selva oscura (anonymousblack) wrote,
selva oscura
anonymousblack

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where the jigsaw pieces of a broken man

i've got a lengthy post about ancestor work from a neurodivergent perspective sitting in gmail drafts. thursday, before my therapy appointment, i edited it for about an hour and a half on my phone. i felt like that was the session that turned a bunch of notes, interjections and tangents into a coherent and engaging essay about my spiritual practice, and i was excited to post it in plenty of time for samhain.

after therapy, i sat down to do final touches on the desktop. gmail didn't like me transitioning between devices and ate all my changes. this kind of shit happens to me all the time and i usually just cuss it out as an annoyance until i realize it's an opportunity to do it over and do it better. however, with Everything Else going on, the loss hit me a lot harder than usual. i'm still grieving.

so instead, i'm pulling a snippet of dialogue from that bunch of notes, interjections and tangents that constitutes my television series. this is doug, one of the main characters, who is living in a college town during what started out as his second semester in college. doug has recently rock bottomed and stalled out somewhat on the recovery process. here, he's talking to hector, a vietnam veteran in his late seventies who is renting doug his attic apartment for help around the house and a few dollars a month. their relationship is one of my favorite from the series. they help each other out of the respective holes they've fallen into and do so by deciding to help each other. i could've used a hector in my life when i was doug's age.

in the first part of this, before doug opens the door for hector, the italicized text is doug muttering to himself.

enjoy. hopefully i can figure out the other post before saturday.

*
hector
doug? are you — may i come in?

doug
shit! uh, yeah, hector, just give me a — air freshner, air freshener, somewhere in here i saw

hector
doug?

doug
oh—jesus! much worse. so much worse! sorry, i'm, uh

hector
you okay in there?

doug
what the fuck is aqua net?!

hector
doug.

doug
yeah?

hector
can we talk?

doug
okay. gimme a sec. god! it made everything sticky. um, hi.

hector
you’ve got quite the assortment of odors going on in here, son.

doug
uh, you caught me—smoking a—cigarette, and i know i said i wasn’t a smoker, i quit, i tried to quit but the stress of college, you know, so, uh—

doug
yeah.

doug
can i have a couple days?

hector
for what?

doug
before i move out.

hector
you’re moving out?

doug
you're a proud american veteran who sustained PTSD and other permanent injuries fighting for liberty and justice in far away lands who just caught some eighteen-year-old deadbeat slacker smoking pot in your attic.

hector
you really think i’m only figuring out about the cannabis now.

doug
oh.

hector
i was actually—good lord! what's that other smell? the horrible chemical one?

doug
air freshener, i thought.

hector
what air freshener?

doug
whatever was under the sink. i grabbed it when you knocked.

hector
oh, you know? when connie moved out in ’88 she left a bunch of her lady stuff in our bathroom. i didn’t have the heart to toss it, so i put it all up here. figured the boarders might get something out of it.

doug
like cancer?

hector
yeah, let’s get on the computer later and find a safe way to dispose of whatever that was. hopefully we won’t need a hazmat team. can i come in?

doug
okay. you can sit—here. sorry about the mess.

hector
what's the toilet paper tube about? unless i don't want to know.

doug
oh, that's like, a filter? you put a fabric softener sheet on one end and exhale into the other. it hides the smoke smell.

hector
no, it does not.

doug
well, i dropped it and coughed when you knocked and, uh, no. i guess it doesn't.

hector
so i'll get right to it. we don’t really know each other, but i guess i might be worried about you.

doug
oh.

hector
it’s not my business, so don’t feel like you have to answer, but have you been going to your classes?

doug
um… i dropped a lot of my classes. actually. i dropped all of them. mostly because i wasn’t going.

hector
i wondered because i haven’t seen you—when i’ve seen you head out, it’s not at regular times. and you almost never have books with you.

doug
yeah—i’ve just—i don’t know. i’ve been wandering around town. reading trash fiction at the library. drinking coffee at the student union. i sold my books for the cash.

