Hi Angel!

Well, I didn't catch my second wind after all...I just ALMOST had it but somewhere between laying on the couch for a few minutes thinking about you and waking up there 4 hours later, it slipped right by me :-). I guess my body knew what it needed even if my mind didn't want to accept it.

Funny how that works. Anyway, I'm still a bit fuzzy brained, but the coffee is brewing and I'm slowly coming out of the fog. Now I won't want to go to sleep tonight 'till late, I'll still wake up early in the morning and I've got a 12 hour "all nighter" waiting for me tomorrow night, then two more 8 hour "almost all nighter's" to follow that one. So goes the pattern. It is not shaping up to be a very fun week.

But in comparison to the last couple of weeks, nothing in my life has ever been very much fun. That may be a bit "dramatic" but not really. In the blink of an eye (the click of a mouse?) everything in my life...past, present, and future...has been given a whole new...and wonderful...perspective. The old to new, the ugly to beautiful, the lost to found, the darkness to light. And suddenly...magically...things are returning to balance.

Now comes the waiting. But even that is not as bad as the past times I have experienced waiting for something. Because, all of those times, the thing for which I waited for was FAR less beautiful and meaningful than what I am waiting for now. Only one thing is harder. The "missing you" part. It's interesting, in a way, in each of my previous long-term relationships there was this same waiting thing...this anxious anticipation for something (thought to be) better to come...and the distance thing too. And each time, the waiting times and distances grew progressively shorter while the level of anticipation got progressively greater. I'm not even sure why I thought of that or what (if anything) it means...just a passing thought I guess.

So, I should be used to should be almost second nature to me by now to not quite be able to have the thing I want where and when I want it. But I am NOT used to it and I don't like it worth a damn. All the time that is spent waiting between the wanting and the having...the dream and the reality...seems too much like time wasted. Time that could be spent enjoying each other...looking into each other's eyes...making love to each other. And in our case, that anticipation is almost a living thing. It breathes and pulses and flows in waves with a life of its own. And at times, it even seems to be more alive than I am. I go through my daily routines...working, sleeping, waking, working, sleeping, a machine. Footsteps falling in front of the other even as the moments of my life do the same, one after the other, with no real concentration or effort required because it is what I have always my life time itself works. And it feels so empty...colorless and meaningless...that automated, mechanical process of living.

The only thing that DOES matter are those thoughts between the footsteps...between the moments...the ones that also occur without much concentration or effort but contain within them the real meaning of life. Before you stepped magically into my life, even those thoughts were becoming (had already become?) colorless and meaningless. They were beginning to be just the brain's way of maintaining a conscious connection between the moments but held no useful purpose of their own. The time was fast approaching where the thoughts themselves would become as empty as the moments they connected.

I used to enjoy those "thoughtsteps" as I like to refer to them. They took me so many places...within myself-- which seemed a much better place than being "outside" myself and wandering through the physical world. That is where I found the inspiration for writing...creating. I even used the term "ink-stained thoughtsteps" in one of my poems (Blank Page?) as a metaphor for writing. It was my "challenge" my take a thought and explore it...examine it...shape it...extract whatever meaning might be found there, then put it to paper where it retained (hopefully) a tangible essence of "who I am", or felt myself to be. If it contained beauty, then I was able to see the beauty within myself brought to life. If it contained dark thoughts or pain, well, I knew that existed too and although it might not make me feel "good" about myself at least it was a way of "controlling" those thoughts. Somehow, putting them on paper or transforming them into something else through a creative process was a way of containing them, holding them at shining a light under the bed or in the closet to better see that which was feared. It was what I lived for. And while this may seem strange to some people, it was really all I knew how to do to make myself real TO myself. I know, though, that you understand this. And I know, even though you may not have thought of it in those terms, it is much the way you are.

It is of our nature to explore those inner places, whether they be dark or light...real or imagined...and try to make sense of it all, bringing it out into the "physical light" for ourselves (and sometimes others) to see. Our way of saying to the world and to ourselves, "LOOK...THIS is me...THIS is who I am...what I feel...THIS is what makes me REAL...I think, I write...or paint...or take pictures of my thoughts...and create...therefore I AM". It is that self-realization that eventually leads to self-ACTUALIZATION when the "product" of the creative process is completed regardless of which form it takes. Just as it is said that God created man in his own image...we create (or define?) ourselves in our own image through our art.

