"Have I still got you to be my open door?
Have I still got you to be my sandy shore?
Have I still got you to cross my bridge in this storm?
Have I still got you to keep me warm?"
Grey Room :: Damien Rice
There are brief moments that touch our lives, and people who appear for a short time and connect with us, that change the ways and hows and constructs of who we are. Perhaps we don't realize it at the time. The days are so muddied up with places to go and be, and the anxious circles of nonesense that we string ourselves up, and get lost, in. We run from point a to point b, a countdown of hours and weeks and pay periods; we wait for phone calls, texts, acknowledgements that we matter, that we exist, and that this race we are stuck in has a purpose. And then, out of nowhere, a breeze blows in - sometimes it is followed by dark skies and rain, other times a carnival of clouds parading above our heads on a stage of bright blue, and then there are those times when the ground shakes, the universe daring the pavement to crack open and pull us in. But even in those times, when the earth moves, sometimes we fail to even notice.
And then later, sometimes so very much later, we sit alone and remember. What ever those moments were, and whomever those people are to us, they appear then, tossing around in the confines of cold, grey rooms - sleepless, middle of the night times, we've all had them - and we realize we missed it.
Is it the consequence of the pace we keep in our overwhelming, falling over the edge, full but empty lives that cause us to not recognize the things that are worth keeping? The people worth hanging on to? Do we stop, at the moment of realization, and try to gather it back to us? Do we shrug our shoulders, fill another corner of our soul with sorrow, grab for yet another cigarette, another cup of coffee, another pill or drink or meaningless night in an unfamiliar bed? Do we run to the shore of the ocean, to the tracks of an already passed train, or to the crossroads of past trips and given up dreams, and just let it go? Do we make a phone call, pen a letter, text a message, dedicate a song, buy a drink and say "you are the one that got away"? Or do we learn how to open our eyes more, say what we mean more, notice the days and the hours and the moments and the ones who matter?
Is it only on the cold nights, in the grey rooms, that we miss this? Is it the loneliness that creeps in, that we usually chase away with crammed filledh ours and miscellaneous substances, that suddenly can't block it out anymore? Is that when we remember the sound of the ocean? The creak of the bathroom door? The light peeking through, our hair damp and falling clumsily out of damp, haphazardly wrapped hotel room towel? Is it only then that we remember warm arms and laughter, making love to the whir and hum of the air conditioning in the middle of Summer, and some late night black and white movie in the background? Is it then that we long to return to some brief moment, or lover, from before.
Sometimes, though, the door closes for good. But it isn't the latest earthquake that took it all away, it is time passing, the neglect, the cruel art of forgetting, and the echoing chorus of all the sad songs we play in days and nights and rooms like these. Sometimes all we can do is learn, let go, and try to make something good out of regrets, and these nearly forgotten memories.
"This kind of forgetting does not erase memory, it lays the emotion surrounding the memory to rest.”
:: Clarissa Pinkola Estes