In my youth, I was pretty ‘normal’ as far as ‘geekdom’ went. There was a fence that cordoned off an area of old farmland and behind those fences were the houses near where I lived. The fence made up three long sides and the other side was opened to a road. This was 1981 to 1986. Going back there, that entire farmland is now covered with houses. Mind you, these houses are at least 25 to 28 years old. I mentioned that fence because in my random flashbacks, I see those fences and that farmland and how I walked next to the fences on a ledge. In my memory, I ask myself consciously: “Was I there alone, with my brother or with other kids?”
Music: “Her soft circumference” by Off The Sky (Jason Corder | Mastered by Chris Bethge)
Mood: A bit of everything
Drink: Some sort of herbal tea
That memory is not so clear. It is in fact played out in my mind like an old cheesy movie with faded yellowish and brownish pictures and lots of noise. I could not hear any sounds, but I could imagine what the sounds would have sounded like if I could.
The grass on the old farmland were lumpy, as if there were mounds of stuff under them, covered with fresh and old tall grass. They looked soft. The sky was partially cloudy and there were definitely blue, but it seemed so gloomy at the same time.
As I finish the last few feet of my short adventure, the sun peeks strongly through the crevices and cracks in the fence between the brown and beige houses behind them. It looked like the sun was setting.
My childhood was ‘normal’ from the perspective of outsiders, but to me, I felt like I was separated from everything else. If my entire life lived out in a giant castle, then that castle was my world. What I saw from the window towards the north where the mountains were, the blue skies and the rooftops of other houses in the distance were just a part of the castle scenery. It never occurred in my mind that there was more to the castle. It’s a bit like saying everything beyond the castle was just ‘the fence’ around the castle. To me, there was no thought process that there was anything beyond that ‘fence’. Not that there was nothing beyond that fence, but rather, the entire universe was inside that fence where my castle was.
That was probably confusing to read.
Another strong and much more clear visualization of my memory of my childhood was the view I had from the bathroom window. It was a completely clear blue day. I could see mountains in the distance. That specific one was Cypress and the one next to it was Grouse. Fifteen years later, I would hike up Grouse with my friends. Note that it would not be the Grouse Grind.
I was at the window, peeking over it as I sat on the bathroom counter. Maybe I stood on it. It was a nice blue day. I was void of worry, pain, suffering, anxiety, obligation. I was the most free, the most relaxed, the more comfortable and I was automatically happy. I wasn’t happy. I was automatically happy.
At that window, I wondered, but the question today is: “What was I wondering about?” Would I have known and wondered just how difficult the journey ahead was for me? All the choices I made were probably the toughest to do? Did I wonder if I would fall many times or did that thought never occurred?
The thing is, I never thought about anything, but I still wondered. You have to realize that I was NOT a gold fish in a gold fish bowl having a desire to jump out into the open ocean. I was instead a gold fish living in the open ocean, not realizing that I was in fact living in a gold fish bowl.
This could be said that this was a typical childhood, but now three decades later, I don’t think that was the case. In my childhood, my actions depict a typical child, yet my mind was so free to a point where there was no imagination, but rather the ability to explore the things I touched and come to terms with my senses. I was aware of my senses beyond just the taste, just the feel, just the smell. Yet, the extension of my senses were limited to my physical ability.
Fast forward almost three decades later and I am that gold fish living in a gold fish bowl, AWARE that I CAN jump out of that bowl and into the open ocean, but I AM afraid to. I am terrified. That ocean is not clear blue and I do not wonder about it. Instead, it’s all dark and deep and unforgiving. There are huge sea creatures in there and small tiny ones that have pointy teeth. The more I stare into that abyss, the more frightened I am and the more I am that, the more I want to hide.
Some years back when my friendships were at the height of their strength in relationship and connection, I once envisioned in my mind that I am standing on a limitless plane. In front of me was society, people who wanted to hurt me, to hurl me down into the pits of doom and grief, people that wanted me to fail, people who didn’t care and wanted to push me around. Directly behind me were my friends. They were strong. They stood together. Thomas, Jonathan, Jacek, Carson, Melvin, Marlon, Carlo, Ben and even Roger at one time. I thought they were the best people in the world. I thought of them as demigods. They were lighthouse beacons. Thomas and Jonathan especially were bright shining lighthouses. They were giving me strength to face forward. Thomas was so tall and he stood out and Jon was second tallest and he stood out too. They were all strong. I felt confidence. I felt rooted to the ground. I felt as though my friends was the earth, the rocks, the foundation. I felt like they were an army, but they were not my army. They were an army on their own..
The thought occurred to me frequently until the awareness of my senses went up in sensitivity. Things happened and that was that. After all that, the army was no longer there. Society was all around me. In that endless crowd of strangers, murderers, bullies and asshats, came strange glowing people. They were dimly glowing. Barely visible glows. They were my next generation of friendships. They were not behind me. They were never really near or next to me either. They came and went. Sometimes, they bumped into me and if I fell down, they didn’t help me up. Instead, they crouched down and looked. They were not mocking me. Instead, it seemed as though they were acknowledging my predicament and in some far-off way, offering me encouragement to stand up again, but they never helped me up.
