Monday, November 06, 2006

If you were here tonight, dear reader...

...I'd pour you a drink (you'd need it) and pour out my tales of woe. With luck, if you could stand it, you'd begin to understand why I'm in the mood I've been in for far too long, and why the end of each day fills me with a strange mixture of horror and resignation.

I'd tell you about my work, in ugly detail. I'd tell you how I started out doing this gig with the mistaken perception that I'd always be dealing with ethical people, and how I was convinced, early on, that talent (and one whole hell of a lot of published articles) would earn me a secure niche in my field.

I'd tell you about the things I have done that brought me great satisfaction, satisfaction that faded as circumstances changed and the people with whom I was working vanished from the scene.

I'd tell you about my loneliness, tell you about the women I love (the use of present tense is intentional) and how destructive their absence, how hurtful one's betrayal, is to me.

I'd also insert a few qualifications: I'd tell you about the bonehead decisions I made that set my career back. I'd tell you of my shame that the woman I married was not one of the two women who have affected me most deeply, whom I loved most, tell you that she was right to divorce me.

Most of all, I'd tell you that I understand my woes are nothing compared to those some others have had to endure. I understand, better than anyone, that in some respects I've had it easy; if I had to deal with the really heavy stuff, I fear I would have jacked it in long ago.

No one knows better than I that I've contributed to my own destruction. The times I gave up when one more effort might have salvaged what I was doing, when I opened my mouth too soon, when I tried to wash away my sorrow in a sea of Jack Daniel's.

I'd tell you how much I admire those who have gotten past obstacles I can barely comprehend. I might even let you know that I feel a sneaking envy for those who have gotten undeserved love and support under false pretenses.

But in the quiet of my place, I'd name names, too. Just as no one can claim sole credit for success, no one is solely responsible for failure. I'd want you to know who did what, which people in my life took advantage of my weaknesses (or in some cases, my generosity, love and trust) to set me on the road to a dark and lonely end. One or two of the names might surprise you; you might recognize them.

I'd also tell you about the things that make me smile (most now in the past) and the things and people who brought me, temporarily, a sense of joy and fulfillment.

If you hadn't left by this point, I might tell you about something that happened to me this afternoon: I was out walking and, on the porch of a nearby house, I saw a beautiful girl sitting in a chair. She was young -- in her early teens, I'd guess -- and had a puppy sitting in her lap. She smiled, and waved me over.

When she began to talk, I realized she was severely retarded. I could barely understand her. I tried to talk with her, because she wanted me to. I could tell that she was, within her own cocoon, in a way content. Mainly, I think, because of the puppy that wriggled happily in her lap and never took its eyes off her. They sat in the sunshine, connected by a primal love. She smiled, talked in her incomprehensible way, seemed to enjoy talking to me and having me talk to her.

Finally, I had to say goodbye and walk away. I could not let her see the tears pouring down my face.

I hurt for her terribly.

And yet, in a way, I envied her. She had the moment, the warm sunshine and a happy little dog that loved her uncritically, that accepted the love she could give.

Her mother came out on the porch, waved and smiled at me as I walked away.

Of the times I have had my heart broken by a woman, this was in a way the worst. I know nothing worse than to be confronted with a situation in which you so want to help, want to make things right, but are powerless.

At this point, I think I'd bid you goodnight and walk you back to your car. I don't much enjoy letting people see me weep, even if much of it is for the beautiful girl with no real future. Just as I will not enjoy yet another night alone, surrounded by ghosts and demons who would, I think, relish seeing me break completely.

But at least you'd get a drink or two out of it. And I serve decent booze to my guests....

11 comments:

likeisaid said...

I'm so sorry. I think I know how you're feeling. I tend to get really melancholy and sad. If I was there listening to you I would put my arms around you and tell you that everything will be all right. I hope and pray that is will be and that you can find the happiness you deserve.

Hugs,
Betty

Anonymous said...

I read your whole story, MrScribbler, like I always do. This one made me sad very sad and I hurt for you.

I wish I could help you too, but I cannot. I can only send *BigHugs* from Florida to California to you.

abstractlandscape said...

I read the whole story,too, MrScribbler, and it also made me sad.
I wish I could help you too, but how should I . . .?

Hey, pour me another GT, Scribbs!

Birdie said...

you know how to reach me... you know I'm there for you. You don't always like my advice, I know that, but I'm only trying to help, which isn't easy, obviously.
Ah, man, pass over the booze! let me whine with you!
{{{hugs}}}

gillardia said...

I'm always ready for a drink. I have no advice to give today. I'm at a loss in my own life right now, and I feel I don't have the right to give advice to anyone these days.

Gill

HarpO'Fly said...

That girl with the puppy and your description of her are things of beauty. Maybe it can be seen as a sad thing, but I have a hard time finding something so pure to be sad. She was happy. Her mother was there, and smiled. I consider that situation an oasis. Our we sad because she won't know our complicated pain? Or because we can't know her innocent bliss?

I'm glad you described that encounter. Beautiful.

HarpO'Fly said...

are not our

lovezao said...

That is a beautiful but melancholy entry. You are such a wonderful writer.
I hope one day to read of your joy. I would love to read the words you would write if joyful...
For now, i share your sadness when I read your words, and they stay with me when I leave.

MrScribbler said...

HarpO -- I think my reaction to the girl was based on a fear that one day she will face the pain of knowing what she can never have. I hope that never happens, hope that the universe will be kind enough to protect her, hope that she will always have a loving friend like the puppy there for her.

I think I could write many times about those few minutes, if nothing else in an attempt to understand my own reactions.

DAL said...

My own younger son has had severe medical problems, and will always be mentally and emotionally behind everyone else. He also has a speech impediment, and after 22 years, I still can't always understand what he says.

Something that might help you feel a bit better about that girl, Scribbs, is that as HarpO said, she is happy, and people like her and my son generally are. My fear is not that my son will realize there are things he can't have or be, but that he will be taken advantage of because of his naievety.

MrScribbler said...

dal -- your last sentences clarifies one part of my feelings. I think that's probably the biggest fear; I hope there will always be people around to protect her, and your son, from the people who might prey on them.