(This story has been posted on both MySpace and Facebook over the last couple of years. It is a (mostly) departure from my usual science fiction fare of writing. It involves the story of my Life, told in snippets from the countless adventures of it. I have added to it over the years. I am reposting it here with all my other writing, and going to add to it.)
I had always said I wanted a bit of peace and quiet. I just never figured I would actually get it.
Walking about my surroundings for an hour only made me tired. I stopped for a moment to rest my weary feet. As I did, I decided to take this in stride and let my mind wander off. Flowing freely, memories began to go through my mind.
"John, one of these days a girl is going to sweep you off your feet and make your head spin so fast that you will just fall. Hard."
I always snicker when I hear that statement. If I acquired five pounds sterling every time I heard that statement, why I'd be rich. In Britain at least.
"So if you go out of your way to talk more, then you should be able to resolve things easier," I say to my latest find.
"I know, " she says to me. A typical line from people I talk to. The one that usually makes me roll my eyes.
"Megan, I know is not going to cut it. You have to do." Never let it be said that I do not have a gift for being blunt.
My latest find in need of help is an old friend. To say she has a problem is an understatement. Majour failure of communication might be a closer guess. I personally think a stay in a funny farm might clear it up.
She looks at me and pouts a moment. I smile and sigh in the same breath. Stealing myself, I use a word that I classify as a curse word.
"If you truly are in love," I manage not to choke on the word,"then you need to work at it. Such things are never simply handed out like bloody food samples at the grocery store."
Waiting, I finally am rewarded with seeing light dawn. In and of itself this is an amazing feat as it is daylight out. She smiles in return and nods, then takes off. With luck I shall hear from her that all is well and that everyone lived happily ever after. (At least until the next episode of Tsunami on the Sea of Love.)
"You need to take better care of yourself John. You can't always just worry about others."
Another statement I hear a good deal of. I always nod politely and remind the concerned party that I have plenty of practise at this. I've been doing it for more than half my life and even perfected the skill. Plus it is so much easier to worry about others.
"Simply turn down to the left, go three lights and then you make another right and you should be on the road you want to."
Pittsburgh. Such a friendly and helpful town, even if we tend to speak funny some times. Home to me and the starting point of many adventures.
I smile sheepishly and thank the lady for helping me with my 'unerring sense of direction'. I nod and head on my way, stopping to make a 180 degree turn.
Once underway again I reflect on what I have to do for the day. The list is a long one, involving hockey, editing a video for my business, dealing with a couple of problems for friends and the like. As I drive, I laugh. One of the people I know who would tell me to slow down would probably be beating me senseless. Which, upon reflection, might not be a bad thing, as I'm sure sleep, a drug induced haze or coma would be the end result.
As I reach over for my cigs, I find the directions I had to stop and ask for. Laughing out loud as Rush plays, I settle in my seat. Punching it into overdrive (Yes I drive fast and are a sci-fi fan) I head off to one of those appointments.
Opening my eyes, I found that my surroundings had nary changed a bit. I huffed a sigh, wondering what that meant. Logic told me that perhaps I needed to think harder.
Memory had other plans, however as more memories flowed unbidden.
"Why are you so negative? Can't you ever see anything positive?"
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, and y'all ain't going to believe this shit, I never would've heard those questions. When I first got involved in helping people, I was very optimistic. Sadly, over time I turned cynical and very much the pessimist. Having walked on the Dark side of Life and all that people do tends to do that.
I was looking at a good friend of mine at the time, trying to figure out where I had gone wrong. She was telling me how she had gotten back with her ex boyfriend...for the 4th time! This came after he physically and mentally abused her. For some reason I had thought that I had convinced her to get away from him.
"He swears he's learned and promises me that nothing of the like will happen again." she tells me, avoiding looking at me.
Her, myself and a group of friends are standing in a parking lot of a popular Pittsburgh eating establishment. The one with the cookies in case you are wondering. We'd just gotten done eating when events had turned ugly, as my dear friend had met her ex-now-boyfriend in the parking lot.
"I'm sure he has," I hiss darkly to her," and next I am certain I shall fly!" Never let it be said that I can't come up with some good ones.
She blubbers on to me about this. I finally get mad enough and walk away, fully intending on walking home, about 5 miles away. I get going a bit before two of my friends catch me and force me back to the car.
It takes a few more minutes after that to convince me to get in the car, as I want to go looking for said person to have a 'spirited discussion'. (Draw your own conclusions on that count.)
That night I learned a valuable lesson. How one views thierself goes a long way into what kind of people they will hang out with, be friends with or date. My dear friend (More of a little sister to me than anything else.) had assigned herself a low place in this Life. It was the overriding reason she was staying with the dirtbag.
"What makes you think it is your job to meddle in people's lives?"
I never really did have an answer for this one. Logically, no reason existed for my thinking on this matter. Yet something, some drive, compelled me to try, to do anything I could. Even in the face of trying to retire from it, I'd always wind up back in the thick of something
"Jessica…what is wrong?"
I'd come around the corner in my high school to find a girl I knew crying. Within minutes I knew what was up. I did my level best to help console her and give what advice I could get in.
After a few minutes we parted company, and she was still sobbing a bit, but doing better. I continued walking as before. I know not exactly how much time passed before I realised something.
Not two (2) minutes beforehand I had declared the first of many attempts of retiring from the game of helping people. I know, I was in bloody high school, but I have generally acted older than I am.
I laughed then, and I laughed harder just recently as I attempted to retire once again. I had thought for certain this time that the junket was up. Every sign pointed to it. Yet once again, I found myself to be wrong. I managed to deal with four (4) people's problems before I realised I was 'retired'.
