It's a little before sunset as I pull up to my apartment in a driving rain. Despite the torrent, the afternoon remains oppressively hot, but the soaking I get on the way to my front door leaves me somewhat more refreshed. I shiver slightly upon entering the cool darkness of my place but I'm not ready to slip out of my wet clothes just yet. I find the novelty of actually being cold quite refreshing. After fumbling in the semi-darkness for a moment or two, I walk over to the sliding glass door, (the only “window” in the place) reach behind the vertical blinds and open it wide so I can hear the rain. I love listening to the rain. I find it to be a very comforting sound that never fails to ease my jangled nerves and believe me, after a day like this one, I could use a whole hurricane.
I'm not going to bother with the lights yet either. Like the sound of the rain, I find that the darkness helps to tamp down the free floating anxiety that follows me throughout the day and I take comfort in having the only source of illumination being the late afternoon light that splashes itself, like a brilliant puddle in the gloom, across a section of floor and the edge of the coffee table.
Walking to the refrigerator, I can sense, rather than see or hear the cat that scurries beneath my feet. Doubtless, it's looking for food. The parrot's cage is also quiet for the moment. (Another benefit, albeit temporary, of the darkness) After slapping a dollop of canned food into the cat's dish, I reach into the fridge to grab a beer. I pull out a bottle of mineral water instead. As I'm already feeling exhausted and sullen, I don't want to darken my mood any further. The water feels great going down, and my parched and overheated insides feel as wonderfully cool as the rest of me. I just stand there quietly, looking, listening, and thinking.
It was only a few years ago that I was in a completely different place. I was a married homeowner, and with my loving wife, we did all those future building things that couples do. It had taken years to get there, but we'd done it. I really thought it would go on for a lifetime. However, the crash, when it came, was complete and simply swept it all away. I'm not assigning blame here. We were both at fault... I don't know, maybe neither of us were at fault. Maybe, shit just happens that pushes people apart. I really can't say. It seems so long ago that it's almost as if it was a dream.
Now, I feel like I'm like a character in one of those 40s detective movies. You know the ones... I'm the disheveled, slightly seedy looking older single guy, working alone, and often at night, who passes like a phantom through the lives of others. From my dingy, one room apartment, on the wrong side of the tracks, I ply my trade with moderate skill, but I more than make up for any lack with grim determination and a thick veneer of cynicism, built up over a lifetime of seeing too much and having too little power to do anything about it.
I even have a Femme Fatale, of sorts in the form of my ex-wife. She is a sweet, loving, kindly, but very troubled woman who's life always seems to be hanging by threads... Threads that lay upon me like the chains on Jacob Marley's ghost. Not quite together, and not quite apart, we live parallel lives, with all the difficulties and frustrations of married life but without any of the sweetness, cuddles, and loving kindness that goes with it. It is a claustrophobic and off-balance existence where the bright pastel colors of life have been replaced by the dull gray of existence.
So now, here in the new abnormal, I throw myself into the mundane. I busy myself with whatever tasks are immediately at hand in order to avoid thinking about the past, or worrying about the future. I push on fitfully with eyes wide shut, focused on the present, while searching for whatever bright and shiny moments I may find along the way. I intend to make the most of it until I run out of moments.
The rain has stopped now, and the bird cage is resonating with the sounds hunger and impatience, and I suddenly find it needful to move on with the evening. There will be more than enough to keep my busy. I think I'll have that beer now.