Tony DeLorger © 2016
By midday the old liquid amber that hung so gracefully over the rippled shed roof, cooled it down a little despite the noon sun, and at times like this I often escaped to its cool silent embrace. With ice cold beer in hand and seated comfortably on the old velvet lounge at its center, I melded with the shadows and cool mustiness of this, my private most sacred den.
The swing doors of the shed were cut brutally in half by the intense outside light, the shard like a laser line cut through the room, partially illuminated it contents. A few slapped together benches and shelves, tools hung on hooks and pieces of hose, tubing, wire, and lengths of old timber hung from the roof supported by ropes. If they were alive at some point, on some esoteric level, they were now dead, dust-covered and lifeless. The old lounge appeared out of place, being the only object not baring cobwebs, but its rather antiquated orange colour and design at least fitted in with the rest; not that it mattered. The earth floor was cool against my bare feet and this very rudimentary sanctum of solace had a comfort that the rest of the world lacked. This was my thinking place, my cave, my solace, as disorganised and ratty as it may have seemed.
I sat quietly, pensively. Here, the dark serenity evoked memories, and snippets of childhood sprang to mind: like at age eight, staring at a lone grey mouse in the kitchen that must have lived under the fridge, and at night alighted to scour the floor for crumbs. In my bed, with the yellow light of the kitchen radiating like a mist down the hall, I remember wondering what this creatures was thinking, did it live in fear of humans and what was all that twitching about? Then, these were topics of interest. And often that lone mouse held my attention enough to temporarily distract me from the tirades of verbal confrontation between my parents, echoing in the background. Every time this happened, and it was often, I’d hold my breath, well at least I tried, until real silence prevailed and my aphonic prayers answered. This was just life, and although it scared me at that age, I accepted it, as kids do.
Another sip of the amber and I perused the shed; nail holes in the corrugated tin walls and roof were like breaks in the canopy of a rainforest, the tiny radiating shards like strings of light set at random angles, spotting the room with its cumulative front. It felt comforting and I imaged all those rainforest sounds, birds and monkeys squawking amid the green profusion. And all those musty smells of mulching debris and nature’s transformations seemed present here, with a little imagination of course. All this within complete silence, a dusty shadow of lifeless space, my blank canvas of thought; always at my beckoned call.
I often sifted through the past here, not for any maudlin reason, just fascinated how I got here, as bruised and scarred as anyone could be, but still trying to learn from it, to glean any modicum of wisdom afforded.
Marriage, now there’s a subject! How many are socially acceptable in failure, or seen to be frivolous, naive or simply ill-fated? Maybe even worse, one could be seen as an eternal optimist, perhaps considered mentally unstable. Or much worse, a romantic. The very realisation had my internal genitalia rise to the general vicinity of my throat, manhood receded neatly into the dark oblivion as a smooth-crutch-ed eunuch.
Why, I muse, do we so surrender to these cultural fairy tales as perfect love and forever bliss, when reality shows something so entirely different? We begin well-intentioned, our vision blurred by the overwhelming emotions of falling in love, but ‘falling’ is an apt description, as when we indeed hit the ground, love looks very different, and the reality often a little too tedious to deal with. We then pretend the change isn’t happening. We are grateful for what we have, but eventually, when all we thought is proved false, it’s hard to maintain the lie. Then, relationships just fall apart, after a few years or twenty years, often both sides lost in the let down and no-one willing to face the consequence, or worse adjust, compromise. A sad truth of our inadequacy and humanity.
So who’s to blame? I consider. Neither I believe, it is the expectation in the first instance that places each party in an uncompromising stance. And while the honeymoon is on, everyone on best behaviour, all is well. But when the sex subsides, and it will, because one or both is too tired, too stressed and the thought of exchanging bodily fluids repulsive, well, reality has indeed reared its ugly head. What remains is the fundamental characters of both parties, their ability to reason and accept imperfection and who they truly are. Only then, with much work and accommodation can any two people even live together in harmony, let alone have a lifetime love affair. You see the odds are well and truly stacked against us, divorce statistics attest to that.
And I have repeated this travesty three times: married, divorced, married, divorced, married and finally, for the last time, divorced. A tinge of self-loathing and inadequacy suddenly straddles my hunched spine as I speak. Oh woe is me! But I’m not the only one, I do know that, so I guess if I am an imbecile, at least I’m not alone. I don’t question where I went wrong, I’ve done that for far too many years, so now I question why I did it at all. I know the answer to that too: all my kids, I wouldn’t have them if I hadn’t have married. So, in the end its all worth it, from that particular perspective, and life is just a ride that gives your welts and sleepless nights of questioning. Perhaps I should leave it at that. Amazing what’s generated from this dull space covered with tin. Maybe its a time machine or portal to some magical sphere where synapses clink like a cacophony of wedding glasses during a toast.