Peak of Eternal Light - Revisited

The person who wrote these posts reminds me of myself, which is, of course, absurd, being as how I sincerely doubt any of what he is saying is steeped in truth. Maybe some parts. My eyesight is progressively awful, and I did once use the word 'disapprobation' in the title of an undergrad paper on the city states of Italy, which the professor read to the class as an example of what he wants to see, and, of course, I remember Max, my beloved first dog, taken from me because we needed to move on with a new life that has set me on my current course, these 40 years later. 

The dreams he writes about seem so alien, but not the phenomenon of external noises forming the foundation of your dream-story, like when you learn lightning strikes from the ground up. I've taken to wearing ear plugs, needing a more restful sleep, worried that it might silence those dreams, and finding instead a more vivid world. My daughter is a fairly talented artist, and as she gave me a second tattoo, I talked with her about my latest dream, my wife and I wandering through a forest, holding an infant, coming upon a lake. At the waterfront several dogs, one in distress, were hovering over a fallen dog, which we assumed to be their mother, injured, and still. One of the kinder looking dogs came towards us, but cautious, we moved away, until it was upon us, attempting to snatch the child from our arms. Without a weapon, I forced the dog into the water, where I drowned it. Each additional dog came in turn, until I had drowned all but the one who had seemed distraught, and woke, as it came raging towards me, still half in the water.

We attended a funeral. A family friend, a good and kind and decent man, not much older than me. He and his wife had won our Halloween party costume contest, the year before COVID, the last time we were all together, wedged apart at our own, stubborn insistence. The prize was to have been a boat ride around the sound, and we redeem that prize on a near weekly basis this summer the salt baked into the creases of my eyes and commune with flatfish and sharks wrested from their deep abodes. 

Ten years ago, I left a place of comfort, at a time of great uncertainty, and find myself returned. 

10 years ago I was working vagrantly away from home, and 10 years before that I was living in my first apartment, and 10 years before that I was combing ticks out of my first dog's hair and 10 years before that I was developing eye buds which are now sorely in need of prescriptive relief. I had a mother and a father and was like to drown in a sea of potential, and you would never have thought that life seems too sad sometimes to question all those initial forward strokes.
There are days when happiness is the best friend with whom you have made a pact to kill by surprise when he can no longer care for himself. And some days you watch happiness very closely and wonder if the spilled drink was an exuberant mistake caused by a fit of laughter or a sign of motor control degradation and a signal to oil the hinges on the trap doors you've installed.
10 days ago I was asked to tie three ties of different colors. I used full Windsors for the first two, and thought about a four in hand for the third, it was such a thick, short material. I had only just met the man I was tying them for, and thought I remembered he was a bit taller than I am, though being as he was slumped a bit over the handles of a walker, it was hard to tell. It was frustrating not to be able to recall more accurately the details of a real life meeting in the recent past, when it seems that the details of the lives I live in my head while asleep are sometimes so maddening in their attention.
It was during a time of war, and I was assigned to an engineering unit. We were building a bridge, and a woman, with whom I was very much in love, was leaving to return somewhere safe from the fighting. I had presented her with a gift, and when I woke up from the dream, I remember thinking that this must have been a war in the distant past, because in the dream she didn't tear up the wrapping paper the way we do now, but carefully untied the bow and neatly folded the colorful paper, being as how it was more precious back then. I remember once sneaking through my grandparents' house and finding a drawer full of old wrapping paper, neatly and lovingly folded from god knows how long before.
I loosened the ties carefully without undoing the knots and hung them on the door handle.
Remembering those old childhood days sneaking around the house searching drawers brings back an old thrill. I just now looked up and counted all the drawers I can see from this spot where I'm typing, on the leather chair next to the deck window in the master bedroom. 23. Close to two dozen covered places to store memories and secrets and forgotten letters. In one drawer there used to be a set of Baoding balls. In another there is a copy of my favorite book, with a handwritten note tucked neatly in the middle. In one drawer there is a small handgun, which I traded an old shotgun for years ago when I gave up hunting. But most of the drawers that contain old secrets are hidden away in my head, where it is unlikely children might find themselves crawling around, unless they are children of my own imagination, who might judge me harshly, but can only voice their disapprobation by mine own vocal cords, which, these days, seems less likely by the minute.
All this introspection has come at a benefit. We instituted a set of austerity measures to pay off $9,999 of years of self medication back in January and on May 1 we will have a zero balance to weather any future discontent. I have been forced to play tighter at the poker table and stay sober and keep my cards close to my chest, and have been a winner now at 6 consecutive games. I occasionally call in sick because I can get so much more work done at home. None of these are welcome changes, coming as they do at the expense of the thrill associated with uncertainty and risk. Like all unwelcome changes, they are like to make themselves comfortable.


Kerri Anne said…
So often your posts make me want to simultaneously comment in five-paragraph-essay form, or sit quietly in front of your prose and just let your words simply be, with no reaction or feedback from me.

(My grandmother still folds all of her wrapping paper.)

(I've only been reprimanded twice in my entire life by the aforementioned grandmother (she's English; the kind, soft-spoken, still-drinks-tea-twice-daily sort of English) and once was for snooping in an antique chest of drawers.)

(And here's where I ask what your favorite book is, hoping I'm not snooping again, understanding of course if it's something you prefer stays in its particular drawer.)
Brandon said…
you are not snooping, it is the english patient, which is funny seeing as how your grandmother is apparently both english and at least somewhat patient ;)
Some of the drawers in my head have handguns in them, which means that I have to imagine locks on all the drawers in order to keep safe any random children wandering through my psyche. There is no relief from myself is what I'm saying.
Janet said…
I remember when I was small and malevolent, the carefully-guarded wrapping paper only emphasized my grandmother's dustiness, and sighed in frustration get-with-the-times who saves this? I can't remember at what age I came to terms with her wisdom.
Brandon said…
sir, people put locks on entire peninsulas and it still can't keep entire oceanliners out. relief is fleeting.

janet, i think we all misremember what it's really like to be small. we are not equipped to understand there is not much progress thereafter.

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