Muscle Memory

I’ve taken the words of T.S. Eliot to heart over the years. April is the cruelest month, from my experience.

Two years ago this week, I was saying goodbye to my last girlfriend, who had woken up something inside of me I thought might never come alive again. It wasn’t meant to be, even though she renewed my faith that you could meet someone on a summer evening, start dating them, fall in love, and be crazy about each other for almost a year. Not many people get that, and I’ve had it twice. I lost them both in April.

In just a few days, my daughter will be 19 years old. I haven’t spoken with her in three and a half years. I haven’t spoken with my oldest since April 4, 2016. I could list about a dozen other shitty moments of my life that have accumulated into Aprils all throughout my years. It’s a month to be skipped. A dead month, where the leaves aren’t even out on the trees yet.

Maybe that explains the funk I’ve been in. April is weighing hard upon me lately and like muscle memory, all of those sorrows are like the pain of an old wound. The grey skies and flurries. The naked trees and brown grass. Even just the way the air smells or the way the stars linger in the sky, with Orion just now reaching the western horizon at the beginning of night.

I remember an April day from a long time ago. A date with my first love. A perfect day. We started at the Denver Botanical Gardens on a day when almost nothing had been planted. She told me a secret about herself, something she had only shared with me at the time. I don’t know if she ever shared it with anyone else. Sitting there on a bench together amid the winterkilled flowers of last year, she cried happy tears. We went to the museum and stole kisses underneath the dinosaur skeletons. She talked about how she wanted to travel the world with me as we looked at dioramas of polar bears and seals together. We kissed for hours in City Park, using our long coats like a privacy tent. We thought we were cool. We had gyros at a dive restaurant on Colfax, and then drove to Golden to see the railroad museum. We never made it inside. Instead we kissed in her car in the parking lot until they locked the gates. Then we went to Westminster and watched the re-release of the Lion King in the theatre, finishing up the evening with more necking in her car until she drove home and I went back to my apartment alone, swimming in those feel-good chemicals the whole drive. It’s one of those days I wish I could relive over and over.

The next April, I was saying goodbye to her in the cold rain under a cottonwood tree in another park. The Hale-Bopp comet was still riding high in the sky with its twin tail. She didn’t want to get married or have kids, and I did. That was 25 years ago.

Filling the Hours

It’s a quiet night at home and instead of edits, I’ve been watching movies the last couple of days. The price of gas has made travel prohibitively expensive. The weather has been windy and miserable with snow flurries that would make venturing outa chore anyway.

Due to life, in general, I haven’t been motivated to take care of myself all that well the last few days. My dishes are piling up in the sink. Again. I feel guilty about not editing today. I haven’t been feeling all that well anyway. The joys of not having a gall bladder. I’ll spare you the details. Lets just say, you don’t buy lunch, you rent it. By the hour.

I want to feel moved by something, but lately I’m feeling numb inside. I watched Manchester by the Sea in the hopes that something about it would stir something inside, but it didn’t. I’ve been angry for a few days. There is enough to grieve lately that I’m working through. One of these days I’ll talk about it here. Mostly I’m just numb, not sleeping right. Snacking or eating carbs when I’m hungry. Not eating when I don’t want to wash the pots and pans.

I was in a guilt spiral for not editing. I guess I shouldn’t beat myself up too badly, because most people get a day or two off every week. Not me, unless my body and brain demand a shut down for at least a little while.

Don’t get me wrong, there are good days. Great days even, when I feel like the work I am doing is important, and the best part of that is the work is also fulfilling. You see, there have been moments in my life I’ve had enough money to not have to worry about things, and it never really fixed anything that was wrong. In some ways I stressed more about having money because I was just waiting for the moment someone would come and take it away. When you are broke as hell, nobody can take all that much away from you. It’s like finding yourself at rock bottom, yet it is comforting because it is familiar. I guess what I’m saying is sometimes you just need a moment to catch your breath before you pull yourself back off the ground again.

I’ve gotten tired of messing with spambots on Instagram. It used to crack me up with the barely English conversations and I have a hard time believing anyone falls for this crap. It always starts off the same way. Someone follows your page, you follow them back, then the stupid DMs start coming. The conversations are nearly all the same. The progression from “Hello how are you dear?” to “I am looking for someone to hold me day and night and to fill that lonely feeling that I am having. Are you the one I can trust? I have been hurt too many times in the past.” Let me remind you that this whole thing happens in a matter of minutes. Even when I’m feeding them bullshit like questions from the Voight-Kampf test in Blade Runner or telling them I was born over 400 years ago in the Highlands of Scotland.

The bots have the human condition down for sure. They have loneliness dialed in. The worst part about it is I can’t help but wonder who thinks the timeline actually works like this? It actually got to be depressing, because somebody out there thinks this is the natural process. It isn’t. Most of us spend significant amounts of time trying to navigate how much we can tolerate about someone else, and in the end, most of us realize it isn’t worth it. Or we’ve been lied to. Most of the time, we go back to being strangers again.

The world is full with enough strangers, thankyouverymuch.

In your 40s, everyone is damaged goods, or else we would be at the park or the beach with our nuclear families wearing our pastel colored Izod shirts and Old Navy sundresses with everything fucking perfect. Swinging toddlers by their arms between the two of us in the sunshine. Most of us have hung up our hats because we don’t want to learn anyone’s middle name or favorite color anymore. We don’t need to have someone’s pets like us. We don’t feel the need to know when their kids’ birthdays are or have that song that is Our Song. It’s easier on the old ticker to just…Not. Tired of the letdowns, the promises of being disappointed in someone that are amply fulfilled, but damn it if we aren’t still wired for connection. An army of Eleanor Rigby wandering around, hoping not to get any feelings stuck to us.

It might work differently for the young, who are still maleable to meet-cute, open enough to go out with someone a few times, spend hours and days and weeks chatting and learning about each other, and then saying “I would love to deal with your bullshit on a daily basis! Let’s do this!” Because I can tell you right now, my stacks of dishes wouldn’t fly with anyone. Nor would my insomnia. Or my grey days when I need to fill the tanks. Or those days I just get in my car and drive to clear my head. I’m not looking for someone to nag me into some semblance of humanity. I don’t want anyone to change me. It’s simply not worth it anymore.

I would be happy with being able to just fall asleep when I went to bed.

Tomorrow, I will write. I will edit. Hopefully tonight I will sleep. Somehow it’s never a problem during the day. Night is a whole other animal.