“Upon your tombstone it shall be carved,

‘Here lies, Jere. Good father, good partner, good friend. Died happy’.” JSM

Day Seven

Worry not, fellow travelers. I won’t continue the tale on a day-by-day basis. Day eight, nine, ten, eleven and so on. Perhaps here and there. It’s unnecessary to drag out daily details.

Day seven was important to me because it was the first time in what felt like months in seclusion, where the sensation of butterflies moving around my gut, disappeared. The new “feeling” overpowered the old nerves.

Butterflies are tender creatures. When trapped in the stomach, then triggered into motion by a thought or a feeling, they become flapping demons. Sleeping made my demons vanish, despite the night terrors and dark nightmares. My nerves were in full control of my entire being during the waking hours. I couldn’t shut my mind off.

When alone with nothing but darkening thoughts and re-reading fantasy books over and over again (surfing the internet to change things up) the mind instructs you on how to feel. Those burned images, now a permanent fixture within the “Overlay” creep into vision and force you to feel it all, all over again. Experiences that can’t be erased. I understand the phrase, “Trigger Warning” now more than ever.

The laughter of a child outside, knowing yours is not in vicinity. Watching a funny clip on YouTube and remembering what that feeling was like, so long ago. Recalling the belly aching delight of uncontrollable laughter, which then becomes a stream of tears. The taste of food and drink changes. The concept and perception of time is different. Proper management of the body which provides the mind with nutrients, all of it, changes.

I stopped caring. Couldn’t give a damn.

Allowing that gate to open, transformed me. No matter how I try to reconcile it, and beat myself up for engaging and dabbling in affairs which had nothing to do with me, I know it was needed. I desired to embrace something out of my comfort zone. Like… way out of my comfort zone.

I kept a bottle of liquor in a cabinet above the fridge. I still close my eyes and smile when I think on it. In all the time I was in the safe-house, to present day, I haven’t raised alcohol to my lips; save one time. A singular, fun (Ghostbusters theme) celebratory drink with a group of close friends at Comic Con in Rhode Island. In fact if memory serves, the name of the drink was, Ecto Plasm, and it was neon green. A VIP lounge where celebrities from our youth surrounded us, taking pictures and making small talk. Our favorite characters and actors throughout history sitting at a nearby table, icons of childhood, and it was a moment where a toast was in order. The only time I’ve had a drink in more than five years.

I snicker to this day thinking it took a personal catastrophe to keep me from hitting the bottle. I’d lean against the wall, computer silent, arms crossed, alone in an empty house staring at the cupboard.

Just one drink will make you feel better.

Yeah… and the bottle will make all the problems disappear… until you wake up from wherever you fall down.

During the early inception of the new dark feelings, first introducing myself to the deceptive side of the mind, it started with fake smiles. I helped my daughter prepare her overnight bag, asking her simple questions about the house, and her sister, and smeared a forced smile across my face.

“Everything’s alright, sweetie. Daddy’ll see you soon.” Pats on the back, kisses on the forehead and a wide stupid grin on my pale, unshaven face. Over-exaggerated waves of my hand as she leaves the driveway. I adopted a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde mentality. I became two different people.

The first phase of the darker side was denying the world’s access to my pain.

Once the kiddo was out of view, I snapped my attention to the laptop and it was time to begin my diabolical plan.

There I sat on my futon typing away like a madman. I compiled everything I needed to say, read it a couple of times, and froze in my seat.

I stared at the monitor. Both hands hovered and twitched above the keyboard. Are you really gonna go through with this? Waitwaitwait. STOP! Think this through for a second. How will this effect YOU?

How will this effect ME? … Good question.

Will it solve anything?

It might make you feel better.

Will it be worth it?

If it makes me feel better, then yes.

What’s the worst that can happen?

Prison or death. Pick one. Out of the two worst possible options.

I looked to the dog and shook my head, “Prison ain’t happening. What do you think, Shelbs… who’d take care of the mutt?” She chewed her bone and kept the ears perked up with each sound of my voice.

“Yeah, I can’t think of anyone either. OK, how about option B then?”

Often times, our emotions override our intelligence and we react to situations irrationally. I sighed, switched over to a different program, typed a few words and placed the laptop on the couch beside me. Knowing ahead of time there was a chance I’d talk myself out of Option A, I generated a contingency plan just in case. The lesser of two evils.

My only mission in life, was to prove a point. Ultimately it was a point to prove to myself and I didn’t know it at the time. My point was subtle and hidden under a guise of outward sincerity. Instead of formulating a method of attack against the old life, out of spite and anger, I planted random seeds, remained in the Jekyll/Hyde role, and believed I was doing the right thing. I became patient. I waited quietly for a short time for karma to interject and make everything better.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Killing the world with kindness will only get you so far.

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