I dreamt of you-
You turned your back on me.
I pulled you through (all the darkness in your mind)-
You pretended not to see.
I let you peel away all my layers-
Watched you pick at the tender skin at my wrists and around my collarbone;
I let you outshine me in every way-
Yet you left me bleeding, exposed, alone.
You tortured me with goodbye
and "I don't know".
I stood with my head held high
(you taught me to stand up for what I believed in)
As you simply
Laid a battered life full of broken bullshit lies
in my outstretched hands....
and walked away.
Sleepless nights, tear-stained sheets-
I spent too much time tossing and turning
and re-playing and re-writing and re-reading
No matter the scene, it all ended the same.
I no longer hear your voice,
Or my tears
Or misdirected thoughts leading me down your path.
I am free of pain,
having secretly laid it all at your doorstep,
as you sleep in your bed of bullshit lies,
with her in your weak arms.
I dreamt of you-
I forgot how much I loved this man's voice.
....I wanna hear what you have to say about me
Hear if you're gonna live without me
I wanna hear what you want
I remember december
And I wanna hear what you have to say about me
Hear if you're gonna live without me
The day I met him, his roommate had just dumped his entire lunch tray on the floor in a fit of coughing: 3 small glasses worth of apple juice, a glass of milk, a flattened roll, some chicken dish with green beans, jello, countless pieces of glass, a warm plate amazingly unbroken, all mixed and mashed and scattered on the floor.
I was in the hallway when I heard the coughing, followed by the crash of the tray. I turned around and entered the room. I spoke to the roommate, made sure he wasn't choking, and surveyed the damage. I began to clean up the large pieces of the mess, dumping them into a trashcan. As I leaned down by his bed to pick up a chunk of glass, his hand reached out and touched the top of my head. I was startled, as I hadn't even realized he was awake.
I looked up to see him staring down at my from the edge of his pillow. Eyes, yellow and red, one a blueish gray color from the cataract. Shiny, feverish, but alive, looking back into mine.
"Hi, Mr. R. I didn't realize you were awake."
His lips moved, but no sound emerged. He began blinking rapidly, touching his tongue to his upper lip, and still tapping my head with one hand.
I finished cleaning up what I could of the mess, and then sat on the edge of his bed, surveying the mess within his bed sheets. His body was mangled, losing the battle with arthritis. His skin was ashy, yet still beautiful blue-black mahogany beneath all those scars. He had no clothes, so it was easy to see that under the sheets, he was skin and bones, a slight skeleton. His hands and head seemed grossly out of proportion with the rest of his body. He had a full head of salt and pepper gray hair-a huge 'fro, in fact.
He reached for my hand, and maintained eye contact.
"Mr. R, is there something I can get you?"
His lips never stopped moving. I bent down, placing my ear near his mouth, straining to hear his words:
"What do you need?" I began rearranging his sheets and his pillows and his bones. I moved his call light closer to his other hand. As I moved to re-adjust his neck, he placed his hand on my wrist, mid-stride.
"...time....need more time...."
I am so silly sometimes. I am always doing and helping and thinking and saving. I forget sometimes, that I am not listening.
"What do you mean? More time? For...?"
I placed my hands in my lap. He left his long fingers wrapped around my wrist.
He began slowly tapping his thumb on the underside of my wrist.
He maintained eye contact.
"....I don't know you.....but....I know of you.....I need more time.....to talk to you....."
And then he fell asleep.
I sat for a few minutes, poised on the edge of his bed, holding my breath, waiting.
He didn't stir.
I left the room confused. I was told he didn't talk, didn't respond to people, rarely responded to touch.
Later that afternoon, I went back by his room. He was seemingly in the same position, unchanged yet different. His eyes followed me as I walked across the room, towards his bed. I smiled and said hello.
His response: "...did you hear?...that I don't talk?"
I laughed out loud. Yes, that's indeed what I had heard.
Only once, in all the time I knew him, did he do this: He laughed. A gruff, throaty laugh, that I almost missed.
I visited him daily. Sometimes he said only a handful of words, sometimes none, sometimes his mouth moved but his throat did not. But he always made eye contact, and I learned his facial expressions-the tiny nuances, the subtle changes in the planes of his cheekbones when he was in pain, the secrets among the creases around his eyes when he smiled.
He grew sicker. Weaker. Thinner.
He talked less.
No one believed that he talked. He was dismissed by so many.
He was homeless prior to landing in our facility.
I don't know his past life; he didn't speak of it. I learned later that he had been in the military.
