Surreality.

Every day I see people who knew you in life, sometimes running into them for the first time in decades; and, they inevitably ask about you as if they expect to find out that you’ve moved away to Canada, like you always threatened to do. The news of your short battle and premature death unfailingly drops jaws all the way around, and I regularly find myself in the position of having to firmly convince someone that you are dead and gone: a highly dissatisfying instance for me.
At least once a month I see a dress or a couch or a set of dishes that oozes your still lingering essence, and this essence permeates my existence for some time – maybe an hour; maybe a day…and as much as it stirs the burn of the embers inside the firepit called Pain, I greedily and secretly lean into the heat because it’s the only way I feel like I still know my Mom. Like I still have my Mom.
Every single night I walk my dog down the street your house is on. Although somebody else lives there and its appearance has been drastically altered since you died, I sometimes see your faint ghost on the front porch doing a crossword puzzle. I see your ghost watering the lawn too, or occasionally it even excitedly waves a hand at me from across Camden Avenue in the darkness.
I catch myself more frequently spitting out random statements and sayings that were always unique to you, alone.
Things like,

“In like Flynn.”

Or I sing stupid bits if stupid songs like,

“Here we come,
on the run,
like a hamburger on a bun.”
Or,
“Jonathan Joe had a mouth like an O”

I know its really you speaking in my voice, but I wonder what any of it means.

I often thank the Gods that you and I were able to at least scratch the surface of our reciprocal amendments to each other before you died so horribly fast and miserably. I’m continually thankful that I was able to thoroughly explain myself to you after all was said and done between us, but before your brain got so full of metastatic tumors that you were unable to comprehend me. I’m ever thankful that your passing wasn’t during any of our many former years apart, and that I was there to hold your hand when you asked me to be, because I can vividly remember that you were afraid, truly afraid. You never lost face though, you remain a bonebreakingly strong idol of my candlelit shrine. And no matter what else life throws at me, I will meet my last day on Earth with your smile on my face and your strength in my bloodstream. And, while your death killed off parts of me and stole any comfort I knew in the big, bad world, I haven’t let it burden me.
Though, I still bitterly wish we could have had Christmas in Sutter Creek, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Every single day passes with a strangling sense of your absence. And some days, I find you staring back at me from a mirror or the reflection from a storefront window as I pass. The tiniest and subtlest bits of your essence still trickle from the hole that losing you that way has left in my heart.

Barbarian.

I can’t wash the blood from my hands,

The basin is stained with red that expands,

The mirror reflects a perfect barbarian,

As I desperately scrub off layers of skin.

The stars in the sky oddly cease to shine,

I gather up all of the lies that are mine,

Sewn into my mouth one last time,

To be spewed at someone down the line.

My feet refuse to step anew,

And the streetlights cast a yellow hue,

My mind is burning a hole right through,

To ease the pressure I’ve turned into.

Promise.

“For you girl, the future holds never-ending promise…”;

Those are the words that my great-grandmother mumbled through her toothless mug at me last Friday when I went to see her (for the first time in way too long). At the time, I was just grateful that she hadn’t decided to Hex me somehow for allowing so much time to pass between visits; she actually never even brought up the recent negligence on my part to maintain our former schedule. I never really know where Grandma T is coming from with the randomly spouted morsels of wisdom that she is notorious for letting slip – yet, nearly everything she says out of context at the time she says it, oftentimes plays itself into the happenings of the days directly following the statement. She has always been a tearful woman; not like a psycho – cut off my hair – manic/depressive tearful, more like she remains in a constant state of mourning, all the time. I’m beginning to wonder if that has something to with me…

Yes, for me, the future holds promise; promise that things will change…good things will go sour and bad things will evolve into tolerable circumstances. That’s what Life is about.

