My whole life I wanted to be delivered from evil, but somehow I wandered into temptation, trespassed really. I’m not hallowed by any stretch of the imagination, more like cursed for the decisions I’ve made. Willie’s right, I’m in a dark place right now.
Sitting in the emptiness of my house, I’m left thinking of the old Goat man and the moment I stared into the coal that was his eyes. There was a recognizable coldness to them I have when I look in the mirror, almost decayed. That’s what scared me. I don’t want to be like this anymore. Christ, I don’t even know how I got here.
I’m all alone trying to pick up the pieces from everything that is broken. My first instinct is to check on Jenna, hearing my daughter’s voice will make everything better. I dial the phone. No one answers. Discouraged, I put the receiver down.
Unraveled and exhausted from the events of today, my hands cover my face. I feel remorse for the way I treated my daughter’s mother. I justify my actions by saying she pushed me over the edge, but really I lost control.
Because I didn’t belong to a real family, I longed to feel a part of something and desired one more than anything. Unfortunately, wanting one too much, I was enticed and didn’t get married for the right reasons. Sometimes falling into temptation takes things away, and gives us others; my daughter is such a gift.
I make another attempt at calling Jenna, no one answers.
My mind is not thinking clearly, it must be the shock controlling me. Usually I handle myself better than this, but in the dead of silence, surrounded by my angst, I feel disappointed and responsible for my life. My skin feels like it’s crawling off my body. Hearing that voice today stirred up the bee’s nest in my head. Somehow I made her leave making me lose my little girl. Wishing I could change things, guilt runs through me. Everything is my fault…it has to be, it’s the only thing that makes sense. I’m the common factor for everything in my life. Realizing this, the pain is indomitable. God, I need to change my life… because it’s not okay…the way I’m living, my fear, my pain and now my regret.
Closing my eyes, I take a long, slow, deep breath and try to empty myself of everything that happened. When they reopen, I veer off to change perspective and end up staring into the vast blackness of my fireplace. My mind wanders off as I imagine leftover remains of burnt ash.
Sometimes, I feel the flames around me. There are times I have these dreams of insurmountable terror where I am confined that are inescapable. Listening to the roar from the burning embers, I can see the blaze from small crevices that must be from the way my mother was holding me that night. I’m afraid, as these dreams give me a claustrophobic feel I can’t break away from. Engulfing me now, I hate this feeling more than anything.
I calm down and try to call Jenna again, no answer. Damn, why does her mother play these games, I know they’re home. Feeling the acrimony building within, I slam the phone down. All I want is to check on my daughter and hear her voice. Mingling in my brain are today’s events, scrambling my senses. Having a knife pointed at me, hearing my daughter’s unhappiness and dealing with her mother’s control issues bring me to back to one of my fallible moments. I am reminded of one particular embarrassment where this much anger raged inside me before, a moment that opened a door for me and closed others. In my head is a picture of an incident from the past when I was married and my wife left.
She called saying she wanted to reconcile and asked me to meet her at her new condo. “Go to the back sliding doors,” she whispered in her sweet, seductive tone that has always reeled me in as she hung up the phone.
Excited, I entered a fantasy world that we would be a family again, but when I got there the glass doors were locked. I looked in; she was on the couch getting nailed by this dirt bag. As he was thrusting inside her she looked at me grinning. I watched through the glass in shock, and as she gave me the finger she mouthed, “You’re such a loser.” I will never forget that image.
Startling me, the phone rings, breaking me away from the images in my head, but not letting me escape the feeling. I answer quickly hoping its Jenna.
“Hello,” I say in the receiver.
I listen impatiently waiting to hear my daughter’s voice, disappointed it’s not. I reply, “Hey what’s up…No…really, I need to be alone tonight.”
I pause, waiting for my turn to speak. “Really…I’m fine…I’d like to see you, I just wouldn’t be good company tonight. It’s been a hell of a day.”
Moving around in my chair uncomfortably, I squirm as I bring up the visual of today in my mind. “No big deal… Some guy…he came in and held a knife to me.” I try to act as though nothing’s wrong, unnerved by the whole event, but I’m only fooling myself. “It was nothing really, I’m fine.”
And then the power of her voice soothes me.
After realizing she always makes me feel better I comment, “You know, I do want to be with you tonight. How long ‘till you get here?”
As I put the phone down I see a picture of my brother sitting on the end table next to me. Looking at it, I pick it up. “I miss you so much. I wish I had your strength,” Holding his image in my hands.
When remembering my brother I try to picture the good times, the fun we had, but I took care of him and the last six months of his life I witnessed him withering away. He started off as a man and by the time the leukemia made him succumb he was almost unrecognizable, he wasted away. How do you forget those memories? He was my best friend. I idolized his courage and composure. I was there when he died, watching his last breaths, seeing the last time his chest rose, I heard the air expel from his lungs, remembering that long dragging sound while his breath was leaving, I will never forget that sound. I don’t know if I can ever watch another person I love die.
Holding his hand at the moment he passed, I looked up, and in the corner of the room was a light, pure and white, some kind of energy settling above us. Immediately I felt pressure, like something was pressing against my forehead. Then the light absorbed into the air and scurried away like a passing cloud. I always believed that was his spirit touching me.
As his healthy older brother, I swore to protect him, but I couldn’t, not from this. Maybe I felt guilty I couldn’t keep my promise.
Two years have passed since he died. It took more money than I had left after the divorce to bury him with honor and dignity, but it was a decision well made.
Sitting in dark silence makes me understand I am more than one person. The way I am in front of my friends is not the person my daughter sees. My aunt who raised me sees another man than a stranger would. Conducting myself entirely different at work then I do elsewhere, I am opposite ends of the pole, a contradiction of myself.
The way I’m acting now, vulnerable, this is the side of me that I will never allow anybody to see.
Not wanting to feel this pain anymore tonight, to release the hurt, to hide from the real problem, I resort back to a primal level. I yearn to feel someone wrapped around me, some hot flesh. Maybe because of the way I escaped death as a child in my mother’s arms I crave the feeling to be wanted, needed, saved, human, even if it’s for a little while. The only way to do this is to drown my sorrow in carnal pleasure, with someone who makes me feel alive.
I wipe the vulnerability off my face and erase my most recent memories to hide the pain. She should be here in a few minutes. And by the time she arrives, I will be strong and confident, with a smile, like there is absolutely nothing wrong in the world.
Willie’s right, I am in a dark place. I need to change, but how?