while this site is reserved for things I humbly produce, when a vignette so well put together as this one I recently did with award-winning director J.R. Heffelfinger is produced, I couldn’t help but share it.
this – one of the more heartbreaking stories from the road I’ve ever encountered.
a few weeks back – while in Vienna – I was asked by FM4 [most popular radio station in Central Europe, I'll have you know] host [and pal] Riem Higazi if I’d like to come on their show and talk about the happenings I had going on.
never one to shy away from my favorite subject, I popped into her ‘My Reality’ program and talked all things travel, Oklahoma, naked knifefights on this most-recent bike trip and getting an enema in Ecuador.
“Please don’t go. I’ll eat you whole. I love you so. I love you so.”
It had been one hell of a year. Really, it was just the cruel punch line at the end of the three that preceded it. I am talking about more than a bad breakup. I am talking about watching a wrecking ball tear through everything that you thought you ever knew. By the end of it, I dangled dangerously off a precipice; solid ground slipping out from underneath me. I wasn’t sure what I knew anymore. Did I really know anything about love? Did I really understand what I was worth as a person? How had things gotten so out of hand? How did I lose perspective of how I deserved to be treated? How did I ever come to such a place in life? Wasn’t I stronger than this? Was that really the question I should have been asking myself? Why do we always try to blame ourselves first?
I am not a victim. That is not a role I want to play in life. I stand before you accountable for my own actions. There are certain things that happen to us in life that never could have happened had we not allowed them to occur. There are doors that we walk through, either willingly or blindly, but we are the ones who do the walking. We open that door and what we find on the other side of that door is the result of that choice. We may not like what we find there. We may not deserve what happens to us on the other side, but we have to acknowledge that we opened the door.
I am guilty of so many things. I am guilty of ignoring the signs. I am guilty of not being able to see what was right in front of me all along; of seeing what I wanted to see, and not the reality.
Here’s why I am not asking you to feel sorry for me, why you must not. I knew he was bad news. From the first moment we locked eyes, I knew he was trouble. I read him completely from the first time we spoke. I could see that he was wild, passionate, and out of control. Unfortunately, his arrival in my life corresponded directly with an irrational need I felt for danger. I had fallen into a rut of sorts and I needed some shaking up. Sometimes it just happens like that.
The thing is that we hear the same advice all the time: “You can’t change anyone.” and “You can’t save anyone.” I am sure there has come a time when you have sat down someone you loved and told them these very words to their face. I guess it’s what you might call tough love. You may even believe that these are words that ring true. Maybe you know someone who eventually had to leave a spouse with a drug addiction. Maybe you said these very words to that friend. The fact of the matter is: it’s easy for you to say. Even if you have been down a similar road in life, you cannot judge another person’s love or pain. You cannot weight it or chart it or begin to imagine it.
The fact of the matter is that until you are able to make sense of your own mind, you may as well be underwater. No matter how many people sat me down, no matter what they said to me, it fell on deaf ears. I can see my pattern of behavior so readily now in hindsight.
In the beginning, there were the justifications. This is the part that I was born to play. I suppose the reason why I put on such a convincing show was because, at first, my heart was really in it. When I defended him, when I made excuses for his behavior, I was steadfast. My well-meaning friend was forced to retreat, to back down. “Well, alright, then. As long as you know what you’re doing.” I heard that one a lot. I knew that I had not fully convinced them all the time, but I had also managed not to get tied to the chair until help came, either.
After giving so many of those performances, even I had lost the will to keep them going. I realized that the cracks in the façade were spreading at an alarming rate. Now when I faced my advisors, I had to hang my head. It was hard to look anyone in the eye. I even felt deeply ashamed of my tears. Nobody dared say, “I told you so”. Nobody had to. I was fully aware of the fact that I had been asleep at the wheel and had caused my current demise with that reckless behavior. I had run out of excuses. All that I had left were my rationalizations. So instead of cutting my losses, as any rational person would have done, I dug in the trenches. I had convinced myself, was attempting to convince everyone around me, that I was fighting the good fight. Look at all that I had sacrificed for this love. How I had altered the entire course of my future to be with this one person. How my love was the force that would lead him out of the darkness. How my support and care would be the stabilizing elements that would lead him to himself. I believed in these justifications with all that I was made of. I clung to them, drank from them, cried myself to sleep with them. I had become a martyr for this love. I was willing to sacrifice my own health, safety, happiness, sanity in order to repair this broken person. I had convinced myself that no one else on earth could do this job. I was the only one who truly knew his soul, the only one who loved him enough to bother.
