Staring Out the Window

Written on the train from Geneva to Zurich

The train rumbles down the tracks, with the views of Swiss lakes, mountains, tunnels, and cows flashing past like a montage from the Tourism Board.  Various artists fight for attention on my ipod, from GaGa to Sinatra.  And I stare out the window.

Memories of the past days mingle with those from a decade ago. Faces that have changed and faces that have stayed the same.  Old faces no longer recognizable. Visits to places remodeled, renovated, and just gone, replay themselves in the ever present cinema of my mind. And I stare out the window.

Paths taken, and paths not taken route themselves in my head, map them onto the sails of the boats in the lake, and the billboards of towns.  Questions about current ambitions, broken goals, new ones made, and those in between rattle in my head. And I stare out the window.

The train tilts on its side through a turn.

Familiarities that seem years behind rise up and yet recede. Interactions that once came with ease now seem strained, even frayed, like meeting people from a dream half remembered. And yet they mingle as if made to. And I stare out the window.

Thoughts of other places, other lakes, other views, and other cows interrupt the feed; other connections and familiarities that I recognize are also starting to fray, and lose substance. Can I stitch them back together, fray check them, should I? And I stare out the window.

Gaga ends and Jim Croce takes over. Saving time in a bottle. If only.

My eyes grow heavy. The train tilts again and then rights itself. The picture show in my head dims and fades. The clacker clacking as it runs out film. And I stop looking out the window.

What Do You See?

When you look at me you see things I fear do not exist.

You see Strength, all I see is one who endures because there is no other choice

You see Courage, all I see is a man too scared to be himself

You see a Rock, all I see is sandstone barely holding himself together

You see Good, all I see is a man doing what others expect

The man I see in the mirror is strained, faded, and lost.  The one you see is amazing, honourable, and confident.  I like your image of me better than my own.  So maybe I’ll stop being myself, and start being the man you see in me.