtly wipe the tear from his eye.

I wish, more than ever, I could show him this crown jewel of my life. I’m not the perpetual fuck up that I was when he knew me. Sure, I’m still a lost cause, but I’m a lost cause who has started to make a place for himself. I found a career I want, one that pays the bills and gives me a good life. I found a remarkable woman (or really, she found me), and she brings me more joy than I surely deserve. We have found a nice home, in a nice area, and we live comfortably. And now, to top it all off, we are bringing a baby boy into the world, a boy who carries my father’s last name forward.

Everything is wonderful. I struck out on my own, and dammit, I MADE it. Finally. I have something worth holding onto in my life. Many somethings. I just wish I could show him, because, for the first time in my stupidly short life thus far, I feel I have lived up to his pride.

You called me. The day before it all changed, and you left me a voicemail. We had fought, hard, two days prior. You told me that no matter what I did, you loved me and you were proud of me.

But look, Dad. Look at where I am. Look at what I did to get here. Look at all the sleepless nights I was kept awake by the memory of your voice, turning your words over and over in my mind.

Look at the fruits of your labor.

I have a family of my own now. And they are so beautiful, both in visage and soul.

I hope I can be half the father you were. He’ll be one lucky kid if I can manage that.

Player Two Has Entered The Game

There comes a point where you are no longer the protagonist of your story. Where you must humble yourself and accept a lower place in the cast list. This is not a bad thing; it just feels that way sometimes. Perhaps you feel you never truly reached your rightful position. Maybe you think your “protagonist potential” was never fulfilled. Ultimately, that does not matter. Your opinions don’t change the facts. Fighting to stay at the forefront of this story can have disasterous consequences. You can, in a mere breath, become the hated villain. If you greedily cling to the title card, you will find yourself opposed to the new hero of the tale. When you find yourself in this place of transition, face your slow demise with grace and class. Your part is not over, but diminished. That is a small mercy. The responsibility of carrying the story no longer lies on you. You can become the wise sage, or the wisecracking sidekick. You can be the mentor, or the inspiring old wanderer, or the boon giver. We all think we will be older when the world moves on and we are replaced. Perhaps instead of being a side character whose only story development is taking an arrow in the knee, we can use what is left of our youth and fervor to better equip the new adventurers. My time at the helm has come to a close. I can embitter and enfuriate myself, ruining what is left with pride, or I can accept it and look forward, walking into the next chapter of this saga with my character and nobility intact. I’d rather be left behind by the next quest than be the evil that inspires it.