So, what happens when all the inner paths have been explored? What happens when every nook, cranny, and corner has been walked through, had the light shown on it...written about, dissected, examined, translated and externalized? And what happens when certain areas, once felt to be the only ones that really matter, have been closed, locked and sealed since there was no way TO externalize them into the physical world? What does a person then become...when everything inside has been brought outside except for those things that have no place to go? What happens when what HAS been brought outside was rejected by the very ones who claimed to love us? Well, I suppose a person becomes what I was becoming. One of the walking dead. The thoughtsteps between the moments become quieter...less determined...slowing to a crawl...and finally...stopping entirely.

What I had discovered about myself, both good and bad, how I defined myself and my views on life...who I WAS...became depleted, burned out, and empty. What point was there in knowing of my own inner worth and ability to love when it could not be put to practical use in my own life? When the knowledge and expression of one's inner self is the whole POINT of one's life (that fire in our eyes) and the expression of that life falls on deaf ears...when the light inside is cast out to the blind, then the life itself becomes pointless.

That is where you found me (or perhaps where we found each other?). The thoughtsteps growing silent, just hollow echoes of a time past when dreams still seemed real, where WE still seemed real, and life seemed to have promise. Echoes that were being drowned out by the monotonous drone brought on by the process of living those now disconnected moments. The fire was reduced to embers, an occasional flame licking out then rapidly dying away when there was no more fuel to consume...the breath of life (and love), necessary to fan the flames, seemingly fading as well.

We are both "survivors"...have lived through emotional (and sometimes physical) turmoils that often crushes others. We found a way to keep the moments going, although perhaps less meaningful than before. We had our work...our goals...our kids..and our responsibilities to all of those things to add whatever meaning they could to those moments that just kept coming. And maybe there was still a little hope and faith left as well as it is usually the last thing to go before one truly gives up the fight once and for all.

And I suppose the eventual outcome of our "survival techniques" would have been to become what you had made reference to in some of your own writing...becoming someone you hate. For myself, I was just getting lost in my work, which wasn't necessarily something I hated, but certainly, the "thrill was gone". I was finding it harder and harder to "come back to myself" when the day (or night) was over. I have always had a bit of difficulty making that does require some emotional energy to climb back over the walls of protection I build to keep the real-world horrors away from the "garden". And I was finding less and less of a reason to even expend the energy to do so. Because, once back inside the walls, I was all alone, with only myself to explore and examine things I already knew about myself...nothing new under the sun, so to speak. You can only read the same novel or watch the same movie so many times before you begin to question why you bother to do so at all.

The danger there, sticking with the garden metaphor, is that eventually, if a person DOES stop making the effort to visit and tend to what is there, the weeds begin to grow. And it is only a matter of time before the beauty is overcome and the good things are choked by the bad. Wait a bit longer and it's all gone. Then what? Stay outside the walls I suppose. Become just another robot, like so many people appear to be, seeking the goals...paying the bills...raising the the moments as they come...and dying inside.

That was what I saw for myself, and felt on some levels was to be the ultimate outcome to where my life would lead. My own words echoing in my mind "...only in the end you'll see, just what your life was meant to be...". And even though I knew, if I chose, that I could be "successful" and eventually even recognized for my life outside the walls, I would never be happy. In the end it would mean nothing to me, and I would fade externally and internally into some kind of bitter obscurity and become just as plastic and empty as the world full of other lost souls I see every day. I see those things...sense them, or others so often. I observe people...their eyes...their expressions...their interactions with others. I listen to the things they say and how they say them. I try to find something to connect to just to be friendly, but too often there is just nothing there. A vacant expression perhaps...unfocused and cold...a "business-like" approach to their work or their interests...a lack of compassion or an appearance of being too much in a hurry to care.

