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Twin Souls of Discontent

Posted in life story, Ramblings with tags , , , , on 2010/04/16 by R L Burns

She tried to sleep, really she did.  Two milligrams of Ativan, five milligrams of Valium, and two hours later, she was still tossing and turning, piling the pillows, tossing them on the floor, pulling the blankets up, and throwing them off.                                                                            

 She got up and put in an old, familiar, black and white movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  She loved that movie (but then, she was a total Frank Capra freakazoid!), loved the idealism of it, loved Jimmy Stewart’s acting…She had been amazed to learn that he had gone to a doctor before filming the movie’s ending and asked the gentleman to actually give him a cold.  At the end of the movie his character was to have been talking on the Senate floor for twenty-plus hours.  He wanted the doctor to give him a cold so that his voice would be appropriately raspy and he would look weary and worn.  Now that’s dedication!

 Sadly, not even the familiarity of the movie could lull her to sleep.  She finally gave up, sat up in bed, and lit a cigarette.  Thoughts were screaming around in her brain and just wouldn’t stop…so she did what she often did, and picked up her journal, the one with a “crying” rose on the cover and a wolf’s head on every other page.  She opened the journal to a blank page, pen poised over the paper.  She slowly finished her cigarette and then began writing.  What she wrote would be boring and meaningless to anyone other than her, but she had to get the thoughts out.  Maybe then she would be able to sleep…Maybe.

 14 April 2010


Well, at least it’s not 0403. Just finished writing an IEP and rearranging the office a bit.  I’m still not happy with it, but like it better than I did.  I am guessing I won’t ever like it, really, because it will never be the way I had planned it.  His desk will never be there.

I had an odd dream/vision yesterday and wrote about it – “The Shadow King”.  Somehow it won’t go out of my head and it has been accompanied by a crazy rumble of things/words/feelings, and it is keeping me awake.  I’ve got to sleep, though, because I have to get up at 0600 and I have to stay at work ‘til 1800, tutoring.  A little bit of extra money, but I am not sure I have the energy to keep it up for long.  I have to stay late on Thursday as well.

 I am really displeased with myself.  Only now – eight months later – am I really starting to climb over the edges of the depression in which I have been.  Only now.  And I am disgusted with my selfishness, my self-centeredness, with all that has gone undone, or only partially done, during this time.  This whole episode has totally affected and dominated every single aspect of my life:  work (especially the paperwork aspect, I swear I will be lucky not to be fired before the end of the year); family relationships – all of them – some negatively, some in an oddly positive way (“positive” being a relative term, of course).  Financially, I have let so many things go…Friendships – my depth of despair and withdrawal has put a huge strain on many of them.  Some have simply faded away into nothingness.  Some have survived, though altered, as I am myself.  And then there have been the precious few that have only recently begun…Dev, Greg, Angel, Rachel, Michelle, a few others.  I have truly been blessed by them all.

 I still suffer daily – sometimes hourly or minutely (I know that isn’t really a word!) – from the loss of my very best friend, my one true confidant – “everything we love is killed by the hands of time”…but I suppose I am coming to the conclusion (whether I want to accept it or not) that if he truly was my best friend and confidant, he would not have abandoned me in such a cruel manner.

I am also truly realizing and accepting (the latter being the more important verb herein) the role MY insecurities and desires played in our ending as well as my mental demise.  In so many ways I should have known better than to believe it could end any differently.  But somehow he convinced me and, at least momentarily, I convinced him.  But I suppose my demands/wants/needs were just too much for him to handle when compounded by the guilt he felt and the more immediate demands/wants/needs of those around him.

I fully admit to being greedy – which is most unlike me, really. 

I think…and this will sound like a complaint, but I really don’t mean it that way, I sear.  I think I felt old and tired of taking care of everyone else in the world with no to little reciprocation – occasionally, yes, but anything lasting or meaningful (to me)?  Not really.  Not ever in my life, from anyone in my life –

Except him. 

