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Closer Issue 1

I miss her. It's heading up on 3:56 am and this is the only time I can face these things. I miss her more than she'll ever know because I can't find the right words to express it. I rarely mention it. I try to pretend I'm over her, but maybe you never really get over these things. Maybe the memories just bubble up like welts from a serious burn, reminding you of someone you loved. Maybe you wind up settling for someone who reminds you of them.

I miss her. I wish this night would end. I'm trying to figure out how long I can stay awake before I collapse. I don't want to dream. I just want this night to end. I just want to see the dawn peeking between my Venetian blinds.

I'm still not sure what happened, but if I said something wrong, I'm sorry. I drop into consciousness each day and think of her, remembering the mornings her voice woke me. I stay in bed as long as I can, hoping the phone will ring.

I'm cold. There's a dub record playing in the background and I'm surprised I managed to pull it together yesterday. I left the house and shaved, two small triumphs. Anymore, I usually blend with the furniture, rarely moving, transfixed by ghosting, flickering images on a snowy television screen.

It's not an especially fulfilling life at the moment, but I'm pulling out of a metaphorical tailspin and have an excuse, although I'm relying on it less and less as days go by. If I only learned one lesson from the past six months and all my problems, it is this: Don't waste your life with trivialities. It's too short and, as cliché and flowery as it sounds to say it, too valuable. It's rather similar to Thoreau's "Our life is frittered away by detail ... Simplify, simplify."

At times like this, music and hot baths are about the only things that can help. Music provides an empathic voice, an understanding voice, whatever the time of day or night. It's strange how the songs seem to relate to your life - some days, every song fits in some inexplicable way, whether through shared experience or an evoked emotion. Hot baths supply relaxation and a chance for reflection. If you dunk your head under the water, you can even hear your heartbeat and pulse.

Right now I could use both. I can smell stale sweat in the air, my mattress and blankets are on the floor, this issue hasn't been put to bed. I can't believe how much typing is left to do. What's more, I don't know where she is, at least emotionally. We talked about it and we're friends, but beyond that ...

I made my bed. I took a bath and I'm listening to a scratched up compilation of Walt Disney songs on Ronco Records. I'm not sure I feel any better though. To crib from one of those old tunes, it seems we're stuck in an age of not believing in anything, least of all ourselves, and wishing on the second star to the right just doesn't hold us up anymore. Where did all the happy endings go? Does it even matter anymore?

I still believe in them. I still wish on stars - the first one I see at night and the last one I see in the morning. I pick up pennies for luck. I believe fortune favors the foolish, as a friend of mine once said. I just don't talk about it much. If you say you believe such things, people try to beat it out of you.

I'm not sure where the happy endings went. I don't think they're on this page. About the only thing you might find here are thoughts you've thought, feelings you've felt. Maybe you relate to these words. Maybe they speak to you. Maybe you've been here before and remember what it was like to be young, relatively guileless and carefree, laughing over silly things and picking daisies.

But then we all got older, grew up and lost something we can never regain and what's more, something we can't even describe. I suppose you could call it paradise, ignorance or innocence. Maybe it was just the ability to look at the world with wonder and notice life all around us.

Now we're caught in a world we carefully constructed to restrain us, to sharply chastise us at any sign of individuality. Rebellion is a cherished commodity, provided it follows one of the appropriately sanctioned, non-threatening patterns. And between the twin threats of cynicism and hipness, there's just no room for living or being you.

So I sit here, typing this, wrapped up in a blanket, huddled in my chair, hoping she'll call.

You may be asking yourself why this is here. I suppose it's for catharsis as much as anything else.

It's getting late. My insomnia isn't too bad tonight. I should go to sleep if I can. I wish I could say the phone rang and I had to answer it, ending this on a hopeful note, but it wouldn't be true and even if it was, you probably wouldn't believe it anyway. But I'll sit here and wait anyway, despite the decreasing likelihood of hearing her voice. And I guess I'll keep waiting. I don't know that there's anything else to do.

Before I forget, there's one last point that needs to be made, but I'll defer to Jane Siberry, who put it quite eloquently: "It won't rain all the time/ The sky won't fall forever/ And though the night seems long/ Your tears won't fall forever."

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008