There are promised periods of despair, self-doubt and loneliness; and I feel assured that my self-enforced alienation from my hell-bent-on-being-victimized parents will leave another hole in my Swiss Cheese heart; but I also feel very certain of my personal need to get away from the vicious cycle attached to the two of them, in accordance with my own daughter and only child. I feel as if this whole situation has always been on the brink, on the outskirts of my existence just waiting to occur. They have apparently decided to enable themselves to be destructively tossed around in that thankless and soul-sucking spin cycle; I have been swayed in the complete opposite direction.

It continues to be difficult for me to comprehend even on the most fundamental surface level: my place in this newly forged trench in the wasteland between Boo and I. I have been the spade thrower digging day and night while I am numbly sleep-walking around. I have deeply burrowed myself away from the battlefield and lost interest in the meaningless warfare.

I have, in essence, had to make the choice I’ve spent every moment in dreading recently… the choice that I feel as if I have spent forever hanging from the sharp edges of… from the two worst possible options for someone to be faced with. Cruel and unusual in nature, it’s a choice that offers a finality that will bring closure – even if it is NOT anything like the “closure” I might have liked to have. I have not yet fallen into complete resignation behind my choice yet, but, at least I have made the decision. This decision does not boast any perks for my future to come, outside of the hopeful prospect of some peace and fucking quiet; I will be cutting off my own nose to spite my own face with this choice – but the same can be said for the alternative choice being made as well.

In my adulthood (current state of being), I have allowed myself to become exceptionally recluse and isolated from others, including my family. Because of the close connections between my parents (mom and step-dad) and my only child to one another, I have spent many years leading up to this choice in being trapped between my own unrealistic, self-serving need for a family as an element of my own identity – and the reality that I my “family” is by far: the most emotionally destructive and unhealthy thing known to my existence. I am no angel, but I have learned from this Living Hell that I am also definitely not cut out for the dramatics and lack of humanity that seem to be attached to both my mother and my daughters’ personalities. I have been idly standing by throughout these past few months while my only child has single-handedly demolished whatever stability my parents had going for them, if warning and pleading with them to cut her loose means that much. The scratchy words in my throat still ring from the night before my stepfather was nearly beaten death, when I said to him,

“If you aren’t careful Pop, she’s gonna get you killed…”

They have been robbed, burglarized, my step-dad was beaten, ransacked, sucked dry of any money that they may have had prior to Boo’s return to the area; my mother’s car is totaled, the garage of their home has been crashed into and tumbled down. I get these calls from my mom detailing the extreme stupidity involved with all three sides – my mom, dad, and my daughter. I have to listen to how she lies her way back into their lives, then I have to listen to how she fucked them over again afterwards. I can’t do it.

So in essence, my mother’s refusal to keep me separate from the never-ending drama attached to my daughter, has ultimately pushed me back far enough to no longer want to return again.

I haven’t been speaking to any of my family besides my great grandma, because she lives on a reservation that my daughter will not go near out of fear of being strung up for her crimes against her family. My mother stopped calling, a sure sign that she is too ashamed to face me now – translating into the likelihood that my offspring still resides in her domain, somehow – despite the piles of bullshit and destruction that she has managed in the few months she has been around.

My decision comes down to this:

I have chosen to keep it this way; to not allow myself to get sucked back into the unhealthiness again, not by anyone, even my mom. I don’t know any other people who have a parent and a child that is bad for them; so I am totally winging it and doing what feels necessary in order to keep trying to try to survive.

Nameless.

Lost amid the aimless
inside a place that’s timeless
vast and hollow emptiness
hostage to the heartless
washed up against the nameless
hung to dry with the airless
swinging on the line of the hapless
in a repeated pattern that’s effortless.

Limbo.

My thoughts seem to go,
from climbing high – to dropping low;
no change is made to the present, though,
and the present moment drags my heart below…
like a leaf blowing by,
slowly on the other side,
of the locked and barred window;
so many ups falling back down,
my very nerves coming unwound;
all that I hear is the drumming sound,
it’s my heart as the parts slowly shut down…
nothing holds any promise,
the darkest hours upon us,
these unwinding and unraveling sounds.