21 October 2018

Disappeared (Part 11)

T. S. Eliot posited in “The Waste Land” that April is the cruelest month. It is has taken many years for me to have an inkling of what he meant, but it has taken a back seat to July (with an overlap into August). Thirteen years before in the midst of what became a summer in Hell, I lost my first daughter then my son. Victims of premature birth into this world by horrible misfortune, circumstances which I believed would never repeat themselves. I was not completely wrong, but not right enough.

I sat at my workstation that day near the end of July 2016 engaged in the mundane and prosaic. Press the buttons. Make the changes. Register the fact that I heard a blood curdling scream rose from the basement bedroom. Register the fact that the scream was repeated. Time shifted into slow motion, get up from the chair, what was that, run for the door at the top of the stairs and she is sobbing and wailing, turn the corner at the foot of the stairs into the bedroom. The nightmare replays itself.

The baby is still. Pallid. Unmoving. The mother is sobbing. The father is stock still, staring. I’m staring, too, in iced disbelief. This cannot be happening. But it is, here and now. I touch the baby to feel, to show myself that she is only sleeping. Coolness under my fingers grabs that hope by the scruff of the neck and slams it into the walls. I come to realizing I am on the phone. Help. We need help. Ambulance is called. The police are called. The grandmother is called. The air fills with the sounds of sirens and clamors and choked voices trying say what happened. The day became a smear of tears and tragedy.

I loved someone once. I loved more than one someone once, in different ways for different reasons. It is a labor of a higher intensity to pretend a relationship is not different after succumbing to the multiple gravities of death as an obscenity. Our eyes saw too much, our feet stood on unrecognizable ground. The heart of Hell beckoned once again. Given the circumstances it surely surprised no one that I began to sink faster than I could swim.

Rivers flood when the snow melts in the spring. This is somewhat predictable. It is the random heavy storms that cause the most damage. Torrential rains dumping more water faster than the channels can handle until the banks are overflowing and the roads are underwater, this too is a feature of the natural world. Yet when it happens it seems unnatural. It is outside of everyday experience.

Back east a flood took over the historic part of a town in which I used to live. Torrential rains moved in and turned the Main Street into a destructive, deadly sluice as it claimed two lives and ruined numerous businesses. The street was shut down for close to two months as owners and residents worked to put their lives and livelihoods back together. Quantam entanglement of a morbid stripe used the threads of tragedy to stitch together the sundered halves of my lost soul. My head and heart could not take it.

The river of myself succumbed to a 500-year flood. The dam holding the reservoir of my relationship crumbled, cracked, turned to rubble under the onslaught of failed communications, emotional turmoil, and the selfish aggression of depression. My body finally realized alcohol was sinking hooks in me. I sought answers and knowledge only to discover the medication I was taking had a side effect of triggering deeply unhealthy urges to drink in some individuals, of which I was one. I fell into the gauzy morass without realizing it. I desperately wanted to get out of it. I sought help. While that help slowly began to get me back on the right path, it did no good in repairing the fractures in our hearts. The situation worsened to the point where I was given an ultimatum to move out of the house. No recourse, no exploration, no retrieval. I had been clinging to the sides of the chasm, but this was the emotional equivalent of fingers smashed by the striking of a colossal hammer.

Somewhere in that smear of time, the person I once had loved confessed to me the lie that had underpinned my life decisions. Months ago on that Mexican beach I had been told “Yes” to my marriage proposal, but the real answer was “No”. ‘Yes’ was a falsehood prompted by a spectacular failure of her emotional honesty and courage, in not telling me the truth because it would have hurt too much.

So much time wasted in months of living a lie. The skies opened up, torrents came down, the river became a monster washing me out to a faraway sea. With no other apparent options, I gave in to the current.

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"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...