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  • Writer's pictureJ. Wilson

Homeless Father Shares His Story: I knew a girl once.

You can't figure out where the dark learned your name. It dances for you its peculiar figures and forms. Muse to the moonlight a suggestion it plays, off its dazzle and spun from the fiddle a firefly's hum dity, the melody reaches through your soul and nudges back and forth a sway upon your legs. Fresh the frigid crisp it whispers delicately across the skin upon your face. And in its bond you pull close, pressed upon its cloak, the only offer of cover beneath this moon this endless night. Its energy surrounds and invades. You find distraction in all that once stood foot upon your worries and held thumb upon your fright. Its locksmith made its key by now, and deliberation is needless... If you recall, I made the claim that you saved me. That was no tall tale. However, I never explained how, nor have I comprised the proper language in which to adequately depict the events which took place a year ago. In fact, there were two such occasions. I will tell you of one.

Events Preceding This PostRight as a freezing winter season strikes, so too does my good fortune. After following my best friend, Crizzo, and taking refuge in a place called Tent City in Hillsboro, Oregon months prior, the program's organizers, Project Homeless Connect, recieve the funds to put most of the homeless inhabitants into hotels until Spring. I'm one of the lucky few, and for more than a month I enjoy the warmth and safety of a hotel room while I continue my pursuit of relaunching my career. During this time, Sarah continues with good viligance the responsibilities she had once assumed of monitoring my mental health to ensure I am fit to be in public and represent myself on the job market. She also, through related friends, keeps tabs on my ex-wife's actions so that she may be alerted if anything comes up that could jeapordize my stability, should I learn of it on my own when she was not around. As luck would have it, such an event occurs. In a safe environment, Sarah takes on the difficult and sensitive task of delivering heart-crushing news to a man with limited capacity for additional pain. For the most part, her efforts are successful. I have several minor episodes during the first week with very little consequence to anyone besides myself, until eventually my mind regresses and ejects the information altogether (I have no memory of what Sarah told me that day). However, one of those minor episodes is enough to draw the concern of the program's supervisors. A swift decision is made to eject me from the program and I'm given a half hour to gather my things and leave. It is 35 degrees outside, midafternoon. This action does not look good to the support I had spent months acquiring, as well as my own family. One by one, my support system falls away, including a potential business partner with whom I had spent months in discussions over a project. My mental illness is triggered further and I began to spiral. Alone and freezing with nowhere to go, I find myself at Sarah's doorstep once again. Having struggled with her own mental illness and financial situation for the past year, Sarah is already on the verge of becoming homeless as well. Feeling partly responsible for my downturn, her mental health takes a big toll. After I had failed to seek treatment as she had requested of me several times, she decides that taking care of me and helping me manage my illness iss too much for her and it is time to part ways. Almost a full year after becoming homeless, I walk away from Sarah's home with little more than what I began this journey with, but now I have lost all hope...

Dedicated to the Women of My Life, The Stepping Stones to My Humanity; for with loving patience have you accepted my affliction; for open wide have you held the door to my aspirations; for of love and kindness have you deemed me worthy; I bow respectfully and thank thee for proving to the world time and again that I am, in fact, a Human Being. - The Homeless Father

I knew a girl. Her name was Sarah. She taught me something...In a day's drift, I watch all I had acquired and built in six months of harsh existence crumble withered to bitter salt of the Earth and carry away to the wind's oblivion. All of it... The wind returns nothing it takes. Ever. It whistles the score as it passes again. It speaks not of fates, either good nor bad. It confers with your silence to turn away now and not look back... To not pause one moment of speculation... To deny hope's beg for attention... To move on... Once again, an angle precise and sharp, my step lands in a whole nother direction, and across this world shall I dance the patterns of right angles, leaving all I ever had or needed far behind, bound by the perimeter of the prior. I will not grow accustomed to it and move along matter-of-factly without the spilling of all such tears damned up until this very moment, because I will not lose my humanity. I will not lose my heart. This is not my life. This was never meant to be my life. Yet, here am I. I recall the sanctity of a warm house and a friendly face, and often right when I needed it most, a tight hug. It falls to my rear for tow among the other things I can no longer have nor reach forth and touch. One might think shivering hungry throughout the night or endless walking upon a grossly swollen knee would be where my pain lies. No, sir. It lays right here in my heart. So sulken this covid-born world, I need no disease and the thousands upon deaths it does so toll to feel the apocalypse surround and engulf and squeeze to a crushing loss of breath the bones of my body. But an apocalypse means the end; the end of One Great Thing. And yet, I find only many beginnings of things anew I hadn't yet witnessed so far along this trek, various to their numbers and stripped of due relevance, and wicked ever each the one. And these mountains, when not rough and steep and exerting upon my lungs, the trails wind with harsh and confusion its curves, and malicious attempts awaiting beyond every one.