We were twin souls of discontent, one dark, one light, and together we were complete.  Once upon a time, anyway.

 “If you love something, set it free;

If it comes back to you, it was meant to be.”

Isn’t that the famous saying?  Well, I’d done that; repeatedly.  I guess I got sucked into believing that this time he had really and truly come back to me because I had followed the wise old adage and he had finally realized that he truly needed me to feel alive. 

Moral to that story:  Don’t believe every old cliché you hear.

Poor guy, though.  He, too, was feeling old and ill, as well as ill-used.  So he reached out one last time to say farewell.  He never intended for all that happened to transpire.  Then there he was:  trapped yet again.  Normally (as has been proved over and over by our past), I don’t…I hold back.  Why?  Because deep, deep, deep in my heart I always know it won’t last with him; that as much as I love him, it will never be.  Fate/whoever has seen to that.  What happens between us is too intense, it burns itself out – or maybe, more aptly, it burns us up til one of us (or both) can no longer stand the heat and have to leave the kitchen (yeah, I know, I say not to believe all the clichés you hear then spew out a few more!). 

I have held myself in reserve in all my relationships because I could never again give to anyone else what I had given him as a young girl.  Despite everything (his marriage, for example), I was incapable of allowing anyone to truly love/know/get close to me – what I perceived as the REAL me – or of allowing myself to really love anyone else because it seemed to me it would be the ultimate betrayal of our love.  In some bizarre, twisted, patented Robin-logic kind of way, I have remained faithful to him since the day he left me in December 1977.  How sad is that? 

So, when he reached out to me after a silence of nearly sixteen years, I was scared to death.  When he told me how ill he was, I did what I had always, always feared to do:  I went to see him, to face, full-on, the memory, and find out if it was reality or fantasy.  It was glorious.  And I was so angry with  myself for not going sooner.  And it’s odd, really, that I’m always mad at MY failures, MY inability to bring myself to face the possibility that he would not love me when we were younger.  Odd that it has rarely ever occurred to me to be angry with HIM for those same things.  Why is that, do you think?  I mean, the interstate goes both ways (I’ve proven that by driving there and back several times).  In all these years, though, no matter how much he says/said he loved me, etc., NEVER has he come to me.  NEVER.  Perhaps deep down that is why I could never really believe he loved me, and that had a lot to do with my miraculous come-apart when he dumped me on the eve of his intended arrival.  At last I would be able to really and truly believe, because he was coming here.  He meant it all, every word of love he spoke with his voice, his pen, his body.  I really meant something to him.  Truly. 

And then…again…he was a no-show. 

You know, I dreamed of him when he was in a horrible car accident, when he attempted suicide…so many times when he was in trouble or pain.  And yet, he never once knew of the perils in which I found myself.  His anger, pride, and, maybe, insecurity, never allowed him to have a clue of what I was going through.  It never occurred to him that I am so addle pated that memories of him/us were the only thing that kept me sane through some very harrowing times.  Why could I feel him when he could never feel me?

All my life fear held me back.  Always.  Fear that he’d reject me, fear that he’d accept me and then I wouldn’t be enough for him.  Sadly, I was correct on both counts.

I suppose that when he first wrote to me and said he was dying – well for me, there was no longer any room for fear or false pride.  I had to see him.  Had to know.  Wanted, at least once in my life, to be with him again before he was a ghost.  Before, as I have previously written, the ONE person I believed ever knew/saw the real me, and loved me anyway, could no longer see me at all.

I wanted my moment with him.  Wanted him to have the knowledge that I loved him – then, now, and always.

So, for once in my life – truly, only this once – I held back nothing.  He seemed surprised, a bit overwhelmed, but happy.  And the feelings all appeared to be reciprocal.  I was in my glory.  Foolish, foolish girl.

 He had believed he was dying.  But then, suddenly, he wasn’t.  Paying some attention to himself – finally – did the trick and he got steadily better.  Hmmmm…  Then what could he do? 

Oops! Torn between commitment, love and family and…me:  a good helper, excellent friend, and a great cheerleader, now become a hindrance, a clingy lover. 

