Clarity in April of 2024

When I was a kid my mom took me to pick up the glasses that were made to address my nearsightedness. I looked out the window of the car as we drove in the Arizona heat and was awed by the leaves on the trees. A bright color of green with a hint of yellow, shimmering in the sunlight. I don't know how old I was then, probably eight years old. Forty years ago.

I bought a manga comic book to read that someone recommended and the print is so small. I put on my reading glasses in bed and strain my eyes. One of these days I will order a magnifying glass and spare myself the eye strain but adopt the pain of becoming too old to read without a second form of assistance.

I try to imagine no longer existing. That my life simply ends and I cease to be. And, wonder what the events leading up to that moment will be like. How much pain? Will someone say, at least he was comfortable. At least there was no pain.

Hopefully torn apart by sharks in the Atlantic Ocean. Or, lungs full of sea water. Out there swimming until I can't. Becoming one with the waves.

I hope they do not recover my body. I don't want to be cremated and reduced to a useless bauble in the top shelf of someone's apartment closet. Or, pumped with embalming fluid and restored for some strange ritual where I am lowered into the ground and a headstone that will stand for a couple hundred years before completely decomposing. A lonely monument to join the others, family that no one visits because we have been forgotten, or the family line ended in alcoholism, madness, depression, suicide. Despair.

When I was young I wanted someone to love, to exchange loving glances with, affectionate, to watch hair in the breeze, smiling from behind sunglasses. Go to the water park in the heat, help eachother with suntan lotion, drying off afterward. Bathing suits, long cotton shirts stretched out from the weight of the water. Chlorine smell, children on waterslides, arcade games in the air conditioning, an iced cola from a red plastic cup. We could pack into the pickup truck with friends, though the bed may be hot we sit on wet towels. Driver takes the surface streets, tender cargo never traveling faster than forty-five miles per hour. Hair tangled by the wind, cheeks red from the heat, mouth dry when we arrive, tall glass with iced sun tea mom cooked on the back porch before stowing in the refrigerator next to the things that never expired because family and friends kept coming over day after day. Summer and school was out, they visited to witness our love firsthand. Most of that really happened.

Falling in love feels great when it's lust, that quick get to know you process, an addict snorting long new lines off the clean surface. Crisp dollar bill in the nose, nothing to stop us. Sharing our interests. Television shows, movies, albums, songs, places to go when we are happy, destinations to recover when we are sad, sometimes things we have read, our dreams. Do you want kids, are you religious, who do you vote for, what do you think will happen next. Fooling around, kicking eachother's feet, poking and pulling, trying to find the boundaries, where the other person will begin. Sometimes this only lasts two weeks and in just minutes, I just want to be alone I guess, self isolation type beat.

Then it's time to speed run through the grieving process. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I find it difficult to be angry because I'm falling in love with this person, it is a tough transition from denial to anger. Instead I continue to explore and question it. The technology, the method of communication, the timing, her intent. How many messages have I sent in denial that have gone unanswered. How many more will I send before I finally grow angry and then finally the bargaining, depression, and acceptance can follow in earnest.

These are rhetorical questions. The fantasy that she will return and with her that feeling of being loved. Instead, I am alone listening to The Cure.