…wanting to do away with this force that insists on pulling you back into the dark.

An early memory comes to you any time you realize this force has beset you. You are four years old, and at home with your mom in the kitchen. Suddenly, you don’t wish to be up, lively and playing like a hyperactive kid is supposed to be. You just want to sleep. You curl up on the kitchen floor with a pillow from the sofa. This is more than childhood exhaustion from too much play. Sleep and dreams are far more interesting–the places you can go with your imagination when not required to exert your physical self. But most clearly in this memory is the realization that some kind of force is insisting on pulling you back into it.

Your mother mutters a prayer over you with a Bible verse about rising up with the wings of eagles.

Tonight, I am writing purely for writing’s sake

Tonight, I am writing purely for writing’s sake. I will attempt to journal some of my recent life happenings, and perhaps try to avoid descending into bitching too much about whatever is irritating me at the moment.

In all things, I should be perfectly honest when putting down words for myself. I want to be, in spite of how it is always likely my words might get read by a future wife, and misconstrued or even become hurtful things.

I am entering into the fourth month of dating a, and our initial intensity has cooled a bit, but I think we are both still quite enchanted with each other. I’m hoping that we can renew the intensity a little bit, and then a clear choice will be before me about the next step for the relationship. We’ve come too far, really, for it to end without a satisfying reason. But, we still have a lot of work to do to cement our bond. For instance, we’ve yet to say “I love you” to each other.

At the church volunteering activity tonight, I got to meet some of the other young adults, and form an overall impression. There are some very attractive ladies in the group. Most of them have boyfriends, but the one who sits in the same area as a and me does not. Her name’s n.

I met n about the same time as a, and found myself talking to a woman always running on to somewhere else in the moments after church where people try to get to know each other. My first impressions of her were that she is a smoking hot dresser, and has some sexiness that is appealing to the male. However, after talking to her at greater length tonight, I have to wonder if she carries around much of an inner life.

One thing is clear–a is more compatible with me than anyone else I’ve met at the church yet. I don’t find myself laboring to explain something to her, or dumbing down my thoughts. She can add to the conversation in delightfully surprising ways. Part of me wished she’d been there tonight–she’s still down in New Braunfels with her parents, where the four of us went tubing yesterday.

Part of me was kind of glad that I got to meet the other young people at the church without the “girlfriend crutch” to lean on. Sometimes, you find yourself at parties or other social gatherings reluctant to leave her side, both out of the comfort and security it provides to have a readymade conversation partner, and also out a concern that she might get jealous if she sees you having too many enjoyable conversations with other single females.

I was a little perplexed that this group all stood as a team of about fifteen people behind the kitchen wall while the homeless folks we were feeding found their tables and began their conversation and dinner together. Certainly, all fifteen of us were not required to be back there to serve them and make sure the brownies didn’t burn. This was probably a good experience for everyone. Eventually, some of the young adults joined the families at their tables, and maybe as a group this is something we all should do more often.

I am now sitting here trying really hard not to be annoyed by the incessant bass that a neighbor down the street is pumping out. This isn’t a neighbor in the new condo complex. Last thursday was the first time I’d experienced this living over here. I’m hoping this is just some kind of special family celebration, and not about to become a regular thing. There are enough of us gentrifiers living over here now, I imagine someone will call and complain if the bass hasn’t ceased by 10 PM.

… wanting to compare and contrast the two experiences in a profoundly meaningful way.

Naturally, anything you write should be deep and profound, yet written in a clear language that anyone with a high school education can understand. You should share enough of your own experiences as to not be generic, but be ever-mindful of the universal.

Experience A consists of you puffing on Marlboro Menthol Lights with your ass planted in an inner tube on the Guadalupe. You secretly want to have sex with your boss Karen, who is along with her latest man Joe, your future roommate Dennis, Dennis’ theater friends, and your boss’s gay roommate Brock, who secretly wants to have sex with you. There is enough beer accompanying all of you to get each of you twice drunk.

Experience B consists of you having only your swimming trunks and river shoes with you, but with ass once again firmly planted in tube. You are with your new girlfriend you met at church after Mom’s voice finally got to you and you went to church to meet a nice church girl. Her parents are also with you. There is no beer, cigarettes, cokes, sandwiches or even bottled water. Just the three of you and your tubes.

Experience A is simply a snapshot of your descent into running as far away from God as you can possibly get. It’s a story of you having thrown away many of his good and perfect gifts, then drinking heavily to cover up your sorrow for what you’ve done, then letting all of the terrible things a booze-addled brain can do to wreak havoc upon you.

Experience B is a snapshot of your return to sanity, and the dream of one day living in a home in a quiet neighborhood with a few pets and kids, a job you can stand and a wife you can spend the rest of your life with.

