I was sitting on the trunk of my car just around the time when the sun came up. I was tired. I was young but not so young anymore.
I was on the tail end of a long night, which was not unsuccessful by any means. But yet, I was stuck in a pattern of thinking.
I had just come from a night out with the boys. I had encountered a new girl with a name I never thought of or cared to ask about.
My friends were all home because, of course, I was the sober one, which meant I was always the designated driver.
There was something so odd about this to me because I felt so unlike other people. I was stuck in my thinking and stuck in my insecurity.
I wanted to find love but I was unsure if true love was an actual thing. I wanted to be wanted. I wanted to find someplace where I fit in and didn’t feel forced.
It was summertime. The sky was breaking and the colors of dawn stretched out above my suburban neck of the woods.
Lawn sprinklers began to turn on at several of the nearby homes, almost in unison —and I sat there, admiring the sky and allowing this to comfort my sense of awkwardness.
I listened to the chatter of the nearby sprinklers, which I always associate with the sounds of summer.
My block was a quiet street. I lived in the basement of my Aunt’s home at the time, which was life changing for me. I learned here. I grew some and changed some. I overcame some as well.
I even earned my High School diploma here, which was bigger to me than it may sound to you. I was no longer a dropout.
The street was wide. And there was no parking allowed on the street between the hours of 2:00am—6:00am. This was your basic, middle to upper middle class town. Nice homes, modest to some degree; lawns all pretty and landscaped.
Sitting quietly with my thoughts, a strange girl’s panties in my backseat, and me, seemingly lonely, somewhat unsatisfied and only searching for this thing we call meaning; I sat and let the morning air hit my face. I let the eary breeze blow through my hair to find a semblance of understanding.
There was a man that I would see often enough.
He was fine, I suppose.
He was just a man. He was a homeowner. He was a family man, a dad with the 2.5 kids and a car in the garage. He was a representation of something to me —he was that guy you’d always see, the stereotype of middle class wealth, trying to posture up and show off his new Volvo—he was jogging along with short, yellow shorts and a green short sleeved shirt, milky white skin, all sweaty, and white headband around his head. He had headphones over his hears and a Walkman stuck to his side.
I don’t know why I disliked him. Maybe he represented something to me. Maybe he represented a society that I never thought I could be part of (or wanted to.)
Maybe I wanted to fight him. Maybe I wanted to hit him. I wanted to punch him, for whatever the reason, but more accurately, I simply did not like him because he was a representation of himself—which was something I was never brave enough to do.
This man waved at me with a smile as he jogged passed my home. He gave me that “Knowing” look, as if he was relating to me; as if he knew what it was like to be young and crazy once. I nodded my head and kept my contempt to myself.
I wondered who I would be when I reached his age. I wondered if I would be like him. Would I be “That guy,” or driving a mini-van? Would I even be successful?
Here I am at 47. I’ve changed since then and yet, there are some questions I still ask myself. And I still wonder who I will be when I grow up.
I must be at the same age now as the jogger was back then.
Sometimes I think about throwing away my notes. I stand up and slam my chair. I shut my computer and say to myself, “That’s it! I’m done this time.” But then I always come back.
And you, my dream, my love for the rest of my life, you always know that I could never stay away.
I thought about this last night before calling in for an interview. I was on the Alan Charles Radio show. They wanted to talk about what I do and my efforts to support others that struggle with addiction
It’s amazing how this world spins around and around. It’s been another trip around the sun. I am another year older and another day closer to achieving my dreams (at least I hope so.)
My contempt for that man that jogged past my house is no longer an issue. He is probably a grandfather by now. But I’ll tell you this much, if I ever wear those yellow short shorts like he did, I might have to come along and kick my own ass.
Know what I mean?
I wish you could see some of this.
I’m sure you can but it’s just not the same if you’re not here to tell me you’re proud.
Sometimes, I find myself stuck in a pattern of thinking. I guess what I’m trying to say, Mom, is sometimes I could use one of those early morning phone calls that begin with you saying, “G’mornin!”