I Am A Liar, I am An Addict, I Am Afraid, I Am Alone

by dschapman

They say you can never recover from nerve damage. Others say that isn’t true. I choose to believe it isn’t true. I shiver at the very thought. How does food taste in the hospital, does it taste bland? I can’t even answer the question. My father drives with his knee, shaking the car around on the highway. “Put your hands on the wheel please,” I ask him. He tells me he can drive with his knee. I ask him again and he consents.

We talk about the social contract. I am in love with it. I call it society itself. It is powerful. If the social contract is not real and powerful, a powerful force, then nothing is. The social contract saved my life; it gave me everything I have; it brought me into this world. When I violated it, it nearly killed me; but when I returned, broken and twisted in half, it saved my life and sent me walking through the valley of the hourly prayer, where the spirit of the Lord lives.

In the lap of the dry river valley, overlooking the shadows of Main Street, I looked up with my eyes at the Lord and I walked with him. I walked it for myself, as far as I could, and then I walked a little farther. The valley opened up wider and calmer and nourished me with precious manna. I drank it as though dew from a leaf, settled in a foggy morning, alone with your memories and, more importantly, regrets.

I carved a statue and called it “Shame,” and then I carved another and called it “Guilt.” Guilt is a man and Shame is a woman and then I thought to myself, “I could eat some relish on a hotdog. I could eat a hotdog with some relish.”