A reader of this body of work recently asked me, "Where have you been?" They were wondering why my posts were becoming more and more infrequent? They asked, "Are you losing interest?"
I have not lost interest.
I still stand by this body of work.
But something has changed.
I have changed.
The initial purpose of the Hit and Miss Engine Papers was to take a walk down shitty memory lane. It was my intention to expose every raw nerve, and exposed vein, that was the result of the dissolution of my twelve year relationship. I used my own teeth to chew my skull open, and then freely and wantonly dug my hands deep into the viscera of my silly brain. I wasn't searching for anything really. I was just getting all the shit out. It's akin to personal therapy; only there is no couch, no smug doctor, and no bill at the end of every session. My little experiment may not work for everyone, but I must report that it worked quite nicely for me.
By getting all the shit out, committing it to this metaphorical paper, I was able to find some peace. I would examine why I was hurting, write it all down no matter how verbose or trite it may have seemed; and I was able to go to bed and sleep. I was able to get up in the morning and go to work. I was able to exist. I may not have been living most days, but I was getting through each day, and that counts for something, doesn't it? And as the days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, and the months finally became a year, I found that I was starting to live...again.
And so, I have learned to live all over again. I am still learning. I will never be the man I was before all this, and I am glad. I am a better man now.
There are people, places, and things that I will miss, but they can all be replaced. Just as I have been replaced in her life. Four days after my 45th birthday in October, she placed the home that I built for her, on the market. The greatest expression of my love and talents is now for sale. When I was told of this development, I didn't get angry or cry. It is just a house, and I will build another. I actually smiled when I looked up the listing. It's a good house and I am proud of my work. I know it will make the new owners very happy.
And then in November I was informed that she is now engaged. I actually laughed when this news was passed along to me. I had a smidgen of hurt, but truthfully, the news wasn't the blow you might have expected it to be. The only thing that bothered me was the understanding that she had been cheating on me during our last year together. In one of our last conversations together, I asked her if there was someone else. "There isn't anyone. I just want to find myself. I think I'm going to be alone for quite awhile." And she lied to me as easy as a child when caught with their hand in the cookie jar. And I knew she was lying. I even wrote a story for her, describing her new lover almost perfectly. I changed one small detail, in fairness to her. I didn't want to tell her that I knew everything. She read the story and cried deeply. But she was committed to her actions and her promise of a new and better life. And to this I say, "Good luck." And I am not being smug or condescending or snarky when I say these words. I wish her nothing but luck in her new life. Everyone, no matter how shitty and messed up they may be, deserves at least this much.
Here are the last words I ever spoke to her, just before I climbed into my truck and drove off, "I don't understand any of this, but I do. I hope you find whatever it is that I couldn't give you."
She reached out to hug me,
heavy tears were starting to fall.
I stepped back.
I left her with her arms open,
awaiting a last embrace.
And now here we are. One year later, and so much has happened and changed. I have happened and changed. It's funny to think that so much can be so different in such a short time. The Universe is a silly thing.
Chapter One, of the Hit and Miss Engine Papers is now done. I hope it has touched you, (both good and bad) and forced you to think. I hope that these words have given you pause, and inspired some of you to take a closer look at your lives and relationships. I hope that we can all find our smiles; even when confronted with the heavy task, of learning to live all over again.
Chapter Two of the Hit and Miss Papers has already begun. It is about finding love again, across an ocean, just through the sharing of words. It is a truly romantic story, one that is developing as you are reading this, and one I think you will enjoy. So, readers and friends, thank you for sticking by me this past year. Thank you for reading my thoughts and musings, and not passing judgement and just riding along. Thank you.
And to my muse, my siren, my oracle and love across the black water, "Hello, Beautiful. It was a good day."