Do you ever wonder what became of all the things you’ve lost?
I just woke up from one of those afternoon naps, the kind you take on the sofa, the sun shining down on you through an open window, and the voice of winds carried far away whispering as you linger between this reality and one behind your eyelids.
Maybe it was the long run, which exhausted me before I lay down. Or perhaps it was a mix of the Miles Davis and sesame cookies, the flavor still lingering on my tongue as I drifted away from consciousness. Whatever the reason, I want to share the dream I had, fleeting though it was.
I was back on the front porch of the house I grew up in. The huge cedar trees that kept the yard in perpetual shadow were missing. My father sat on the steps, a bucket between his legs as he peeled through a pile of exotic squash that he had grown.
This is how I last saw him, as himself. I know that minutes after I leave to go to the restaurant I am working at, he will collapse and never stand up again. The tiniest of things, a clot in his blood, will strike him down. I know this, so I sit next to him and wait for him to say something.
But in the kitchen, in the now, my phone rings and I am jerked back to the couch without any new wisdom imparted, no words from the great beyond to help me in my journey to be a man.
I’m inundated with advice. I had a creative breakdown the other day on the dog food aisle in a grocery store and needed to stand there and scream to the next person who walked by:
“I don’t know I’m good enough. I’ve taken the leap, I’m in free fall and I don’t know where I’m going to land.”
Oddly enough, someone did stop and talk to me, and they were full of little ditties and quotations to help me along in my endeavors. Then, when I got back to my car, I found that I had left the back window slightly cracked open, and someone had slipped a religious tract into my vehicle reminding me that I shouldn’t be worried when I look back and see a single set of footprints in the sand.
When I turn around, the sand is tousled, covered in criss crossing tracks, directionless movement leading to where I am now. Slightly groggy on the couch.
Somewhere in the trails of my life, I let go parts of myself that I no longer needed. Some of them have found their way back, others simply stopped or moved on. Now, I sit, like a small child in the middle of a room filled with freshly opened presents.
I have the manual, all the pieces and I’ve put myself back together. I just haven’t gotten to the point where I know what to do with it now.