First Memory

I’m a baby. I’m in a stainless steel sink, and I am smiling at my mom smiling at me. She washes me gently, and the warm yellow glow of sunlight pools around us.

I don’t know why this memory has returned to me, nor why it makes me cry every time I think or talk about it. Even writing this now, the tears stream down my cheeks and I sob. I remember the quality and direction of the light. I remember the love.

Maybe it’s because my mom was so happy then. Maybe it’s because of all the promise sweetly held in that moment. Maybe it’s because, as an adult, I can fully cherish the true beauty of that love. Maybe it’s because I feel, to my core, what it is to surrender to the loneliness of being alone. Maybe it’s the antithesis of where I am now, taking care of myself.

I’m not entirely sure.

I’ve gotta get the fuck outta here.

I don’t know if it’s my pressing schedule, my home life, or relationships, but I’m feeling the strong urge to self-destruct. Fight or flight? My fight impotently turns inward, and there’s nowhere to run. At least, I mostly have stopped running, but without those coping mechanisms I am going crazy.

I’ve tried to avoid telling my friends what is going on. We don’t have that kind of relationship anyway. And my family? They are a major part of what’s going on, so I save it for my therapist. Thing is, I’m running out of energy. At least today I have. Between dealing with my mom, who doesn’t remember the things she says when she is drunk (oh, but I do), trying alone to maintain a semblance of order in a house of three adults, one disabled elderly man with just too many health issues, three dogs, and two cats, and managing my own life, I’m agitated and irritated. Compound that with my hypercritical and judgmental father and brother, and it’s so disheartening.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is temporary. I want to believe that, but like other things, I just don’t know if I really do believe. Of course, things could be worse. It’s just a fucking lot to shoulder alone, man.

Death of a Great Man.

My favorite uncle died.

The denial built up steadily until the funeral, when the dam crashed up, down, every way.

He was the best man I have ever known. His heart was his compass; his conscience was his guide. His death was glorious; his life was a psalm. Everything about this man was good and right and beautiful. He touched so many lives, in faith and in consistency, and his smile is burned into my heart.

I think of Neil Young. Cat Stevens. Roses. Communion. Community. Courage. The most steady, gentle, stubborn courage. Compassion. Service. Unwavering faith. Love. His slender frame breaking into song, his brown fingers strumming an acoustic guitar. Intellect… such philosophical, brilliant intellect, softened by bright eyes that held all the patience and understanding in the world.

Oh beautiful spirit, that I will find you again in time. I love you. Thank you for loving me, for guiding me.

Peace in merging with your buddy, the light of this world and the world beyond.

Military Guy.

I took my friend’s hand as she led me through the thick, swaying crowd to the bar. “I hate waiting,” I whined a few minutes later with my head back. The bartenders, as usual, were totally slammed.

“There’s your military boyfriend.” My friend nudged me, and I turned to my left to find a young man in camo staring at me intensely. “I think I’ll go with the tequila like you suggested.”

“I knew that would be your alcohol tonight,” I said confidently.

“Excuse me, may I buy you two ladies a drink?” Military Guy made his move. It was literally the first time that had ever happened to me, but the luster quickly degraded into panic as his extraordinarily tall friend came up behind me to introduce himself to my friend. I suddenly felt cornered; trapped into the obligatory “So who/what/how are you?” line of conversation. The lights were brighter. I felt disoriented.

“I’m super panicking right now,” I whispered to my friend.

“We don’t have to do this,” she said supportively.

“I’m sorry… we have to go,” I apologized as we began pushing our way back through the crowd toward the band and second bar. I wasn’t swayed by the crestfallen look on Military Guy’s face.

We were able to get our drinks without incident inside, and found a quiet and private room to lounge in.

“Something just wasn’t right,” I told her as I sipped. “Something with his vibe.”

“He’s probably been in combat,” she said sadly.

“Aw, sad. I think they are just trying to get laid. I do not imagine meeting my next love at a bar.” I meant it, too. I loved coming to our place on the weekends. It was a moody, energetic backdrop for the stoned mind, with live music and small twinkling lights everywhere. It also happened to be a venue where I was consistently hit on, which was normally an ego-booster even though I didn’t take any of it seriously. When I was high and extra observant, the young, horny, drunken crowd felt distinctly predatory, like it did this night. I was glad for the solitude of the room, and sank into the sofa. Unfortunately, the peace did not last long. Military Guy and his giant of a friend maneuvered into the armchairs next to us. We turned to each other and made a decision to be nice. They had been to Iraq, we remembered.