A Man Who Hates GoodbyesI begin a goodbye letter that will never make it to its intended recipient, because my world no longer grants me closure of things that spike my pain and bitter my heart, and such is the nature of this new life which has claimed my latter years. To My Best Friend, My Rock, My Sister, I know you have to go. I can't say I wasn't expecting it. I can't say that I even disagree with it. I know you didn't sign up for this. Even though you could have turned away, look at the challenges you took on, look at the hardships you allowed to flow through your life, despite their collisions across many boundaries instilled to safeguard your sanity. I know your intentions are sincere. I know there is no choice here which offers a lighter pressure upon the conscience nor a gentler squeeze of the heart. However, you should know by now the phrase I need space has only one meaning in my world. It carries a finality in its tone all too familiar. I cannot escape the conclusions of my intellect any more than you can impose direction upon yours. I told you about the dark, didn't I? I'm sure I did. I wrote this about it a while back: You can't figure out where the dark learned your name. It dances for you its peculiar figures and forms. Muse to the moonlight a suggestion it plays, off its dazzle and spun from the fiddle a firefly's hum dity, the melody reaches through your soul and nudges back and forth a sway upon your legs. Fresh the frigid crisp it whispers delicately across the skin upon your face. And in its bond you pull close, pressed upon its cloak, the only offer of cover beneath this moon this endless night. Its energy surrounds and invades. You find distraction in all that once stood foot upon your worries and held thumb upon your fright. Its locksmith made its key by now, and deliberation is needless. If you recall, I made the claim that you saved me. That was no tall tale. However, I never explained how, nor have I comprised the proper language in which to adequately depict the events which took place a year ago. In fact, there were two such occasions. I will tell you of one. The day I dropped you off on a cold evening and with a smile I simply said goodnight. I gave no indication of my next destination. You knew not the other world in which I coexisted, nor could you. You knew not the danger surrounding me. You realized not my pending survival of an environment no less chaotic or hazardous than a warzone. In fact, you knew nothing upon which you might have acted. Yet, you already had… A long while back, I had written the following for my record in case I ever forgot. There was one voice, and it came to me, not with anger or disappointment or defeat, but with the tone and softness a skilled musician and natural singer who will doubtless one day be restored high orchestration above the angels. And its repetition demanded my notice. Its haste spiked my concern. Its tone never wavered. Its message never broke consistency. The delivery allowed no distraction. It offered nothing of consumption for this Disease of Thought, which by now had spread beyond my conscious control. And with this, did I take it seriously. And with this did it form so brilliant a pattern's fraction as to draw speculation from an engineer's mind, even that from behind a shadow burnt remnant to its own absence. It seared redundancy straight through my frozen psyche and awoke its senses to the taste of a promised resolution. And this pattern did in fact trace across the space of something existent elsewhere in some former time when perhaps my reality held contrast, and in that I did recognize an external stimulus laying urgent siege upon my senses in which I could trust. It compelled me... So I followed... And I tripped and stumbled... And I returned again to my feet... and I followed some more... And I inched my feet away from hell's gates where death sought to claim my childrens' father, and the road ahead grew out from its shadow with light, and the light cast my faulty perceptions to size, and my fears revoked, and reduced were all such projections now cast to once-erroneous borders and assumptions. And I decided... I decided then simply to, well, make a decision... So I thank that beautiful soul blessed by the heavens, with so kind and smooth her voice, for the endless broadcast to ping my heart from the depths, and to carry with it a message so vital, so critical, with strength and clarity. Your children need you. Go to the hospital. And now, I'm so terribly sorry for the upturn in your life, for the exploited feelings of a true empath who found herself one day knelt before the ditched body of a dying man. I'm so terribly sorry for the loss. I'm so terribly sorry for the heartache. But mind the lyrics for this song, please, and listen close, will you, my sister? For you will find no tragedy here. I was born beneath the fold and out of reach to grow into size a man so capable of creating and caring for and loving without condition such a beautiful family for a lifetime. Most burdened by severe mental illness would likely spend their life in abandonment and suffering, and thus never come to know the warm cuddling of his own daughter or learn the fervent melody of his woman's loving heart. Yet, look what I did... Look at the beauty I beheld for more than half my life... Look at the magic I witnessed... Look at the love I received… Look at the acceptance I enjoyed... There is no way forward into this world, which arms itself now against me and turns its head with horror at the revelation of my many faces. The mentally afflicted too often waste their steps and squander their time attempting to cross this bridge, and unfortunately I cannot cross now again or ever. I am a great disruption. This world will simply not have me. It was not designed to grant the accommodations a happy life by which my definition would so stipulate. But with such horror to manifest upon my life these final years, I say to you, I was one of the lucky few to walk this Earth. I smiled direct into the eyes of the Scammer, but laughed at the scandal under my breath, of which I took a much greater quantity more than likewise obtained from me. I leave this world one day in surplus of its love and joy and with no bitterness in my carry, and I will shed my pain here in whole before that day expires. Should it come sooner than the time I need to reunite with them, I want my children to know me. I want them to know that, yes, I suffered from deep, severe mental illness, and for me to lose what I should have never had but somehow obtained was irreconcilable. I want them to know this because I want them to know that they do not suffer from those same ailments. Fear does not wage war across their minds to the unfortunate collateral of their souls. It is ok for them to love. It is not only okay to do so, it is required. Know this, if anything, the Mentally Ill typically endure a tremendous amount of suffering, loneliness, and fear throughout their lives, with or without proper treatment. However, I was never afraid, rarely was I alone, and a mere fraction of my life ever was claimed by such suffering, when it all adds up in the end, that is. And despite the suggestion that I could never responsibly create a family of my own, I knew that they were waiting eagerly to meet the father their very own fates had contrived. And I did truly love their mother. And my heart did break for her, as it was supposed to. For a block of ice does not break clear from an iceberg and drift to its own current without the avalanche of its most troubled shards to rain chaos into the sea. And please let the record show, I did in fact forgive her, as any one with love in his heart ought to. The story which beheld my identity and played host to my journey was not only well-written, it was brilliant. It was a masterpiece. And now, I hand to them a gift. This gift will manifest upon reflection of the life I lived; the love I offered others and never held it short of reach to bias; the great things I did in fact accomplish; and the trails I blazed in spite of the world's cruel blockades and detours; when in fact I should have lived a life sufferable by endless darkness, so that they may go before the world with pride and declare, I am my father's child; look at the decent man he was. In the end, whenever that day shall come, regardless of the conclusion and irrelevant the score, and despite the pain I had come to know firsthand, I wasted not one of my hours or minutes, nor squandered away any of my precious few moments, regretting the decision I made a long time ago when I felt the melody entice movement across my soul; to stop sitting around and rise to my feet, for I felt the urge to dance... And it was one hell of a dance…

