A Gypsy Road

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On the Radio

I cried tonight. I cried as I drove aimlessly up and down the dark streets of the city I love and call home. The streets that were also the catalyst for so many bad memories left behind though gone by are forever burned in my mind. I passed by parks we walked in hand in hand filled with light and love just beyond the dingy alleyways darkened by the mayhem and madness where we discovered the darkness buried deep within our souls. I cried as I drove past the old fourth floor two-room studio walkup the two of us laughed in and cried in as once we lay together in the stillness of the night listening to endless repeats of Donna Summers ‘On the Radio’ on your old childhood record player finding a sense of feeling safe we never knew. The same walk up that I can still hear the echoes of your cries in the night of being afraid to die yet not knowing how to live. We were two lost souls stumbling around in the darkness searching for the light unable to walk threw doors open to us before they shut again. We had no idea if we could or even would want to embrace the life offered us? That’s what addicts do we seek out the darkness and turn away the light. We had no idea, no clue about what lie ahead much left what we left behind, no idea of who we were separate or together. We were just trying to get by in the moment avoiding the uncertainty of a future that looked bleak. One can become comfortable wallowing in their own self-pity and fear of a world they never felt a part of especially if there is another to wallow with. There is something to be said for not being scared and miserable alone. We love company.

I drove aimlessly just as I had made it through so many uncertain, lonely days, nights, years intoxicated and stoned, only now I had to do it straight. I felt it coming on, the pain and anger that is. I stopped in an empty parking lot of an abandoned warehouse that lies at an abandoned dock of the Chicago River. The river continued on yet I could no longer see where it began and where it ended. I pounded viciously on my steering wheel just as I used to beat on my own sense of self-worth. No one can beat me up as bad as I can beat myself up. We were alike that way, you and I. I would kill any other who did the harm to me I have managed to do to myself. I pounded, I screamed, I raged like a maniac vomiting profanities and so many painful memories all over myself. If I thought the rage and bile was gone I was wrong and knew it now. I had only managed to learn to hide it better even from myself. All I knew in that moment was that I would give anything to live on with you just one more time. Say all the things I never had the guts to say, I was weak, I was a fool. It was all a lifetime ago yet seemed like you were never gone because in my heart and soul you never were.

I cried for you a girl whom I loved, I cried for me, a man-boy who’s never known how to love the way necessary to reciprocate another’s affection. I had met love before at least the twisted version that called itself love., that I knew. It was not the first time nor would it the last but you were one whom I loved nonetheless, a girl who loved me back even when I pushed you away, the selfish, self-absorbed prick that I was. We loved but we also knew that ultimately one would destroy the other if we somehow managed to not first destroy ourselves together. It was the way it would have to be, the way it always is. I cried because you died and I knew it now and I didn’t get to say I’m sorry, I didn’t get to say goodbye. I suppose over the years I had always known it yet didn’t want to face it until he told me what I already know. But in my heart of hearts I knew. I knew neither one of us would make it far yet here I sit today if only half alive, something many will never understand. I had to hear the words to believe it as with so many things in my life past and present, I had to go to the deepest, darkest part of my soul to believe it. To a place that I knew anything could happen, anything had happened, a place I knew if I go I might not survive but like now I had so willingly gone so many times before. A place I don’t know if I can get out of once I am there. You died and I’m still here. It just doesn’t seem fair. You were such an undeniably better person than I had ever been, than I could ever be. You died of the same disease that I too have, the same disease that bound us together for that time. I cried, hard and then I became angry. I was angry because you deserved so much better that you were ever given.

If you are lucky you get one or two of great ones in this life. You were a great one yet like anything great that comes into my life I managed to fuck it up or shut it out like I did you in the end. It took us while to find each other even though we were standing right next to each other the whole time. We would laugh and smile then look and then look away. Yet when we finally looked close enough we knew that we both had always known. We knew each other and found a demented comfort in the kindred spirit of our lost souls and safety in the darkness of night beneath the covers and in the warmth of each other’s arms, possibly the only real warmth and safe place we could find because it seemed everything else we knew was so cold.

I came home, returning to the scene of the crimes searching only to find you were already gone. Gone before I could make my amends for leaving you to survive on your own and so many other things that matter not anymore. I left you alone like others had before, like your mother had, leaving you to fend for yourself and your father on your own. I knew you were scared and alone in the world and I failed at making you feel safe. Nothing I could ever say or do would make you believe it wasn’t your fault or that you were going to be ok if you just let yourself be. I knew your fear was paralyzing. Every day you felt less and less until there were no more days left to feel. I abandoned you like those in your life before had, leaving to save my own life even when I knew it might cost you your own. I couldn’t save you and you couldn’t save me. I was dying and I knew it, I could not bear to watch you kill yourself at the same time. I wanted to die alone, the way I thought I deserved to. Watching a slow arduous death is always worse than the quick end. The thought of our sad, simultaneous demise was the best we could offer one and other, that and a few moments of love that we rarely knew before. Now even that opportunity was gone.

 

I’ve lost so many to overdose, murder and suicide that I thought I was used to it now yet some are harder than others and it never gets easier. You were different you took a part of me with you when you were alive and immeasurably more now that you’re gone. You might not see it in my eyes but the fire in my soul has been reduced to a smoldering now. The fight I once had is gone leaving only the pain of memories. You lived in my heart though I knew I could not help you. I knew you hurt and I knew it would not end well. But does anything ever really end well? I’m still here now and there are some days I make it by while others I’m not sure how I continue to do it. Maybe it’s because I have others I am responsible to now? Maybe that is what you taught me, that I need to be responsible to someone other than myself, for some that is just not enough. I cared about other people, I never much cared about myself and I’m still learning how to do that. I know who you are now and I know why you could not stay. But never for a moment think that I do not miss you, I’m still here because of you. There is so much more that no one will ever know and whenever I hear ‘On the Radio’ I think of you. That will never end.

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This entry was posted on November 16, 2016 by .
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