I had a thought on the long train ride home - the trees opposite me, out the window - passing quickly - but whispering.
I thought of my ability to get on the train, to go where I need to go - at any point in time, without being stopped, questioned, detained.
I had no bars keeping me from doing what I needed to do at any given moment.
I was free.
I could walk down the street and do .....
And do what?!
I am not free.
I work in a job that I work paycheck-to paycheck.
I live in an apartment more than half my income.
I have no car because I had to surrender it. I could not afford basic transportation costs, so now, the train - my only transport. Health costs dictate much more than most know.
I am stuck in a job that the only move I may make is lateral. No pay increase. No increase in respect. No increase in worth.
I'd always believed that "free" people had lives full of the love and relationships they needed. I used to believe that they at least had "family." (What is family, again?!)
I can save no money for my future, and I am aging. Not yet retirement age, but not enough time to save any numerical amount of monetary fulfillment that would make a difference to an aging man.
I am not free to walk down the street, void of judgement for being gay, should anyone "notice."
I am not free of my disease. The 80's disease meant to take all those who encountered it. Yet, it is cruel and won't take me.
I am not free of the empty space. The space where my family and friends should be, loving me. I guess there really are unlovable people, despite my reaching out, with a wounded, diseased heart.
I am not free.
I never have been.