The Beginning of the EndAs I gaze forward into the darkness swallowing each my steps with incessant appetite, my reflection takes note of an observation: this playing field seems set each and every morning upon awakening. As if the game makers had spent all night in endless collaboration to measure precise and unmistakable all intended challenges to meet and satisfy the Gamemaker's number one rule - an unmistakable truth with universal application and acceptance echoed interminably across this world: Life will never hand you more than you can handle. Our belief in this only strengthens with each and every day we awaken to survive yet another as evidence unmistakable. We bother not to poll the beliefs of those who did not awaken today, for they no longer speak. And, unfortunately, we do not bother to evaluate further this playing field as it is set for an individual with mental disease. For all intents and purposes, the field appears to be the same for all who play... However, if you examine the field a little closer, you will spot the difference within its tracks of mud. For an additional set of footsteps mark the presence of yet another player; an opponent, as of yet a mythical scappegoat for the ill mind's desire to continuously and thoroughly thrash the wrecking ball about until all who once cared have eventually turned thier back to the absurdity. But I assure you, this opponent exists and active he is to play hard against me. Furthermore, he requires no rest nor takes he any pause. There was a day I had everything, and not one thing fell to the wayside by accident or carelessness. But the magnificence of that day in particular has no meaning elsewhere to this hour. It provides no further accommodation in this place, nor grants of any permission to bypass what is here and now, nor shall it furnish any such resource for which my desperation begs; it does not open that door over there or the one up ahead. It is a memory and only a memory. It exists an idle thing with no other active role than to help me remember. To help me remember that which is important. My happiness remains at large to this hour, and while I worry for it's safe return, such an event is not required for the world to continue and the moon and its stars to shine endless their declarations. The day when I could rely on any such happenstance not bound by the physics of eventuality is over. I shall keep my misery stowed away in my pocket. I will not spread its effect upon you. It will not be given such freedom. Always, shall you see a smile upon my face. If you have been my friend and bestowed upon me your consent of worthiness, I owe you the least. However, now is the hour I find myself, to no small surprise, in a place hardly different than my imagination's worst conjure, and I challenge for a moment an exercise of enlightenment. If you would not mind closing your eyes and rendering with vivid allowance such a place as it exists in your psyche. If such a world were you to awaken in the morning, to whom would be the first call you made, and what exactly would you say? Now imagine, if you will, that moments before they had recieved a phone call from a well-known and highly-trusted pyschiatrist advising that you were likely suffering from mental delusions and to take any claims you made with a grain of salt... You have now imagined, in essence, the scenario which long ago became my reality. Despite the many years I've suffered the life of a man afflicted by this Disease of Thought, my logic and wisdom fails to travel beyond these gates, and it is within these boundaries where I'm held prisoner, for the time being. I stand not in a place where fates often march into willingly, nor do they stumble out of easily. And there exists not one person on this planet who would ever know to come in and help me find my way out.

