it's not about the road you choose to drive down or about the pain you wish you would surrender. nor is it about that long walk to the middle of nowhere or all of your insecurities coming to light. it's about putting your faith in the weakest of beings and and believing in all things abstract.
life has taught me many things. all of which i wish would've come easier. these lessons learned didn't come from inside a plastic ball or attached to a cheap rusty key chain. no, i never got a chance to put my quarter into that particular machine. i drew certain conclusions about the choices i made that birthed certain mistakes. conclusions i only came up with as my face was firmly planted on rock bottom. thoughts about sex, money, drugs, and the various kinds of people that blew in and out of my life like lost leaves in autumn or fall.
i had realized that by the age of nineteen i had surpassed the expiration date i gave to myself at thirteen. and nothing felt scarier than knowing you almost didn't make it. i realized that smoking too much pot and eating too many pills would quickly lead me down a path of total destruction and that by four in the morning my stomach would start to slightly hurt. i realized that my words became as sharp as knives and that spitting them at those i loved the most would never bring back those of whom i had lost. and somewhere, wherever it may be, i'll find some sort of peace that will console my aching wounds.
sometimes life leads you down a path of success and triumph. but most times it ends up leading you down a road you wish was less traveled. one with gaping pot-holes and cinder underneath the spray-tar. a road that has that one wooden bridge that will always have a missing plank. a life of hurt and anguish so deep no drink, no drug, no pill, no lover could ever heal. many moments in time where you find yourself struck with sudden grief, where all you do is sob as you cover his face with your thumb print--pictures fading, over time, from the build-up of oils. and at the end of this road you will look back and wish you had more time. more time to learn. more time to smile. more time to live.
you'll remember all that you had and all who loved you. you'll stare out the same dewy window you peered out of as a child only to watch the storm clouds roll in. you'll rock slightly back and forth in your rocker chair, wishing that you were holding your grand babies in your arms, slightly nuzzled between the nape of your neck and the nook inside your arm. you'll remember those times of sudden grief and how now it all seems so easy. how life and death makes one universal circle and how now all of those unanswered questions can now be explained.
as we age we gain knowledge as to how choosing one road over another has lead us on different journeys. many similar but none identical. when we're young we seek to find answers but when we are old we realize we always had them. how the sands of time tick away and leave us with nothing but our memories. remembering all of our friends and how they have passed. remembering what our children or our chosen children looked like on their first day of school, at their graduation, on their wedding day. how weathered hands and saggy skin only act as a visual map of all the roads we chose to walk down.
some of us will sit in our chairs and stare out our glistening windows and yearn to feel that love again. the love of a mother holding her newborn, the love of a father teaching his son how to play t-ball, the love of a teacher witnessing her student learn something. some of us will close our eyes and open them again, only to find tear drops dripping down our leathery skin. remembering the day we had to bury our spouse, our children. how that burden would be too great to bare. some of us will reminisce about old times, become professional story-tellers. we will teach young souls about the value and absolute necessity of fantasy. and that imagination is the only way to get through life. and a few of us will clutch our baby dolls close to our hearts and sing them lullabies at night to help them sleep.
so if you're question still lies in the same place, did i learn from my mistakes, the answer is i don't know yet. i've certainly gained knowledge and respect for certain situations, certain kinds of people, certain decades. but i have yet to know fully how my actions and consequences has created a destination for me. i suppose i will know when i am staring out my dewy window, rocking in my chair, and reminiscing about old times. i just hope there will be others surrounding me so i won't have to die all alone.