It’s 2:30 am and I am having a bad night. A short one, I admit- If it isn’t a working week, a productive sleep schedule is the first thing out the window. Good riddance.
But it’s been a while since those age old demons came to sit by me. I’m sure you know them by name: Those moments you regret, that like to haunt you when you let your guard down. They might be an awkward thing you said, an embarrassing thing you did, anything without much meaning but enough emotional backlash to stick by you until your death bed.
Except, these go deeper. They are the things I hadn’t seriously thought about in many years because I know how badly they trigger me, but tonight, it would seem, my brain decided to live through it again. 3 events, to be precise, and if you don’t want a detailed description of them now, I suggest you switch channels.
It seems silly, but to me it isn’t. All children cry all the time, but sometimes things do get really bad. Like when I broke my sister’s picture frame that she had made for our grand mother. Not on purpose, but because I was trying to help put it together.
We were both very impressed with how beautiful it looked, and she had asked my help to fit the glass on after inserting the photo. Because big brother could do anything, except this, it turned out. The whole thing shattered and by the time I came to comprehend the situation, my sister had run off crying her eyes out.
That intense feeling of failure stuck with me ever since. Once in a while in life, with things we do or fail to, it tends to push aside all other emotions and takes over. And at times like these, they leave a mark in your memory that will become the reference of your worst moments.
The second memory was probably dragged back to my attention by my excitement to travel Croatia with my girlfriend next week. I have been there once before when I was a kid, and I remember that trying to decide what to do with my pocket money there, I though I’d like to go carting at the nearby track.
As we arrived and I was trying to reach a decision, and accident happened. A young man had hit the tires and what seemed to be a banal mishap, turned out to be far worse. They had to perform CPR while others had to keep his bigger brother at a distance. The guy eventually sank to his knees and held his face in his hands, an image burned into my retina clear as daylight.
I don’t know how either of them are doing right now, but I suspect the older one lost his brother that day. And let me tell you, that idea fucks me up more than you can imagine. At the time, it completely destroyed me. Having lost my own mother not long before, emotions burst to the surface that I didn’t even know I had. I remember yelling at my sister when she didn’t understand, and crying in the car. To this day, I can’t consciously recall those moments without it tearing me up.
So perhaps you can understand that they aren’t very welcome when I am trying to sleep.
The third and last (promise) of those uninvited bedtime thoughts was of January first, 2007 if I recall correctly. If I do, it would appear that I recently missed its 10th birthday. No regrets there.
For perhaps the only time in my life, I was the first to wake up of a group of people. They were all huddled together in an Irish guy’s living room, draped over every piece of furniture after celebrating new year’s eve in Dublin. Not wanting to wake anyone up, I put my headphones on and closed my eyes again.
The feeling of complete and absolute loneliness that settled over me then, was something I hope never to experience again. I started crying like a child as the realization dawned that I was going to be alone for a long time to come.
My girlfriend of 7 years had left me that summer and this trip was, most of all, a desperate attempt to escape the depression that I was falling into. But when I woke up then, I saw that things were still the same and I would have to deal with my baggage rather than run away from it. In a vision, I saw how hard it was going to be, and I couldn’t tell if I was going to make it through.
To me, it marked the start of a depression that lasted 2 years and a couple months, where, above all, that same feeling of utter loneliness would dominate my life.
Perhaps this would be what all 3 events have in common- the fact that I went through them alone. It may not be the reason why they were bad moments to begin with, but perhaps why I never dealt with them fully enough for my mind to move on. Unprocessed moments that come back to me in their raw form.
What wouldn’t I give so I could return to those boys, those children crying for all their little worth, so I could hug them and let it spill from them, and once they are purged from their sadness, their shame, and their regret, tell them that things would be okay. That, while all they might feel right now is bad and there seems no way out of it, their pain would dilute in a life that lasts at least 32 years, with so many deeply happy moments that, at least for most of the time, the pain couldn’t immediately be felt.
I doubt they would fully believe me, but perhaps they would find a little rest. God knows how much I needed it then, thrown into such chaos, barely old enough to tie my own shoes.
My son is old enough that he comes asking for a hug now and then. It’s heart warming. And when I hug him close, I desperately hope that I can give him the strength to face the things he will, and that he will be spared from the rotten shit life can throw at you. It is hard to let him go at moments like this. It’s even harder to miss him this much.
I’d rather not feel like this, fuck you very much. I’ve had enough nights with tears in them. I’m sure I’ve earned my rest at this point. I have my job, I have my big-ass expensive car, I have my life put together, surely I am allowed to move on now? Or will my past haunt me forever? I’m kind of through with it, to be honest. Time for sleep.