I gave away most of what I knew and understood to be true, like a gambler rolling dice with the devil. That’s how it felt anyway. The sad thing is, it took several throws of the dice to realise being nice isn’t always the way to go. But you know, there are worse things than showing your hand. It can be grand to play your cards close to your chest, to not invest in sharing your secrets, and to hide the vulnerable, the ungovernable side to your soul.
On the whole, I tended to wear my heart on my sleeve in order to achieve a connection, a sense of direction in my life. Often strife is all I got for my trouble, as people burst my bubble time and time again.
The challenge was always to try and be me. You see, growing up in a world that dictated how I should end up, show up and grow up, I never wanted to be any of those things. Like a bird that sings just because it can, I wanted to be a man who didn’t have to compromise my surprise, in order to fit in with what was expected. Rejected in my youth, the truth was that I was far too nice to offer the spice that girls wanted. I was always shy but dare you try find anyone to believe you still, I doubt you would find success; but bless, I was not the bad boy that the ladies sought. I fought and lost at a cost to my confidence, no recompense for being nice.
My smaller self, that little elf like flitterbug that loved to hug, found the value of intent in merriment and making people smile. I made the grown-ups laugh, my inner half the true frightened child, while on the outside was that half smiled.
It never stopped me. It chopped me. It picked at me and chipped, nipped and sipped the joy away until one day, I found the darkness had settled. My mettle was tested but never bested, but the darkness had still settled.
I sometimes think I was born with a cup of melancholy in my hand. Happiness was like sand spilling through my fingertips. I tried so hard, oh so very hard to pick it up, but my hands were too small so I watched it fall and there was nothing I could do to save myself. As I boy I dreamed I was d’Artagnan, but with melancholy as my companion whispering in my ears, I needed better Musketeers to help me through the worst of it.
You would think that I’d surrender, if only you knew just how soft and tender that waifling was, how engendered with new sorrows daily, you’d forgive me for not gaily reminiscing about my youth. But the truth? Ah the truth is a veiled memoir of broken fences, lost defences and misbegotten deeds like poppy seeds, mostly falling on rough ground.
I’ve never idled, sidled or sat on fences watching decisions being made by others that might influence the outcomes in my life. Perhaps my saving feature, my inner creature, the one that learned of darkness early and barely gives me time to catch my breath, is more the saviour of my grace. My place it would appear is ill defined, so inclined am I to do what is needed, even if unheeded but to do it nonetheless, is how I bless myself like a good Catholic hoping for forgiveness rather than permission.
It is the sin of omission that haunts me. The things I haven’t done, the gun in my hand that fired bullets that occasionally land on the innocent. What kind of man am I, one that finds it easy to cry but who won’t shed a tear if the monster wants to see fear?
I am a kind of crinklemass, a trinket of fabric crumpled in my own hand, held always a little too tight to let the creases free. I am no more or less than what you I see. It has always been thus. I fall, cut myself an watch the puss fill beneath the scab, then I stab it and squeeze out the thing that I hate all too late to forgive myself.
But I digress. To impress the sense of sorrow would be all too easy and make each tomorrow a thing of dread, so instead I tread softly as I go. No one needs to know the shimmy in my soul. Life I learned is mine to live, my faults to forgive my mistakes to sieve to find the parts worth holding onto.
Time will surely teach us all that to fall is only part of the journey. I am a beehive of thoughts, of noughts and dreadnaughts and all that falls between. But sometimes I can find quiet, my appetite for peace whetted, I know I will quickly dry it again as I thirst to find little me again. Only if the truth be told, it is not because I grow old that melancholy sits so easily as my companion. The little me was just as sad, that lad taught me how to dwindle my joy resource, perhaps it is he who is the source of all that was ever not right with me.
But I dwimble on, an unfamiliar word perhaps, or a lapse? No it is for me to choose my words, my birds to help me fly and so I will let dwimble lie with you a while and see how it settles. Words can be nettles, words can set you free. Me? I live at a pace, not a race but always wanting to push, hoping my drive will hush the chaos in my brain. And it does to some extent for I am content at last, despite the vast contradiction of my soul. I am finally whole…
Haven’t read a Max Power book yet? I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
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