Late at night musings.

I seem to possess a singular talent, one I would gladly live without.

I always seem to fall for the wrong woman.

Be it the woman who was friendly and kind to me…and didn’t bother to tell me she was engaged. Or the woman who insisted that she had been separated from her husband for several months…and then gave me a Facebook page to ‘keep in touch with her’ through that turned out to be the one she shared with her husband (and they’d posted several happy photos of them partying together just a few days before). I seem to have a talent for picking women I can never have, or who will never want me.

Why is that?

Can anyone explain it to me?

I wish someone would.

I just told a woman goodbye, a woman my heart told me to love, but my head told me would never feel the same way about me. She was beautiful, but unlike many beautiful women I’ve known, she was kind, even to those who were not kind to her. The more I got to know her, the more my heart cried out for her. But my head….my head knew that being young enough to be my daughter, there was no way she could be attracted to me. A recent string of exchanged texts and missed meetings made those doubts stronger, strong enough to cause me to bid her farewell. I feel no animosity towards her, in fact, my last message to her was to wish her a long and successful life.

But did I give up too early?

Or was it a fool’s errand to even think she might have feelings for me?

I don’t know, but now, all I feel is empty, like a hole has opened up inside of me. It’s a feeling I’ve experienced before, a pain I have lived through more times than I care to remember…but that doesn’t make it any easier to bear.

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Something that needs to be shared

One of my fellow members of CWA wrote this piece…and I seriously wish I had. It is an excellent refutation of the myth that the 50’s and 60’s were some sort of halcyon ‘good ol’ days’, and well worth reading.

I hope you will.

On The Anniversary Of Emmett Till’s Death: Why The 1950s And ’60s Were Not ‘A Simpler Time’

The Curse of Immortality

(I wrote this after being inspired by a book I was asked to review. It was intended to be an entry into a writing contest…then, I found out it wouldn’t quite fit with what the contest was looking for, so here it is.)

I kneel beside the plain stone marker, it’s surface still cool this early July day. Its face is now nearly smooth, the lettering almost erased by time. A shadow falls over me, and a voice addresses me.

“Was he a relative of your?”

“Yes, he was. He was…a distant relative of mine.

Silence for a moment, and I hope the questioner will leave. Instead, he asks another question.

“Says he died on 2 July, 1916. Battle of the Somme. Do you know how?”

I close my eyes, and see the scene again as if it were yesterday. Willie, no matter how I warned him, raising his head to see what was happening. The explosion of a German artillery shell in front of our trench. His head flying from his shoulders, severed by a piece of shrapnel as neatly as if by a blade.

Of all my descendants, you were the only one to show any promise, great-great-grandson. You alone showed the possibility you might be like me. But even an immortal can’t grow a head back.

I stand, brush the dirt from my knees, and walk away in silence.

The dead and their dreams are gone…and mine too. I remain alone.

Care

I will care for her.

It is the least I can do for the woman who has stood by me all these years.

The person who could love me despite my faults. The person who could keep me from making a mess of our kids. The saint who forgave me when I failed our marriage vows. The woman with a core of steel who saved me when I had a stroke, and did everything to help a cripple become even part of a man again.

Even before the doctor uttered the word Alzheimer’s, I knew she was in trouble. Neither of us had the memory we’d once had, but watching her fumble through finding the right key to open our front door, it was clear she was having problems. The doctor spoke of “rapid onset”, and the need for her to have special care, but I knew that meant her locked in a room, or stumbling through the halls of a “home” she didn’t know, surrounded by strangers.

No.

I was polite to the doctor as I took her home, even as my soul raged inside at the idea that someone could suggest she end like that. From that day, I watched her fade.

It wasn’t all bad. Sitting beside her in the arbor I’d built for her, the one she’d covered with climbing roses, watching her smile, was a thing I could do every day for the rest of eternity. Even on the nights when she wake confused, not knowing where she was, I could still take her in my arms, and she’d calm down, murmur my name, and fall to sleep again with a smile on her face. I could lie there,, watching her sleep, knowing she still remembered me, still loved me.

Those days were become less and less frequent. Last night, when I’d tried to calm her, she’d stuck me and asked me who I was before coming back and accepting me again. Tonight, she’d come to bed smiling, seemingly happy to lie beside me again. I fell asleep with her, as she always did, sleeping snugged close beside me.

I woke unable to breath, my eyes open and unable to see. I felt pressure on my right arm, my wife’s knees, trapping my ‘good’ arm as she pressed a pillow down on my face. My ears could hear her, though, even through the mass of foam that was robbing me of air.

“Who are you? How did you get into my bedroom? I won’t let some old pervert like you rape me! My dad will be here soon, and he’ll take care of you if I don’t!”

I flail at her with my crippled left arm, trying to get her off me, to lessen the pressure enough that I can draw a breath, but it’s impossible. She continues to scream at me, but her voice begins to fade into the all-encompassing roar that seems to fill my head. I gasp, and my lungs seem to draw nothing in. The darkness before my eyes grows deeper, and I know I am dying.

Dying at the hands of the woman I love.

Maybe it’s justice for all the things I’ve done wrong. I think to myself as the world fades around me. I can’t hate her, even now. I know what will come next, and I worry about what our children will think, finding that their mother has murdered their father because she didn’t even recognize him. Forgive her. Care for her. Don’t let her die alone. Even I didn’t die alone.

The world fades, the roar ends, and peace comes to me at last.