Archive for loss

Pretty Pathetic, huh?

Posted in life story, Ramblings, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 2016/02/24 by R L Burns

It is still so very weird to me that I actually believed all the things he said to me.  And even weirder that it sill bothers me so much nearly seven years later.  I feel utterly stupid that I didn’t get it that it was all a lie – but, you should know that it’s not ALL my fault; he was really good at the lie.  There’s a song by the band Seether in which the singer states:

You keep living in your own lie
                                                 Ever deceitful and ever unfaithful
                                                 Keep me guessing, keep me terrified
                                                 Take everything from my world

That pretty much sums up how I feel/felt/whatever.  Ridiculously, in retrospect, I thought I was much smarter than that; that no one could fool me so completely.  Well, now I know that I was wrong on that count, too.

You know, I guess it’s okay that it bothered – and bothers – me.  I mean, I believed he was the love of my life since I was a teenager.  In a way I only got involved with people who were, in a sense, disposable.  Not too flattering – for them or me.  I judged my feelings with everyone by my feelings for him, and their feelings for me by the way he had felt about me.  Comparing is never a good practice, I know, but I didn’t know I was doing it.  Well, I knew it, but I didn’t understand how MUCH I was doing it, nor how negatively it was impacting every romantic relationship of my entire life.  I can see it now, of course; I mean, don’t they say that hindsight is 20/20?  Yepper.  Definitely 20/20.

Even knowing all that now, though, I still don’t understand how I could be so taken in. Where were the signs that it was a lie?  Maybe…well, could’ve been the small amount of time he was able to carve out for me after I drove over one thousand miles to spend time with him.  Yeah, I guess that was a clue.  I’d be there a week and spend 80% of my time alone.  I guess that was a big sign, yes?  But when he was with me, he was WITH me.  Loving me, crying, begging…and when I was away from him, there were hundreds of phone calls, thousands of texts.  I mean, why would he do all of that if he was lying?  That’s what I couldn’t figure out.  Unless, maybe, he WAS just trying to be kind to me – in a weird-wrong-twisted kind of way.  He said later that he did it because he felt guilty that I had loved him so long.  I had loved him.  Hmmmm….and that he had not been in love with me since nearly fifteen years earlier when he wanted to be with me but I said no — he had a child and one on the way.  How could I break that up? I couldn’t, so I sent him back to her and the children, knowing that was the right thing to do – and knowing that he would, in the end, hate me if he left his family and then wasn’t close to them.  For a while I tried to believe that he was just saying all that about lying, that really he was a coward and just couldn’t pull the trigger.  But I suppose I was wrong, and he really didn’t love me any longer.  That is a horrible thing to accept…I kept others at arm’s length and never allowed myself to be happy because I was in love with him.  When I believed we finally had a real chance at the happily ever after we both claimed to have always wanted…well, I was deliriously happy.  And then I wasn’t.

And I am still not.

I still stand by my belief, though, that if he KNEW, the first time we saw each other again, that he didn’t feel the same about me, it would have been much kinder and much, much less disillusioning if he had thrown a pity fuck or two my way and then a tearful farewell. That, I would have held close to my heart with a tear and a smile.

Instead I am left with…nothing.



The Little Girl’s Screams

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 2012/03/20 by R L Burns

she stumbles through her day,

somehow obeying

the common courtesies on which

she so heavily relies –

she thanks God that the replies

are automatic…


she watches their mouths move,

knows they are telling

their problems and secrets to her,

wanting her help, her care , her advice –

she struggles to hear them

and in vain decipher

what need they have of her –

she flinches when touched

and jumps when she’s called,

they’ve not yet realized

that she is hopelessly walled

up in her mind

curled up in a ball

screaming and screaming

and screaming again –

just endlessly screaming

o’er the loss of her friend, her

lover,  her soul mate, a lifetime

of dreams….

til nothing is left

but the little girl’s screams.


