I am standing at the verge of a change; only, I am unsure which direction it will come from or when this change will happen. I cannot put my finger on whether the change will be good or bad. I can just feel it coming . . . and closing in slowly. I tend to overthink myself when this happens.
I feel edgy, but writing helps.
I sometimes sit with my friend Clyde for lunch. We talk about the old days when the city ran through its epidemic. Clyde is older than me. He was born and raised on the Westside of Harlem, but he was all over the city, and in fact, he was all over the country. He knew about the base spots in Alphabet City.
He knew about the places in Brooklyn, like Knickerbocker and the Bodegas along Atlantic Avenue. Clyde also spent time on B15th in Far Rockaway and he also knew about the places on Northern Boulevard.
He laughs, “But we made it out alive.”
He tells me, “Today’s troubles are Park Avenue problems when you compare it to what we went through.”
We talk about the spot on 116th and Park and the Angel Dust freaks, or the Dust Bunnies as we called them.
We laugh about the crazy romance that comes with our old lifestyle and Clyde repeats himself, “Yeah, but we made it out alive.”
He smiles when he says this. I suppose I depend on Clyde. I depend on his smile, because I know there is truth behind it.
We laugh together and say old sayings.
For example, Clyde will see me walking down the corridor at work and say, “It’s your world,” and I answer, “No, it’s your world. I’m just a squirrel tryin to get a nut.”
This makes Clyde laugh. I suppose his favorite line to me is, “What’s shakin?” and to which I answer, “Ain’t nothin shakin but the leaves in the trees, and they wouldn’t be shakin if it wasn’t for the breeze.”
I enjoy our talks. Clyde has a way of without saying anything; he says everything in one sentence. “We made it out alive.”
He once told me, “You work with your hands and I deliver mail. And if you think of it, that’s a hell of a lot better than anyone thought we’d be doing.”
Last night before bed, I thought about Clyde and what he said. “We made it out alive,” and this is true.
I did make it out alive, and not just out of addiction. I made it through bad childhood memories of an inappropriate touch that should never happen to a child, and I made through the years of depression which followed it.
Even with the odds against me, I made it through poor choices and bad relationships. I made it through suicide attempts and fits of loneliness. I survived divorce and bankruptcy, and through each of these things, regardless of how tough the path was, I was able to rebuild.
In other words, “I made it out alive.”
After Clyde tells me, “It’s your world,” and I come back with my answer, he smiles and then he says, “Yeah, well my money is on you.”
Clyde is right. I did make it out alive . . .
I am standing on the verge of change, and while yes, I have fears of its uncertainty, I also have the ability to endure. I forget that sometimes, but fortunately, I have friends like Clyde to remind me.
I am up early this morning and about to begin my long drive to my daughter’s sleep-away camp. I miss her, but aside from seeing my little girl, my favorite part of this trip is driving passed the farm I lived on when I was young and lost. I arrived on that farm weighing less than 110lbs because of my addiction. I lived there and I grew and gained weight.
The Old Man was able to see me healthy and sober before he passed, and decades later, I am allowed the gift to drive passed the place of who I was as who I am now.
This is proof of my survival
Sometimes I feel unnoticed. Some days, I think there is truth when I answer Clyde, “I’m just a squirrel tryin to get a nut.”
But this morning, I woke up to a gift from an old friend. It was the picture of a sunrise in his backyard.
I wonder if my friend Steve knows how much that meant to me
I admit change is a strange thing, but our ability to inspire one another is incredible.
And sometimes . . . even the smallest gestures like the screenshot of a sunrise mean everything.
It means we made it out alive and here’s another sunrise to prove it.