There are brief moments while brushing my teeth or shaving when I wonder if I would recognize the man I see in the mirror if he were to pass me on the street. I stare into my own eyes to discover the meloncholy brown hue leaking into the bloodshot sea which surrounds it. I blink. Then, I let my eyelids slowly drift down to rest and open them cautiosly, one at a time, to determine if I am still there. I am, but this cannot be how I am.
I try to remember the last time I allowed myself the concious decision to feel joy and am unable to retrieve the file containing this data. Instead, a heavy blank blanket encompasses my being and discover in the next moment I am standing motionless, a statue with half a face of shaving cream or toothpaste dribbling from my chin. I finish the mundane task, then manage only a glance at my image. weary of another confrontation.
My small hands and toxic nerves pull my socks on with practiced ease, while the rest of my clothes fall on in succession. My keys, cash and stack of various plastic cards, bound by a simple binder clip are retrieved from their niche. I push all but the keys into the front pocket of my pants, then two sheets of folded paper into my back pocket. Sticking a pen behind my ear, I walk to the door. Turning the brass doorknob, I contemplate how the years have provided the knob with glorious luster. The wear has not the same effect on my soul.
The morning light and cool air shock me into slow motion and I step methodically through the pastels of leaves as they crackle under my feet and emit fragrant delight of deceased chlorophyl. Cumulus clouds sigh heavily in the sky amidst the crisp powder blue horizon. The Blue reminds me of the ocean and the tides that once washed over my toes as they sank into the wet sands on the shores of the Cape and the Adaman sea. Then, the Blue hints at me to recall the essence of unrequited love and I smile. I smile because it was love just the same.
The beeps and blurps of the gas station mixed with the sick exhaust from the idling cars returns my senses to reality. White noise of traffic flies by while I await the street light to change from danger red to the green of safe passage. If the levels of my addiction had stoplights, they would scream caution yellow, as I speed up to get to the bottom faster.
The soles of my untrodden shoes bounce across the dirty asphalt as I glance into the bare faces of the people in their automobiles. Going, going, always going. I seldom go anywhere. I have already beenand when I do, I remain alone. Haunted by the anxiety that I eventually must return.
"You can't run away from your problems."
They tell me.
They don't know that I buried my problems long ago. I planted them in the soft soil and I water them with remorse and alcohol almost every day.
"It isn't my problems I am running away from," I want to say. "It is all of you."
Instead, I nod my head and say, "I know."
I push the door of the converted house
open and listen to the string of bells hanging from the interior door knob jingle
. The smell of cigarette smoke
and the brewing coffee
crunch a sliver of pain into my shriveled sinus cavity
. I wince, shutting the door and step to the glass counter encased in stainless steel
"Large French Roast and a water please." Bringing my hand to my wrinkled face, closing my eyes while I pinch the bridge of my nose.
"You want room for cream?" The grungy barista girl with many tattoos asks.
She asks me this every single day.
"Just a bit." I hand over three dollars and nod to the tip jar which reads, TIP YOU BASTARDS and say,
"You can put the change in there."
Setting the glasses on the counter a few steps away, I pick up the sticky plastic squirt bottle of honey turning it upside-down. The sweet, golden vicious substance creeps down the sides of the clear bottle and I squeeze, making circles in the black liquid. Then the cream Thermos, pouring the Cow Juice in, stirring it all together with a thin wooden stick.
I shuffle back toward the entryway and turn to climb the stairs of the old two flat. I relate to the condition of this dilapidated building and wonder how disrepair could manifest so prevalently. I listen to the creak of the stairs and hear the graons of the ghosts of the craftsmen who constructed this architectural wonder. The upper floor has been gutted and upon the wooden floor an assemblage of mod tables, chairs and healthy plants. In the corner of the front room, an oversized Frankenstein type wheel chair apparatus, constructed in rusty metal, by either; a local artist or commissioned by some sick philanthropist of the past for some disabled giant.
I sit far away from the chair in a corner nook, retrieve the two sheets of paper from my back pocket and flatten them out on the table, using my coffee cup as a paper weight. I remove the pen from under my hat and begin to write.
I am content and secure as I print the letters on the page.
'seeking the truth' is such an ambiguous phrase, as obsure as, 'confront your enemy'. but these were the things i wrote.
I attempt to write the truth, but only find exaggerated nonsense or omitted facts. The truth is delicate. It must be coddled, but is impossible to contain. The truth I find is a lecherous leakage of my heart. This yearning for love spills forth when I tap into the truth and puddles at my feet, revealing my enemy.
My enemy is;
the man I deflect my glances from in the mirror,
the man I don't want to meet on the street,
the man I don't want to be.
My only hope is that the future will reveal the purpose, painting a clear picture. With this hope, I cough with the sick curdle of the coffee in my stomach and continue to write. Writing until I find joy.