Hold The Pickles

I’m that Tired Guy, the one who admires both sunrise and sunset and never grows weary of Nature’s beautiful wash of violet, crimson and gold. I’m that Tired Guy who was once afloat in a clear ocean as the undulating waves gently rolled away the cares of the world.

Our honeymoon to Aruba will forever remain with me. As Traci lay upon her chair reading her book, I had entrusted to her my glasses and then trudged wearily toward the water. 2006 had been a very trying year and 2007 hadn’t started off all that well either. Other than the upcoming wedding in April the burdens of my past, both financially and emotionally, had taken their toll and we had needed relief. So there we were, Traci nestled comfortably beneath a tiki umbrella curled up with her novel, and me floating aimlessly in the blue.

Looking down on empty streets
All she can see
Are the dreams all made solid
Are the dreams all made real
All of the buildings
All of those cars
Were once just a dream
In somebody’s head

Oh, I’m not much of a swimmer. And without my glasses, I’m as blind as can be.

But I wasn’t interested in seeing.

I needed something more subtle.

More intangible.

More elusive.

I needed hope.

By that point of time I had lived in Georgia for nearly 13 years. Prior to April 14th, I had been married twice, held three jobs, dug my way out of debt only to foolishly fall right back in, and watched my mother wither and die at an intolerable distance. I was exhausted. No, that’s not accurate. I was tired, bone weary and empty.

And I hurt.

When the day is long
And the night, the night is yours alone,

When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life
Well hang on.

Don’t let yourself go
Everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes.

There had been plenty of moments when I could have given up, packed the camels and trudged back north.

But I hadn’t.

I had stayed on, kept the house, paid the bills, accepted my mistakes but wallowed in guilt nonetheless. You’d think a boy living in Ashland and growing up in an angry household where you and your brother were constantly told you weren’t any good, you weren’t smart, you were nothing might throw in the towel.

Maybe I just didn’t want to give someone the satisfaction that they had beaten me. After all, Khan gave Kirk a mere 60 seconds. But we all saw what a resourceful man can do with a little bit of time and a prefix code.

Sadly no. I’m no hero.

In retrospect, it was an admixture of fear and a stubborn refusal to quit.

The prospect of packing it all in, selling the house, finding a new job, turning my back upon the last decade and then some to head home, worn out and defeated was not appealing. But even more so, the reality of doing all that deeply frightened me. I’m a creature who craves consistency, in life, at work, with my friends and family. I can handle change, albeit not very well, but I muddle through nonetheless.

Yet somehow I knew there had to be more, that I hadn’t made all those choices just to end up a burned out husk wondering why and how and the unfairness of it all.

I was right.

And then I run til the breath tears my throat
Til the pain hits my side
As if I run fast enough
I can leave all the pain and the sadness behind
I love to feel the rain in the summertime

Despite everything, even my predilection toward worrying about situations over which I have absolutely no control, my time in exile had finally witnessed deliverance.

Thank you Traci. I love you more than soup.

Floating in the healing waters surrounding Aruba, I had found myself again. My body enveloped by a warm cocoon of soothing calm, I had stared off toward the horizon and can honestly say I had never been more relaxed. The wreckage of my mind had slowly cleared, like midnight’s veil lifting to reveal the dawn of a new day. Hope restored, I had made a vow to overcome the many travails before me, before us. Armored with the strength of love and conviction I could finally release the accumulated years of frustration and pain that had been crippling me. It was time to move on, face the challenges both old and new, and take them on one by one. Invigorated, I left the cleansing ocean a new man full of purpose.

These are days
These are the days you might fill
With laughter until you break
These days you might feel
A shaft of light
Make its way across your face
And when you do
Then you’ll know how it was meant to be
See the signs and know their meaning
It’s true
Then you’ll know how it was meant to be
Hear the signs and know they’re speaking
To you, to you

Of course, our honeymoon eventually ended and in rode reality on a pale horse. We returned home to face the problems we refused to pack, and only ourselves to rely upon. But as Jon Bon once said, we had each other and that’s a lot.

Heck, that’s more than enough most days.

Now some of you might be saying you’ve heard my sorry song before. I submit I’m no philosophical savant breaking new ground with powerful introspective visions. Perhaps I’m trolling through another rendition of “Woe is me” and “See how I’m better off now” and all that rot.

And you’d be right.

However that’s the point of this space. I’m really just a regular guy trying to understand an irregular world. Am I out to solve the mysteries of the universe?

Maybe so, because everyone knows by now it’s all about the sandwich.

Ultimately, my next sandwich might use the same bread, the same condiments (ribbed for her pleasure!), the same deli meat.

Except pickles.

My brother once ate an entire plate of pickles at a bar mitzvah because he was bored. No sandwich. Just the pickles.

He’s a very wise man.

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