The Zen 2×4 and the Drunk Man

“Want some company, tonight?”, I asked hesitantly.

“Sure.” Funny, he didn’t sound surprised at my call even tho it had been only about a half an hour since were sitting at the bar with an icy beer. Am I that transparent? I hadn’t said anything out of the ordinary.

“Call me when you get to so-and-so street and I’ll talk you in from there. There are no street signs, no lamp posts. It’s dark.”

It was the evening of Dale’s funeral. I just could not bare to be alone. He knew.

Forty-five minutes later we’re sucking down beers on his front porch and talking about life, death, our children, his estranged wife in a foreign land, hopes, dreams, desires, who each of us really want to fuck in the office, and giggling like school children over the thought. The sky was spectacular. Clear, cold Colorado nights can’t be beat. His place is far enough away from town to really see the sky. He pointed out stars and constellations and planets. Amazing.

We’ve been friends for just over a year. He’s perennially cheerful. The joker. Wants everyone to be happy. Kicks me in the ass with his steel-toed size 10 boots. Massages my feet. Cracks my back. Gives me more grief than I need. But always with a grin. Flirts with everyone. Nothing is sacred. Not even in the office.

I was surprised to hear him say, “I need to ask you something. But I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”

Oh crap, what now? Laughing I told him, “Go ahead. What the hell. Ask away.”

“How come you have no happiness in your heart Rosa? You need to find happiness. You have a tight little body. Sweet, big brown eyes. You looked great in that dress today. Men would be all over you if only you had some happiness. Sometimes I think you don’t care about yourself. And you are mean. Downright mean sometimes. You need to choose happiness. Help yourself. You can do it yourself. For yourself.”

I was stunned. A flash of anger. Shock. Hurt. My heart hurt. Great, I thought. Like I need this shit after crying all day over Dale? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. And there was more. He was still talking as I lowered my head to my knees so he won’t see the tears. I felt his arms wrap around me.

“I’m so sorry. But you need to get happy. You’ve not been happy in a long time.”
I don’t even know how long I protested his words between tears. I hardly slept that night. I haven’t stopped thinking of what he said.

In and Out of Context
He drinks too much. He’s drowning himself in drink. Who gives credence to a drunk man? Not me. I’ve remained hurt and angry the past two weeks. Yep, I’m gruff, outspoken, sarcastic and tactless. Don’t ask if you don’t want to hear what I really think. Sure, I’ll admit to that. I already know some consider me unapproachable. And I prefer it that way. I have no use for ignorance, judgment, and bigotry. No energy to play political games at the office. I have my moments, I’ll admit it. But unkind or mean? Not so much. Expect others to solve my problems? Never. Despite all my bitching. What is he talking about? I thought he knew me better than that. Guess not. I can’t believe a friend would be so mean. Fuck you too…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The subject came up again this afternoon. I called girl child about working this weekend. In the middle of the conversation, she blurted out that she’s tired of being unhappy.

Clarity
As I talked to her, I flashed on something I read early this morning. A very wise friend wrote: why does anyone do anything anyway? To be happy.. I’m happy today.

It’s All Relative
I had to agree with her. Yes, I’m happier than I was a year ago. I have peace in my new house. I smile more. Laugh more. Dance more. Enjoy more. But happy? No. Not really. Not for a long time. We talked about how we do the same things day after day. How life and living is rote. That we create temporary diversions in an attempt to satisfy and carry us through a few more days or weeks or months or even years. Wouldn’t it be nice to force that change? Become less rote. Live simpler? Do things we wanted to do? Learn things we were interested in learning? And for us instead of others. “Come travel with me” I told her. “ Move with me. Start new.” How cheaply can we live? Where? We agreed to check some things out. Make an opportunity for each one of us. Can we? Oh Hell, we can do it. I can do it.

The Zen 2X4?
The drunk man hit me over the head with it. I’ll have to thank him. Things have been strained and uncomfortable between us the past two weeks. And there’s just no need for it to be that way. Yes, he is a friend. Yes, it’s been my denial about many things lately.

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