me wanting to be a sailor-with my brother Frank

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

The hardest part about being alone is not being able to talk things out with someone-someone close.
I have a void that I am unable to fill because of so many personal issues-being a ‘survivor’ is paramount on that list.
Today I travel. I still have not packed-it is almost as if I expect it not to come…the time to leave.
Yesterday I cashed in a sack of beer cans….three crisp one dollar bills was my return-my total traveling funds.
That too could be a reason it is difficult for me to have a companion.
How do you explain-I’m broke,yet walk humbly with God?

I know for certain-my issues…which I know are mental health issues-are always in the way. The mental health issues are not because I’m sick and out of control-they are because I am a survivor.

I know that makes no sense,but it does. I look at this photograph of my brother and I and see many images that bring back many memories. To anyone who would pick up this photograph the image is of two people,a boy and his brother-one trying to be like the other. I see that too yet I’m in the picture and can see much more because I know more.

The house in the background is where Mr.Hoke killed himself-it couldn’t have been much more than a year before this picture was taken. My brother-standing here in his uniform,was first go into the cellar after Mrs.Hoke came screaming over to our house. I knew why she was screaming-because my pal and I had seen Mr.Hoke shoot himself only hours earlier. A secret we kept well,an accidental secret-even Mr.Hoke never knew. My brother did not know either and I know what he found,and alone…Mr.Hoke with a massive wound to his head.

It was a troubling time. Our sister had died too-not too many years before this picture was taken,my guess would be two? Mr.Hoke….we all called him Hokey,was laid out in his casket in the same spot my sister was. I will always remember that,going up to her casket-I was so small they had to set up a step for me. I can just look into this photograph and see it. Same with Mr.Hoke-and I stared and stared at his head. They had somehow fixed it.

I see more than that. But the memory hurts-like many do,and it are these memories that cause me to have mental health issues. It is called ‘post traumatic stress disorder’…PTSD. It is because of these issues that I have anxieties as I am about traveling. It is fear of public places-especially rest rooms…and innocent conversation with strangers can be a twist in my head to relate to fear,and cause me events of panic-which makes me apprehensive about getting my gear together to take this trip.

And…it’s not just this trip-just about a little can set off the ringing in my head,actually-it is a muddle which I hear.

I look into this photograph and see so much pain. We hardly even had smiles on our faces,but yet much of the pain I see had yet to be born…but I already see it in this snapshot.

There was admiration. I wanted to be like my brother. I wanted to be on a ship-and be a hero of the high sea’s. I still have a clipping I took from a ‘combat’ comic book about a young sailor. His ship is entering a battle and his thoughts about his fear had struck me to want to save it. As you can see…as a boy I dressed the part-my daily play was as a Navy man.

I look in this picture and see so much that is tragic. One split second of the click of the lens captured this moment-cute in the eyes of some stranger who might one day find this…but in my view it is a picture like the tattooed man in the ‘Illustrated Man’ Ray Bradberry wrote about. Every tattoo told a horrible memory-and like those tattoos,this photograph does that to me.

I don’t need to look at the photograph to pull up these memories. All I need to do is wake up…and they are already there-in fast speed,clicking through my brain as a waking ritual to make sure what I thought happened,happened-an inventory to reassure myself it is no mistake. It happened.

There is no mistake.

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