It’s a truism that befits the most hackneyed scriptwriter:
Tear-eyed JOHN DOE kneels, staring out the window as thunder and lightning rage.
JOHN DOE: “Dear God, please [ do something / grant something ]
AUXILLARY CHARACTER: But JOHN, you asked for X, and instead you got Z, how did God answer your prayer?
JOHN DOE: Well you see, AUXILLARY CHARACTER, God doesn’t answer your prayers the way you ask all the time, He took care of me in the way He thought I needed to be taken care of, not the way I thought I needed to be helped.
[ Screenwriting Note: Having the characters say the above dialog shows how incredibly lazy you are. You need to find a way to have the characters show this profound moment. ]
But my friends, it’s true, God does answer your prayers, but it’s often in a way different than you expected.
Once upon a time I was very much in love with a young lady. Like the aforementioned hackneyed script, boy met girl, boy loved girl, girl loved boy, and then the relationship ended: somewhere between ambition and options, possibility and promises.
Due to the situations surrounding the close of that relationship, things were very unresolved at the finish. The fabric of emotions and memories that a couple weaves together in the course of a relationship forms a tightly knitted fabric. Ours was very tight and very taught.
During some relationships, the couple’s acidic chemistry unravels what they have worked to create. Other times, the couple takes large blades and cleaves the fabric clean in two, each walking away with their piece, to unravel and fray on their own.
In my case, the cleaving did not happen. Likewise we did not constantly irritate each other and feed each others urge to unravel. Instead something, for me anyway, far worse happened, the fabric kept a few threads together (or maybe I just imagined that it did) and against all hope and reality, something was kept painfully alive, in me at any rate, that should have been allowed to sadly, tragically, and peacefully end - for that’s what these things do.
It has been very, very hard to let go.
For years I kept thinking “I’m over it, I’m over it” … and to a large extent, this worked. I’ve dated and met people and my life has not been stunted. On the one hand, the bar was raised very high, but I knew that this kind of bliss could find me yet again.
But last night I watched a movie that so keenly reminded me of this young lady that I had something similar to what alcoholics call falling off the wagon. It was like in “A Beautiful Mind” where the Nash character says that he is on a diet for the mind, he does not indulge his flights of fantasy. I realized that “over it” was just an arbitrary line in the crevasses of the mind. Into one of those crevasses I allowed myself to fall - I could taste the food, hear the music, hear the voice.
I got drunk on loneliness, remembered bliss, and the ambrosial flavor of memories washed clean of negativity by time.
But last night in the depth of this binge, like an alcoholic, I found clarity and begged, or prayed for a solution. I asked for the solution, I asked for peace. I lay in my bed wanting to have it all be over - like when the room won’t stop spinning after too much gin. In short, I asked for the last few threads to be clipped, I asked for freedom, I asked for a miracle: tell me what happened to her and let me know it’s irrevocably decided.
I lost the capacity for tears (save weeping) many years ago so no visceral lachrymose activity could trigger the brain drugs that assuage these feelings. Blessed sleep came to me or, as the Bard says it, “Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,”
I woke up this morning and peace hadn’t found me. The miracle wasn’t in my morning email. The antidote was not sitting in the Mercedes next to me jammed on the highway.
Like those that are sick with the alcohol disease, I thirsted again. I took a brief skip around the internet and allowed the hangover to drive me to Google - like an alcoholic heading for an early a.m. bar to get clear from the delirium of the night before. I wanted to get a sip of facts. Yes, my friends, I’m ashamed to say that I did a bit of cyberstalking (don’t lie, you’ve done it too you hypocrite).
I found out that the young lady had recently wed and was moving on, moving elsewhere. Married. Gone was she I knew, instead a new life, a new flesh, a new name - and I was left with merely a memory. I knew my prayer had been answered.
I blessed this memory, it wasn’t the husk of something dead, this story doesn’t end up with me with a hatful of hollow; it was the first seed of love’s blossom.
Babies must grow, the old must die and we must learn to let go.
…but God it’s hard sometimes. Je sais, je sais, que l’amour est dûr
Inwardly I blessed her and her spouse and their future together. I thanked her for the love she and that memory had given me - for what a great gift - to have loved and have been loved. I blessed the strength I gave her when she needed it, and I blessed the faith she had in me when I needed it.
I was still.
Good night sweet memory. Farewell and good luck sweet girl. I’m giving the pearl you lent me back to the sea, knowing it will find its source again.
Epilogue: The last part of my therapy was write this and share it with the world, share it with myself by writing it.
I’m just another guy on the internet spilling guts for no apparent reason humiliating himself, I know – but somehow it’s helped.
I can’t want to burden my friends with this – this is something i have to work through and write about. Strangely, I can publish it on the internet for the world to see – I’m baffled as well.
Good readers, keep praying or asking for help from the beyond, but be open for unexpected answers. There is a plan for your life, there is a path you are fated to walk, and there is a glorious fate for you tomorrow.
Thank God for Lucinda Williams at times like these.