All of these were nothing but delusions of the most treacherous kind, but I allowed them to permeate my being because, quite simply, I felt that they were all I had left. I thought that if I walked out, if I gave up, I would be thrust into some kind of terrifying personal limbo. I hadn’t just moved to another part of town. I had moved to another country on the other side of the planet. I was partially submerged in a culture in which I was an outsider, a blunt and convenient threat that was leveled against me when it suited. If I walked out that door, who was I going to be? Where was I going to go? How was I going to find the strength to pick myself back up?
It was the second incident of physical abuse that finally woke me up.
The first time it happened, I had believed the grief that he felt by causing me such pain. I believed him when he said that he would never be able to forgive himself for hurting me that way.
I managed to stay in that house with him for four days after the attack, and I marveled that it was that long. Of course, he bent over backwards to play the afflicted man. I don’t know how many tears were cried on my lap, how many apologies were choked through those tears, but something had grown inside of me. A seed of fear had been planted. When he came near me, I flinched. When he raised his voice, I backed away. I realized that I was behaving like a victim. The trust that I had placed in him had been demolished. The promise that he had made to me, to my family, to look after me, to protect me, had been broken.
There was no way to undo what had been done. There was no going back from that place. When I packed my bags that time, he didn’t try to stop me. He loaded up the car with them and drove me to my safe house. He knew that he was responsible for what had become of me and he knew that he could not change any of it. As we drove in silence, I remember thinking to myself, eyes closed, almost a prayer, “You’re still alive. You’re still alive.” Aside from a few suitcases, it was all that I had at the time to hold onto.
I am about to appear certifiable by revealing to you that I went back. I don’t think I will ever be able to reconcile such a lapse in intelligence. There must have been a thought process involved, but I can’t tell you for the life of me what it was. All I know is that a week after I left, I was moving right back in despite the pleas of the friends who had given me safe harbor, even against my better judgment.
This is why I stand accountable for the second incident of abuse. This is why I cannot be considered a true victim. I am not saying that I got what I deserved. I certainly believe that no one has the right to abuse another person. I am simply stating that I put myself in harm’s way. I have no one to blame but myself for that. Anyone in their right mind would consider the possibility of a recurrence of violence, or even a pattern of it. I can’t claim to be someone who was abandoned or neglected at a young age. I did not bounce around the foster care system or end up in juvenile detention. No, I was raised very well. I had a good head on my shoulders by all accounts. My parents didn’t worry about me unduly when they set me out into the world to find myself as an adult. They took stock in the knowledge that they had done their job. Therefore it stands to reason that the fact that I had allowed myself to be in the line of fire a second time was entirely my own doing. It was a clear-cut case of me not taking care of me. It had to stop.
I staggered out of that dark, horrible place. I suffered, and I did most of it alone. I was too embarrassed, I think, to cry on anyone’s shoulder at that point. What had happened in the end was no surprise to anyone in my life. I know there was a huge collective sigh of relief when it became clear that it was all truly behind me; that I was not going back. It would just be a long time before I had healed enough to join in the celebration.
Here’s the amazing part, the coup de grace. All of the pain and loss that I experienced, all of the torment that I was subjected to, none of it killed me. In fact, once the ragged edge ebbed off of the sorrow, once I passed through the tunnel of debilitating anger, I realized something very important about myself. I was still standing. I was still there. Had I allowed my past to become my future, there were no guarantees about what I have just said. This deeply traumatic experience was responsible for beginning a new and beautiful process. Like the tender young shoots that spring from the ashes of a forest fire, I was starting anew. I was not only going to get back to myself, but I was coming full-circle into the woman I was meant to be. It’s the best gift I have ever given myself.
I am not suggesting that it has been an easy road. There are no convenient answers, no quick fixes. I know now that this process may very well occupy me until the end of my days. Somehow I’m alright with that. There are things in this life that are worth finding; yourself, chiefly among them.
“Sat me down, had a chat. Men are men but we’re all half alley cat.”
I really loved you. You meant something. I left you like you didn’t. It’s an albatross I will always wear. You are forever gone and there are no amends forthcoming. What may have appeared as indifference was pure naked fear. You were dying and before our very eyes. It was a burden that swallowed me whole. And when you asked me to help you die, well, the distance I put between us become a chasm that could never be crossed, never be filled.