Through a Tunnel Darkly

Posted in Ramblings, short story with tags , , on 2011/06/29 by R L Burns

The tunnel was dark.  For a moment she stood still, unsure where she was or even how she got there.  Waiting for her eyes to adjust to the darkness, she trembled.  She did not want to be here, not at all, and for a moment she considered turning around and going back…where?  Could she even get back?  Or should she move forward through the tunnel?  Looking behind her, she saw only more darkness.  She was torn:  take a chance on going backwards toward…?  The last thing she remembered was climbing into bed and drifting off to sleep, was in fact still in her nightgown and robe.  She was afraid, but overriding her fear was a compulsion to continue to follow wherever the tunnel led her.  For a moment, fear almost won out and she turned, hoping to find her way back to her bed.

Then she heard it: a sad, mournful sound, as of someone in pain.  Instinctively she turned toward the sound, listening for it to occur again.  A moment later, it did, and somewhere ahead, far in the distance, she saw a small pin-prick of light.  So she walked toward it, despite the pounding of her heart and the voice in her head begging her to turn around and run away, promising her that she would not like what she found at the end.  Fighting herself, she continued moving toward the sound and the light, her pulse and breathing quickening with each step, her arms extended so that her hands, touching the cold, damp walls of the tunnel, could guide her.

The further she went, the colder the air in the tunnel became, and she began to shiver.  She wondered if she had somehow wandered into an underground sewer system.  That didn’t make sense, some part of her brain thought.  The floor isn’t wet, there aren’t any vents in the ceiling (wherever that was), and besides, she had been in bed only moments before.  How had she come to be here?  She stumbled then, and focused on where she was, instead of how she got there.

The moaning was becoming more mournful, more pitiful.  As she moved closer to the dot of light ahead, the desire to turn around grew even stronger, yet she continued on.  Her breathing became shallow, her heart was racing, and she could feel the sweat running down her back.  The closer she got to the sound, the worse she felt.

After what seemed an eternity, she could sense that she was nearing the end of the tunnel.  Oddly, while the moaning became louder, it also somehow became…lower.  Deeper.  More pain-filled.  She was listening intently to the sound, attempting to figure out what it was about it that seemed so familiar.  So intent was she on the moaning that she did not notice the thick piece of glass into which she walked.  It was shaped like an arch; it was thick, greenish, and difficult to see through; like looking through the bottom of an old-fashioned Coke bottle.  She stood there, confused, trying to see past the glass.  She used the sleeve of her bathrobe to wipe at the barrier before her.  Dust and dampness covered her sleeve, but she could at least see a little bit of the room on the other side of the glass.

She was looking into what appeared to be a kitchen.  There was a table and four chairs, a sink, wooden cabinets, and a refrigerator.  No lights were on in the room and she realized that the tiny bit of light she had glimpsed and then followed actually came from a street light outside the window above the sink.  Using the left sleeve of her robe, she swiped at the glass one more time, hoping to enlarge her view of the room.  Now she could see there was someone slumped over the wooden table.  It was a man.  His head was down on the table, and he was muttering to himself.  The thickness of the glass muffled the sound so much that she couldn’t make out what he was saying, only occasionally catching the words, “No”, and “Please.”  Then he began moaning again.  Moaning and shaking his head in the negative.

Confused even more than she had been, she watched him sit there, wanting to offer assistance, to find out who this man was and what was wrong with him.  Who was it?  Why was she here?  What was going on?  She tapped on the glass to get his attention but he was oblivious to her presence.

Suddenly he got up and lurched to the sink.  He turned on the water and splashed his face, shaking his head afterward, the water drops flying from his hair like those coming off of a wet dog.  Then he looked out the window towards the street light.  When she saw his profile, she recognized him:  it was Nick.  HER Nick.  Nick, whom she had not seen in more than twenty-five years.  She reached out to the glass, tracing the outline of his face.  Nick.  After all this time.  How had she come to be here?  What was wrong with him?  Why was he in so much pain??  How could she help him?

She began to bang on the glass in earnest, now, and screamed his name, but it was all in vain.  He didn’t seem to hear her at all.  Tears were running down his face and he continued his low moaning.  When he turned away from the sink, he seemed to be staring at something she could not see.  His face, now hidden in shadow, was difficult to see, but his eyes were open wide with fear, the whites standing out in the darkness.  She looked wildly around the kitchen, trying to see what he could see, to understand why he was so afraid.  And then she saw them:  The Shadows.  Even though the room was dark, she could make out shadowy shapes in the room, all of them moving toward Nick.  Surrounding him.  Nick covered his ears and shook his head no, begging, pleading with them to leave him alone.  Although Nick’s voice was difficult to understand, the voices of the shadows came to her clear as crystal.

