June 30, 2009

The Squeeze is On

Johnny looked out the window and stared aimlessly into space. Blue skies were all that he could see, endless blue skies punctuated by the occasional roof line. He sighed, long and deep and shook his head. Blue skies were supposed to be symbolic of hope and possibility. Blue skies were so often used by writers to help describe the feeling of what could be.

But as the ubiquitous "they" said, he wasn't feeling it.

No hope, no possibility. Not now, not today, not at this moment. Because at this very moment he felt like an anaconda had wrapped itself around his trunk and was slowly squeezing him to death. He grunted and looked for the head of the snake. If he could wrap his hands around it he would return the favor and teach the reptile that two could play the game.

The thought made him laugh. What the hell was he doing thinking about wrestling with a fake snake, but it was classic Johnny. He had a plan for how to deal with it and he knew that he was capable. Didn't matter how big that sucker was, Johnny was built for demolition, broad shoulders and hands that looked like they could crush boulders made it clear that this was so.

But there wasn't a snake. All he was doing was engaging in a game of mental shadow boxing. It made him feel better to do so. It was easier to paint a face onto the troubles that had plagued him for the past four years. Easier to give it some sort of name that he could curse and hate.

Again he laughed, such strong words, curse and hate but that was the feeling and in some ways it wasn't a bad description. He had lived with frustration for so long that there were moments were it felt like rage. Rage was an old friend, familiar and comfortable. He had never acted upon it and probably never would.

The closest he came was a heavy bag he kept in his garage. Sometimes at night he would slip into the garage and pound that bag into submission. Two hundred pounds of sand was supposed to keep it from moving, but it wasn't enough. Johnny and his fists of fury would batter it repeatedly and after a while it would slowly start rocking and sliding around the garage floor.

That fists of fury line made him snort. It was a ridiculous description, but he needed it. He needed to find a way to keep dreaming and to keep believing that things would turn around. He needed to feel like there was hope.

Intellectually he understood that there was no question that things would change. He was an active participant in his life. He was working to make things happen. He analyzed his actions and adjusted so that he could optimize his performance.

But emotionally he was beat up and worn out. Emotionally he felt like he was the bag that had been battered. Emotionally he felt used up and torn apart and that made it harder to deal with the frustration and feelings like it just didn't matter how hard he tried.

Someone told him that god never gives you more than you can handle and received a glare that forced them to turn and look away. At the time Johnny felt more like he had stolen fire from the gods and was being punished for it.

But there was sort of a grain of truth that he took from it, at least something that resonate with him. He was a dreamer. He was a man who had to believe that somehow he could live out his dreams and though it seemed impossible now, maybe it wouldn't be later.

So he sighed again and stared out the window and told himself that if he put his head down and kept trudging forward it had to get better. One day he'd be on the other side, because he just couldn't believe in anything else.

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