Yet amongst those dimly glowing people, were wisps of shadows lurking here and there. They were not sneaking about. They were just there, phasing in and out, moving around. They were the reminiscence of my past connections, my friendships of old, those that followed me into the next set of journeys and hardships. There are so few of them left, but they linger, some more strongly than others. However, they are only shadows, yet shadows of former power. So they present a strong feeling from them. They aren’t just ghosts that haunt me. They are whispers of friends who were once beside me, but now take on an ‘evolved’ form. A form that evolved with me.
My castle is burning. I am standing at the river banks below, watching as my home goes down in ruins. It felt like my entire body was crying, yet I shed no tear. I only watched, expressionless holding a torn teddy bear in my left hand and my other, clenched into a fist. The fires feel hot even at this distance. I cannot see any blue sky, nor the clear mountains, that white plane that flew by, the birds that flew around chirping freely, the sound of something banging dully downstairs with the television on and my mom on the phone with someone. I only see bright yellow, red and orange fire growing and contracting violently amidst the darkness, as if they each have a life of their own. The Darkness trying to swallow the Fire and the Fire tirelessly exploding back at it like two horrific beasts fighting.
My heart beat was calm, my blood ran their course gently, my eyes close and open every now and then with the reflection of that rage flickering in them.
I feel so lost, but not in the sense of being lost in the wilderness. I feel lost in the sense that I am sitting amongst a group of former drunks, trying to find a way beyond the group of former drunks. I need a steady job that gives me a steady income, so my future wife can have a steady life with me here. I need to exercise again on a steady pace, to keep my body healthy. I need to eat and enjoy life again in a way where I can explore my abilities and see where they reach out to and touch. I need to be opened up to possibilities again and not feel worried and anxious all the time.
Yet I cannot. I just can’t. It’s not so simple as just doing. It’s not just so simple as applying my mind to an action. If it was, I would not be here typing, grunting, sighing, taking deep relentless and miserable breaths. I cannot apply my mind that I am a useful person. I cannot forgive myself for being so fucking worthless. I cannot move myself away from this feeling. I feel like I am constantly crying, yet I shed no tear. I feel like I just want to hide under a bridge when my parents are no longer around and send off $1.50 greeting cards to my friends and brother, telling them I am fine and hope they have a wonderful life. I feel like giving up. I constantly feel like I want to give up, but I constantly hold myself back because I can’t give up. I am like a gold fish inside a gold fish bowl full of water being shaken back and forth, sitting on top of a race car making figure eights around a dirt track.
Then I get a text message from Amber: “I am unhappy” and I snap back slightly across the border of grief and worry and I bring out what little I have left and tell her something silly to try to cheer her up and when it fails, I tell her how unhappy I would be if she is not here in my life.
It’s hard to do, not because of her, but because of so little I have. The power I had has diminished along with that castle that has been cast down to ruins. I CANNOT rebuild that castle again. I can only move forward and along the way, build huts for myself, some stronger or weaker than others. I wish someone can come along to help me up because I need it.
Music: “Twilight’s Breath” by Hotfoot
Drink: Eska carbonated spring water
I downloaded this song from a web site called Dope Design International which no longer exists. It was a web site created by one guy who had a passion for electronic music. Many artists of various mediums came together on that site and formed a strong community. A large part of that site were its musicians. I downloaded and heard this song back in 2002, so about 11 years ago. Associated to this song was a picture of a guy standing on a beach during low sunset. I could only see the man’s silhouette. He seemed to have short curly hair that looked a bit like a mushroom. He was facing away from the camera and looking at the sunset. The sky was a gradient of dark blue, blue, light blue, yellow, red, orange with a thin line of white on the horizon.
This song amongst many others helped me get through my 20’s. However, as my days in the 20-something age range faded, I stopped listening to these tunes and moved onto Youtube, trance songs, rock songs, etc. However, I do load them up every now and then, to bring me back to a time when music meant something to me. Like right now…
Listening right now at point 7:45 in the song… Yes, it is here. I was in Albert’s car. We were driving somewhere. I think it could have been Whyte Cliff. It was late at night. The full moon was out. It was probably around 1am or 2am. I was relaxed. The music was playing. We were brothers who didn’t need to talk much and just enjoy the music that connected our souls.
Jumping back to the current moment, this song reminds me of Amber. The phenomena is this: there are fantasies worth pursuing, but none as harmonized as my connection with Amber. She and I have similar footings and we can both crash hard or help each other up and keep going. I only need to say this about her, because like my former relationship with Albert, vast words are meant for clarity of arguments. For those of connectivity, the feeling and harmony is more important.
As morning dawns, the air is thick with burnt wood and melted metal. A thick haze surrounds the area, with black flakes of charred elements floating around. The smell of old tapestry, carpet and centuries old paintings and books hover in the air like soup, almost oily to the touch of skin. I hear a splash of water behind me and I turn around slightly to see a small row boat with a woman standing in it. She gestures me over. I look down on my right hand, now unclenched and lift up my left and look at the teddy bear. I take one last look at the castle ruins and make my way to the boat. She reaches her hand out and I grab onto it. She helps me into the boat and as I sit down, she stations herself between the oars and row ourselves out the opposite way down the river.
“At least it’s not raining.”