You were what people like to refer to as “a character” ; an individual of the highest caliber. You were an eccentric blue blood living on the fringe of acceptability. Cast out of your family because of your sexuality and your brazen lifestyle, you carved out an extraordinary life and made no apologies for who you were.
I was in awe of you. You were most likely in love with my husband. You never came on to him to my knowledge, but it’s possible my then husband was too polite to tell me about it, knowing how it would affect our friendship. Our bond was a found object that I treasured. Something I would reflect upon and feel a swelling in my heart. You were like no other and I loved you for that fact alone, but you gave me so many other reasons.
You took us out to fine dinners. We were poor, but lively company. Our friendship was a fine mix of charity and genuine adoration. You opened the un-likeliest of doors for us.
One night, we walked into a building on a block of boarded-up row houses. It was dark and desolate. There was no signage to speak of. When we walked through the door, it was like falling into a C.S.Lewis story. This was Maurice’s, a speak easy French bistro. The room opened up and we were greeted with a packed house illuminated by tabletop candles, Miles Davis on the sound system and Maurice himself, a diminutive man who resembled Pablo Picasso. Your good friend,it would turn out, he hugged you and shook our hands mightily, any friend of yours, etc. Maurice was a brooding difficult man who lived above the restaurant with his ailing mother. He learned French cooking when he was stationed in France during WWII. His pate nearly made me want to weep. It was a gem so deeply hidden, so exquisite in its underground perfection, and it was a gift that you gave to us. All you ever asked for was a little company.
On a lark, you took up with a randy gang of hobos. They were squatting in an old row house in a shady part of town. Their days consisted of panhandling, purchasing cheap high octane vodka and lying about swilling it. There was an Irishman prone to shouting out sea chanties. There was an Appalachian woman who made stew with weeds that grew in the cracks of the sidewalk. It was unadulterated bohemian madness and you loved it for what it was.
You had an aversion to water and french fries. You announced they were “common”. If served water in a restaurant, you waved your hand in disgust and said, “Take this away!” We judged the cool factor of our server based on their reaction to this performance. You weren’t rude. You were eccentric and there is a difference.
You started to fall apart. You weren’t just sick anymore, you were leaving this world. There came a time when you decided the process wasn’t fast enough for your liking. You asked me to take your life. What was left of it wasn’t worth having, you said to me. You asked me if I would smother you with a pillow. It couldn’t have been an easy thing for you to ask of me. It scared me so much, the very thought of such an act, that I started running and I kept on running until you were already gone.
My husband spoke at your funeral. I spent the whole day crying. Not only did I rob myself of the chance to say goodbye to you, but I never told you how much you meant to me.
It was Jacques who brought her around. He was the Kerouac of our group, swarthy, gregarious and slightly dangerous. A bit overly verbose and strangely wound, he was tolerated because of the gifts he gave the house. His father was a diplomat and Jacques was forever pinching things from his office: bottles of cognac, Cuban cigars, a rare first edition of a book. He said his father was an elitist shallow man who regarded such prizes as mere bribes from sycophants, people who expected favors in return. This lessened our guilt and aided in our enjoyment of the contraband.
She came in on his arm and barely stirred the breeze. She was like a tiny bird flitting from room to room. She was small and thin to the point of appearing gauzy. She had alabaster skin generously sprayed with sandy freckles. Her long red hair was ropy with hopeless tangles for lack of care. She was clearly a duchess and she was slumming it with us. But because she was only in high school, because she listened instead of spoke, nobody took her seriously.
She never contributed much when she was around, save for proximity. Her casual elegance was such that she classed up a room simply by being present. I watched her once in the kitchen as she poured tea. She had the studied mannerisms of a geisha. It was moments like this when she took a bit of my breath. I was certain that she was marvelous and just trying to keep it a secret from everyone.
Years after that bohemian cooperative had broken up, we would see her around. She showed up at my husband’s art show. She bought a piece because she could. She came to the after party and turned me on to gin and tonics; told me that I had strong beautiful legs.
Her mother was very powerful and important and had one of the best loft apartments in the city. They threw fantastic parties. At one of these, I had a conversation with David Byrne’s parents, at another, I beat her in a drunken wasabi-eating contest on the balcony. Her friends were contrite and oddly sophisticated the way rich and beautiful children often are and it never took long for me to feel uncomfortable enough to want to leave.
She seduced me once. I was home visiting my parents and her campus was an hour’s drive. She was naturally attending some over-rated liberal arts college suitable for her ilk. I missed her and so I agreed to do an overnight.
