Cars hiss through the rain outside. Alice in Chains plays softly in the background.

Domesticity used to drive me insane. I hated wasting time scrubbing this or decorating that. Lately, I have come to appreciate a clean apartment. A place with more than a bed and a collection of empty liquor bottles.

Everyone loves an orderly home. A place for everything. Etcetera.

Discarded things, disorderly things, are things left undone. They are loose ends in my life. Simple things that require attention, not brilliance, but are left to rot in my peripheral awareness. Buzzing like gnats in my ear, every time I catch sight of some unattended detail from the corner of my eye.

Domicile. Place of safety.

The notion of a permanent home implies a serious personal investment. I wasn’t giving mine the investment it deserved. I wasn’t giving myself the investment I deserved. I don’t know what I’ve been doing . . . what I was trying to create . . . or ignore . . .

I have lived many places. This is far from the worst.

I’ve laid my head on my pack, or on my helmet, and called it home. If only for that night, I was glad to have that respite. A place to stop. A place to breathe, in a moment when I was confident enough that closing my eyes wouldn’t cost me my life.

. . . And yet now, with my clean white sheets on my comfortable bed, I get miserable sleep.

I medicate with pills and potions. Gentler self-medication to replace much of the drinking. I’ve tried to relegate that back to a pleasure . . . something I enjoy. If I can’t be present in my own fucking home, can’t look around at the things I own and assign purpose to them, draw value from them, or throw them out, then it isn’t a home.

It’s a storage facility, and I just happen to sleep there.

A candle burns on the mantle. My tiny little tree casts glows. The windows are open, and it smells like fresh laundry and rain. I haven’t eaten a bite today, except for two beers and some coffee, and I don’t mind.

I am safe and away from the storm that rages, perpetually, in my life. My mixed emotions about where I am, and where I am going. I have drawn a line through the past and found the things that are most important to me.

The people that are most important to me.

I don’t know where this leads, but I have a vision of it. I have had little energy to write the last few years; this thing I do requires everything a man has. It takes until I have nothing left to give.

It takes all of my strength, and all of the strength I borrow.

“Who am I, is this me?
Am I one or thirteen?

I’ve gone cold, hard to deal
Used to stand where I kneel

Calling out the names, faces
Uniforms I’ve worn
And all that is gone
Always climbing
To fall down again
Holding onto everything
It’s not what it seems.”

Alice in Chains