Can’t Tell the Difference

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“Being with you, is like being with someone who is in love with someone else.”

She said it casually, as if she had just realized it were true. And it is true.

“And now I think I’m right,” she finished.

I had been talking about the other person for nearly 20 minutes without realizing it. The girl should have left. She realized who I am, and she should have ended it right there. Ended it a long time ago when the thought first came to her. But she didn’t leave. She probably felt bad for me. Maybe she thought it was justifiable because it’s parental love. How do you hold it against someone for loving their daughter? But there’s still only so much love that you can give. And being away from her is like heartbreak. It feels, and behaves, just the same as having your heart broken. Your mind can’t tell the difference when someone you love leaves your life.

Daytime Downtown

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One of the things about getting older is that I don’t have as much time as I used to. But the loss of time doesn’t seem to bother me. I never truly appreciated it anyway. I always had a tendency to flow to the lowest common denominator. And what I know now is you only enjoy wasting time when you have little time to waste.

Instead, I take quick walks around the office, squaring the streets of Downtown Denver. Moving through bookstores like an aberration, touching the spines of paperbacks and the covers of magazines. My hope being that just knowing their existence is enough to keep me attached to a world I’ve lost. When do I have time to read anymore? Ok, the insomnia helps in that. But when do I have time to sit in a bookstore?

There’s a depression that hangs in the streets of any downtown during the day. The people that would be there are locked in the surrounding skyscrapers. And instead I wander through a crowd that’s desperate and stumbling. And the only thing they have is time. And the thing I don’t have is time. And we eye each other, silently jealous of what the other one takes for granted.

The Engine

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I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction. Probably too much science fiction. The book I’m reading now is a strange novel from the 80’s called Armor. In it, the main character has an internal locus of survival that he calls, “The Engine”. It pushes him, drives him forward, and keeps him alive. It kicks in when he is terrified and scared, blocking out the rest of the world, and leaving that small space in front of him in which to operate.

The thought of it makes me queasy, and questioning of my own life, of my own “Engine”. The terror is that to live like that, is to live without mediation. Years and years of the relentless drive has led me to this place in time. If you were to ask me to map how I came to this point, I couldn’t do it. It’s beyond comprehension, however it’s all by my own hand. And then I look back and see a trail of devastation in my wake, and I look ahead, and see a future of pain yet to be inflicted. But I only see that for a moment, because whatever the Engine is, it is real, and it comes over all of us. Even as I write this, my mind is slipping away, and the true actor is taking control.

Extrapolate Nothing

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A girl flew from Park City to visit me in Denver. A local girl, I met her while I was there for Sundance. We had texted back and forth for awhile before she booked her flight.

Despite the wide-rimed glasses she wears, it didn’t take long after she arrived to realize that we had little in common. She liked art, shopping, and skiing. I like books, movies, and video games. Yet it didn’t matter, because she was pleasant to be around. It reminded me of a relationship from years ago. Not one of the great loves of my life, but a very loving relationship none-the-less. And I thought to myself, “I like this. This makes sense.”

I put no expiration date on it, because there’s nothing to expire, nothing to replace. Only a feeling of enjoying someone’s presence for who they are. From this feeling, from this point, I extrapolate nothing. Not what it could be, not what we will become. Just a returned smile with a cute girl, as she puts on her glasses, and blinks into the morning light.

Living on memories

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The plane continues to sit on the runway of the Frankfurt airport, the CGI instructional video playing over and over on a loop that streams into the seats. A rare delay for an ugly and efficient airport. This time I leave Germany in relatively the same state as when I arrived.

When I was younger, I only wanted to live with memories. The very existence of them seemed meaningful. As if they could feed, cloth, and keep me happy. If that were the case, this trip would be able to provide for me for a long time. A mostly loving, peaceful and idyllic trip: joy from my daughter, and copacetic interactions with my ex.

But memories don’t sustain me the way I believed they would when I was young. And now I return home to blast apart the fragile structure of the sham agreement that has me flying to Germany four times a year as the only means to see my daughter. As a positive from the destruction, the fond feelings and reconnection I was beginning to feel for my ex will be obliterated and put back in the place where my brain knows they should be. I’ll write her a personal note before the papers from the lawyers arrive. I’ll write, not because I feel obligated, not because it is the right thing to do, but because it’s all done out of love. She will claim it’s ego, but it’s as simple as love.


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I’m sitting in a Doctor’s office in Munster, Germany. I can’t even truly tell what’s wrong with me. I was woken up in the night by a screaming in my ear. I thought it was a siren on the street coming towards me, until the headache kicked in, and then I realized it was within my own head. But it wasn’t the feeling of a scream, my ear was actually screaming, until it reached a nadir where I thought I would go deaf from pain and noise. And then a pop. Pressure released, and fluid started to pool in my ear, and then pour out onto the pillow. I tried to catch it with my hand, and then held it up to the glow of the window to check if it was blood. I couldn’t understand where it was all coming from, where it had been. Mostly asleep, the residual pain the only thing still keeping me awake, I began to question the reality of what I was processing.

And now I sit in a doctor’s office, trying to pinpoint what is wrong with me. And then the realization comes over me that this is pedestrian. Whether I want to or not, I’m making Munster into a home: a family doctor, an apartment, a steady group of friends, a set of bars and restaurants to frequent. What else is there to a home?


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Every time I open the door, I’m drawn to pictures of someone else’s life. An AirBnB, they’re everywhere in the apartment: friends posing, drinking, celebrating, mostly all young attractive girls. Oddly, none of the pictures are of the boyfriend who let me into the flat. All of the pictures are hung high on the walls so that they hit me almost exactly at eye level. There are so many, I have to start taking them down so that I don’t become depressed by comparison. It’s the same reason I rarely go on Facebook. It’s an idealized life, and one that can’t be reconciled with my current situation.

Other than the pictures, the flat is a mostly pleasant. Everything is white and cream colored (an odd choice for a place that is shared with strangers), the bed is large and comfortable, and it’s small enough that the heater can keep it warm. The Internet is temperamental, but that seems to be the case wherever I go in Munsterland. The coffee shops don’t have it, the other apartments drop it, and whenever it does work, it interrupts itself with spikes and crashes. Even with these flaws, being in the city of Muster is better than being the countryside. This is already a lonely country, the last thing I need is to be surrounded by cows and cut off from what little human interaction exists.