She had a small gathering of cohorts upon my arrival. They drank wine, smoked clove cigarettes and talked of Nietzsche and Zen Buddhism with the passion and purpose of newly awakened beings. I felt too old all night. Felt like petting heads and pinching cheeks. I felt chagrined and steeped in cynicism.
After they had gone, she put on Henry and June, citing my love of Anais Nin. I knew then that she had been planning this. I was flattered though I felt the device was rather clumsy. I knew to her, I was June. I knew that she wanted to climb into my lap and whisper into my hair.
She drank just enough to maintain her courage. She put her feet in my lap and that was fine. She edged next to me and looped her arm through mine and that was fine.
At some stage, I think she was concerned about what she perceived as a lack of escalation or reciprocation on my part. She began to slam the wine back in angry gulps. She occasionally punctuated the air with weary pointed sighs. When she finally announced that she had a terrible headache and was going to bed, I felt rather relieved.
Feeling callous, I went into her room and sat on the edge of the bed. I caressed her cheek and asked if I could give her a scalp massage. As I did so, she moaned and smiled up at me. I looked down at her and was so saddened by what I saw lying there. Gone was her almost Victorian beauty and what was once feminine and gauzy had just turned skeletal. She had lost some vital spark and she just looked fragile and brittle in a way that made me sad for her. She grabbed my wrist and asked me, “Are you going to kiss me?” I looked at her, smiled compassionately and with tears in my eyes, shook my head no. She threw her head into my lap and wept. “What did I do wrong?”, she cried. ‘What did I do wrong?”
She fell asleep there in my lap and I woke with my back against the bed frame and a terrible ache in my eyes, fingers threaded in her copper knotted mane.
But it’s a conversation I just can’t have tonight.”
You are always asking if I am alright. You call it checking in. It’s one of your sympathetic habits. Your sensitivity serves as a double-edged sword of your nature. Lately when you ask me this, I spiral into a bit of a panic. The answer is not always there, you see. The very cause of my aloofness may elude even me and then what am I to say to you? I will not feed you just anything to suffice. You will see through such transparent cunning. No, only the truth will do for you and knowing that this is what you deserve, I do my best to honor this asking.
Silence is the worst thing I can hand you. Unknowing is your mortal enemy. Your brain will take a scrap that has been thrown and handle it again and again, passed through a process in your mind, turning it over until it has become threadbare and mealy. It is now a thing of danger, this scrap, infused with a poison, capable of taking you to a dark place. You will do anything to avoid going down this path and so an answer from me, anything I can say to you, any shred that might guide you to some understanding is not only kind, but necessary.
I am having a crisis of late. I am terrified, but to my credit, I am battling it head on.
For weeks on end, it was muddled thinking. My lack of recall was the butt of jokes, often instigated by myself. But soon, it lost its amusement value. I realized that I was moving through the majority of my day on some form of auto-pilot. Did I have some sort of primal defense mechanism in place? Was my waking dream state protecting me from something I would rather not feel, not experience? I was walking through a deep fog and asking myself how I got into it and how I might free myself from its smothering grasp.
I think I have my answer now, the root of all of this, and it is as unnerving as I feared.
I am not who I was. That person whom I knew so well, that woman whom I depended on to act a certain way, to do a thing, she is gone. I am no longer her.
I am evolved enough to know that changing and growing is the natural order of things and that if you fail to experience these, you are probably in a treacherous rut. It doesn’t do much to mitigate the fear that this person that I am now, this woman that I am becoming, well, I do not know her. I am a stranger unto myself. I do not know how this woman reacts or what she can handle. I know that she seems to be even more nakedly emotional, something that has always been my own double-edged sword. The thought of being even more vulnerable and emotionally exposed than I already was, well, again, the only word for it is terrified.
So you see, I am metamorphosing before you and alongside you. If you are the person that I suspect you are, you will be gentle and kind as I endure this process. It’s entirely possible, and much hoped, that the woman who emerges on the other side of this will be a better partner to you. If we are in this thing together, then we must carry each other. We do a kindness and return a kindness and it goes on in such a way that we are both made better. That’s my understanding of how this works, but I am certainly open to the surprises life will bring us. I know we are in for them, ready or not.
