Friday, September 13, 2013
Merry Go Round
I had never shied away from the experiences of others.
Never minded what they had gone through.
Trust me to be level headed and cool in the face of emotional situations.
We looked at each other through the glass, each holding a phone to talk to one another.
The rims of his eyes filled again with tears and he placed his hand against the glass.
I'll never forget that feeling, the one where someone is so close to you but so far away.
Fingertips touch in spirit as they compress against cold glass.
I look down, tears migrating to mine now.
Looking over, you can see the many faces of the women all speaking animatedly or sadly into their phones.
Everything is severe in a way, the cold metal and florescent lights too bright.
Absently I wondered if the reason all the chairs were such an off, outdated color was because the lights had sucked life from even them.
It did a little more every time I visited.
What do you expect to see when you go to a jail or a prison?
Definitely not humanity.
Not the mother of a high school sport superstar.
Not the nice, white families.
We expect ugliness, minorities, monsters.
We all think it at some point.
But I've seen them.
Sorrow comes in all colors and demographics.
And I never saw monsters.
When he was moved to the prison I would look up at the guard towers, somehow not understanding that they would shoot a person for crossing a red line for too long.
Barbed wire conveniently keeps us out, not them.
We don't want to have to make anymore excuses for why we can't love others.
My phone rang as I lay in bed, contemplating waking up.
It was a number I didn't recognize.
"I got caught in my UA. They saw the bottle. I'm going back. I'm sorry."
"What? Like you're going back to prison?"
"Probably. I'm sorry. I really am."
"I thought you were doing better..."
Sadness laced my voice, his had remorse mixed in.
"I feel like this is my fault. I kept you here all those years."
"It wasn't. It was my choice.
I called his uncle for him and then laid there.
Some part of me with undertones of selfishness thanked God because I didn't want to do the roller coaster that is incarceration.
"You'll need to get your dog when you come to town next."
You'd think that his uncle's words would ring sweet to me.
I got everything I wanted...
A perfect guy, my dog, graduating college..
There it was. It was that knot in my chest. It had never left.
Instinct to swoop in and take care of him, ex boyfriend or not.
His parole officer called me.
He wanted to know if he could write me.
I said of course.
I have a stack of letter from prison hidden away in drawers.
Voices of loneliness, promises, and pain.
Those dagger words you keep locked away that you can't say face to face.
A voice of longing, a voice of hope, a voice lost.
I asked her if he really was getting treatment and she said that he was.
They were just waiting for a spot to open...
And there I was, tears coming to my eyes once again.
There I was, back in time,
Opening the drawer to get a spoon and finding less each time I came home until one day there was only one left.
There I was eating dinner alone and finding him nearly overdosing a time or two in the shower, crying over the bowl I kept emptying that I had brought for him to throw up in.
"You have to drink this water, please" I begged.
Asking for milk because it was supposed to help a cocaine overdose.
Sneaking anti-naseua medicine into his soup so that maybe he wouldn't throw it up.
Shame haunting his eyes.
Wrapping him in a blanket and holding him.
"I don't know what to do!" I cried as I curled around him.
In the end, I never saw his addiction like I did when I was 18 and 19.
And I never saw it the way he did.
He hid killing himself better and better.
I hid my selfishness and disdain for the situation less and less.
They do it to themselves, of course.
No different than when I restrict, then work out, then put my hand to my chest as my heart beats strangely, aching.
There is only so much sympathy we can garner for our self inflicted hells.
But I can't help breaking that people hurt as much as they do, I, helpless to do anything but love.
He asked if I would put money on his books to write and I said I would.
He asked if I would put money on for him to call me.
"It's like that, huh? Never mind."
"No... I just, I just don't get paid until next Thursday."
There is was.
There was the chasm we had pretended wasn't there.
And I didn't know what to do with it.
Life seems like a merry go round sometimes.
We think we're going somewhere and headed in the right direction and there we are again.
I guess I feel some guilt, even if it's not mine.
I broke up with him, led him on even if it wasn't fully intentionally, just dumped him out of no where and didn't do anything to fix it.
That didn't help his recovery.
He didn't do all he could to help his recovery
I know that I'm not responsible for his actions and his emotions and yet I still feel that need to take care of him.
There I am, coming back around the other side of the merry go round again.
Part of me feels guilt that I'm happy it's no longer my responsibility, that I can love from a distance but it's not my life I have to make choices for anymore.
Now I'm with someone that doesn't use and doesn't put me at risk that way.
Someone that doesn't bring out that selfish and angry side that hurts him more.
Every time we go to the park and eat the soft serve everyone raves about all summer, we sit on the bench closest to the merry go round.
We laugh as we poke fun at the music that grates on your nerves after the third time and giggle at the reactions of the children.
I love the black horse; I pick him out every time.
Rich black paint with a mane that has pink strands painted throughout.
Strong flanks, tall.
Gold paint on his saddle and pinks on his hooves.
He is strong, wild looking, despite his medieval style head piece.
Ready for battle. Domineering.
"Why do you think they're so angry looking?" I muse to L.
"Maybe they just froze them as they were and then put them on there. I wouldn't be very happy either if someone captured me and made me do this all day."
That's how it really is though, in life, I mean.
We are captured by our lusts and hopes, tamed by the places we go and the things we see, hearts we break, times we break our own.
We giggled to ourselves, sometimes making outlandish explanations for things.
I steal a few licks of his cone as he pretends to be mad.
We were wild once.
Until we created those outlandish excuses that keep us on our merry go rounds.