Saturday, August 4, 2007

Beautiful Minds

It's Friday night at midnight. I awake to stumble into the kitchen to eat a turkey sandwich. I have the munchies. I notice through my kitchen window that my neighbor, Joyce's, lights are still on. It is comforting to know I am not alone. Maggie jumps off the bed and follows me. She is never one to miss on the opportunity to get some people food. I put a slice of oven roasted turkey on some aluminum foil and place it near her dog dish. She waits until I am out of the laundry room to begin eating. She is such a funny little dog about such things.

My sandwich is washed down with a cold glass of whole milk. I mosey on out to the porch to smoke before heading to bed again. Joyce is sitting on a chair in her carport smoking a cigarette. She suffers from bi-polar and is in a manic phase. I have noticed tell tale signs lately. She is staying up at odd hours of the night.

"Howdy neighbor," I say.

"Can't sleep?" she asks.

"I got hungry."

"I took my medications and they didn't do anything to help me sleep tonight," Joyce says.

Her face lights up from the occasional red glow as she draws on her cigarette. It looks ghostly, like some visage out of Hades.

"It makes me feel good that you are up," Joyce then says.

"I thought the same of you," I reply.

It's a sultry night and the temperature is still in the eighties. Katydids are calling down in the big pecan tree in Joyce's backyard. A forlorn dog can be heard barking far off into the neighborhood. What is left of a full moon hangs on the horizon.

"Almost full moon," I say, pointing to it.

"You don't believe that old wives' tale, do you?" Joyce asked as she laughed.

"Well, you are having a hard time. My mother is on a high. I wonder if I will be next," I say with a smile.

Joyce laughs again and tells me not to believe all that nonsense. We are caught in a quiet moment as sleepiness overcomes me. I tell Joyce goodnight and lock my porch door. I turn to look outside through the window to see her still sitting there. I wish there was something I could do to make her feel better and to help her sleep. She put on a good front, but it was easy to tell she was struggling. I then knew what my parents felt like all those years when I was drinking and not taking my medications. You feel helpless. I wanted so much to comfort my neighbor. She has been such a good friend.

3 am rolls around and I am still awake, lying in the bed. The radio is softly playing and Maggie is curled up by my side. I get up to pee and look out my kitchen window once again to see Joyce still sitting there in the calm of the night. The most inescapable feeling of loneliness overcame me. I shuddered as I closed my blinds and tried to go back to sleep. My mind was tortured with thoughts of her sitting out there all night smoking cigarettes, alone. I hope she gets some sleep today. The mind is such a delicate thing and when it malfunctions our very lives can get out of kilter, but what beautiful minds they can be despite all odds.



that was beautiful-so sad, loneliness..but you captured the very essence of it..
I could picture her..
my heart is tugging for her to get through this.

Josie Two Shoes said...

Your compassion shines thru Andrew. I too could picture her sitting there. Nights can be so lonely. You are a good friend, and I'm sure she is comforted to have yo next door.

The re-awakening of an Athlete said...

Interesting reading so far. I just happened to be surfing and stumbled on this blog of yours. I do hope the best for you.

justLacey said...

A beautiful mind...I loved that movie didn't you? Perhaps the turkey made you sleepy. Doesn't it contain triptophans? Perhaps a samdwich for Joyce next time will help. Why is it that things so much lonlier and big at night? i guess feeling like you're the only one awake makes it unsettling.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is great. A happy find. I feel for your friend.

Damien Riley said...

You really have a way with words sir. I rarely place someone on my blogroll after reading just a few days, but I've read enough to know you have something special going here. Keep up the good work.

Oh, and what the commenters are missing is the good thing about your post: SHE TOOK HER MEDS. A lot of folks don't and those are the ones to shed a tear over.

lulu said...

My mom just recently had an intense manic episode; worse than any episode she has ever gone through. Sometimes I think the mania is lonelier for her than the depression. When she is depressed she lets us help. When she is manic she pushes us all away. Reading this made me happy because Joyce has someone to talk to and someone she let in, even if just for a few moments.

Stacy said...

I really feel for Joyce. My sister just got out of the hospital for the same things she is going through. Please keep us updated on how she's doing.

PSM said...

You're a good writer. I really got a good sense of that night. I'll continue exploring your Blog.

Suzie said...

great story... I do feel for Joyce and people like her. You have a great blog