The hand on my shoulder should have made my head turn. Sitting in the booth of that cafe, drinking a cup of tea while trying to write something long overdue, her hand just tight enough to let me know someone was there. Not hard, no shaking me from my waking dream. The waitress made no attempt to tug on the headphones I had in.
Most times I sit with my back against a wall. Some doctor long ago told me it was my way of subconsciously dealing with fear. If I can see everything coming towards me, I’m not as likely to shift in my seat as often. My head still tracks every new person, but that’s just paranoia of being recognized at a time when I rather remain anonymous.
“I’ll wrap up the rest of your lunch.” She’s gotten used to my visits and knows that it has never been about the quality of the food, just my lack of appetite.
The uneven sound that I hear comes from that progressive loss my right ear has been experiencing. The gift of seizure’s past?
As I touched the pause button, the number of times the track had been played was blinking in the corner. 14 times! There was no way that was possible. I’d been sitting for about an hour. I come on days when my den mother gets her hair done and we both agree that being out is a good thing. Even if I don’t speak, just doing normal is healthy.
The song last 19 minutes. 266 minutes couldn’t have passed by. Over four hours listening to the same track?
When my bill came with my doggy bag, part of my answer came from a nice older lady.
“Were you listening to a speech? I couldn’t help notice that you kept rewinding every few minutes.”
That was the missing piece. I had been listening to the same section of the song over and over. Countless times pushing the progress in reverse. Letting a few words take their grip and overwhelm my thoughts.
Could this be the end? Is this the way I die?
Sitting here alone, no one by my side
I don’t understand, I don’t feel that I deserve this
What did I do wrong? I just don’t understand
I just don’t understand
Now wait a minute man, that’s not how it is
You must be confused, that isn’t who I am
Please don’t be afraid, I would never try to hurt you
This is how we live strange although it seems please try to forgive
A simple guitar starts this section. It builds to include the rest of the instruments, ending in another of those choruses that I remember learning the parts for years ago when the album came out. Sitting behind a keyboard, again hitting the rewind function to get the notes down.
Those lyrics mean something to me because they capture the dichotomy that revolves around my thoughts. One time giving into the depression and another being angry that I have allowed myself to even think that way. The growing beat and joining instruments gather those emotions better if you hear it rather than just read my words. Each person brings their own thoughts and takes away their own meaning.
Irony has me wonder if one of these trips out might be the last one. Face down in my pie is not quite the picture I have in mind, but it makes me think twice some times before leaving the house. The cancer will win, and most likely not in the manner I chose. But that’s another argument.
People have told me that the anger isn’t on my sleeve anymore. Just a sadness that time can only partially heal.
There are still so many things in my head that I want to share. The selfish part of me that can’t let go of sitting with my daughter arguing about whose music is best tops the list. I see that spark from my own mother when she hears me talk about what I feel when I listen to certain artists.
There are countless notes to be written. Sitting in that booth, my mind was captured by just a few and the struggle I have been fighting played out.