Set out for my early morning walk with my headphones on and the Walkman tuned to Coast to Coast AM. It was our coldest morning yet with temps in the upper thirties. I was bundled in my heavy green fleece pullover and a pair of gray fleece lined sweat pants. I passed through the neighborhood that never sleeps as there is always a party going on. The police had arrived at one house with a woman fighting and screaming on the front porch. I shuddered to think that my life used to be like that when I was married. "I am going to kick your mother f--cking ass," she kept screaming drunkenly at what I presumed was her husband or boyfriend. I quickly put that neighborhood behind me and walked down into the mill village.
I often worry about walking at night that I could be seen as suspicious. Here I am. A white guy walking through a predominately black neighborhood way after midnight. I usually just shrug it off though and keep walking. I am harmless. Most people are asleep at 3 AM in the morning. The police usually ignore me.
I walked on down to my favorite park and took a seat. The skyline over the old abandoned cotton mill shone orange in the overcast from the lights of our city. The big oak's leaves soon beginning to show fall color stood stalwartly over me. The lone monument to industrial men long dead stood beside me like some blackened monolith. Breaks in the clouds showed stars and I thought wistfully of the many more lives out there undiscovered. We are not alone, I mused. I then lit a cigarette and thought of last night.
Last night I had another anxiety attack. They seem to be getting better -- not being as severe. My mother came over to give me my medications and crawled into the bed with me. I refused to take them fearing they are the cause for my attacks. "You sure you don't want to take them?" she said of my medications countless times almost pleadingly. "I feel they are causing me to get sick," I replied. Mom held my hand as we lay there and Maggie was in between us. Maggie kept trying to goose my mother in the face and it made me smile despite feeling terrible. It served to help me feel better. Finally, mom left taking those medications with her asking me one more time if I would take them fearing my father's wrath. I said, "No, mom. You're are going to cause me to have another attack."
Later, my father showed up to give them to me once again -- ever determined those damned medications are the key to my good being. It was almost midnight and I had gotten some sleep. I was feeling better and begrudgingly agreed to take them. He tuned the television to football which completely got on my nerves as my father has grown hard of hearing and plays the volume very loud.
"Your just having withdrawals from alcohol," my father told me over the loud din of the T.V. "Trust me. I am your pharmacist and the medications aren't causing your attacks."
"I would rather speak to my doctor about it, though," I said.
"You don't trust me???" he asked with an astonished and incredulous look on his face.
"I just think my doctor knows better," I replied. "I don't want to be on so many meds."
I gave in and took them causing me to feel so anxious I was going to have another attack. I never did and went to sleep it being well after midnight waking up around 2 AM. My father giving me a long hug and telling me he was bringing me a meal tomorrow.
I finally left that park forgetting about the time change. I had gained one hour tonight and I was going to use it to get some more sleep. I had also grown very cold. I trudged on home, through the mill village, and up through my home's neighborhood like some lost soul wandering through the night. Some dark, silent sentinel watching over the world as it sleeps. Onwards, ever, to Bethlehem, or should I say home?