I stand here in nothing but my boxers, typing away on a laptop that nears the end of its life. It sits upon an old box. Something I bought used to be inside it; an air fryer. I use it often, but I prefer the barbecue my father bought me. One of the simple things I miss most in life is making meat with dad. That’s an awkward way to say such a statement, but I was fully aware of it. I almost always am. Such a hyper-awareness is a blessing and a curse, I suppose. It also points to my crushing inability to give in to human connection, which is the crux of my condition.
I often find myself ill, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s brought on by my own desire to run away. How does one run away but stay connected at the same time?
I sat on the roof of my car tonight and watched the moon turn red before my eyes. The slow unpeeling of the orange in the sky brought me nowhere and everywhere at the same time. My mind in the sky, my body stuck to the yoga mat I’ve come to love. It’s been with me over the course of two years. I learned how to love myself on the mat, I’ve used it as a bed, I’ve peered into the darkness and captured the light, and wherever I am I make sure there’s space for it to be. I’m still learning how to allow the same space for me.
On this particular night, we found ourselves together on the top of my car, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport with four-wheel suspension that I so often joke about. My relationship with the machine is a complicated one, but it’s mostly love. I love it for where it’s taken me, what it’s shown me in this world, and the people it has connected me with. I woke up wanting to run away, to hide in the pillows of my bed and sink into my own sadness, which I carefully cover-up as an illness of the day.
Sometimes we complain about work, but work is a reason to begin moving through the world in some kind of way. I didn’t want to go anywhere at all, but work got me into the car. I especially didn’t want to talk to anyone on this morning, sour about the state I put myself in. Sometimes the universe has other plans.
The first man I picked up may have been an angel sent from the heavens. I’ve seen a black man sitting outside a gas station cause a white suburban kid like me to turn the other way many times, but I sense nothing is typical about either of our lives, and so we met. He asked me if I do well for myself and I said I try. He smiled and said “God bless you,” but he really meant it. At the time I didn’t know how to receive it, but I have now.
I wish I could have given him better conversation or told him how much ten minutes in the car with him meant to me. He asked me about my life and cared to hear the answers. He listened in the purest form. I said something negative and he made sure to correct me. He’s a doctor from South Africa, and if I wasn’t so walled up I could’ve learned more.
Then there were the New York girls. Four of them, for some reason getting to the airport five hours before their flights. One joked about killing time together, and if I wasn’t so cemented in my head, I could’ve offered my time. That would have been nice. They made me laugh, and gave me more appreciation than I knew how to handle. They read my poetry in the back of the car and bought three of my books.
They laughed at the words I wrote and appreciated the craft and design in a genuine manner. I’m forever grateful for the space to write. What I can’t express out loud I can always find a way to get on the page. Anyways, these people made my day. I don’t know if they’ll ever read any of this, and that brings me an odd degree of comfort and sadness at the same time.
So I found myself on top of the car that connected me with these lovely people at the end of the night, in awe of what was unfolding in front of my eyes, but wondering why I wasn’t enjoying it in the presence of someone else.
I thought of all the times I threw up a wall. Every moment that could have been shared where I found myself alone. They say the opposite of love is fear, and now I understand. I know I have good reason to be afraid, but reason doesn’t save us from our pain.
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