Silence fills the stale air and sometimes that silent air consumes our lungs. Breathing alone can not constitute living a fulfilled life. What we chose to do with our breath can move people and sometimes move mountains. The air I was breathing on this very saturated Saturday brought back an influx of memories: the time I was lost on a raft with my brother riding the rapids or the time I first experienced loneliness when my girlfriend pierced my heart at the vacant football bleachers. The air has all tasted the same to me and with each inhale memories never fail to inform me the person I am.
The city lights helped guide me to my worn down, inner city apartment that was 2 blocks away from several bars. Anyone over 6’2 would hit their head on the door frame. The apartment felt lonely once again, my bootleg candle is producing company and the only source of light. The sweet smell of tropical breeze helped my nose escape to paradise,but my eyes still told me to get a job, to make something of my life. The wallpaper looked floral, but the ripped material made the room look like a psychiatric ward, but this is home. I continue to question if I am alone in this struggle, if others have to stare at the same damn wallpaper. Friday evenings come and go, but this particular day went slower than usual. The rain drops grew louder and the city’s bedtime is approaching. As I stumble off the pull-out couch, I noticed two thuds…”Open up, it is Jeff, your landlord”. I threw on some ripped jeans and uncrusted my eyes as I stumbled to the door. The door squeaked opened and my landlord looked as he was just told the Mariners lost. Jeff’s eyes said it all, but the mouth confirmed that this Friday evening would be the last one in the apartment. I was waiting for the day where Jeff kicked me out, I haven’t paid rent in over three months, I understand it is a business. I leave my keys at his office and left my tropical breeze candle to burn in my absence.
I survived the night but with the help of others just like me. The area I stayed for the night was under a bridge down the street from Safeco field with similarly haggard faces. These people had such beautiful lives, some had wives, husbands, beautiful kids and for them to sleep under the same bridge as myself proved that life can be unpredictable. The spirits were high and the campfire style set-up reminded me of the first time I ever experienced love and attention at fifth grade camp. The light and heat helped us survive the dark time we were all going through, The night-crawling, homeless committee and myself shared stories through the night and the cold air reminded me of how tough my skin is and how tender my heart is.
Two weeks have passed and I look around, I am now used to dirt stained skin and rotten breath caused by food we scavenge. The last bite of food was gone, so I wandered off looking for more. I hear “Ken Griffey Jr. up to bat, 2-3 count… bottom of the third” from a distance. I start to follow that voice. The lights from some open stores illuminate my path as I draw closer to the voice. The rancid smell of the bars I pass reminded me why I was in this position, walking down a dark path looking for food. I finally arrived to the lit up stadium, every light behind me has darkened, The lights and the voice from the stadium attracted me and I find myself walking in because no one was watching the gates. I see thousands of dedicated fans around me screaming for the Mariners to win. I shed a tear as a nostalgic memory of me hitting t-balls entered my brain. How could all that innocence go away? What happened? At this point, nothing else mattered, I forget about my divorce, my overdose, my job that paid six figures, I forgot it all. I take a deep breath, take on the strong forces of memories and I exhale, I realize I am at ease when I hear the crack of the bat and I find my new home.