The Tracks of Humanity End Where the Trail of My Disease BeginsIn the latter years of my life, on the day the train slowed to a stop and mankind looked to the ground before him, confounded, at trackless dirt leading off to a trail blazed only by an imagination rendering of what ought to be there but had not been built, leaving half full a locomotive, shed of the other half with ambition still to find a new trail. And for those without thought for themselves, a resolution would come by simply declaring the start of a new era; the Era of the Evolution of Definition. A time when Mankind's growth stunts and its very definition picks up the torch. Let us exaggerate an example for absurdity's sake. Should you need to be in New York by an impossible time? Say no more, for I shall get you there with time to spare. Allow me to recount and thus redefine the steps required for a mile, and I will have you in New York by sundown. Like subjecting a frame of reference from two perspectives in contradiction upon a wave of particles moving at the speed of light, which by law must remain constant across the spectrum yet here finds itself in conflict. Upon which end of physics shall there exist any give or pull? On the same notion, if my mind's continuance survives only after the successful event on surpassing a wall, a mental barrier of sorts, yet finds the object immovable upon collision, in what form or manner does my mind indeed continue? As a point of reflection upon the current phase of mental stability I now wander into knowingly, shall only sink deeper into needless reflection with each and every step. This mind and its beautiful capacity for calculation, cast to the mule's burden of my feet down an endless, lonely path till I meet with fate at the ends of the Earth… ...rejected.

The Hum of EternityAnd just when I fear the trail's end grows near and my mind shuffles frantic for the solution catalogued previously for the roadblock I stand before now, I discover a gift. A gift manifested from another mind; one with apparent insightfulness beyond what I might have previously conceded. Written a few weeks ago in my Google Keep, titled quite appropriately, The Place We Go Next I discover a place where the streets lay with perfect pave, the gutters clean as new, not a sign of trash or needless debris, the families together and happy, always, and the mountainside a spectacular view of which my needful eyes could never tire of its remedy. And here, my fate closes in... and the reel slows... and the memories pause... forever... As I walk down the street, silence. No noise to manifest itself upon the rumble of the ears' vibration. I see my two littlest children run to me, their mouths moving with speech I cannot hear nor decipher. They stop and let me reach them... Smiling and singing and giggling, my daughter, her smile so precious, its crease to tuck in tight across perfect skin to unveil that face as it did nearly nine years ago to bless our days from heaven, prancing with a skip and a hop as she always felt compelled whenever filled with happiness. I see their lips moving. I feel the melody, taste the laughter. Yet, I hear no noise... The ring constant to my ear, endless and always, that fell instant upon me to stamp its memory on my every miserable moment without pause since the day the mirror fell and the glass shattered, as I had cursed to leave from me every day since... gone from me now... The hum of eternity; that which remains once every word has been spoken enough and voice no longer carries purpose or shout, and with the Air of Bliss do we breathe, the graceful host of heavens upon Earth, lifted sudden and swift our minds up and above the reach a clear separation from our pain. And here is redemption that carries you, and all you need do is smile... You're going to be ok... You..

Thank you for letting us share your story and putting a story to the face of homelessness and what you guys go through. Thank you.

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