You wake up from a dream about one of the theater friends of Dennis, a man named Sven who prides himself on being very spiritual and connected to humanity. Sven openly hit on your boss Karen on that trip, and there he was in your dream last night. In the dream he’d thrown a party that he’d wanted you to attend, and you’d simply not wanted to go because you no longer want to mingle with drunken artsy spiritual agnostic people. To make up for skipping his party, you’ve prepared him a “chili relleno” and some jalapeno poppers. But, the chili relleno is simply a green bell pepper left uncut that you dipped in egg and cornmeal and fried and served to him. The pepper’s core was left intact, as is, and you refused to gut it and stuff it with something new and tasty. You used the wrong kind of pepper to prepare the dish as well. Dennis’ friend is disgusted with your offering.

You wake up thinking the dream must have something to do with the compared and contrasted experiences, and so you tie it all together thus: the hastily prepared food represents your unwillingness to form deeper and more meaningful relationships with those people some nine years ago. While your drunken, false self craved a life of easy relationships and witty, artsy banter, your true self demanded something deeper and refused to let you bond in ways that would make it difficult to untangle yourself from others.

In short, your subconscious mind knows just how disappointed all the old friends would be with the new you. And why does your subconscious still care so damn much about things it shouldn’t?

… with memories of the jury you sat on a year ago.

You remember the feeling you had of becoming caught up in the system as a jury trial member. It was like the feeling you had when you were arrested twelve years ago for drunken driving. You live your life each day, dragging yourself to work to pay debt or support your lifestyle, but you know at the end of each day that you could get in your car and drive off, and you would be breaking no laws. Eventually, the apartment management might start hammering you with a collection agency for the broken lease, and the car financier would send someone to repossess your car. But, once gone, you could walk the streets a ragged bum in any town in America, and the law could only make you move on or throw you in a holding cell overnight for vagrancy.

However, once the law has caught you up in it, either to join it in condemning a man or to be the condemned man, you are on the other side of that theoretical freedom, and you can feel it in a place that makes you a stranger to yourself.

… and you get busy re-acquainting yourself with some of the better parts of you.

They were there before everything changed at the time of Roy’s death and the loss of your virginity and leaving Missouri. These parts of you that knew how to turn the other cheek, and get people from all walks of life to feel comfortable talking to you. That part of you that made that crazy homeless street preacher in the Steak N Shake in Orlando keep staring at you. The part of you that was willing to entertain the notion that there is a bigger, grander universe, that you don’t know everything, that people who hit social milestones aren’t necessarily spiritually more advanced, and so on.

The part of you that is okay working and living on a time line vastly different from the time line everyone else seems to share.

… from dreams of childlike glee at gratuitous violence.

In one dream, two women representing an amalgamation of women managers you’ve worked under are getting into a fight. One pulls out a knife and runs it through the other. Only, she has attempted to sidestep the oncoming attack, and finds the knife buried in the side of her belly, piercing mostly fat. Everyone, including you, is shocked, however, that the fight came to this. But then, the stabbed woman removes the knife and buries it completely in her opponent’s middle. Suddenly, you are filled with a childlike, almost lustful glee at the sight of this. They go back and forth like this, and the knife keeps getting bigger, until the original attacker finds her entire midsection from neck to waist filled with sharp steel.

You passed into another dream where the police have suddenly put up a barricade for a crowd that is attending an event. You are delighted to see a preppy young man in a BMW or Mercedes being required to turn his vehicle around and park it in a garage with the other riff-raff. But, your delight at another human being’s misfortune doesn’t stop there. You begin throwing rocks at his car, and his window is down, so some of the rocks are hitting him. You jump up and down with childlike glee.

You wake up from these dreams completely puzzled. Of all the terrible parts of your nature that have been manifested in dreams, it would seem as they’ve been eradicated by prayer and conscious efforts to remove them, yet your mind has regressed to some childlike state you never knew you had in you. These aren’t like the old revenge dreams where you meet a high school bully and decimate him, but dreams of being delighted like a child is at cartoon violence.

You put a positive spin on it, and tell yourself that you have indeed removed all the nasty sediment in your subconscious save for the bad things that were in you around the age of six.

Maybe your glorious escape from all your inner demons is just around the corner.

… and the man’s tattoos are making you ill.

Briefly, anyway. You feel a twinge of nausea at the sight of them. His entire back and shoulders are covered in them, but not his arms. They are like the flip side to sleeve tattoos. A wife beater of tattoos, he’s wearing. He also has on khaki preppy shorts instead of running shorts. The man’s torso is soft and doughy, not quite obese but not the kind of hardcore, rail thin prison/punk torso you’d expect to find covered in tattoos. His hair is equally bland and uninteresting–a safe, parted, middle management cut.

If he were scrawny with a mohawk and saggy hip-hop warm-up pants, you’d not give him a second glance. (Unless he was sporting all these things BUT the tattoos).

You feel this twinge of nausea because the man seems so out of sync with his identity. It’s like he was either once a bad-ass and got soft and sold out, or he has always been a yuppie douche bag, playing things safe except when wanting to indulge a dark side that includes tattoos that are carefully hidden except when he’s shirtless.

But there is something more–you get the distinct impression he is a lost soul, something about him seems sick beyond repair, and you’ve had a few days when you felt like that on the inside–covered with tattoos not a soul on this earth can see.