Category Archives: drama

Mental Meanderings

Mental Meanderings

By Matt Carlson

He said, “I’m leaving.” Then he added, “I’m going to stay at my Mom’s.” Then he was gone and there we were, the dogs and I, alone. It was a horrible moment. There had been no real discussion. The phantom that had been my boyfriend for ten years left as if he had never been there. Well, he hadn’t really. I continued to pay for the house credit and other bills alone. I’d lived with someone who had always hated himself, always looking for a sexual liaison with a stranger. Someone who hid inside his computer, then within the virtuality of his telephone. They were safe places, his smart phone and computer, he didn’t have to respond honestly to any questions there. He could easily play with the anonymity of it all. I imagined him locked up in a small room asleep with only cables connected to his brain and a computer while an animated character lived his life somewhere; his real body safely locked away.

In December of 2013, he had simply said to me while sitting outside in the garden, in the sun, a cigarette in hand, “I think we should break up. There’s nothing left between us.” It was the first time that it was he who had brought up the subject; I was usually the one that said it. The way he said it was as if he were waiting for a particular response. I didn’t give it to him. On the contrary, I agreed that it was a good idea to separate. But adding, “I don’t think that there’s nothing left between us – I think we are still friends.” He didn’t answer.

There, I was wrong…It takes two to be friends.

The slippery slope that we’d now ventured upon wasn’t immediately visible. I’d somehow forgotten or put aside the fact that I was dealing with someone who suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder; an alcoholic too. Why is it that when we break up with someone, we imagine that they are going to have the same perception of things – or even be reasonable  –  and are shocked by the reaction we have in front of us?  My ex cried that night out on the terrace, sobbing while holding onto his wine bottle and glass. I went to him, to comfort him. It didn’t last long, me holding him in my arms telling him it would be al-right. He didn’t want me to, I hadn’t said what he’d wanted to hear. So, I left him there as his tears subsided in the black of the night, his anger surfacing, on our unfinished terrace. He had wanted me to plead for us, for another chance, to say ‘let’s stay together’ but I didn’t feel that. The on going pain of dealing with this hurt, broken and angry individual had just gone over the top. I had no more desire, no more strength to try and convince him that life could be beautiful – that we could be. Especially to someone who only knew beauty as a concept, as a visual design on a computer screen  –  his true profession in fact  –  a graphic artist – well, it all made more sense now.

Our unfinished ruin of a house sat there. The hours upon hours of my own labor upon it, for it, for us,  would be the weapon used against me to make me suffer. My name wasn’t on the title and all of the promises of protecting me had gone out the window. My ex would try and take everything away, an attempt to erase my very presence from it  –  from our mutual project. Even his Mother would add fuel to the fire by attempting with her son to keep our dogs away from me. A five month ‘kidnapping’ of sorts would end up with my going and getting them at the Mother-in-laws house in the country. She attacked me, but ended up falling on the ground as I avoided her with the dogs in my arms, my ex running after me like a maniac suddenly (though he was supposedly unable to walk at this time due to a back problem)…His attack of feet and fist marks left on the side of our mutual car Peugeot – just before I could drive safely away…

Later on I had to respond to incredible lies of breaking and entering, theft of money and of my own dogs and that I had physically attacked and beaten my Mother-in-law!  It all seemed surreal – but the hate was only beginning. My ex would continue to lie and paint a new picture far from the reality of what was.  I suppose that I shouldn’t have been surprised by the letter from a shady lawyer hired from my ex describing me basically as a monster, turning the truth into a mockery of justice, or the… and the… etc, etc…

 

Today, I am moving on and recreating a new life. I am still unsure as to whether I want to battle again for at least a return on my investment of my home for over nine years; the fact that I paid for half of his house credit too over that period – a few months paying for it alone as well. I’m feeling like it would take a lot of energy away from me, from moving into a positive direction. Maybe not…  Maybe I need to finish the battle in order to move on… It’s either that or accept things as the way they are and put that aside. What is the most important thing here? To move on? To look back? To move on but to at least respond to what was? To get at least a part of my investment back?

 

I’m still questioning that – if only a little bit.

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God Talk in Paris by matt carlson

Bill, the north African caretaker of the Chateau de la Reine Blanche was an albino. The hair on his short stocky body was whiter than white. He wore round glass frames and nondescript clothing to work every day. Before leaving to go to work, he would light a candle, say a prayer to his Lord, take a last look at his very organized studio apartment before locking up and then would take the metro number 6, Les Goblins to work.

He would arrive very early each day at the castle, open the security gates and once inside walk directly to the small door that led to his tiny office. He would repeat the same gestures once inside, verifying the sign in and sign out papers, check the keys on their hanger, then he would prepare his wash cart for the mornings cleaning circuit. Everyday at the exact same hour he did the same things, repeated those same gestures, said hello to the same people, usually waiting for them to address him first of course.

At precisely 8:00 a.m., he would fill his bucket with water from the court yards faucet and water the rose bushes in their pots and eventually pull out any uninvited weeds that might have found their way in. Doing things methodically the way he did was a way of keeping sanity: like rituals of prayer throughout the day. He felt that if he did things the same way, at the same hour each and every day, that no one could ever cite him for wrong doing. If they did, they would have to say that he had made the same mistakes every day for the years before, the months before, the days before and so on. And during certain chores, he would be praying, though no one could possible know that. He kept his face still without expression.

