Panic? What Panic?


I went to town to get dog food and cigarettes. Everyone and their brother is in church, so the stores are pretty empty on Sunday mornings. I thought it would be fine. No panic. I took some extra tranq, at that, just for a lil insurance. 
The place I normally get cigarettes had a few cars out front, so I went to the gas station across the street. Went in, got my cigarettes, no problem. I was confident that I could run into the Dollar General and grab a sack of dog food without a freak out panic attack. As it turns out, I was mistaken. 

I’m not quite sure what sets off the panic attacks. Normally, the sound of a car door shutting will do it. A loud noise…or one I don’t recognize. It’s weird. I start shaking and sweating. I feel like my throat is closing and I can’t breathe. I was almost to the dog food when it started this morning. I always try to keep going because I think that if I do, it’ll break the…spell. But, once you can’t breathe, it’s done. So, I managed to get back to my car and collect myself. 

I went to McDonald’s and got the girls a bunch of sausage biscuits from the dollar menu. They were happy as kids at Christmas when I got home. But I’m sitting here, ears ringing, heart still pounding, feeling like the town crazy lady. It’s so humiliating. 

I’m supposed to “get help” for this, per doc’s orders. She said that, with what she’s already prescribed, there should be no breakthrough panic. She was mad to find out how long it’s been going on. I just don’t tell her everything. She says I’m agoraphobic, but I don’t like talking about it with her, and I damn sure don’t like talking about panic attacks with her. I used to think it was the weight I’ve gained. So fat I can’t believe it. But I see people fatter than me going places…living life. So it can’t be that. It’s those sounds, I think. I don’t know. I honestly cannot gain useful insight into this lil nightmare. 

Dark Heart Mending


My love
You lie so quietly and still

Having breathed your last

There is no pain

There is no reason to cry 

Still…I cry

As I stand at your bedside 

Holding your cold hand in mine

I’ll remember you, love

When the night grows cold

And when, to a lover, I offer my bed

In another, I will see your face...feel your touch

Your kiss will grace my wanting lips

At least for a season, or longer, perhaps

Until my heart is able to see

That you’re forever gone, beyond my reach

And that there is no more you

And no more we 


This Place

I’m sitting on Mom’s back porch, smoking and listening to the little waterfall in Mom’s pond. Or water feature. Or liquid meditation area. What it’s called seems to depend on if you’re talking to the contractor, his son, or Captain Crazy. But, I digress…

From here, I can see the glow of the refineries warming the night sky with petrochemical burn off. Their low roar  is reassuring, somehow. Even so, and as much as I adore my mother, I would like nothing more than to run away from this place and never look back. 

My heart aches, heavy with memories as I write these lines. They are a collective that refuse to die. Life within life…my life, played out, redefined and judged by shadows, cast far and wide. It seems that there is no escape, no graceful way to bow out, until they’ve had their way. 

Sometimes, I wonder why things happen as they do. Why would an unwanted one, such as myself, dare ask fairness of Life? Do not misunderstand me; I am no victim. But I do have eyes to see, and ears to hear, and I have kept the dark secrets of many people. Yet, these people seem to dance through life with no conflict or struggle, their guilty deeds left far behind. I’m not a vengeful person, and only wish them well, but I am still only human and can’t help but wonder. Where is justice in the mix of it all? Why must I feel everything and nothing, at once? I have no appreciation for the double minded, yet that’s what I am tonight, sitting on Mom’s back porch. 

Life Sentences

*The night is fascinating, particularly in how it disguises carnal indulgence with its silken grace. All is forgiven, come first light. 

*The way the angels and demons war all around us, yet very few ever notice, is a testament to the fall of man as spirit. The vessel has become more important than that which it contains, and what pleasures the vessel, all the more so.

*I often dread visiting my mother. She is my best friend, but she is the hurricane and I am the shoreline. I’m in awe of her. I doubt I’ll live long enough to become half the woman she is. I’ve never known a stronger person. 

*It sickens me to know gay people who stay closeted, but go on and have families. They are possibly the most vile, cunning, and manipulative degenerates on planet Earth. That’s what I intended to tell my biological father the first time we met. However, he had created such a masterpiece of familial bliss with his third new family that I simply had no heart to say the words. That was more than two decades ago. I haven’t spoken to him since. What does that say about me?