hector
are you seeing any of your friends?

doug
i don’t have a lot of friends. out here.

hector
i see.

doug
. . .

doug
i don’t have friends.

hector
so i’m right to feel concerned.

doug
i used to have friends. i used to have classes. i used to have potential and brains and a half dozen smart and unbelievably beautiful women viciously competing for my attention. now i have weed and spotify.

hector
when connie left me, i went through something like this. i shut down. i self-medicated. except it wasn’t weed, for me. for me, it was booze.

doug
yeah. so, um, my relationship with alcohol was largely what got me where i am, today.

hector
i’d be lying if i said booze didn’t have anything to do with connie’s leaving in the first place.

doug
stuff got pretty seriously fucked up, late last year. it was all a huge mess by christmas. i almost feel like—i feel like i had this one chance to get back on track, but i messed that up, too. now i sort of feel like i’m

hector
slowly dissolving into nothing.

doug
. . .

hector
you know, it’s not one chance. it’s never one chance. even if you have the rare opportunity for one grand decision that completely and permanently changes some aspect of your life, there’s the decision you make after you make that decision. then there's the decision you make after that. it’s little steps. it’s accepting consequences. it’s taking ownership of who you are and what you do. being a better person, that’s not a decision you make once. that’s a decision you make over and over again for the rest of your life. it’s a process. a never ending process that you’ll tempt yourself from, and trick yourself out of, and lose your way from. and sometimes? you’re going to convince yourself that you’re a lot more lost than you actually are. because sometimes, it’s easier to believe you’re too lost to come back.

doug
i don’t know how that could be the case. that i’m not as lost as i think i am. i’ve seriously hurt people. in ways i don’t know that i can come back from.

hector
well, that’s something you need to come to terms with. because not being able to come back from hurting someone is no excuse for hurting someone else.

doug
i'm—scared that—the way i treated people. when i was really in the worst of this. the things i said, the places i left things when i—ran away. part of the reason i'm hiding like this is i'm terrified that what i did says something bad about who i am as a person.

hector
it does. it always has. it always will.

doug
jesus, hector, where did you learn to give pep talks?

hector
i ain't giving you a pep talk. last thing you need right now is someone telling you nothing's as bad as you think it is and it'll all work itself out fine in the end. best thing that can do is annoy you, because you know it's bullshit. worst thing is it makes you even more complacent, because you want to believe it isn't. pep talks ain't gonna get you out the other side of this hell you've made for yourself. ignoring guilt won't make it go away. hiding from the people you mistreated won't make you any better than the person you were when you mistreated them.

doug
but at least it won't make me any worse.

hector
i got a few years of experience on you, son, and i beg to differ. what you're feeling is your conscience, and the only way you're going to start feeling better is by listening to what it knows you've got to do to start feeling better.

doug
. . .

hector
do you want to talk to your parents? i could help.

doug
unless you really are about to throw me out, i’m not ready to deal with my parents.

hector
i’m not throwing you out. i got all kinds of doctor’s appointments and yard work for you, coming up.

doug
okay.

hector
and i got family too, so i get if you aren’t ready to talk to them. but i can’t imagine that you’ve got a lot of money right now, especially if you’re cashing out your textbooks.

doug
i didn’t exactly need to do that. it helped, but it was mostly that i couldn’t look at them anymore.

hector
i understand.

doug
so with money, i’m good for a few more months, but…

hector
i’m willing to wave the monetary portion of your rent if you can get me some...

doug
…aqua net?

hector
is that new slang?

doug
oh—oh. you mean. yeah—yeah. i could do that.

hector
i’ll pay for it, i just don’t have connections.

doug
i’m not, like, enabling you?

hector
i guess that’s always a risk. i'm primarily interested in seeing if it helps the sciatica, but i also remember having a pretty different relationship with it, back in the day. i definitely had a healthier relationship with it if i was smoking with a friend. which is my plan.

doug
you mean me?

hector
don't see any other eighteen-year-old deadbeats living in my attic.


Tags: brood st, dialogue
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