Thursday, June 20, 2013

3:53 AM


These days, I can't sleep. I fall into prolonged snooze sessions, where I neither feel rested nor really go unconscious. I can't get comfortable. And I can't dream.

So, I lie there, for hours. My brain just firing away, for no reason, strings of things mashing together into some semi-coherent timeline. I try to steer myself into a more calming territory, one that might just bore me into that sweet black oblivion, but of course, I don't listen. There's that song....and another...mixed in my head, as images flicker in and out. Remember that joke? Yeah. Oh, hey, that's an idea. I'll text that to myself. It would be awesome if...

Before I know it, it's 6:45 and time to get up.

I feel tired. I have a headache. My stomach curls around in knots. But I can't sleep. Even after the morning routine is done, and I have nothing else to worry about, I keep going. One long rant after another.

It's a mixed blessing, really. On one hand, since I have all this time to just think, I can actually come up with a few cool things. Most of it will be swept under the mental rug, but for now, I feel somewhat productive. Like I could actually do something with all of this. On the other, I'm walking around drunk half the time. My legs are twice the weight they were, and I don't even know how to use my arms or spine. I trip over nothing all the time. Rocks form in my gut. And I'm seeing things from behind the small pulsing ache between my eyes.

Through all that though, I sometimes find myself remembering things. Things that, for whatever reason, I stashed away long ago. And really, it's a wonder that I haven't totally forgotten about them.

Years ago, I used to have friends.

Now, I know that fact itself isn't anything to cheer about, let alone write a whole post on. But, it was that idea that let the train of thoughts come forward. I had them. Really, truly, I thought I had them. People who thought I was cool enough to hang with and who would laugh at my jokes. One by one, I could see them, and I could remember their names. And, thanks to social media sites, I knew what had happened to all of them and what they had been up to since. All of them, except one.

Jim.

Jim was...well, different. And, I don't mean that in any sort of derogatory way. He was taller than me, and he wore stuff that was baggy or looked trench coat-ish all the time. His hair was long and dark, and usually a little frizzy. His crustache was...well. Really, the guy looked like a junior Hagrid if anything. He knew it, too. He was almost proud of it.

He and I used to hang a lot, after he broke up with Christi and started seeing this new girl, who, also had a girlfriend. Their relationship wasn't complicated, but at times it was confusing. We would ride the 14 bus an hour and a half just to get to the Oxford Valley Mall, walk around for 15 minutes or so until we found her and then just...sit. She usually had all her friends there, and if I'm remembering correctly, she would go to counselling once and a while in one of the side buildings. I think she even had a job at the food court too.

Despite doing nothing all the time, it was never really boring. When we were waiting, Jim usually had something to say. He told me about the awesome new drink he made by smashing fistfuls of Oreos into milk until it was thick like a milkshake. And how he found out about bounty hunting. It's only $200 for a license. And this neat trick he was working on where he could pull the leg out from under a chair just by using a whip. We would talk about anime and D&D, and about the people we knew, what movies we had seen and which video games were cool. Only rarely did I find myself haunting the Suncoast video store by myself.

It was a once-a-week ritual for us, but only for a short while. I got my first real job around the same time, and a month after that, my first real boyfriend. He got a job too, over at Checkers, so our schedules often clashed. We still kept int touch, though. A call once or twice a month.

Occasionally, he'd confide things in me. Despite me not knowing much on the subject, he'd ask about relationship things often. If I thought some of the things she and him did were normal. If I thought it was OK that she sometimes wanted to hang out with her girlfriend more than him. If I thought he was justified for being mad at her. I did my best to help with what I could.

A year and a half later, I had a daughter. She brought a lot of changes when she was born. A lot of my other friends treated the baby like the plague, or got mad that I couldn't go out with them all the time. I couldn't help with what they thought. Admittedly, I didn't care either.

Jim still kept in touch, though. He was bouncing around from house to house and job to job at the time, but I'd still get a phone call every so often.

He and his girlfriend were on and off so much too. Every week was a new adventure, and I kinda felt bad for him. Granted, I only ever got one side of the story, but it was enough to guess the other half. Eventually they called it quits for good. I kinda felt relieved.

The year wasn't good to him, though. The phone calls became few and far between, mostly due to not knowing where he was sleeping that night. I would of gladly asked my parents if he could of lived with us, if it wasn't for the fact they were just getting over the last friend I had stay. She's another story though. A long one, at that.

One of the last phone calls we had together, I admittedly, was only half awake for. Between having a crappy job and trying to be a decent mom, time was just being sucked away from me. I remember him telling me about a friend that was going to help him out. They had a volunteer fireman program in one of the states south of here. If he went through that, and passed, he would of been eligible to get a real position at a station. But that meant moving. Probably permanently.

"Well, I'm happy for ya, man. It's going to suck not having you around, but, I understand."

"Yeah, yeah....so, um, how's the baby?"

"Oh, she's doing fine. Eats like a horse. Craps like a champ. The usual."

"Heh heh...yeah. So, I guess I can start calling you a MILF now."

"A....what?"

"MILF. Mom I'd Like to....uh, y'know, just, nevermind."

"No, tell me!"

"Um...it's a...joke. Really."

"Yeah, but the F....oh. Wait...
DUDE. The hell?"

"Yeah...anyway."

The last time he called, I was out, so, he left a message on the answering machine. He gave me his new number, and told me to call. He almost...sounded sad, though, I never figured out why.

And, as fate would have it, I would never get to know, either. My brother came home the next day, fresh from the clinic, and deleted the message before I had a chance to copy the information down. I yelled at him to be sure, but, his foggy little head didn't register.

The house number has changed since then. Even still, I don't live there anymore either. The people we knew together, have since stopped talking to me. And to top it all off, I don't even remember his whole name. All I remember is...Jim.

I have, on occasion tried to find him again. Without much success, as I'm sure you can tell. So, in the wee hours in the morning, I'll sometimes fill in the blanks myself. I imagine him to of found a great job, met a great gal, and had a handful of kids. I imagine him as a great dad, and a great friend to those he knows. I see him in his modest, but nice house, with his shiny new car, and a pair of dogs in the front yard. He works hard. He gives generously. And he's never left wanting.

I think all this, and I smile.
Only a few hours to go until I wake up again.

Until then.