One morning he didn't respond to my voice, didn't make eye contact, didn't speak. I worried for him, as co-workers talked circles around me of who would take his bed when he was gone.
I spent an afternoon with him, in the darkness of his room, listening to the oxygen machine compete for breathing space.
I sat in a chair next to his bed, too afraid that I would somehow hurt him if I sat on the edge of his bed. I reached for his hand at times, rubbing lotion into the ashy lines. I brushed his hair, and leaned over, whispering in his ear, random things, for my sake, not his.
I stayed in his room long after I should have left for the day.
When I said my goodbyes, there was no squeeze of the hand, no whisper on my wrist, no last words.
I got a call a few hours later, that he had passed.
I still feel bad that he essentially died alone. No family. No friends.
I think of him from time to time, and dream of his past, wishing he had spoken more.
His words: "Need more time". They come to mind sometimes, and I smile, recalling his huge head of hair and his deep voice.
I roll those three words around in my mouth, twist them with my tongue, try them up and down and upside down. I learn to deal with the bitter taste they leave, waiting for them to grow sweet.
I have put those three words on my bulletin board at work. Until I figure out their meaning, they are a good reminder for me: slow down, breathe, stop, listen.
Need more time.
My sister went through this period recently where for about a month, she watched the movie The Notebook every damn day. I'm still questioning her teenage sanity level. Every day I would walk into the living room and get pulled into the story: standing frozen, mid-step, or slowly sinking onto the edge of a chair. I would last all of 10 minutes, tops. Then I would begin to feel this heavy feeling take over my entire body, starting in the core of my chest, spreading outward. Then I would realize what I was getting myself into, and I would bolt out of the room, cursing myself, the movie, and my sister.
I have read the book. It made me cry.
And I love sad love stories.
Or I did.
Now I just want to avoid them and the whirlwind of emotion that comes along with them. I want to climb into bed, pull my comfy blanket over my head, and curl up in a tight, shatter-proof ball.
I started The Time Traveler's Wife a year or so ago. I got so busy with grad school that I didn't finish it. I fully intended to so that I could watch the movie (looks fantastic), but now? Now I don't think I can.
I bought the movie PS I love you for myself. I can't even open the damn DVD box.
I saw The Descendants a couple of months ago. I was not aware of what it was about, apparently. But as soon as the main character found out his wife had been cheating on him, that heavy feeling started in my chest. All the emotions I had felt when my ex said he wanted a divorce? All back, stretching out with cold fingers to fill my body. It gave me little comfort to know that obviously others have felt all that I have felt the last 2 years, or at least similar things. I sat paused, barely breathing, during the entire movie. And I was silent for a good 2 hours after the movie was done.
Saw Crazy Stupid Love soon after. What the hell was I thinking? Another movie where I sat frozen, the only movement my tears sliding down my face, lying to rest on my collarbone.
It's taken all this time for me to figure out that what I want so desperately is also what scares the shit out of me. One in the same. I am both drawn and repelled, a magnet with polar ends, constantly spinning out of control when pushed too closely towards the right field.
I listen to music to calm myself. I read. I write. I tell myself over and over until I am hoarse, that it will be okay, go slow, leave the past behind, smile, breathe.
Sometimes I feel as though I am the only one dizzy with the spinning.
Cold weather makes me want to sleep. It doesn't help that my room is colder than the rest of my house. It causes me to burrow deeper into my pillows, curled in a ball with the covers up to my chin.
It figures my child would be just like me in this regard.
She doesn't want to wake up in the mornings. She turns away from my voice, and shoves her head under a sea of blankets and stuffed animals. Sometimes she pulls the I-am-gonna-fake-you-out-and-pretend-I-can't-hear-you tactic. It's amazing she can keep a straight face at the silly things I whisper through her crazy curly hair.
"Did you know it snowed last night?"
"School is cancelled."
"Pull my finger."
Or, she wakes up immediately, barely cracking one eye open. She gives the best mean look, shoots fire through those long eyelashes.
"5 more minutes, Mom."
"Go away, Mama."
It takes all I have sometimes not to crawl back into bed with her, curl my body around hers, and breathe her in.
She's growing so fast; I can barely lift her anymore. She rarely calls me Mama in her silly little way. I am Mom or Mother already. I look at her and I not only see the chubby face of my favorite toddler, but I see the gorgeous teen she will become. It is both breathtaking and heart wrenching at the same time.
I'm waiting for a snow day to come, so I can curl up with her and sleep late (probably only 30 extra minutes, if I know her), while she still fits in the curve of my body perfectly.