On being thirty-nine

Dear Jester,

I’d say that’s a funny way to start a letter to myself but we all know that it fits.

What an adventure it has been, yes?  Thirty-nine years full of adventures.  Far too many to list out here so perhaps we should just focus on the last little bit.  Perhaps, perhaps.  Though I doubt I can say much now that doesn’t relate to something that came before.  We all know that fits as well.

It’s an interesting thing to reflect on the passage of time, to admire the triumphs over the adventures that went sideways and to bask in the remaining glow of those that went better than expected.  I’ve done far more than I thought I would by this age and far less at the same time.  That’s part of the hypocrisy that is at my core.  Hypocrisy isn’t exactly the right word but it harkens to something I think about a lot.

When I was young I assumed there would be a point when I would stop being a child and would be an adult.  It would be a clear delineation.  One or the other.  And I keep waiting for that to happen.  Yet, here I am at thirty-nine and it hasn’t happened yet so now I have to assume it never will.  Which then makes me wonder about all the generations that came before.  Did they go through life always feeling like both?  Young at heart but wise with age? That’s not quite either but it is close enough for now, especially since this letter is for me and I know what I mean even if I can’t articulate it.

The logical answer is that yes, of course, they felt the same.  But logic isn’t always the easiest thing for me to accept.  And by that I mean, that I grew up on stories with clear distinctions with well defined endings, where the heroes were either children or adults, and have thus romanticized that.  And I feel like neither and both at the same time and that can leave me feeling out of sorts, like something is wrong with me.

Again, logically, I know that nothing is wrong with me and I need to be kinder to myself.  That’s true for all sorts of things.  I have expectations that are likely impossible to live up to and thus constantly disappointing myself even though nobody else holds me to those same standards and expectations.  Knowing this does little to curb the sting of failures and regrets.

That’s not entirely accurate anyway.  I’m hard on myself on some things and super forgiving on others… all part of the hypocrisy that is me…  Not the right word but close enough.  And I know it doesn’t really matter.

I know a couple other things too.  I have a beautiful and brilliant wife and two, going on three, children.  And know that all I really need to be happy in this crazy world is two things: my beloved mountains and family.  I’m blessed with both.

And that’s nothing to scoff off after thirty-nine years.  Or after any amount of time, really.

So, dear Jester, be kind to yourself.  Be patient.  Remember that you know what you need to be happy and let the rest slide to the side.  As best you can.  Some days you’ll do it well.  Some days you won’t.  So it goes.

Now go hug your kids and wife and tell them that you love them, including the tiny one still hidden away, and then dream of the wild places, the high places, the valleys and rivers, and snow-capped peaks that call to you.  You’ll be back among them soon enough.

You’ve got this,

Matticus

Shawn – Dream and Fiction 1

I regained consciousness with a tube in my trachea, many more attached to my body, and an expression on your face that I could not discern.

I tried to tell you that I remember the accident in its entirety and ask if anyone survived. If anyone died, my life would be truly pointless. The others in the car were my mom, sister, nephew, and your parents.

If my sister died, her children would become orphans, as their father died nearly two years ago. If she survived and my nephew died, she would be devastated with the loss of a child and a spouse, within two years. If my mom and your parents died, we would have the loss of both parents in common, along with our love of football (soccer as others call it). The possibilities were endless. I needed to know that all others survived.

You left the room. You left again. I tried to yell for you to come back. You leaving is what helped this chain of events. I know it sounds selfish, but I need to know your intentions from that night and why you ran away from me.

The tube prevented any of those words from escaping and I blacked out.

I remember the day we met. I was at the apartment office making sure my rent payment cleared. You were applying for your residency. You asked how long I lived in the community and if I would recommend it to a friend. I responded 12 years and I did just recommend the last unit to a friend, so you were probably SOL due to that recommendation. I quickly added a, “Just kidding and good luck” to my response. You asked me my name and I said and spelled it. It is a difficult name to spell. I returned the question. You answered. I asked you if it was spelled with “ea, au or aw” as it could be spelled many different ways. You told me you would text me for the avoidance of doubt. I retorted that it was a clever way to ask for someone’s phone number, but I gave it. My phone buzzed with your number and the word “Shawn”.

Dream A Dream – The Train

The train crept into the station. The purpose was to transport a body for identification. My family was waiting on deck and I was voluntold to identify the body. They gave me a picture. They knew the person but didn’t want to board the train. I called them cowards. In defiance, my youngest nephew who knew the meaning of the word, insisted on boarding the train with me. My family gasped in horror. They all agreed to board.

The conductor was menacing but I saw the wink he gave my nephew. I identified the body based on the picture that my family provided. We stepped back into the vestibule but I noticed that my family was gone. The conductor grabbed my arm and told my nephew to exit the train. The doors slammed shut. I begged the conductor to let me off, too. He obliged, but I had to crawl through a window. As my feet touched the ground, I saw my nephew hop back onto the train.

As the doors were closing, the conductor told me to enjoy the poison in the air.

My family waved goodbye from the train. My hands and lungs started to blister.

I wake up in a cold sweat.

then again, maybe not

I should be sleeping,
Well, that was true when I wrote this, but not now that it is published.
Then again, perhaps I should be sleeping now too.
At some point, I really should sleep.
Maybe tomorrow.

It would be grand to be dreaming,
Of the mountains or the past or the future or anything with my eyes closed.
Then again, I should be careful what I wish for.
At some point, the nightmares might creep,
To my sorrow.

I should be sleeping,
But instead I’m scheduling additional posts for this week to be shared.
Then again, words are often my salvation.
At some point, I might hit upon a truth seep.
Maybe tomorrow.

the night

The long stretches of night, when the rest of what remains of the the world is sleeping, are the worst.  The minutes clunked dully on the clocks and nerves until all time keeping apparatuses were removed from the house in a moment of calculated fury.  It was a decision that has yet to be regretted even though time continues slowly regardless of their presence.

Insomniac dreams come to life in the small hours as the darkness presses against the home and shadows launch long claws.  The delusions and hallucinations are easy to spot after years of growing familiar with them, but they can still be unsettling at times.  When foes real and imagined are hunting you, complacency is foolish.

I can only count on myself.  All my friends and family gave me up for lost years ago, before I learned to spot the difference between waking nightmares and the true terrors of our present world.  They said the lack of sleep would drive me mad and had, in fact, already done so, but they were too scared to see the truth of my situation.  Cowards.  All of them.

Dark times had come and I had to walk that fine line between insane and sane so I could see how best to do battle.  I never gave myself to the madness, and I never will.  But, I had to see it.  I had to know what it felt like crawling under my skin to be aware enough, and open my eyes enough, to see the monsters laying siege to our way of life.

It was with sadness, I watched my friends and family walk away from me, succumbing to the ravages of the night.  The same affliction in the darkness could never touch me because I refused to sleep.  I stayed awake so I could see the beasts coming and fend them off.  I tried to warn the world.  I did.  I tried.  I failed.

But, I’m still here, and I’m still fighting.