The little park where I like to sit on my nightly walk has a heartbeat, I swear it does. When I walk at night restlessly, unable to sleep, the park calls out to me. I walk to calm myself -- to wait for my mind to grow calm and my heart to grow at ease. I can almost hear it -- there somewhere deep in the trees, a pulse, a vibration. It feels alive like a presence -- the stalwart old oaks guarding the park like some silent sentinels. Keepers to the gate of my fortress of solitude.
Early this morning found me sitting in that park -- the chilly early fall air causing me to bundle up in my fleece pullover. The heartbeat of these comforting surroundings could be felt as I drank a cup of hot and aromatic coffee and thought. Maybe my senses were heightened. I would like to think it is not my schizophrenia gilding me -- that my heightened senses have a tangible and real connection to this cherished place. A higher plane of existence. Maybe not everyone would be aware of it, maybe you have to be stripped of almost everything before you would be -- torn of your humanity by a mental illness and alcoholism to feel a tangible connection with something so esoteric.
I finally put a finger on my sadness and restlessness I have been experiencing of late. The dates of my ex-wife's birthday and our wedding anniversary are soon approaching. Haunting memories of those dark times dance in my head as I think of what could be and what could have been -- the deep gash that's there through everything. I knew all along, have just been trying to ignore it. It makes me feel old and tired as if I have already lived a full life -- a life full of memories and past regrets. That's probably what this huge, dragging tiredness is about too, trying to blot it all out. I just want to lay down and go to sleep -- to stop feeling, and to stop running, and to rest my weary heart and head.
I had a dream last night that Rosa and I got married. It was a happy and joyous occasion. My family was supportive. A huge party was thrown afterwards with my brother and sister congratulating me and hugging me. Rosa looked so beautiful in her wedding dress -- the veil over her face as she told me, "I do." The dark memories of my own failed past marriage were assuaged by the happy memories of this comforting dream. An omen foretelling of what's to come? I do hope so to one day consecrate this living arrangement we have. To make it official that Rosa and I are an item and not just a common law occurrence. Dreams such as this are best cherished and held closely and dearly. Far too often nightmares inhabit my mentally ill addled brain. Just like that little park by the abandoned cotton mill, Rosa's heartbeat can be felt and calls out to me. I just have to reach out beyond my fears and let her in. I try harder everyday to be the man I know I can be -- a man she will love and cherish and spend a lifetime building happy memories with. It gives me hope for tomorrow.
I arrived home from my walk to fix breakfast, mouth watering, tormented with thoughts of food: scrambled eggs...crisp fried smoky bacon...slices of Colby cheese...hot, buttered toast...milky and sweet coffee...Saturdays, I eat like a king. Satiated, I curled up on the couch with my Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book -- the bible of A.A. "How to get sober is in these pages," an old timer had said holding up his copy of said book at last night's meeting. I sat glaring out the window wistfully in between passages as a squirrel tussled with a morsel and black birds on their migration route covered the yard like some black, teeming mass. I thought of all the things I have heard said in A.A. meetings about getting and staying sober. It made me feel tired -- too tired to carry on. I wanted a softer and easier way. Such thoughts would cause my A.A. friends to balk. It is just I have fought so long and hard and am battle weary and tired. I no longer want to struggle.
It was so cold this morning that I turned on the heat. It's comforting warmth soon enveloping me in it's embrace. Homeless thoughts entered my head -- thoughts of all those bone chillingly cold mornings I spent curled up in my tent in my down sleeping bag. I don't think my hands and feet were warm for six months straight. "Don't take these things for granted," I told myself of my good fortune as I looked in the mirror and shaved. I looked so tired and weary. I almost didn't recognize the man staring back at me. It was if I was staring at a stranger looking back with sad eyes and weathered lines upon his face -- each line telling a story. A storied past best not revisited today. I am off to find something positive to do and some past time to get lost in on this Saturday. No mental illnesses. No alcoholism. No failed marriages. I don't want to be defined by those things any longer.