And so life continued this way for him without regrets, without questions, without any apparent change. He would tell himself that he liked life that way – would repeat this fact to others if someone asked him (usually no one did) & with the same answers i.e. : “I’m fine thank you. How are you?” …Bill liked the sameness of every day, the sameness of every evening. Monotony was a good thing. It made him feel safe. And there was the praying too.

The more that things were the same, the less he would feel unsure, troubled or surprised even. Bill didn’t like surprises generally speaking, there was too much room for unpleasantness. It was one of the reasons he had never married. Being with someone full time was too much organization, too many unknowns, too many opportunities for pain and suffering. He didn’t like to suffer, didn’t want others to suffer either and besides he wasn’t very sexually inclined. He liked girls when he was younger, women too now that he was older, but he didn’t relate to them, couldn’t truly understand them. Love was important, he would tell himself, but would then justify it all away. Besides he had God.

His relationship with God was constant. God followed him everywhere, was everywhere; God was in his heart, his soul. God had filled him up to such an extent that he felt he needed nothing else, felt that he needed no one. God sustained him – was his wine and cracker every day.

One day he dared to step outside of his rigid daily grind. He was cleaning the stone window sills on the outside of the castle, the cars whizzing by, people hurrying off to work, taking their kids to the nearby schools. There was constant noise everywhere and it somehow exacerbated his solitude. Where was the world going? Were these people thinking about God? Or of what they had to do? He knew the world was going towards Hell – all the signs were there. He had to speak to someone about it.

It was then that Gelledge passed by with his 2 little dogs on a leash. He said hello openly and asked about his well being -something that almost no one ever did! He took his chances and asked in return, “Have I asked you about what you think of God?” He trembled while waiting for an answer, his hands twitching nervously.

“Yes, you have,” responded the American dressed in white sweat pants and a red sweater. His 2 dogs pulling on their leashes. It was pee time and they were no longer moving.

“What do you think about God?”

“I don’t. He doesn’t exist. I’m an atheist.” Was the reply.

Bills heart felt a crushing sensation. His head felt as if there were suddenly ants crawling in there.

“That doesn’t mean anything saying you’re an atheist. How do you think you got here? How do you think you were created?” Bill tried to keep calm, but the words were accelerating on their own – the volume had been switched up.

“Created? I don’t know exactly how “I” came to be. But there has never been any proof of God’s existence. There is however scientific proof concerning our evolution….There ha…” Bill cut him off.

“God created you. Yes, there is proof! You are proof of God’s existence – right here! You breath because of God!” His red face seemed to start taking on strange forms as if he would implode. He remembered his training from church and took a deep breath. Keep centered on what you want to ask. Get the person to say something and then use those words as a way to question him back. It was a technique of getting people off balance. Once off balance, you built a bridge for them – offering a solution to their doubts.

“So you came from a monkey? That’s what you think? And what about the future of mankind? Do you like what’s happening?…”

Gelledge took a deep breath. He had had numerous discussions with Johova’s Witnesses before. When living in Marseille, a woman came by regularly with an “assistant” to preach or discuss ideas. Gelledge accepted these discussions because he thought it was interesting but also because she normally came with an attractive male assistant.

“Well, I respect your right to believe what you want,” Gelledge began. “But it’s very difficult to have a discussion based on beliefs. It’s what you believe so…”

“And what about the Bible?!” Hammered Bill wanting to nail in more weight to his argument.

“The Bible was written by men.” Was the response.

“Yes, but inspired by God!!!”

“No, I don’t think so. Only men.” The answer was with a normal voice tone. Bill’s insides were flooding with pulsating anguish. How could this guy say those things about the Bible? About God?!

“Remember this,” he began. “The day when Jesus comes back with the day of reckoning – remember what I told you!” He wanted to add, “you’ll be sorry you didn’t listen,” but didn’t. He turned away and continued to clean the stone window sills. He would pretend to no longer see the American after that.

Gelledge replied, “Okay, well I have to go,” as the dogs pulled more forcefully on the leash.

Another day in Paradise, he thought. The religious blackmailing concept had been heard many times years before during his childhood: an idea that if you were ignorant or didn’t accept the concept of Jesus Christ being the son of God that you would burn for ever in the fires of Hell. Fear, fire and damnation. These types of threats came from followers of different religious groups – he had heard it numerous times and yet was always surprised to hear it again. If ever God had existed and had been perfect, then perfection would not make people suffer with terrible pain & suffering because of conceived ignorance &/or refusal to believe in something.

No, religion was made by men, the concept of God fabricated by man to give previously unattainable answers to people with answers to “What is life?” “Who are we?” “Where did we come from?” But also, to govern people, to build power, to reap rewards of money and power. Religion was putting on a pair of colored glasses and seeing everything through them. It was denial to see what was truly happening. It was denial. It was about NOT taking responsibility for ones actions and for others – only God decided. Religious groups even borrowed the concept of values (or morality) as if values were born from the church – which is not the case.

Gelledge thought about Winnie The Pooh and a quote that his friend Brittany had sent the other day. It showed Piglet & Winnie walking hand in hand in a forest and Piglet asked, “What is your favorite day of the week?”

“Today,’ replied Winnie.