I had a date today. Although I have been sick for the past three days, I decided that I needed to go outside, and rejoin the world. So, I did just that. I wandered about for a while with no clear destination in sight. My ears were protected by my earphones that played nothing, they just helped mute the busy world around me. My sunglasses helped me feel a sense of anonymity while trapesing past others. I had gotten a tea with some honey, and was slowly sipping it. Oddly, despite being sick, it seemed as though the day was going to go well – it was going well. I began to get hungry so, I wandered to a local pub. Not one that I typically frequent. Inside was a plethora of distractions, including a stunning woman, working behind the bar. And sadly no, she was not my date. You might say though, that it was just as bright inside, as it was outside under the sun. She was beautiful and sexy in all the right places, in all the right ways. I sat down and tried to struggle through a beer but, unfortunately my throat said no to that. I ordered some food but sadly, my throat said no to that too. I paid my bill. Fleered, humbly at the beauty in front of me, and received a gorgeous one in return, and left.
I placed my sunglasses back on. My earphone back in, and began walking. I must have made about ten minutes before the startling squawk of an ambulance siren, fired behind me. My date was here. It was so close, I swear that the sound physically travelled through me. It forced every muscle in my body to spasm and tighten velociously. All the air that had once filled my lungs had now escaped me in one frightful gasp. I stagger stepped, and then took a knee on the grass that lined the sidewalk. I must have looked foolish to the world around me but, I was no longer in that world. I was on my date. I have said many times before, that sunny days and I are at odds with one another but, introduce a near by ambulance siren, and I am without notice, transported right back to the side of some road, helping someone who is beyond help. My date is PTSD. There are few things that we never forget in this life; our fist kiss. Our first love. The first heartbreak. The day we leave home and the day we miss home. Another thing I would like to add to that list, carrying the flopping dead weight of a lifeless body up and embankment, or a set of stairs, or from a car. It is a sensation that your hands and arms never forget. I can still feel it in my shoulders. If I focus on that for too long, my muscles being to remember the fatigue that comes with that act. The indistinguishable burning of our fibers. In that moment, when I was on the grass, on one knee, my muscles were riddled with that fire.After a few short, panic-y breaths, I began to reacclimate to where I was. I began to settle and try to sooth myself. I was trying to end the date. My throat paid the price for this though. My already painfully red tonsils were now deprived of moisture and ached with a vengeful pinch. In that moment, I felt like a lone traveler, in the desert, wandering for an oasis – I was craving water. I was also angry. Angry that I was like this again – physically and emotionally torn by such a benign event. In that moment, I felt sick, and weak. Despite how much I have been reciting to myself over the past two months, that I am neither. I was happy to be wearing sunglasses, as my eyes had given birth to a small family of tears. It’s an indescribably, disheartening thing to feel – to be so affected by something so small, that as a 34-year-old man, I now kneel on the side of a walkway, weeping as if to be a lost child. I guess you could say this was a bad date…
I collected myself the best that I could, and proceeded on home. It felt as if the sun was following me, and me alone. It was so hot. It reminded me of why I hated it so much. It reminded me of the sun, off in far away and dusty lands, like the one that killed my brothers. It made me think of all those staggeringly hot summer days, and humid summer nights, that I spent picking up the dead. As I walked, I became increasingly angry. Introverted and closed off to the world around me. Perhaps being physically sick, added to my lack of patience towards it all but, this has happened before, and each time anger introduces itself to my veins.
When I had gotten home, I received a text message from a friend, telling me that they had seen me. They said that they were literally parked right beside me at a crosswalk and calling out to me but, I heard and did nothing. I was so closed off to the world, that only my body remined in the ‘here and now’ while my mind, my mind was worlds away. After reading that message, I placed the phone down and noticed how the sun was beaming in through my window. I marched over to the window in fighting posture, as though I was going to square off with the sun itself. To finally hatch out our differences, but, instead, I simply closed the blinds and collapsed onto my bed, and slept the day’s hours away.Now, as I sit here, and write this, I gaze out that same window, and I am comforted by the black of night. I am placed into a state of ease. When I am done writing this, I will close the laptop shut. I will place sandals on my feet. Walk to Tim Hortons, and order a tea with some honey. I will than walk across the street, to that park bench that I found, and I will sit, basking beneath the dark blanket of night.
As for my date; well, I plan to leave her there on that bench. She does not get to come home with me. This is one date that I feel justified in ending.