OG Military Guy slid onto the sofa next to me, his leg touching mine. I tried to make conversation, but he seemed not to know how to hit the ball back. My friend turned to me quickly, and whispered, “Mine is only 19.”

Fuck that. “How old are you?” I demanded of Military Guy.

“23,” he responded.

“Aw. This,” I gestured between us, “isn’t going to happen. We can be friends though.”

He looked sad, but more interested. “Why?” he asked, leaning closer to me.

“I’m 30. It’s not going to happen.”

He looked shocked. “I thought you were my age.”

I smiled. “I get that a lot, thanks.”

“Well, you don’t have to worry…” he began. “On my nineteenth birthday, my friend invited me over and I got hammered. She said I had to stay the night because I was too drunk and I woke up in bed with her mom.”

I just looked at him. And then I asked my friend if she wanted to dance, and we made a hasty exit. They followed us to the dance floor, so we went the opposite direction and went to the pizza parlor. A homeless woman rounded out the night when she threw a pepper shaker at us, and we went home.

Being single can be so fucking weird.

Busted by the 4:20 Police.

“Oh look, it’s 4:20.” I said with a smirk. We had just pulled into a parking slot, and I was ready for a really big fresh juice. But first… “Shall we?”

My friend winked at me and withdrew the other half of our roach. We had smoked the first portion before an especially endorphin-producing session at the gym. I handed her the lighter. “You do the honors.” I leaned my head back against the headrest, the warmness of the leather sinking into my sore muscles.

“I think it’s out,” she coughed after a few passes.

“We should finish it. It would be a waste not to.” She relit it and had taken a hit when her eyes widened.

“Shit, shit.” She fanned at the smoke frantically.

“What are you doing?” I demanded as she hastily snuffed it out. “Oh.”

A police car jerked into the parking space next to us. We looked at each other, eyes reflecting twin expressions of bewilderment. “Let’s go,” she said quickly. I buckled my seatbelt as she opened her door.

“Oh… I thought you meant driving.” I laughed, unbuckled, and made a hasty exit.

The cop was right there. He was young, in his thirties, and handsome. He also had that damned air of authority going for him big time.

“Hello, girls,” he clipped. We squeaked out a greeting. “Do you smell marijuana?”

I shrugged with a look of confusion. My friend barely shook her head no. “No, Officer,” our voices chimed together, eyes widened.

I caught his eyes running down my Alice in Wonderland leggings. He knows.. He glanced at my friend, and my eyes followed his to her tattoos and wild red hair. He knows.

Without missing a beat, or removing those cop sunglasses, his only reply was, “Interesting.” And that was it. We detoured to the coffee shop as he entered my juice bar, and when we came out, he was gone. We might stop smoking in public parking lots. Maybe.

Sick Cat.

My friend recently had a baby, and she told me, “If you think you love your pets, wait until you have a kid.”

I just don’t know about that. I love my fur babies more than just about anything, so tonight, when I saw my male cat squatting outside his litterbox (100% unlike him), I began to have pretty bad anxiety. It was only worsened as I watched him strain another four times over the course of a few hours, only to yield a few droplets. Poor guy. I knew a vet visit was in order, and while a small part of me was like, he is probably fine; I can take him tomorrow… the bigger part was like OMFG I don’t care about the cost of a middle of the night ER visit; I need to take him now.

It was not fun wrapping him in a towel and stuffing him into a little cat carrier. It was even worse listening to him cry the whole car ride, and I cried too when I could hear him yowling in the exam room all the way from the hard bench in the waiting room. In the end, they gave me a 50% discount on the visit, costing me about three times less than I had anticipated. A blessing to this college student’s credit card, but I was okay with paying more if I had to.

I’m supposed to monitor him, and if he doesn’t urinate within six hours from now, I’m supposed to take him back for a much more costly and traumatic visit. I’m hoping for the best case scenario, which is I wake up, he’s peed, and my biggest struggle is giving him doses of painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Poor guy. It’s insane how much stress it makes me feel, even though I’m trying to project calmness and coolness for his sake.

Right now, he’s hiding under my bed. I feel guilty knowing it might have been the stress of me leaving him while I went out of town for my brother’s wedding a couple of weeks ago that caused this flare up in a kitty who is as high strung as I am. Poor guy :[. Or maybe it’s the stress of having my aunt visit for A MONTH.

At any rate, I’m setting my alarm and crossing my fingers my little one will have a urine-producing night and relaxing next few days. Best case scenario. Got to hold out for it.