“Go ahead, Nick.”

“Do it.”

“You’re worthless.”

“This is the best thing you can do for your family, Nick.  You know you’re nothing.”

Nick continued to shake his head, hands clamped over his ears.  The shadows moved closer to him, hemming him in as they made a circle around him.  He was sobbing and shaking.  The Shadows danced around him, taunting him, encouraging him to…to what?

Then she knew.  They wanted him to kill himself.  A bottle of pills suddenly appeared in his hand.  His head continued to move from left to right and tears continued to stream from his eyes.  Trying to distract him she banged her fists into the glass over and over, screaming his name with each blow.  He never looked up; instead he seemed to fold into himself and she knew he was giving up.

“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!”  She screamed again and again, watching in horror as he opened the bottle and swallowed every pill.  Nearly hysterical now she pounded incessantly on the glass, screaming his name until her voice was nearly gone.  He still never looked her way.  She watched as he began to lurch around the room, his balance off.  Crying, she could do nothing but stare as he slid to the floor.  The Shadows joined hands and danced around him in glee as his body fell to the floor with a thud, onto his back, his arms spread wide.  As he fell to the floor, she slid down the glass, pressing against it as hard as she could.  Wiping her hair out of her eyes, she realized that her hands were covered in blood from beating on the glass so long and so hard.  She was sobbing uncontrollably and slid, herself, to the floor.

All at once, there was someone beside her:  her son Richard.  He knelt down and pulled her up into his big strong arms, patting her hair and making little shushing noises to calm her.  She grabbed onto him and tried to explain what had happened, though she was difficult to understand through her tears and her hiccupping sobs.  He glanced through the glass to the dead man on the other side.

“Come on, mom.  We have to go now.”  He started to pull her back down the tunnel, back the way she had come.

“No, Richard!  We have to do something. We have to help him –“,  she sobbed, screaming, “Nick!!!” again.

Richard was relentless in his pull.  “No, mom.  We have to go now. It’s too late.  Dad just couldn’t live without us anymore.  C’mon.”  He continued to pull her back down the tunnel, back towards her bed.

She struggled against him, trying to get back to the glass, but she was no match for his size or his strength, so she finally gave  in and let him pull her along, glancing back frequently.  Now there were red and blue lights flashing in the kitchen where Nick lay dead.  Her body was shaking from her sobs, her head was pounding, and she was surprised to look down and see that she was leaving a trail of blood behind her.

Richard just held onto her tighter, half dragging her back, away from the horror she had just witnessed.  “He’ll be okay mom, I promise.  And he will be back.  Now just isn’t the time.  Sh, it’s okay.”

She quit struggling against him, then, and let him lead her back, back, back… until she was at last back in her own bed, where she fell into an exhausted sleep.


Posted in life story, Loss of Hope, Poetry, Ramblings with tags , , , , on 2011/05/25 by R L Burns

it’s wrong and it’s lame

cuz to you it was all just a game –

so how can I feel the same

way I did when I carved your name’s

first initial into my palm?

what is wrong in my brain,

in my heart – why does the pain

loiter and remain

drowning me – a hurricane

that possesses me, obsesses me?

i just keep telling myself those

christina perri lyrics…

I learned to live

half a life…

and who do you think you are,

runnin’ round leaving scars,

collecting your jar of hearts

and tearing love apart?

you’re gonna catch a  cold

from the ice inside your soul…

so don’t come back for me

don’t come back at all.


and yet the thought of that

terrifies me more than anything…

and i STILL don’t know what i did wrong…

I Wonder

Posted in Loss of Hope, Poetry with tags , , on 2011/05/25 by R L Burns

i wonder …

where you are

how you are

what you are

hope you’re happy

hope you’re not

wonder if you give a thought

to what once was

and what might have been

a place we will never see again…

I Don’t Deserve Her

Posted in Loss of Hope, Poetry with tags , , on 2011/05/25 by R L Burns

I don’t deserve her,

But I thank God for her,

My Princess, My Lady.