I was going to wait until I could change a few things on my big ole travel site – AQueenAndCountry – namely the home page with the loooooong introduction video and stuff like that, but I don’t have the money for it.
nevertheless, I leave for Amsterdam tomorrow and wanted to get this out there.
once upon a time, I had envisioned a way to charge $5 a month for all of this – thus funding my adventures and showing you a bit of the world. but that’s not exactly fair, nor right, and I ended up feeling like an asshole for it. I thought back to being a poor kid in Tulsa, Oklahoma and my parents barely having enough to feed us. so why should another in that same position miss out on my Life of Riley? he shouldn’t. and I’m sorry I ever tried to make money from my blessings.
it should be said that a large handful of people saw past that and helped kickstart this little thing – and for that I thank them…
but it’s all free now.
watch, steal, laugh, think, ignore, enjoy – all of it.
there’ll be much more after this Europe on a Bike Adventure I’m heading off on soon, but for now… well… tuck in.
the entire idea was to get away from talking about it.
to get back to books, to substance. photos are fucked, as are their masters – thank god we don’t have an Instagram for writing yet. here’s a few lines, but they don’t snap… maybe I’ll try the Norman Mailer button – ahhhhh. yes. now I’m sounding good. so the writing is all that’s left these days. I got tired of the instantaneous prose – the NatGeo thing wore me out – go here, write this, get up, go there – the beautiful spontaneity went out with Kerouac and Co. and ohmygod, even his name is on the Hollywood Billboard again.
so yes, I like writing books. that’s what I’ve decided.
there was some money in my pocket a few months ago and I bought a bike and a tent and an indestructible wine glass. with the money left over, I bought a one-way ticket to Europe – where I write you from now.
I wasn’t going to talk about this – simply do it and save you the hassle of liking whatever I manage to mutter in 140 characters, but I woke up this morning and it was cold and rainy in Berlin and my throat was sore and I walked around looking for something warm of Alonso’s to wear because I don’t have any warm clothes and I got real, real scared because I chose to bike around Europe for a long time and it’s cold and rainy and I don’t have any warm clothes.
add to that, I don’t know how to bike – I mean, ride, sure. but I don’t know how to change a flat.
nor do I have the money for proper campgrounds every night, which means I’m going to have to stealth camp – out late, up early. in fact, I spent all of my money on this bike and tent and indestructible wine glass. if I was guessing, I’d say I have about $700 in my bank account. if it weren’t for a childhood friend basically inventing a position for me at his warehouse, I’d have nothing but $700 for the next 8-9 months. there’s a magazine I really like that I just started writing for, but that money’s going to the adventure after this and…
oh wait. I’m getting ahead of myself.
here’s how this all came about:
while on the NatGeo gig, I was driving and began to worry that everything after this was gonna be a drag, ’cause there I was getting paid and shit from National Geographic. that’s it, son – the tops. you can’t get bigger than that. well done and stuff, but where to after this? what in the world could I do to impress my nephew after that? what was cooler than being a National-Geographic-Fucking-Traveler?
I thought and I thought and pondered and then realized that there was – within my reach – only one thing that could beat that:
a treasure hunter.
oh, you laugh, but in the past few months, I’ve been buried in books, on forums [youngest guy talkin' coils by 20 years], in touch with people who know people, re-watching Indiana Jones and – don’t laugh – Sahara, planning-planning-planning. you should see my Amazon cart. it’s so cool.
so yes – I decided to become a treasure hunter… when I turn 40. seemed like an appropriate age to take life seriously. which meant I had to get the remaining big trips underway – no matter the weather, the funds, the horrible planning [see: flat tire], all of that. but if you wait until everything is perfect for an adventure, then it simply becomes a vacation. I’m no good at vacations – they have an end date. not to take away from yours – god knows I’d love a beach with a bar and a card that worked for buying drinks without that horrible BoA email letting you know funds are low. gosh, that sounds fun. but I’m no good at it. my inability with money is almost as strong as my aversion towards it. but it ain’t me.
so, yes. treasure hunting and the last few remaining big trips. Europe. I missed Europe. I ached for Europe. once you peel back the touristy side and then the annoying side, there lies a side to it that opens the door for anyone to dream anything – something about the architecture and all the booze and fucking. it’s dreamy and sad and sings sad, sad songs that make you just want to walk in an orange and red leafed park with someone you’re about to break up with. chain smoke. be-boop-bop, yeah. whatever you want to feel can be made to look cool and ohhhhhhh, babe – it’s right here. especially in Berlin where the secrets are only kept from those not here. did you hear who _____ to ________? it’ll be passed from ear-to-ear, but not emailed. no sir, you be right here for this scandal or you get none of it. I like that. I miss that. even childish gossip gets made over in dark grownup eyeshadow and is cooooooooooool. I like that.
