In my favorite picture of me, I look like classed-up shit. Or maybe just shit on the outside, and class, invisible, on the inside.
Either way, it’s me.
I’m told I look skinny. But I must make up for it in ways not seen by the naked eye. And get your mind out of the gutter, right now. My kids could be reading this, after I’m dead, of course.
In the thoughts that went through my mind between that last paragraph and this one, I realize how many things I’ve written that I know won’t see the light of day before I’m gone. Things I’ve written that are so honest, they even scare me when I consider the possibility of making them public while I’m still around to reap the consequences. And not things that are acceptable between consenting adults, but things that a lifetime of reinforcement cause me to share only with myself and the blank computer screen.
I do hint at them, in poems, mostly. Sometimes in song lyrics that only have music playing inside my head as I write. Regrets about the past. Fears about the future. And how many people I’ve hurt from there to here. As a writer, I know it’s assumed that everything is fair game, especially those things that you’ve lived through and survived. But most of them are an embarrassment to me, and I will probably keep them locked away for safe keeping, until I have made peace with them in this life, or am at peace in the next.
This evening, I had my daily talk with one of the drivers who come in and out of the warehouse with freight and parcels headed from point of origin to destination every day. I’ve known him my entire time here. I was the one who spotted the heart attack he was having back in ’09 while he sat in a chair waiting for his truck to be loaded up for another run. There’s a closeness between folks when one recognizes the looming mortality on the face of the other. Mortality that could just as easily be your own face as his. On this day, he was stunned when I told him that in two weeks, when I finally work my last day here, I will be leaving just three weeks short of nine years. Nine years as, essentially, as a blue-collar temp.
He’s been here for sixteen.
Today, we talked about all the drivers and warehousemen we’ve known, and how much each one ended up hating the work they did. The same work he and I have done. By the end of our conversation, he asked me if I regretted the last nine years, on the road and in the warehouse. I told him that without those years, which seem to have passed overnight, and taken me through a lifetime’s worth of trials that, without it, I would have learned nothing, had nothing, to show for my fifty-some-odd years on this earth. That seemingly, all the lessons I’ve learned in my life came to pass in these nine years, doing something I hated, just to survive.
And that in leaving I know, looking back, this was exactly where I needed to be to understand anything about where I’m going.
A couple of days ago, I posted something on social media that went like this,
“I used to call this place The Warehouse of Broken Dreams. No more. From this moment forward, I call it The Warehouse of Brand New Dreams.”
I’ve got two weeks to go until I step out of here and into an unknown future that these last nine years have prepared me for.
And maybe then I won’t be afraid of the all the honesty I’ve kept hidden in this life, while there’s still more life to be lived.
More to follow.
© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday