Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Dearest Friend: Concentrate

My Dearest Friend,

Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate.

That is my mantra for the time being. I try to keep focused. Try to keep my head in the game. Try to see the bigger picture. It's difficult when all the immediate stuff, no matter how small, is staring you in the eye. They're daring you to flinch. I have to keep calm and remember that it all happens in due time. I have to remember to concentrate.

But, it's hard.

I keep looking to the future. A future where I may be able to add income to the dismal pay that I'm earning right now. A future that sees a little more wiggle room in my back account. A time where I don't feel that I am carrying the world on my shoulders. I keep my eye there, because when I look at the here and now, I am overcome with a sense of dread. Panic sets in and I simply can not give in to that particular emotion at this moment in life. I have too many other emotions to sift through.

I wonder about your life in the Navy. What was it like carrying all those memories of me with you? What were you like before that night? Before you raced to my side only to find me in the grips of a horror movie unlike any you'd ever seen? Were you optimistic about people? Did you believe we all held goodness within ourselves? Were we actually made in God's image or did we reflect His opposite? Did you leave your faith behind that night you took me to the hospital?

We never really spoke of your love life. The stories you told me were of nameless women. Anonymous was the only person you allowed near your heart. You seemed better acquainted with the ones that you couldn't remember. Did I have something to do with that? During the twenty years you spent apart from me, what did you concentrate on? Why did you never make more our of your life than you did? Most men your age would have had children to claim. Broken hearts to match up with love stories. But, you had none of that. There was no one that got away. There was no child that could claim your smile. Instead, you spent your life concentrating on something that you weren't even sure existed. Why was that? What were you looking for?

I concentrate on my writing. I spend more energy on it than I do on people. I find that I can breathe when I write. The air leaves my lungs with each tap of the keyboard and returns upon the beginning of each new sentence. There is magic there on the screen. It brings to life the things that I wish for. The images that are caught in my mind's eye. My emotions burn bright like flames burning into the night. I trust the spirit that lives in my fingers. The one that tells my hands what to write. I sometimes write with a pen, putting all my stories onto paper. I have to use that old fashioned method when my thoughts are coming faster than I can type. Writing by hand forces my mind to slow down and lets me catch up. I concentrate hard. I put in everything I am, and when I am done, I am tired. Tired and empty. These are the best feelings to me.

I am days away from the first reading of the play. I am filled with so much dread. To hear my words in another's voice is surreal and terrifying. Not only are my thoughts on that paper, but my emotions are as well. I laid myself naked for all the world to see. I am kind of wanting to take it all back now. Take back the thoughts and clothe myself in secrecy. But, I was not made to be that. I was not made to be a statue made of secrets and lies. I have to live exposed. Otherwise, there is no point in all that has happened to me. If I can not make others aware, then why even go on?

 I threw your journals away months ago. There was no way that I could move on from your memory while they existed. I found myself going to them more and more. Time passed, but you still lived within the pages. I poured over the text. Looking for lost clues as to why you lived your life the way you did. Most of the stuff you wrote about regarded me. Your life seemed to begin the night you met me and it never really moved on passed that. It seemed you lived that one night over and over again. For twenty years, you screamed in horror just as I did. I tried my hand at a normal life. Yet, you did not. I am not sure if you show more strength that I do because you admitted to what your life had become. You surrendered to your memories. You embraced it all while I tried to move on. I ran away from it all. I buried my head and concentrated on having a normal life. A life full of boyfriends, friends, family, and children.

My children were my saving grace. What was yours?

Concentrate. I try hard to look towards a time when I don't think about you. When the gas pump is not dangerous territory. When life is as normal for me as it is for someone else. I concentrate hard on the small things that make me happy. The children. Writing. A friend here and there.

I concentrate hard on the computer screen. I look at the light as it guides me towards the finishing touches of whatever it is I am working on. I focus hard on it. Simply, because it's all I have.

And sometimes I think it's all I want.


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