There Was A Me
© 2012 Christopher Blake Carver
Sitting nervously—fidgeting at the bar
Looking at each entering face
The way Einstein looked at an equation or that the leper looked at Jesus.
Convinced that my salvation lied inside the touch of their finger or the smell of their cologne
or them telling me that yes- I was desirable.
Yes- my bad qualities and weird qualities and my secret parts and the embarrassing parts- they would not matter.
For after all, we are still both lying here in this place. And your touch says you love me- right?
Even though your too quick departure will say something else entirely.
And even though the words may not come from your lips—
The truth is expressed by your actions.
And a drowning man
Sometimes only needs that hint.
Of a raft-
or only the idea of floating.
To give him just enough hope to survive the cold night and the hungry sharks
long enough for the search party to arrive.
But arrive it did not. No helicopter from beyond the horizon.
No tall dark haired Jake Gyllenhall look alike to drag me from the chat room
or the bar stool
or a midnight cold bed of someone worse than a stranger.
He did not come.
No matter how hard I tried to see his face on so many- he was my own Snuffleuppagus- but just as imaginary for me as my neighbors.
And, in the end, the unreal selves could not save me.
How could they anymore save me than Santa Clause could bring me love down a chimney in exchange for cookies and milk and some carrots for Donner and Blitzen.
Rather than pull me from the waters they only pushed me deeper.
Till my lungs filled with the brackish water and I felt
Who I was—
Who I could be—
Who I was made to be—
begin to slip eternally beneath the surface.
Pulled toward the bottom by not a monster of Jules Verne
But by the scariest creature of all— a demon of my creation.
A composite figure made of a job too long held—
A purpose denied—
Dreams too long ignored—
Love too long quested in the manner someone would try on a pair of shoes
and discard the nice fitting pair with the slight blemish by the toe.
At last, as my lungs filled completely with the water,
A part of me died
So that the biggest part could Live.
This familiar sensation.
cliff in 1999 that was to be either my end or my beginning. Ohio
This time the choice to go away from what was isn’t quite as easy.
The old days and the old decisions and the old mindset cannot be quite so easily turned away.
The ghosts of those bad choices so many bad for me people- bad for me- me—
try to claw back and offer comfort in their lesser ways and in the acceptance of a lesser me. No greater sin exists than the temptation of the blinded and tuned out soul, full of contentment—and absent of any thing close to salvation.
And few things are as welcome to
A drowning soul as comfort.
But in the moonlight reflection bouncing off the water beside my sinking self
I can see just enough of the outline of my frame to remember the scars hidden by the darkness.
And the Molly Maid skill of a memory that whitewashes and sanitizes the
not even the chalk body outline remains so that the visual of that lost figure can scratch inside your heart and mind a
Mount Rushmore view of the
No, the only way past is through.
It is down on the bottom- fully under the black soup that consumes me
and forces out the memory and the air and the fantasy and the wistful memories that are so much better than their subjects were in real life.
The last vision of an easy future with no hard choices—no hard sacrifices—and no fear—collapses in a pile beside me—at least rendered to the pile of the life that may indeed be easy—but that holds no question, no challenge, no growth, and thereby no death.
It therefore can not be mine—for it cannot be real.
As my final gasping panting falls victim to the new reality,
the new understanding,
the new peace,
The last glimmers of the old ways fade from sight.
The old ways- in an instant- just don’t fit anymore- just don’t make any sense-
And the brilliant glimpse of light and peace and Oneness come into view.
Not the comical bible images of the surface level Christians of departed family and friends welcoming me through gates of Gold handing me keys to a mansion.
But something deeper—more real—and more meaning.
The feeling of connection with friends known—friends yet to be known—
a world I am a part of—
and a world I have a place in.
Welcoming me to an existence I had long forgotten and a peace I had long forsaken.
I was here before, when things were new.
When strangers were potential friends- and not keys to my own self doubt.
A land where I sensed my purpose- where I didn’t doubt what love was-
Or my place in this beautiful world. Taken from me by no one other than myself.
Now helped back there by Strangers, God, and everyone in between.
I fall silent in the still waters
And let myself silently pass back into
To the greatest home I have ever known
And the peace and love a stranger could never provide.