The bathroom tile is a middleground between teal and aquamarine. I remember the day this small closet-like space was spackled white, the expert precision in which the workmen laid and cut the tile, little squares, decorative with purpose. Now there’s someone inside the bathroom with the door locked, wretching. Whispers of prayer and profanity come through the little crack of the door on the bottom. In the dark, a golden beam of light eeks out. The occupant has no strength left to reach back up and turn it off, hangovers are never kind or easy or negotiable. How could I ever forget the taste of sour bile? Acidic and cutting, helpless to stop the waves of nausea. Vomiting is surrender. Body takes over and mind shuts off. You close your eyes and wish for it to be over. Wish to forget dinner and all the decisions that led up to this moment, even if those decisions were made lifetimes ago. Shaking with a cold sweat. I recall those moments. I watch the still, wooden door and become mildly aware of the morning light beginning to lift away the clouds of night. The shades and curtains begin to show themselves again. My bare feet are embedded in the carpet. This is their home now. Afraid to move. Time to confront. Deep sighs, gasping, pleading. This is punishment now. The Bible tells us that sinners will eventually need to come to their knees, well here we are. One final spit. The light turns off. I hear the running water of the sink, cleverly masking the sobbing which only I can hear. Every Sunday morning does not need to start this way, but it does. I, sleepless and worried and numb. He, momentarily remorseful and apologetic. It will fade. It will not last. This cycle will start back up again. And I will be standing outside the door, cold with no slippers, waiting for a call for help, an opportunity to be of use that will never come. The tile on the bathroom floor must be cold and unkind.
Blood vessels hum inside my nostrils at warm cinnamon wafting through the room. Winter, fall, cozy curling up in a space that’s full of love and family and the blissful daze after a big meal. The carpet is clean and vacuumed. Silk pillows neatly stacked in the corner. I want to sprinkle at little bit of this everywhere, just in case I’m in some sort of serotonin future drought. The watering hole of the mind that sometimes comes up empty like dry river beds on the African plain. Where dirt is dust, and sand is commonplace. I pray for rains. A deluge to bring me home through its current. Whether that’s tears, or a page in a notebook, a letter to myself; Writing home. You sometimes don’t need stamps for that. Forgetting the obvious and recalling that if you just spin the top this reality can soon melt away. And rules of physics you thought were undeniable can suddenly change. To step on pavement that gives like gum. There is more to realize I think now. Stepping away after a long trip. Bags inside factories, cash crops of nations. I seal my envelopes with my saliva still. The nasty sweet.
This post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt entitled, Antique Antics:
What’s the oldest thing you own? (Toys, clothing, twinkies, Grecian urns: anything’s fair game.) Recount its history — from the object’s point of view.
October 1984. Wedding rehearsal dinner.
I am a solemn captured moment of a joyous evening.
A celebration for my oldest daughter.
I am a 29-year-old photograph, snugly fitted into the corner of a bedroom mirror.
Antonio – father, husband, soon-to-be grandfather –
6 more years, you’ll see.
He’s sitting in a wooden folding chair at the table, gazing out across the table, tired,
unaware of the camera’s presence,
just quietly thinking to himself.
The party, melted away in his mind.
When the film was developed, I was probably passed around at family parties
to be thumbed through and glanced at.
Over the years of family functions, celebrations, and holidays, a mountain of pictures formed
like the accumulation of sediment over time.
It became too great, too heavy – Not enough space.
And so I was rolled into it too
to be stored in a 40 lb bin of memories,
to sit in the bottom of a cool, damp New Jersey basement
so far from where I came from. So far from home.
One day, a girl came downstairs, noticed the bin of photographs.
I was one out of a thousand. How did she find me?
Was it fate?
Or random occurrence?
She grabbed a handful
to thumb through and glance at
and went back upstairs.
She looked at me with curiosity and slowly set me aside.
I didn’t go back downstairs with the others
but lay breathing on the dining room table of a house I never recall entering.
I was taken higher up to where the air was warmer,
to her bedroom, to be tucked into the mirror, so she could see me everyday.
You see, I remind her of something – A dream.
A fleeting dream she had about 3 years ago,
way before she knew me or my whereabouts.
It was fall semester, sophomore year of college.
Nightfall. He was sitting outside a church.
No eye contact, side profile, same stoic expression.
She gasped and cried. No one believed he was there.
They didn’t even look! They just told her, “No. He’s gone now”.
She woke up in the midst of hiccuping tears, alone,
mind like an turbulent ocean.
Because as Antonio looked out thoughtfully on the wonderful day,
everyone was unaware of the silent ticking clock counting down in the background:
9 years, 2 months, 6 minutes, 30 seconds.
9 years, 2 months, 3 minutes, 11 seconds
and so on.
