Behind the lens
Weekly writing prompt: What do you want more of in 2016? What do you want less of in 2016?
I can’t believe I have to do this. I’m a 37-year old man and I have homework from my therapist. This is ridiculous. I shouldn’t ever have listened to my sister when she told me I needed to “talk out my feelings” to a complete stranger. Now this woman’s sent me home with a list of questions for my goals for 2016. This whole “talk therapy” is a crock of shit — talking about the things that upset me only makes me more upset. The only thing I’m “working through” is $500 for 50 minutes of my therapist’s condescending stare and psycho-babble manipulations to get me to answer her fucking questions.
At least I get to answer these alone in the privacy of my own house. My empty house.
Between my therapist and my sister, I’m not getting off the hook, so I might as well start. “What do you want more of in the first four months of 2016?” How about some sleep, for starters? Lying awake every night staring at the ceiling gets old after a while. It took me thirteen years to get used to having someone in my bed and now I can’t sleep alone. The silence is deafening. I even miss hearing her snore; those soft snores that used to both annoy me and charm me. I hate having the covers all to myself. I miss her freezing feet on my skin. My bed is enormous and uninviting. A slab of loneliness. No spot is comfortable.
I want more privacy. I want to be left the fuck alone so I can grieve in peace. I want everyone to stop hovering over me like I’m some sort of fragile Faberge egg. I know my sister means well, but if she asks me how I’m feeling one more time I’m gonna blow. I can’t afford to blow right now. Not after…everything.
I want to be able to go for a run. I want to sweat out this anger without a mob following me. I want to be left alone for fuck’s sake without everyone thinking I’m going to bail, or shoot myself. I need an escape. I need to get away from the memories and the lingering smells and the pictures in the family room that haunt me. Or mock me? What’s wrong with that? Why can’t I just disappear for a while? Who cares what it “looks like.” I don’t. But my attorney does. He’s all about appearances. He lives his life like Botox: frozen and fake.
I want to have a drink without everyone thinking I’m falling back into my old ways. It’s just a drink, not a bottle. Twelve steps don’t mean shit when I don’t have someone worth working them for. I never minded myself when I was a drunk, and now it’s just me so why’s it matter?
“What do I want more of in 2016?” I want my life back. I want my wife back.
“What do you want less of in 2016?” I want no reporters. I want those vultures to get off my lawn and stop pointing their mics and accusations in my face every time I open the front door. I want fewer headlines. Eight days ago I was a nobody, and now I’m an everybody: the grieving husband, an accused man, a relapsed addict, a flight risk. I want to stop living my life under the microscope of judgement where everyone picks apart every smile (how can he smile at a time like this?) or every uttered word. I want to get back to work and get behind the camera lens instead of in front of it. I want to stop seeing that picture of my wife on the news. I took that photograph – the one where she’s lying back on that old quilt I spread under the tree, her auburn hair splayed around her like a halo. The one where she’s laughing at her own modesty, never admitting how beautiful she is and feeling shy whenever I pointed my camera at her. The one where she’s throwing her head back in laughter, her hands clasped in front of her heart. The one where her sapphire blue eyes are smiling and they’re looking right at me as I towered over her pointing my camera at her delicate face. The one that makes my insides burst every time I see it — then bursting with happiness and now bursting with pain. I don’t know who gave it to that reporter who’s been harassing me since they found her, but I don’t want to see it anymore. And I don’t want anyone else to see it either. That’s my picture. That’s MY wife. I don’t care how it looks or who believes me. She’s my wife and I didn’t kill her.