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Something special should go here

Friday 12/29/23

This is the 2500th entry in the Many Moments More journal, which commenced in June 2018, and is what I have written in-between what I write, if that makes sense. I think it does.

I hadn't expected to reach this particular number until February, but what's happened is what has happened. I didn't want this entry to be about some tosser I just wrote about--that'll be next--but instead something special. What that is is part of a story that I wrote in full yesterday. It fits the bill.


I decided that if I was to be alone—and I was to be alone—for another Christmas, that I would walk the earth, though that’s not what you call it, even when it’s what you’re doing.


On the twelfth year of Christmas, my true love—


A song with a refrain.


The refrain changes based upon where we are in the song, but the idea remains the same.


I’ve only had jury duty once. This is twenty years back. The jury room was at the top of the courthouse. I went to use the bathroom across the hall. The window was open, so that the wind howled in the lavatory. Massive window. Like a door. I didn’t want to try and shut it, because it seemed like you could fall out.


But I made a note: If you ever need to kill yourself…


This week, I returned to the courthouse. Not for jury duty. Sure enough, the window was the same in stature, only this time it was closed.


I thought about that on Christmas morning.  


And I walked some more.


There was a man alone in the park on a bench. He was upset. Lots of swearing. Incensed. It sounded like it took a lot of energy and breath to talk as he did. And he wouldn’t be stopping soon.


I thought about what had to have happened to him to get that way. He was someone’s classmate once. That quiet boy at the back. Some mother’s child. Still is.


Now people just call him a crazy man. He might have been popular. Voted funniest in his high school graduating class. Perhaps he saved someone’s life in a war. Many people’s lives. How his mother must have looked upon him. And how he was not for me to judge.


Never was, and never would be.


And I walked some more.


I thought about a place I used to live by the sea.


Once, at Christmastime, I was standing on the wharf there that’s across from a fishing shack full of tackle, buoys, and lights for the lamps at the end of the jetty.


It was cold that time. Cold and still and quiet. And that space felt like holy space to me here on earth. It had not ceased to be. It was there right now, as I was.


And I walked some more.

I came to this bakery that is open every hour of every day of the year. It never closes. I’ve thought about arriving at exactly midnight on Christmas, to see the scene with my own eyes, as if I doubt that the bakery really is open then.


I haven’t done it, though. I feel like I’ll be judged. That I’ll owe whomever is working an explanation just by coming in.


I compromised and bought a loaf of bread in the regular morning instead. There was an older couple already inside the bakery before me. The woman also bought a loaf. She requested that hers be sliced, and the girl at the counter said, no, they don’t do that, sorry.


She seemed to mean it—being sorry, that is. If she could have, she would have, you sensed.


And I walked some more.


I passed a very old church. The gates were locked. Presumably the door on the other side was as well, but I don’t know.


Maybe they think, “If you’re willing to climb the gates, well, then you’ve earned it, go ahead and enter.”


Instead, I looked through the window of the parish office. There were faded chairs that were probably once elegant—chairs that could have been there since 1870; a book shelf; a kitchenette visible beyond with a kettle atop the stove and a glass container of tea on the sideboard.


I imagined all of the people who had been in those rooms, which would have looked so similar to what I was seeing on this Christmas. Some of those people must have had their faith tested, I thought. Sorely.


And I walked some more.

Around the corner, I heard a heavily accented voice blast out a torrent of curse words from the open window of a fire station, where men were sitting at a table.


They were happy, these men. Joking, exclaiming. They slapped backs. Elevated joy. This was not an awful day ruined by having to work, no matter that they preferred to be elsewhere. Their voices seemed physical, as if I could feel them against my own chest. Hands beating on a drum.

And I walked some more.

* From "And I Walked Some More"/The Solution to the World's Problems: Surprising Tales of Relentless Joy

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