Anxiety had me up early this morning. Megan took the day off. I went downstairs, made coffee, ignored my chest, thought about my chest, picked up the living room where Gavin stores all of his toys, vacuumed, started the dish washer, did 131 jumping jacks, stretched, and indoor walked for 30 fucking minutes.
Anxiety has no schedule. I try and manage it by putting it back into its place by staying busy and thinking. I try not to think because that’s the problem. So half my plan is solid nearly all the time. All joking aside, I haven’t dealt with this serious of an anxiety attack in a long, long while. Megan took the day off for a follow up appointment with the doctor. When I found Megan bleeding to death on the bathroom floor I was flat lined emotionally. I have been for weeks. Unfortunately emotion has a way of unfolding itself if you’ve kept it hidden.
So I’m vacuuming this morning and I’m indoor walking and I’m drinking my coffee and I’m thinking when I realized what’s really the root of this particular anxiety attack. I’m going to miss Megan. She leaves on Sunday morning. Super Bowl Sunday Morning. We are both football fans. Football Sunday is a big family day for us. She’s leaving in the morning and will be gone until the following Sunday. Megan works her ass off and has created an amazing career and at times, needs to be gone. Gavin sometimes walks to the door and tries to open the door asking for Mommy. Try that one on for size knowing he nearly lost her for ever.
‘She was 83. She had three more days. They told her that. We had just left the cancer center.’
It was cold. We stood next to the dumpster. I heard squirrels.
‘Yeaaah, She told me one thing. Only one thing during our drive from the cancer center to her home.’
The squirrels rattled on. Uncaring.
I raised my head with understanding. Trying not to look at any one of the squirrels.
‘I remember it like it was yesterday. I tell you. Don’t blink. I know you watch your son all day. I see you with him and how busy you are. But don’t blink. It’ll all be over. Time just goes by and I’m a lot older than you. I look at my hands and I don’t know who’s hands they are.’
He used the word just. Where are the squirrels.
‘My mother said, “It happens so fast.” And that’s all she said. For the entire drive. She knew she was gone. I guess after someone know’s they are gone there’s not much to say.’
‘Time is a funny thing.’ I said, ‘It’s not real. We created it to fit out personalities. When you rock your infant, who has a double ear infection and croup with a fever while he’s screaming for an hour, you pray to God to help him feel less pain. That time is standing still. That time you’ll remember and it’ll never stop. No. Time to me is a funny thing. Light is not straight. You know this.’
The men next to the dumpster laughed.
‘So anyway, Matt, my mother was dying and I was driving her back from the clinic. She had only three days left on this Earth.’
We rode in my GMC. It’s a truck. We smoked cigars. A lot of them. Some of them were small and some were big. Like the mountains we were driving in. It’s easy to become lost in the North Woods. There are hundreds of miles of wilderness. No lights. You can drive and drive and see nothing but forest and Moose. I capitalized that for fun. Sometimes we would stop and have a beer. We’d get out of the truck and someone might say, “It is time for a beer?” None of us would look at the time.
I love those old roads. The dust. The freedom. I smash my mind thinking I know what real freedom is and how it’ll ruin this writing now but I’ll write it anyway. Freedom is being debt free. That means all debt. And to shed mental debt is the most difficult kind. So, when I drive the old roads, and pull over for the massive logging trucks, and we whistle to the old Golden Road, I am as free as I’m going to be in that moment.
The boy climbed out of his window and onto the large tree and quickly made his way to the ground. He ran to the woods. He needed to sit on his rock overlooking the river. He pushed his small frame as hard and fast as it could carry him. The words were rimming in circles within his mind and now gathering pace toward the tip of his tongue. Not yet. Not yet! You will only speak them first once. Finally, his rock in view, an overwhelming feeling of joy perched in his chest; he reached the top of his rock and lay on his back to catch his breath. Sitting up, viewing the river, he spoke the words which were brimming in circles within his mind and pushing their way to the tip of his tongue- No one had given these words to him and he had never heard anything like them. He opened his mouth, ready to watch them fly, “Can memories live beyond thought?” The tiny hairs stood on his arms. A leaf fluttered slightly more north from the smallest push of air. The leaf landed nearly silently into the river. Having changed the world.
I’m the type of guy that will stuff my brain inside as not to let it show. When push comes to shove I stand on a bloody face with my boot on a head reciting a poem mixed between Emily Dickinson and Charles Bukowski knowing no one will understand why I created blood. And fuck them all.