Thursday, July 26, 2007

Relative Comfort

I prefer rain to rays, laughing to crying, and "enjoying the moment" to analyzing. Sunny Sundays fit in there somewhere and so do the once in a decade snowy southern winter days. We are having one of those preferred rains today and I am enjoying the moment. It is a good time to write.

Once upon a Househusband life, I would frequent our local "rails to trails" hiking trail while Rachel was at work at the library. Long walks with a walking stick and my trusty hiking boots would find me upon the banks of the Chattahoochee at the end of the day. Rachel worked all the time and I didn't mind it much. I actually liked it as it gave me coveted alone time and room to breathe. She couldn't stand to be alone and would have to be with me when she wasn't at work. Rachel didn't have any friends and wouldn't let me have any either. Her work was also all about her career as a librarian and not about "our." Still, I didn't care. I would grow excited as the time grew near for her to leave and I would lock up the house as she left and I then went to play. Inviting green riverbanks and lazily grazing ducks would greet me as the treat at the end of my journey. I can vividly remember a small redheaded girl sitting in that deep green winter grass, gathering the fresh grass cuttings into a pile, and trying to put them into a discarded soda can as a game. That was my last memory of being married other than the huge fight me and Rachel would have that night and the drunkenness that would ensue. I would soon find myself sitting in front of a convenience store in a drizzle and homeless, drunk. A pile of my camping gear, by my side, sitting on the sidewalk getting wet.

It is hard for me to believe I ever lived that way now. It has been so long since life was chaotic and crazy, and I was without a home. I have little "episodes" as my father calls them, but for the most part, life is serene. For that, I am very grateful. I saw Rachel again today as we passed in our cars and it reinforced how serene my life is these days. She waved and smiled and I can remember feeling so relieved at the time. Relieved that she and that life were long gone. I waved and smiled back, but it was forced. I wanted to look the other way and act like I never saw her. I still harbor some bitterness and want to blame her for my homelessness even though it was my mental illness and drinking that caused it. It was just a matter of time and was bound to happen. No, needed to happen. It turned my life around. I did cry for weeks, though, in the cold. "For better or for worse," I would sob as tears literally fell into my beer. I felt abused and discarded like some poor animal that chewed the furniture too much and had shit on the floor once too often. My family turned a blind eye to my predicament in the beginning as well. "I was hoping it would wake you up and you would realize you can't go on living that way," my father would later say. My family would eventually step in to give me the basic essentials of modern living and brought me out of homelessness. I would have to do the hard work of turning my own life around though.

Rosa has told me horror stories of her homelessness when she was a prostitute. I asked her once why she did it. "All I had to do was suck some dick, fuck some guys, and I had a cheap motel room and some crack for the night. It was better than sleeping in those crazy religious rescue missions, or sleeping on park benches. You have to do what you have to do to survive on the streets." I can't imagine Rosa living that way now and in many ways our lives mirror each other. I am just glad I didn't have to suck dick to get a beer. Uncle Sam provided that. We both did what we had to do to get the shambles that were our lives together. I do think we came out stronger because of it, and I also think that is why we are such good friends. "You have to do what you have to do to survive," as Rosa says and we are both surviving in relative comfort these days.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

This post was very skitzophrenic. You jumped around alot. Feeling o.k.?

Eric Valentine said...

Andrew that is a very well written and interesting story. It's been a while since I enjoyed a read so much.

I look at all the places I visit and am in awe at the riches that people share with one another.

Well done my friend.

Cheryl said...

You're surviving and prospering in relative comfort these days. You're right, you do have some episodes, but you seem to be in a really good place. It's so nice to hear you talk about your life so positively.

Rain? That's almost unheard of here in MD. Every day there's a chance of storms, but it never happens. I'd love to be sitting under a porch, watching the rain come down.

Stacy said...

Please do NOT listen to the "Anonymous" poster. I completely disagree with him/her. Your post was so well written and I didn't think you were jumping around with your words like suggested. Enjoy the weather (I know I am) :)

Grad007 said...

A very well-written post!

I suspect negative commenters are jealous of your writing talent and blog popularity.

Anonymous said...

it's been raining every day over here i England for over 8 weeks!!

justLacey said...

Really you shouldn't feel bitter towards Rachel. I imagine her life with you was hard as well. Both of you are young and she probably didn't know what to do to help and maybe you wouldn't have accepted it had you not gone through what you have. Each person that enters our lives is part of the lessons we are here to learn. You for her and she for you. I'm glad you're in a better place now and I hoep you stay there or perhaps find an even better one. As for anonymous, well you know what they say about opinions...

CRUSTYBEEF said...

first off, ignore that first post-which I'm hoping you did.

secondly-isn't it funny how you prefer laughter and rain together when for the most part rain brings sadness and laughter brings sunshine? I think that's a marvelous combination-a perfect ying yang balance......
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I have a brother that is financially impaired..repo'd car 2x, late on rent over and over again, yet for about 10years my parents enabled his behavoir by bailing him out-dui's..etc..
now, they're taking the back seat-and it reminded me of what your father said, about hoping that you'd just pull yourself through it. hmmm...my comments all over the place and all that's due to the fact that I haven't had a smoke in 5hours..
now, pardon me while I head outside and puff away.
I liked this post too.-you should really consider publishing these stories as a book. you should be very proud of what you've accomplished. It does sadden me that you'll never have children-because they'd be remarkable children.
Always,
Crusty~

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