Always chasing rainbows

“I’m always chasing rainbows, Watching clouds drifting by, My schemes are just like all my dreams, Ending in the sky. Some fellows look and find the sunshine; I always look and find the rain. Some fellows make a winning sometime, I never even make a gain, believe me, I’m always chasing rainbows, I’m watching for a little bluebird in vain.” Judy Garland

I keep thinking that one day it will all make sense. There has to be an equation, right? Some divine code, decipherable through the gathering of life experiences. One day I’ll be able to add up all the numbers, multiple all the sunrises, subtract all the sorrows, divide by all the joys and come up with either a positive or negative number. A blimp on graph. A baseline that makes complete sense.

No. I’m still at 0. Is that even a number? It’s more an inert integer where no matter how you manipulate it, the value remains untouched.

I wanna touch zero. I wanna add days to it, to prolong it’s life. I wanna rip it up into shreds and stomp all over the confetti of zeros at my feet. I wanna shove all the zeros down my throat until I choke on numerical madness and then feed the regurgitated remains to the pigeons. I wanna spread around zeros like an infectious disease until the epidemic puts people into a panic, demanding billions of dollars to develop a cure. The antivirus for keno-zero-phobia stocked on every pharmacy shelf.

I wanna hate zero. Blame the causality for every horrible, despicable, heart wrenching thing that ever happened on its inability to mean anything. I’d like to cast zero back into its dark abyss. Etch words on the box I opened warning others to beware of the curse that comes from playing with zero.

Oh what I’d give to be wrapped in the arms of 1. Cocooned in the embrace of 2. Play hide and go seek, laughter echoing through the trees, with 3. Swim laps in a pool of 4s. Skate down the street as rays of sun bounce off 5. But I can’t.

I can’t seem to escape zero. No matter where I bunker down, I look over and there zero is looking at me. Shadowing my footsteps, splashing in puddles, as we walk through the rain.

You start to wonder if zero is following you. Or are you chasing zero?

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Say a Prayer for Me Tonight

“Say a prayer for me tonight. I’ll need every prayer that you can spare to get me by. Oh, say a prayer for me this evening. Bow your head and please, Stay on your knees tonight”—Gigi (sung by Betty Wand)

I have a scavenger’s personality: I’m all about the search, discover, and seize. I trophy my wall with conquests of things desired. Lately, instead of a quest of want, I’m on a quest of need.

There’s a distinct urgency to my prowl; an awareness that I’m wallowing in alack without limit. Eyes shift from face to face looking for traces of what I’m missing. I’m lost in the mist of my chase. The way I use to chase men who couldn’t love me, I now chase the ghost of the brother who left me. Was taken from me.

It’s weird to hear laughter, remembering the echo of my brother’s chuckle; I sprint toward the fading sound. I find myself longing to be hugged the way only my brother could, strong arms that wrapped around me, then a brace of his knees as he lifted me in the sky. I suffers substitutes for strong arms, sniffing for a similar scent, someone to joke with about a receding hairline, who’s hat collection never ceased to surprise me.

Because I can’t seem to discern these feelings, I spend a lot of time alone. Or working. Or both. I don’t know what I’m thinking about half the time, then all of a sudden the realness of death hits me, permeates, blasts of cold air engulf me in a bubble all my own. A realization that death is permanent and things will never go back to normal.

There is no normal, just a newly developed consistency. Foreign territory, foreign language, I have to make sense of this new land where I was deposited.

At every corner a reminder, a memory I never want to forget. It’s so easy as time passes to lose the moments you hold dear. Maybe that’s why I’m not sleeping; sleep defining a lapse of time, and elusive understanding that each time I lay down my head or close my eyes I grow farther from his death. Yet my dreams won’t let me forget. I relive the news, revisit the funeral home, reinvent the last goodbye.

I only hear brief sound bites of his voice. I only see snapshot images of his face. I hate how easy it is to let slip, yet how hard it is to stop the hurting.

His death shocked my system, tilted the axis of comprehension for my whole family. To say I’m grieving him is an understatement.

Thistle & Weeds

“Spare me your judgments and spare me your dreams, Cause recently mine have been tearing my seams, I sit alone in this winter clarity which clouds my mind, Alone in the wind and the rain you left me, It’s getting dark darling, too dark to see, And I’m on my knees, and your faith in shreds, it seems.”

It is funny how after the death of a loved one things change. Not so much the routine of quotidian life, but the reaction to your environment is different. It’s almost unperceivable how your circumstances have altered, but you’re left teetering on an invisible brink. Here are a few things I’ve noticed:

1. Precaution—Not to say that I’m not cautious anyway, but I’m more aware of the multitude of steps that I take to avoid any unnecessary hazards. While driving, while out in public, while at parties… the carefree fluidity of youth has disappeared. Now I spend time making sure I have enough life insurance. That my beneficiaries are in order. That if I needed to be buried tomorrow, no one would have to scramble to make me an urn out of the affordable products at Michaels. I’m meticulous about my filing, so anyone would be able to find my life insurance, 401(k), bills, etc. I was never a heavy drinker, but now I don’t even chance it. I worry about my liver, I worry about driving home, I worry about car wrecks. Hell I just worry all the bloody time. Death brings this sense of awareness of your own mortality.

2. Fascination with death—With this newfound awareness that I’m going to die, I’m fascinated with the ‘How’ of death. My dreams are disturbed by thoughts of death: family members, friends, but more frequently of my own death. I have these vivid and horrific dreams of attacks by intruders, trying to fight them off, the inevitable assault, followed by being strangled to death. I wake up repeatedly throughout the night suffocated by blankets, drowned in pillows, hanging lopsided off the bed. It takes me a few moments to set myself to rights, clear my head of the images, and fall back to sleep. If only the next dream was milder… eventually I just get up. My whole day is spent in a tired daze, masked by ounce after ounce of coffee.

3. The lack of care—My tolerance level is so low, it’s almost non-existent. For real though, don’t tell me about the paltry problems of your feeble existence, because I could care less. I want to scream: Do you still have your life? Then let me alone. The truth is that pain and problems are all relative. I’ll listen, offer a solution, but come back with the dilemma and I’ll walk away. Life is the sum of action resulting in consequences; if you’re still breathing you still have a chance to change.

4. Rushed—Every day I feel rushed. Rushed to stop grieving. Rushed to get back to normal. Rushed to have a reason for my attitude. I had almost 24 years of life with my brother, rest assured that these few months are not enough to “get over” his loss. It feels completely foreign that he’s gone. Someone took an eraser to my penciled life and extracted a vital chapter of my history. The wrongness of this situation feels disrespectful.

5. Isolationism is real—Not sure what response I was looking for in the month succeeding my brother’s death, but I can tell you I didn’t get it. My life stopped, but everyone else’s kept going. Understandable, definitely. But you can fuck off if you think I don’t resent it. I really only want to talk to my siblings. Like I want to sit on the phone and just hear them breathing. Even though I don’t say a word, I find sublime comfort in the fact that they are accounted for. Even in my silence I feel like they get me, even when they don’t.

Most days I don’t have enough words. Not enough descriptive sentences. My hands remain empty, grip loose. Bereft of all happiness that’s how I feel. Who knew life could be so tiring…

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