Looking back is memorized light. It’s the easy thing to do when you see the truth and the unknown darkness of the road ahead. I think back on the people I knew and loved, none of whom are here now. I think back on old places and friends, all of which are now memories and phone calls. Like how a sex hotline is a memory of passion. Do they still have those? It’s tied into my memory of payphones.
The memory I have right now is of my father. He’s picking up his newborn granddaughter. This is the first moment he’s a grandfather. The scene is backdropped by the hospital window showcasing a grand and expensively tolled parking lot. He cradles her and says “Welcome to the world… it’s a crazy and scary world… but it’s a good world”.
The only things I know about my father are gleaned from stories of silence. This deafening kind that says everything yet confirms nothing. War torn, dedicated, firm, frustrated. You can tell he sees the true nature of things. The dark honesty we spend most of our lives trying to avoid. I think I get some of that from him.
The mirror showcasing my aging loneliness. The knowledge that I’ve disproportionately punished myself so much this past year. The people I’ve let into my heart knowing they would wreak the havoc I felt I deserved because they were living culminations of my momentary flashes of greed, selfishness, and screaming confusion at the peak of an imploding life.
I exercise in the southern Louisiana heat. I just sweat and sweat and sweat. And sometimes I go into Rouses on the way back and have minor panic attacks as I realize I’m dehydrated, nauseous, and might pass out in public. I try to position myself near the freezer section during the strongest waves as at least it would give the people having to rescue me a chance to cool off to the refreshing scenery of discounted Digiorno pizzas, somehow making it a more pleasurable experience.
This sweat though, it just falls everywhere. There’s no stopping it. It’s like being in Godzilla’s womb. Every iota of your body is having heat channeled through it. I revel in it. It’s a faux purification I can get behind.
You see, there’s this tree behind me. And I keep looking back at it. But these New Orleans streets are bordering on third world, and all the bumps and potholes can suck you down. Small minded girls, pools of alcohol, denials of the dark wonder and inherent loneliness of the universe. And those are all fantastic. But the road ahead demands my attention. To once again surround myself with loving, intelligent people whom inspire me to greater versions of myself. Not this prison I crawled into where I’m inspired to devolve into lizard brained manipulations and jealousy. The mirror is clearing. My ugliness recedes. My disproportioned self sentencing is over. The loneliness burns the hottest, and makes me sweat the most. But it’s keeping the windshield clean.