A feeling, an ocean and a dream to describe:
It’s another mid afternoon morning and the sunlight billows through the windows and pierces my eyes; they fight for consciousness and after some struggle with my two-ton eyelids, I managed to pick myself up and stagger off to the shower. Twenty minutes later, cleaned and clothed, I make my way downstairs to see what faces still linger in the house from the night before. With each step from under my feet comes a cold shrill scream; the nails, with a century of twisting and turning wiggled themselves free. With the slightest exchange of pressure, the nails give way and plunge back into the body of the stair from which they had escaped.
It’s quiet downstairs. There’s not a sound; no voices of laughter echoing from the floors and off of the ceilings, not a sound of friends or strangers’ feet as they scramble to rustle up their clothes and belongings from the night prior. I had grown accustomed to hearing this in the morning and in all honestly, I’ve grown quite fond of the array of faces that had made camp here for the night. Usually this means front row seats to a race track where they all spin and run into one another to get started on their endless lists of routines and obligations. For the lucky few who get to vacation rather than push papers on the weekend, this meant a new companion and hopefully a day of company. Unfortunately, today the house is hallow, so empty it could make someone dream.
After pacing the house for a bit, the stillness starts to settle in; the leaking faucet growing unbearably ever more predominate with a slow crescendo of slurred reminders, drip no one’s home, drip you’re alone, drip what are you going to do? Drip, drip and the deafening silence like a parasite is crawling its way up and under my skin. My feet and hands get restless so I grab my acoustic guitar and head for the door.
On the porch, I take refuge on the cool concrete and light a cigarette; as the cherry churns the paper burns slowly, mimicking the melody of minors strummed ever so softly. My mind starts to wander, slipping into its self, lofting away like the ribbon of smoke from the cigarette. How funny it is that the greatest of men and minds have achieved the unbelievable; they unraveled the wheel, the moon met man from a tin can, empires leveled by the push of a button and as a tired heart’s tick softens, a surgeon’s scalpel cuts open and easily replaces it. With all the trophies brightly polished placed on the mantle of man there is not a space for the trophy that is truly worth parading; a cure for emotions. Irony, like a well aged whiskey, drunken my humor and ferments my appreciation. As a disease loneliness infests like a tumor, endlessly growing. The thoughts that once retreated so easily at the first hint of war are now back, glowing with vengeance tailored with armies; and they’ve got me cornered, it begins.
I start sinking, farther and farther down, unable to swim in this brackish abyss; any attempt to kick my legs, swing my arms has become a day dream, perhaps its only momentary paralysis caused from my leap of faith from my raft of hope that in my mind I had been previously enjoying the warm weather and smooth sailing; until the vessel caught a flame and was swallowed by the ocean of despair.
The light that once danced all alone up on the surface has retreated from fear. My lungs now burning as they cling to my last breath, they swell with anger, splitting at the seams from the pressure of the ocean’s hand gasping my poor lungs, tension alone compressing my entire chest I can feel the sharp pains as they are growing nearer and nearer to exploding, I clench my already squinted eyes from the burn of ocean’s salt. In some last attempt for survival with my eyes firmly tightened, just as the water starts to creep its way down my throat into my lungs I can feel the water begin to thicken.
No longer sinking into the great void of salted rift tides but resting gently on a mattress of sand. With my back exposed, the sun quickly heats my sopping wet T-shirt, my bones fill once again with life. Have I, by some lottery of luck, washed up on the beach? Scrapping the sand from my eyes in pursuit to unravel this mystery, the sand has magnetized itself to pruned skin and drenched clothing. I clear my eyes to the best of my ability, I can still feel the sand gritting in the folds of my eye lids and after a few fresh breaths of air which fill my sore lungs with relief, I roll over to sit up and dig my feet deep into the sand. I look out shielding my eyes from the blinding sun with my hand. I look to the left and then the right and quickly darting back and forth from each position, there is no ocean in view. What was my inevitable aquatic ending has now vanished; no longer sinking but standing. I am alone in what has become an ocean of sand; a desert of wandering and mystery.
With the blistering sun and vultures circling over head as constant reminder that this is in fact real; I began to stumble about for shelter. After what seemed like hours of hurdles the moon flies high while the sun sleeps in the southern sky, I find myself under a cliff of overhanging rocks; sitting down the rocks are warm and almost caressing. This bit of refuge reminds me of my mother; as a child I remember straying from her in a department store. Unknowing then that she had not been tailing me like a blood hound, until I turned around and as far as I knew she had vanished from the earth. After sprinting and retracing my steps like map I see her, the site of her from across the store fills me with joy, still sprinting I run to her, eyes like a fountain they poured into her arms as she held me there in her arms; they were warm and safe.
A faint smile crawls its way onto my face and the same tears of relief rain from my eyes and floods the ground; the sand now flooded starts to move vigorously from side to another. Out of the mist of their rumbling out gets pushed a blade of grass, and then another and another one by one pull their way out of the sand to the surface; as the flowers start to blossom the slumbered sun awakes to a lush field of flowers filled with life. Within the field I move freely about, running in circles of familiar joy; the large sunflowers sway in the breeze of my arms as I run past them. The garden is beautiful with explosions of color all around held by peddles of flowers, and a small pond in the very center; a garden this perfect had to have been birthed by a gardener with the most beautiful of hands; Hands much like my grandfather.
Kneeling down beside the pond I splash some water with my hands on to my face to clear the filth from my pores. A gleam catches my eye from the mirror of the water, and I’m staring myself in the eyes. The pond isn’t reflecting what’s circled around me, but it’s reflecting me as a child, a bit older than the child crying for his mother; my face in the reflection, so precious and young just beaming full of life.
As if the pond were a movie screen the memory that had started to fade with age in my memory is playing crystal clear. I can see that little boy surrounded by familiar trees and flowers with the fields running farther than my eyes can see. That little boy is laying on the equally little wooden bridge that stretches over the little pond, my father laying beside him on the bridge with their heads and hands poking playfully over the edge of the bridge. Through the eyes of that little boy I can see a stick in hand trying to catch the nonexistent fish just as his father had showed him. My father looks down at me with a smile flooding his face as he says to me, “you know, Chad; I’m very lucky to have you, you’re all I could have ever asked for in this world. You’re a beautiful boy, a perfect son and I love you very much”. I remember watching a tear roll down the side of his face and watching it fall and disrupt the surface of the pond. Back on the other side of the glass; as his tear hits the pond the ripple breaks up the memory and just like the garden, the pond with the little bridge, my father and his sweet child; they all disappeared just as they had throughout my life. This time things felt different, not the cold touch of my bitter friend loneliness, but seeing that memory polished, shining new brings peace to my heavy heart.
A sharp sting burns my lips, the cigarette now burnt to the filter rips me back into body leaving the army, that ocean, the desert and the garden all behind. From footsteps behind me “I hoped I’d find you here”; I turn around and there she is, standing silhouetted by the sun, my angel. Charcoaled hair and island sky eyes, she had come to rescue me. “Hey you, I was hoping we could spend the day together; are you alright? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!” I smile and nod my head. “Aright then come on.” and with that no longer in the vantage point window watching, but through a door and living.