So when she looks at me in the mirror atop her dresser,
she thinks back to the man she never knew, or rather
knew too briefly.
She misses him more than anything, gets teary eyed from time to time.
It’s difficult for her to explain why, only that she has this innate knowledge that he loved her,
this inner frustration that she can’t go back, or change anything.
It’s not easy to talk about.
She’s forever scarred by the stroke he suffered right next to her – December 1993.
She was 3 years old
and it was the last time she would ever see him again.
“Today’s assignment: publish a post based on your own, personalized take on today’s Daily Prompt.”
First off, can I just say how excited I am that I’m over the halfway mark?! 2 more weeks and I’m done with this 30 Day Challenge!
The Daily Prompt hyperlinked in the original Zero To Hero 30 Day Challenge post was originally from January 17th, so I’ve decided to sub that with today’s (March 28) Daily Prompt:
We all feel down from time to time. How do you combat the blues? What’s one tip you can share with others that always helps to lift your spirits?
Well to be honest, the blues are my specialty. I think I feel a different shade of them every day. Last night I was feeling a bluish-black blues that only felt more weighted with the glasses of wine I drank with dinner. It’s funny because it’s raining now and you’d think I feel down about it, but I actually like when it rains and I’m home. It’s a cozy feeling.
But when I do feel down and the coziness has evaporated these things have helped me get out of my slump:
- Listening to music – Whether it’s a Saves The Day record or Into It. Over It.’s 52 Weeks on cassette, music calms my mind and just allows me to kind of wallow in my emotions a little bit. Sometimes a fever needs to be sweated out, and sometimes you have to let the emotions you’re feeling run their course before you can pick yourself back up again. About a week ago I was feeling down so I went in my room, put on Under The Boards, turned the lights off, opened my shades to watch the moon, and just laid there listening. And yeah, sometimes I cry a little too. I can’t be ashamed about that. I’m only human.
- Listening to Joseph Campbell lectures – A friend of mine got me into this. He tends to listen to them in his sleep, but I can’t do that. My headphones come off, I end up sleeping on them or they end up around my neck, and then I get upset that I don’t remember which part of the lecture I dozed off at. – It’s not quite comfortable for me. But I do listen to them during the day – When I’m cooking, doing laundry, drying my hair, etc. Joseph Campbell’s words have a knack of lifting my spirits and putting me on the right path again. He never fails.
- Baking – My mom put away our Kitchen Aid mixer since the holiday baking season is pretty much over, but when it was still in full swing I started really taking off making dairy-free and gluten-free goodies. I love baking and cooking because it ignites that creative fire that’s in me. I get a lot of pleasure out of making something everyone likes, that everyone can share and enjoy. It’s very therapeutic and I feel accomplished and productive afterwards.
- Watching TV – Certain shows that automatically put me in a good mood are Frasier, The Golden Girls, Moyers & Company, anything on The Food Network, and practically any Star Trek episode. These shows just lift my spirits, make me laugh, and/or keep me engaged. I guess in the end, it’s a nice distraction and keeps my mind off any problem I may be going through at the time.
- Writing songs – Even just writing out the lyrics help. It takes the thoughts floating around my head and puts them on paper so I can stare back at them, decipher them, make sense of it all. I’ve been doing this since I before I was even a teenager, ever since that Good Charlotte S/T came out. That album really pulled me into songwriting. There’s nothing more cathartic than honest and open songwriting, whether you end up sharing the song with anyone or not.
- Playing guitar – Playing my own songs help, but sometimes it’s just good to belt out an Oasis cover and sing “Don’t Go Away” at the top of your lungs. Or even turning to open D and finding weird chords. I like that too.
- Venting it out on WordPress – When worse comes to worst and none of the above seems to be working for me, I end up writing something emo on here. Sometimes it feels good to just get the feelings out somewhere where you know maybe someone will read it and come across it, maybe even relate to it a little bit. Whether someone likes it or comments on it is irrelevant. Similar to how writing a song for me feels, this is similar except I know I will have a potential immediate audience. Even if it’s one person, that’s okay for me.
- Getting a good night’s sleep – Sometimes that all it takes. Tuck in early and get some restful shut-eye. Sleep is how your body and mind heal. There’s nothing like waking up and feeling completely refreshed.
If these work for you too, that’s awesome. I’m glad we share some commonalities. But at the end of the day, my suggestion to overcoming the blues is to find something that makes you happy and do it. Life is all about balance – You can’t have up without down and down without up. This goes for both gravity and emotions. The blues will come, the blues will go – like the wind. No one likes feeling down and out. Such is the emotional nature of human beings. The blues are nothing to be afraid of, they’re just a natural part of life. And I believe we can get through them together. 🙂