so yeah, I missed Europe and I wanted to go real slow and be able to take in the castles and cheese and chateau’s and try out that fancy titanium indestructible wine glass that I might have mentioned. it’ll take a while – but I got a lot of while. the debates and Chic-Fil-A sandwiches and people getting shot all the time and finding water on Mars but no one cares because ohmygod some living Cabbage Patch hillbillychild got some TV show and said something mildly dumb and hang on while we put a fake taco into a Dorito and serve that shit up with a now-illegal large soda size and…
that’s an exasperated fuck, not an angry fuck. just like an uuuuuuuugggggggghhhhhh with a side of how the fuck did we get here?
I digress. sorry.
it comes down to this: I like writing books now and seeing things and taking a photo [most likely with the Hefe setting on Instagram, thank you] and being able to share all that with the few folks who might enjoy a little peek. blogging sounds gross and I’m not a big fan. I want to write something and then send it to Sunny and then have her send it back all nice and pretty and then get drunk on some cheap prosecco and rewrite it and send it to her in the hopes she won’t disown me and then, two years later – ta da! a real live book. that some people laugh because of. or imagine because of. or feel really bad for everyone I date because of.
but it’s a contribution – one that is worked hard on. one maybe you’ll like and laugh and imagine and feel bad for.
god, where am I going with this?! DAMN YOU, BLOGGING.
I bought a bike and am now in Europe and don’t have any money so it’s going to be interesting and an adventure and I hope you’re doing okay and autumn is really, really pretty where you’re at and you’re not about the dump the person you’re walking through it with.
“I don’t know what I knew before, but now I know I wanna’ win the war.”
It’s happened. It’s all been let loose. The stop gap has been yanked free and what is flowing through me is clear and right.
So let’s do this; the conversation that we are always having in my head. Let’s go one step closer to actually having it. I will speak it into the void. Place it on the outside where it might have a chance of making its way to you. It’s the best I can do.
I am angry with you. I will be perpetually angry with you. It’s not that I am not done with it, because I am. It’s just that not only can what has been done not be undone, but what could have been will never come to pass and I blame you for the whole lot. All of it is on your head.
I can never forgive you for not knowing what you should have known. You should have known that you were safe with me. You should have known that you could trust me. You should have known that I was the one, your one, and that I would sit and hold you and listen for as long as you needed me to do so. Why didn’t you know that? If you did know it, why did you reject it? Why did you run from the notion of breaking down walls, of relinquishing ills and spoils and re-imagining something else?
I want to believe that you lacked the courage. I need to believe this. If your actions could be excused as cowardice, it might be easier to bear. What do I need with anyone so weak that they cannot endure their truest feelings? Why would I bother with anyone who would speak to me as they had and then act as contrary as they did? I would say that I didn’t have time for it. I would remind whoever was listening that life was for the living and for all that contradicted that notion, a fare thee fucking well.
What if I was your one and you were mine? Did it ever occur to you how it would affect the fabric of both of our lives when you rejected us the way you did? Your exit was so dramatic, there was nothing for it but to allow you to leave and leave completely. You walked out that door and as you did, I knew that it was the last time I would ever see you. It was and it always will be.
Do not mistake my words or my purpose. I do not long for you. You are not my “What If”. I have resolved within myself the many reasons why our love was not proper food for me, at least the me that I wanted to be. When you set it all on fire, when you threw the can of gasoline over your shoulder, you didn’t look back. Thank you for not looking back.
It’s just my nature, you know, to feel it all. It is my way to take a thing, such as a feeling, such as a hole in my heart, such as a cry that needs to be let loose, to take that thing and squeeze it dry. I will turn it in my hands like soil. I will clutch it like the corner of my pillow when I am trapped inside some terrible dream that I should not be dreaming.
I can tell myself not to feel it. I can tell myself not to think it. What good am I? What power do I possess in these matters?
I feel it all. It defines me. You knew this about me, as you knew so many things.
My only consolation is to know that you will always have a special ache in your chest. You will always feel a faint longing. You will undoubtedly feel unresolved when your mind drifts back to me, to us, as I know it will. That ache will bear my name. That ache will haunt you just enough to please me. I am willing to consider it a righteous parting gift from the universe.
It will do, as gifts go.
Feist – ‘I Feel All’
editor’s note: this was written by Tara Noble. not Aric S. Queen. that’s why we call it ‘tuesdays with tara’. all 57 of ‘em.