*I once saw the son of a friend on the TV show, COPS. It was hilarious. I’ve always been secretly grateful that my own son has not made an appearance on that show…

*I do not understand why I mourn the loss of my late husband. When people leave prison, do they mourn their keepers? 

*The glare of day is beginning to wane, just a bit, as the sun delicately exits the stage. 

*I was once invited to attend a blood bath in Dallas, but my cheating husband was against it. He said it was sinful. 

*I don’t think I’ll ever be in love again. 

*Things between Bennie and I were terrible when he died. Even so, his death was the single most important event of my life. Except for the moment I fell in love with him. Sometimes, it’s as though nothing happened between those two points. 

*Fucking Valentine’s Day…

1986 A.D.

Bennie,

We’d have been married 31 years next Tuesday. Goddamn it. I’m sorry we didn’t celebrate last year, but you know why. And I just thought we’d have this year…that, maybe, things would be ok by now. I hate you for dying. I fucking hate you. I need you. I just never knew it as much as I do now and that makes me hate you twice as much. 

You know, you could’ve done some shit differently. I was joking on FB about when I drove the Jeep into that ice house you were at. But that shit really wasn’t funny. You made me fucking crazy, then hated me for being fucking crazy. I’m so fucking glad you’re not here yelling in my face and spitting on me like I’m some piece of trash. If I ever was, it was your doing. Goddamn it Bennie. I’m only human. You fucking pushed me till I’m unrecognizable, inside or out. What did you want me to do? Why didn’t you let me go? I hate you. But I need you now. And I don’t know why. 

I think I’m having a breakdown but I’m not sure. I’m not sure of anything anymore. The night terrors are back…The Council. Omg. I can’t do this much longer. I just don’t have it in me. I try not to cry, but if I even think your name, this wave hits and I’m drowning again in you. I feel like you still want to kill me. And I don’t understand why you never did take that fucking shot, you goddamn coward. It would’ve been the only honest thing you ever did where I was concerned. Fuck you for letting me live. I’m not scared to die like you were you fucking cocksucker. That’s why isn’t it? That’s why you never pulled the trigger….because I wouldn’t beg for life. Fuck you. I would beg no man for something so cheap.

I go out for a run in Maxine every day or two. Down that road up the way. Sometimes, I close my eyes when I hit 100 and I count to five. I keep thinking that one day I’ll open my eyes to the next world. But I haven’t had any luck at all with that. Even with all the tires at different pressure she just keeps going along the road. Stupid fucking car. Newsflash: She’s not a Hellcat so you can suck on that for eternity. Yep…I got my way, after all. So fuck you sideways you sorry motherfucker. 

Shit I’m so mad right now. I hate you and love you in equal amounts. Why does it have to be this way? This pain. My God it’s unbelievable. In life, you wouldn’t let me go, and in death I can’t let you go. I feel like I’m in Hell. 

I’m going now. If you’ve heard a word of this then make it stop. You owe me that. Just fucking stop this. Please. 

Here’s an early Valentine. It’s your favorite, fucker. 

A love letter

I only ever wanted to be free

Of the you

Of the me

Of the goddamn WE

Though your body long since failed you

You live on

In every breath I take

Until I’m choking…gasping…drowning

In memories of you

You were my first everything

I was your grateful nothing

Alone, in the dust of our life together

I am frozen

Buried beneath the weight of the lies you left behind

Trying to understand three decades of deceit and anger and pain

Still telling myself the lies you told me

An obedient bitch till the end

If I could, I’d bring you back

Then I would gut you like a deer 

And play in the puddle of filth that was once you

Dead from the inside, out

Just. Like. Me. 

Raindrops 

I am lying in my bed, listening to the pittypat of raindrops gently landing on the windowsill. It’s cold out, as the universe trades one day for the next. Swaddled in my fluffy comforter, I feel a sense of peace as my mind races into the wee hours.

Though my eyelids are growing heavy, my mind will not allow sleep just yet. Random thoughts fly through my brain like so many shooting stars. If I stare at one too long, I’ll miss the next, so I allow myself to play among the rights and wrongs and maybes that display themselves in my solitary panorama.