The guys talk of (what I consider to be) meaningless things...sports...hunting and fishing...getting drunk...or getting laid just for the "notch in the headboard" thrill of it. The women...sometimes a little more "real", talk about plans, but too often in a soulless or dispassionate way...complaining or comparing horror stories...then of course, the hair...the Everything so superficial. No depth. No warmth. Nothing to relate to except on surface levels where I do so poorly. I used to feel like such an alien...unable to understand why no one ever seemed to FEEL or project anything other than frustration and anger over trivial events in their lives. The only way I could "connect" was through humor...mostly slightly twisted sarcasm or subtle statements of observation about their "predicament" that hopefully showed them how unimportant these things were in what I thought to be the "big picture". It was my way of fitting in to a conversation and leaving a little food for thought behind. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. But it got tiring and I gained nothing from the encounter. After a while it just seemed easier to either keep my thoughts to myself or "join" them and skim along the surface of life being as unfulfilled as they were.

Then, there you were. Slipping in the "back door" to the garden...wandering and wondering about the things you were seeing. Reflections of yourself perhaps...little colorful bits of your own self scattered about...reminders of your own inner beauty, left untended for too long. Whatever you saw and whatever you felt, only you can know and it is not important for me to know in any real way beyond what you have already revealed. YOU have reminded ME of what is there. Through your eyes I see myself again. I, once again, hear those thoughtsteps. Once again, I am finding it worthwhile and meaningful to climb the walls and look at things again. You brought a new light into my life with what was left of the fire in your own eyes. The light you bring may be of a slightly different color than what was there before but it has made all the difference. I see the same things that were there but in deeper shades...more vibrant and alive than I had ever thought possible.

Instead of a single set of thoughtsteps, now there are two. And we dance together, in perfect rhythm, swirling and swaying within the almost-empty spaces between the moments...amongst the dreams. We are able to pass back and forth freely between each other's gardens, holding up the flowers of each other's souls and inhaling the fragrance of love that can again (or perhaps for the first time) be expressed and shared and allowed to flow freely between us. It is incredible and inspiring, these things you do for me. Delicious and almost overpowering. What I once mostly explored only in rhythm and rhyme, is now being expressed in new ways...through these meandering "stream of consciousness" essays I write to you...for you...about you...about us.

If we truly do create some of our own monsters then you are building the perfect beast. It is because of you that I now find meaning between the moments. Because of you that I can take a single thought and re-breathe that breath of life and love back into its core. Because of you that I can express physically that which has been kept locked away inside for so long, hidden from the harsh glare of false hope. You call me your Prince...your stud :-)...your light..and you give me a reason and purpose to BE those things. You provide the palette on which I can freely splash the colors of my soul in hopes of becoming your greatest masterpiece.

Now ask me again, like you did this weekend, "what can I do for you?". You have already done it. You are doing it every moment...every time you write...or call...or say "I love you" in the various ways you have been doing all along. You are fanning the flames and polishing the mirror that I want to be so that YOU can see in me what I see in YOU. All you have to "do" for me, now or in the future, is to love me. It's just that simple.

You said something else this weekend about questioning whether you were capable of giving or receiving love. That is like an eagle, soaring high above the earth, asking himself if he can fly. Ask yourself other questions instead..."do you love me?"..."do you feel loved BY me?". As long as you can say yes to the first question I will promise you that you won't even have to ask the second one. The only requirement is that you make it clear, first to yourself and then to me, on just what it is that makes you feel loved. You don't even have to tell me in words...a smile works just fine for me. I will do all that I am capable of doing to see that smile and know it is because of me.

You said that God sent me to you to help you balance the structured and abstract portions of your life. I could say the same. You said you have trouble sometimes with the abstract portions and I know, for myself, that I have trouble with the structured. THAT is the balance we will provide for each other, along with so many other things.

So, take care of the things that need to be attended to in those moments we call life. I know you are good at that and when we are together you can help me to do the same in those areas. Beyond that though, and more important to me, is to be allowed to hear, see, and feel the thoughtsteps in dance with you with my own. Paint me a picture of thirty years from now. Feel it in your soul, translate it with your heart and mind, and express it with your brush. Take pictures of life and emotions when you can. They are everywhere and you can capture them in black and white or color or in whichever hue they speak to you. But listen for them closely, let them speak TO you, then THROUGH me. Together we will make them speak to the world. And if the world doesn't care about, or can't see...or can't hear the thoughtsteps we express, we will still be able to dance, but never again have to dance alone.