It's amazing the journeys in Life…
I gazed around me. Understanding seemed so far away at this point that I was not sure what to think next. The year, which had been weird to begin with, turned stranger. I just could not fathom how I got to the place I found myself
Perhaps, logic and reason seemed to dictate, the answer lied in the memories flowing from my mind. I closed my eyes, waiting for the next memory or more.
"John, why are you always so hard on yourself?"
A very good question. My very good answer (I think it is) always was, 'Because no one else can be.' Depending on the individual who hears that statement, the response ranges from dirty looks to near beating. I find it true as it drives me to do things and keep trying long after I should've given up.
The disappointment in Paul's voice was plain to me. I had been telling him for a few weeks I was going to make a camera buy for the business. However events had managed to get bigger than my wallet. The final straw was on a Tuesday as I found out the place I wanted to buy from was sold out for a month.
Paul, rightly so, took me to task for being evaisive on the event. He also let me know how this was reducing his confidence in the business. In short he kicked me around for a bit. That kicking did a great deal for me.
Within hours, much to the detriment of my normal job, I'd managed to find not just one, but several quotes, all better than the original I had. I told this to Paul and got a chuckle out of him.
I know that I have a lot of work ahead of me. A lot needs done for the business, and I keep feeling the icy spectre of failure looming over me. I keep feeling like I can't.
And then I pick up and dust off. I can't not try either. Even if I think I suck, am a failure and can't do it.
"You have a rough and mean exterior. You are however just covering up a very nice guy with all that bluster."
I always cringe when someone says words like that. It simply is not true! My normal conversational flow, especially at work, revolves around the following: Death, maiming, beatings to within an inch of your life (with a metric ruler), bombings, shootings and lots of unpleasant things. I threaten all my co-workers and cuss up and down at anyone. What I tell my friends is no better.
"You have 2 hours still to recant what you think of me." I say to Kati, who hardly knows me yet has decided that I am a nice guy.
She looks at me and says," I am not scared of you."
I give her a very dirty look and growl some of my more patented beating threats. Without batting an eye or missing a beat she catches me off guard.
"You are just acting tough and mean. You are actually a nice guy."
I recoil, reset and re-whatever else at warp speed. I knew the girl was preceptive from having a couple of good conversations with her. I twas not prepared for that one.
I started spewing more threats and hissing, growling and rolling of eyes as well. Alas, none of this would do any good to my cause of convincing. I sighed and wondered off, in search of another victim.
I took a quick count as I moved to my desk and gave up. I lost track of the number of people who see through the rough and the mean. Silly isn't it…
Panic and fear both are mostly alien concepts to me. I can count about 20 times where I have been seriously panic stricken or fear rattled in this Life. For all my emotional ups and downs, I somehow manage to maintain a level of galatic calm.
Now, however, I find fear rushing in on me. How did I get to this place? Did I miss something in this life of mine?
"Why don't you ever listen to anyone?"
I will admitt to it, I am a very stubborn man. I am set in my ways longer than some buildings get set in concrete it seems. Yet I do listen to everything I am told.Learning consists of being able to listen, no matter how much you don't want to.
"Ohhhhh! You make me so mad I swear I am going to smack you!"
The scene: My dear friend's apartment. The senario: I've just told her something that she has heard 52,000 flippin' tymes before. And will prolly hear 52,000 tymes more before the end of everything.
I back off a pace or three (3) as she stomps her foot in frustration and clenches her hands. I wait patiently, carefully searching out the best way to run if need be. I know she could kick my ass and don't want to tarnish my rep as not ever receiving a serious whoppin'.
"How do I, " attempting to sound as innocent as possible," make you so mad my dear?"
"You never listen to anything I say, do you?"
"Of course I do. I just-"
"No, "she heads the Indians off at the pass as always, " don't just me. You never listen to word anyone says to you. You always give advice to everyone and expect them to follow it, but never take the advice of me or anyone else."
I shake my head and tell her again that I do listen. I listen to everything that she and anyone has always told me. Which she of course still refuses to believe.
"It is sad to see someone deny themselves a chance at love, at happiness."
This happens to be a new one on me. Seriously, what makes people happy differs greatly. This I have seen in countless sily forms. My other problem with that statement centers around that four letter L word...
Valentine's Day (VD-ay). Such a wonderful time had by many. The theme of love fills the air. The birds sing…clouds dance and…BOOM!
I can feel my skin melting as I show up for work on another VD-ay. I find a couple of those contemptible Valentine's Day cards on my desk. Despite the warnings, people still wish me a happy VD-ay, which I growl at.
Naturally, I find myself explaining the reasoning behind my hatred of VD-ay. You'd think after so many years I would have managed to record the answer. It surely would save me from a strained voice at the least.(Or using up all my syllyables for the day too early.)
A twinge passes over me in the course of doing the usual routine. What if I am wrong? I know that I fear being alone more than Death at this point. I…
A shadow crosses my mind. In a moment all is normal again, as the romantic worrier in me is caged again. Bloody disruptive part of my mind, I really do need to destroy it.
Fear kicked in on me again. Had I truly reached the one moment in my Life I lived in fear of? The day that I realised that I was a dinosaur, that being the ameteur meddler was over?
Forcing calm upon myself, I relaxed. Panic was not going to provide any answers, nor would subcoming to fear itself. Instinctively, knowledge surfaced that a reason existed for where I was and why I was remembering all these epiosdes of my life.
Letting go of everything, I felt another memory preparing to roll. I even laugh lightly, as the way this worked, it almost felt like a movie…