I admit that the display is blinding, at times. Yet, somehow, when it’s over and I’ve explored the beautiful absurdity of it all, I feel centered and satisfied and pleased. After all, why can’t fairies spread their magic in raindrops? And, why can’t love sparkle on the wings of butterflies? Purple ones. Legitimate questions, in my view. And, why can’t there be a love out there for me? One with the strength and goodness to subdue the darkness within me.

…and this woman was meant for the Strongman…the man who’d not open the door. In his house, she will abide, all in good time.

Secrets

I hate to open my eyes in the morning. No matter how hard I look, he’s never here. Never will be. Yes, I know…bastard this…s.o.b. that…Well, maybe so. Maybe I miss him because, somewhere inside of me, I am the same as him, and always was. 

Perhaps this sorrow is not me mourning my husband, but me confronting my true self for the first time. What if he was right about me? Is all of Hell truly at the root of my being? 

On the outside, I’m kind and generous…smiling…pleasant. The only indication that something could be wrong is my weight. After all, who allows themselves to put on so much weight were they not hiding something? I’ll tell you who…Someone trying to stop herself. I suppose I should say no more than that. 

I’m trying, desperately, to understand the situation I’m in. My eyes are nearly swollen shut from crying. I know myself well enough to know that it won’t stop until I figure it all out. I can’t believe that I only began to understand my heart’s misdirection this very morning. In most matters, my mind follows my heart. That has always been my undoing. 

As I sit here on this beautifully somber day, my head spins with new insight. Could I really have been the impetus for the way he behaved towards me and for the violence that literally coursed through his veins, bringing about his end? And, if that’s the case, what about me made him confident that he’d get by with it? It makes no sense that I’d be both the cause and enabler. Maybe it’s because he knew of my darkest heart. That which came down through the women of my family for generations. The secret I shed long ago, but not soon enough that he had not witnessed its power. 

The secrets we keep are what make us who we are. It isn’t love or faith or any good thing. That is a lie perpetrated by the guilt of generations so that we won’t see the truth in our humanity. We share a veil with the other side. It’s thin and flimsy and corrupted by the slightest touch. It is only a single breath that separates the living from the dead. One. Were it not for the lies we’re raised on, perhaps we’d see that the best part of who we will ever be lives within that one breath, and that, should we gather the strength of heart to reach out and touch that veil, we would truly, finally, be free of our secrets. 

Two. Eight. Six. 

It’s been 286 days since he passed. I can’t seem to stop counting the days. Sometimes, hours pass as I sit in frozen reflection of everything that happened the day he died. The last of it always being the touch of his hand, cold and swollen. Dead. 

Other things run through my mind, as well…things triggered by the most basic situations in my life these days. I recently spent some time with a man. Even though the feel of a man’s arms around me was amazing, it also felt like cheating. I never cheated on Bennie, and the guilt I’m feeling, even now, is overwhelming. I can’t stand it. But what I have been feeling most is Ben’s betrayal. I can’t stop thinking of all the times he did cheat and then lived his life, our life, as though nothing happened. He moved seamlessly from his encounters with other women to his life with me. I don’t understand. How is that possible? I am exhausted from the things I’ve learned of him since his death. Things that should never have been. And why would he take such pleasure in deceiving me? My brain struggles to put it all in place. But my brain doesn’t operate in deception. That isn’t to say I imagine myself to be perfect. God knows I’m not. But I’ve never hurt anyone who didn’t deserve it, and I’d move Heaven and Earth to avoid hurting a loved one. Not Bennie. He enjoyed it. He must have. 

I’m not ready to die right now. But I feel dead, already. I’m not sure if I’ll ever trust anyone again. My heart is broken. Literally. It must be to hurt this much. I never dreamed of pain like this. Some days, like today, I don’t talk. When I do, I begin to cry. Because…because…I don’t know why. 

I feel like he’s watching me. Judging, hating, laughing at every tear. I think he’d be happy to see me broken this way. I have no doubt in my mind. Still, he is missed and remains on the pedestal I made just for him. Even in his death, I’m followed by the disdain he had for me. I’m not good enough. I am nothing except what I was through him. I have to find a way to change that. I need to know that I can. Change. It just doesn’t look to be in the cards.