I feel a lot of love around homeless people.
Because I love my money and when I'm near them I hold my wallet extra close!
I’m not really sure what I mean for this to be. It probably doesn’t really have a fit anywhere. I guess it’s a story mostly, but I’m not really sure what kind of story it will be. It’s mainly memory for whatever that means to you. It could speak truths, but parts are absolute crap. I don’t even really know how to start this. I guess I will start somewhere in the middle. I will start with when we met, Blake and I. That might make it seem like I’m starting at the beginning, but that would be the beginning of a story I told about him and I. That’s not what I want to tell you. I want to tell you some of the story of Blake, and some of my own story.
The summer he came into our lives was the summer that I finally understood I was depressed. I had been living with it for years I guess, but didn’t know to call it that. My depression was situational. That’s what they called it, bad things happened and so I had withdrawn. Withdraw, what a word to describe depression, but that really was what I did. I couldn’t handle the things that happened, I didn’t have it in me to deal with it so I retreated instead. Withdraw. Withdrew. Withdrawn.
I guess depression can be different for everyone but that’s how it was for me. I never would have said that I felt sad, I just felt tired. In high school it had been different. Back then I hadn’t slept at all, probably because of the nightmares. As a teen I treated my depression in other more reckless ways. I have always been a master of suppressing things I didn’t want to deal with, but when I went off to University I didn’t want to be that wild, maniacal girl anymore. Back then I was always jumping from one thing to another, but I didn’t know how to be still with myself. The stillness just made me tired, so I slept. After a few years of sleep I realized I had to do something about it.
The social worker that I found was great. My god that man saved my life. He helped it to all feel okay again, or really for the first time in my life. He brought me out from somewhere I had hidden for a long time. He once called my depression ‘rage turned inwards’. At first I thought, what does this old man who has lived a charmed life know about anything? I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t really much of anything. But later I realized he was right. I was just so fucking mad about everything, and that anger was so big it filled me up till I was swollen and bursting at the seams. The toxic rage was there inside me, seeping out my pores, and I was so scared that if I looked at it, if I let myself feel any little piece of it, that it would be too much for me, that it would crack me open and smash apart my world.
So back to that summer when I met Blake, I was 22 and I was in the middle of dealing with this overwhelming realization about myself. Blake was dating my best friend and roommate. He was funny, and charismatic and I guess he was alright looking, though not really my type. She was crazy about him, but honestly I didn’t think much of him. He probably reflected things I didn’t like about myself, things that I had just started scratching at. He and I would have gotten along like a house on fire in high school though. We would have caused a fucking hurricane of trouble. We liked the same music and movies and we were both wild and could drink like bottomless pits, staying up and busy long after the rest of the world had found their beds. We were just so much alike.
They were different than us. My friend who loved him, and his friend, the guy on my arm. Those two had grown and thrived in sun filled gardens wrapped in love and security. Blake and I had spent so many of our early years in darker places. It’s funny how contrasting people are drawn to each other like that. Those too bright, shiny people drawn to the darkness that was in Blake and I. Sometimes I wondered if they mistook the dark for depth. And we, why were we drawn to them? Did we want some small piece of their normalcy? Did we want to hide behind it, or hope that it could rub off on us? There were times when I wanted to take my husband’s goodness and smear it all over me, paint my face with a smile made from his uncomplicated optimism. Sometimes I worried that I loved him for that more than I should. I worried that it wasn’t right to love him for his goodness, like I was doing him a disservice.
The four of us would hang out sometimes and I really did have some fun with Blake, but as the years went by I had to distance myself from him. He was so hard on her, at times he was even cruel. It made me mad because I loved her and didn’t want to see her hurt, but also for selfish reasons. It reminded me of things I had done and it shamed me. There were times when I had played the same awful games with people.
So we moved away my husband and I, and we made excuses and put up walls around ourselves. I guess I was a better actor than Blake. I was a god damn chameleon. I slipped into this suburban life and reinvented myself as someone who was un-damaged in a way that Blake never could. He couldn’t shake off the scars and broken bones. They defined him and drove him.
The first time Blake tried, I found out about it a few weeks later. She had stopped him and gotten him to the hospital. She was there with him pulling him through, anchoring him to life with her hope. I hadn’t ever thought about taking my own life, my depression just didn’t manifest in that way, but I understood it. He was stuck in the dark and couldn’t find his way out. As much as we understood each other, there were differences in our scarred souls. I always felt the bad things to be in my past. It was shit that had happened, horrible fucking shit, but it was done. Blake felt it all around him. It defined his past, it haunted his present, it loomed in his future. He was afraid that he was becoming the darkness, and he was right. He never told me about that part, but he didn’t have to. I knew anyway.
The night it happened my husband woke me from a dream I couldn’t get out of. That dream. Fuck. That horrifying fucked up dream, was unlike any I have had before or since. The rage and fear cut through my quiet mind like a sword stroke. It gutted whatever images had been there moments before. It filled my heart and head with a desperate anger and sadness. I screamed in my sleep, a deep guttural scream that wouldn’t stop, and my husband had to shake me awake. He wanted to know what I had dreamt, but I couldn’t tell him. All I could say was that there had been a darkness in me, and that it had won and was going to destroy everything. He didn’t know what the hell I meant by that, and I guess I really didn’t either. I couldn’t explain why, but I just knew something bad had happened.
I waited for two days, fearful to cross streets, peering through the news hesitantly, just waiting for the bad thing to show itself. When the phone rang that Saturday morning at 6 am I was instantly awake and on my feet. I leapt from the bed in a panic, knocking my husband and my new baby from sleep. I pressed the phone to my ear and when I heard her voice I knew. I knew. I knew it was him, that he had given up and left this world. She didn’t need to tell me. I told her I would be there as soon as I could and was in my car minutes later on my way to her.
We walked through a haze the weeks that followed. It was my job to be at her side, to help when she needed it. To talk, to cry, to just make sure the kids had eaten. We made arrangements and we called all who needed to be called. We hid behind the chores that had to happen. I wouldn’t really let myself think about the reality of Blake hanging from the rafters. For two days he hung as empty flesh waiting to be found. I didn’t let myself think of that. I didn’t want to picture him alone the days before, leading up to it. I couldn’t stand to see him in the blue haze of cigarette smoke and self-loathing. Most of all I didn’t let myself think of the dream that had pulled me from sleep that same night. The anguish and hopelessness that shattered my sleep like a scream in the dark, overheard by someone who knew, but never cared enough to make a difference.
I hear it sometimes still in my sleep, but it’s never the same as that night. Now when I dream of it the story comes from inside, it's conjured up from my memory. It’s nothing like that night. That night when he took his life alone in a dark and empty home. That night when I felt his fear and regret as he left this world. I sometimes feel like he sent that dream to me as a reminder to keep on trying. To keep on doing what he couldn’t.
For both our sakes I will put the dark behind me and be better than the hard, cold places where we started. For Blake and for me I will live a good god damn life, and I will live it for a long time.
This was supposed to be kinda about school rules but turned out to be more of an exposé of my precocious younger self. :P