Her smile thrills me

Her kisses still me

Her touch destroys me —

The love in her eyes

Humbles me

As nothing else can.


I’m the world’s biggest loser –

And yet, she loves me,

No matter what stupendously idiotic

Thing I do –

No matter how often I desert her,

Run away from her,

Blame her for all the ills in my life.


She sees inside me, to my core –

Her ability to do so terrifies me,

For from her alone I cannot hide  –  She

Knows I am weak and afraid,

A true coward and frighteningly cruel,

Untrustworthy and unreliable –

At least when it comes to her –


She cries at night, alone in her bed

And lives without me

For years at a time…


And yet, each time I call to her,

Each time I crawl to her on bended knee,

Each time I beg her forgiveness

And profess my love for her anew —

She doesn’t recoil.


Instead, she opens her arms to me,

Holds me and loves me with all that she is,

Builds me up – asking nothing in return –

And then silently fades away,

A trembling smile of encouragement on her face

To patiently wait for my next return.

No matter how long it takes.


I don’t deserve her at all —

And she certainly deserves better than me —

But I think I would die if she no longer loved me,

If I could not believe that she is out there,

Waiting for me still.



I am the biggest,

most selfish,

loser ever.


Lessons Learned

Posted in life story with tags , , , on 2011/05/25 by R L Burns

(From Feb 2011)

An anniversary of sorts passed recently, and I found myself re-reading some of my older pieces.  A couple of years ago I wrote a piece on here that ended with the following words:

Belief in you, in what was, has held me together through my darkest, loneliest, most horrifying hours; has forced me not to abandon all hope. Belief in you and what is, and what can be, will get me through now. 

Thank you, for the most precious gift of yourself. Thank you for teaching me that love doesn’t have to be degrading or painful or ugly; that it truly can be beautiful and breathtaking and glorious. But thank you especially, for giving me back to me. For showing me, for allowing me to be, finally, who I truly am. And for loving me anyway.  Those things I will happily never forget.

When I read those words now, I am…embarrassed.  Even somewhat ashamed.   That I was that gullible.  That for so much of my life I wouldn’t really love anyone or allow them to love me — out of fear.  Fear that they would reject me.  Fear that “he” would return one day.  Fear that he wouldn’t.  Fear that — whatever.  Just plain fear.  Like one of my favorite quotes from the movie Strictly Ballroom, I only half-lived.  (The quote is:  A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.)

For the majority of my life I believed that this one person could fix everything, was the answer to EVERYTHING.  It was useful, yes, because the belief that if he was there none of the horrible things that happened would have done did actually help me survive, but it was stupid, too, because, well, he was just a guy.  Bad things happen sometimes, no matter what you do or who is there to help you.

And I think I dealt so badly with the end of my “dream” because, well…rather than teaching me what I wrote in that second paragraph, he actually reinforced the opposite, made love something in which I could no longer believe; and made me believe that the little piece of me I thought was okay really wasn’t.  I was back to being nothing.  A nothing who had believed in a  lie; who had put a lie on a pedestal and revered it, hid behind it,  rather than face life head on.  That was my fault, not his.   Yes, he called me and asked me to play the game, but I could have said no.  At times  I think I should have said no – a long time ago.

However, had all of that not happened, where would I be today?  Certainly not where I am.  I know now that what the “books” say is true:  no one else can make you happy.  No one else can give you feelings of self-worth.  You must believe in yourself.  It all comes from inside.  Or it doesn’t.  The choice is yours.

I think I am making much better choices these days.  While the past haunts me occasionally (maybe “taunts” me is a better choice of words), it no longer rules me.  It no longer destroys me.  I don’t need someone else to make it okay for me to be who I am.   Perhaps, too, I have learned to recognize the right places and people to whom I should give love, respect, admiration and trust.

And I have truly, finally,  learned that love can be real – and lovely; that if it feels painful or degrading, it isn’t love.  A simple lesson, I am sure some of you will say.  But for me…well, that has been one of the hardest lessons of all.

Perhaps there is hope for me yet.