He’s very strong, but in so many ways, I am much, much stronger, and he has always known that.  I am stronger, too, than those around him, so I had to go.  It was the easier choice for him, I suppose.

But somehow, this time, my normal strength has abandoned me.  This situation nearly defeated me.  For a long, long time I couldn’t figure out why it was so very hard this time.  I mean, last time he went away, it was for sixteen years and I lived through it.  Well, okay, there was that one time with the gun, but it was only momentary, only once incident.  This time, it’s been eight months of incident after incident after incident.  Why?

And then I remembered something I wrote about him, about the last time we were together; something to the effect that he had given me a huge responsibility (which I happily accepted) when he let me get so close to him.  A responsibility I take quite seriously because “it would kill him if he gave me everything he was and then had it thrown back in his face.”

See?   We ARE twins.  I told you so.

I gave absolutely everything I am to this man.  Trusted him with every piece of me there is, and he threw it back at me.  He rejected me.  He was the one person I believed when he said I was smart or beautiful – anything positive – and it turned out that this one and only person I believed in did NOT think I was worth anything – lasting or real – at all.  And if HE didn’t see the good in me when I was totally honest and for the first time EVER, 100% ME, then, well, I suppose that demotivational poster is correct:  The only constant in all your failed relationships is YOU.  I must truly be nothing.  In my heart of hearts I always secretly believed maybe I was okay because HE thought so…How do I overcome that and pretend that I’m okay even if he doesn’t think so?

He may not be super happy, but he’s maintained his marriage and family for over twenty-five years with only that one little lapse of me.  I’ve had two marriages and a handful of boyfriends – all abusive in one way or another. 

So…I guess the problem was me all along and I should have recognized that sooner.  Just as I should have recognized that I would never be more to him than a…a band-aid when he was cut and bleeding.

I’m sorry I was so stupid and vain; for believing we could ever be happy together and that I mattered to him.  Why didn’t I understand the truth sooner?  And now that I do understand it…how do I bounce back from it?  Keep these thoughts from running their endless laps around my brain?  When I am with the kids at school, I am okay.  As soon as I am alone, though, the words come back and I deflate. 

I’m tired of this and need to find my way out; but somehow it seems I couldn’t fight my way out of a paper bag anymore.  Know what I mean?


She took a last drag of her cigarette and set the journal aside.  For thirty minutes more, she lay there, unable to sleep, the words she had written swirling around in her head.  A few tears fell.

“Fuck it,” she finally said, and reached for another valium.

Better Living Through Chemistry

Posted in Poetry, Ramblings with tags , , , , , on 2010/03/03 by R L Burns




lorazepam –

a cocktail

that stops me


all that

i am.







and vitamin B –

yipee and hooray

for better living




rlb/march 2010

Valiant Valium’s Victory

Posted in Poetry, Ramblings with tags , , on 2010/02/15 by R L Burns

This is a poem I wrote that a friend encouraged me to submit for publicaiton.  I was surpirsed when it was chosen for inclusion in a chapbook….I love alliteration and was just playing around when I wrote it….

The sleepy sun sets                                        

And the lonely little lady                                              

Reaches for the brown bottle by her bed.

The hallowed yellow mini-pills

Call calmly and clearly to her

Saying, someday you’ll be better.

A nagging, noisy need

Fills her frozen, fragile heart.

Luckily the valiant valium vanquishes

The scurrilous, screeching sound

Allowing her to happily hide in silence.


Have you ever taken valium?  The famed “mother’s little helper” from the old Rolling Stones song?  It’s a wonderful drug; really allows the muscles to relax so you can rest.  From years of being tense I lost the lordotic curve in my spine and had to do traction at home…I couldn’t sleep lying down, had to sleep in a half-sitting position.  Valium was the only medicine that would release my neck muscles enough for me to sleep…I miss valium sometimes.  Ativan is nice, but it’s not quite the same.  No, not at all.  Sure wish I had some valium…