It doesn’t happen very often anymore, those involuntary feelings.
I’ve been so caught up with moving forward, growing and becoming a bushman. I’m loving life and I feel good. I’m in a great place and really enjoying everything that’s going on right now. Then out of the blue, involuntary feelings.
Layla and I went to the “big city” for the weekend as we both had a night to a casino/hotel gifted to us over the holidays. Neither of us has ever been to a casino. As I always do when it comes to the day of heading there, I had the overwhelming feeling of I DON’T WANT TO GO. Like a child throwing a tantrum my happiness fades and becomes an almost frantic anxiety. It’s not fear. It’s an uneasiness that I still can’t quite place. NO NO NO NO. This becomes what must make me look like a miserable cow.
“I don’t care what I’m wearing, probably nothing” I whine.
I ended up wearing the clothes I’d wore the night before while starting to paint the wooden wall in the kitchen. Which by the way I love, it’s so fresh, bright and clean.
Black high-waisted jeans, a grey top and a flannel button down. Good enough, who cares. Someone drive me over so I don’t have to goooooo…
We get on the road late in the afternoon and Layla, the amazing co-pilot and friend she is wastes no time in easily helping to shift my mood. Pretty soon were both laughing uncontrollably and dancing as we make the two and a half hour drive. We get to the hotel and check in. Bits of my bad attitude are still following me around. Security lets us into the casino and were both instantly overwhelmed with lights blinking and noises from different slot machines all around us. What are we doing. We both awkwardly sit down at machines and stare blankly at them. What do we do.
An old man sits down next to Layla and shows us the ropes. We fumble with a bill trying to get started. The machine greedily snatches the bill and disappears. We both play a few rounds and win a few cents. We both look around and watch people sat at machines hopefully shoving bills into machines and looking hopelessly at the screens. We both exchange glances and the overwhelming desire to get the fuck out of there washes over us.
Layla suggests we get some dinner and so we decide to try Hummus Brothers. It was fantastic.
We head back to our hotel room and the gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach wants to wind into full blown panic mode. I miss my dogs, the wood-stove, even the stupid chickens. I force myself to not let myself have a full blown anxiety attack over it. I am a confident bush man for shit sake. I pull my high-wasted jeans up to my armpits, tie up my shirt and force a happy (frantic) look onto my face.
I call a cab. We get on route to the venue and my heart is in my throat. We walk in and I recognize friends all around me. The music is fantastic. I start to relax. One of my close friends I went to school with shows up out of the blue and we excitedly catch up on the last bit of our lives. It was packed in there and Layla and I danced our faces off.
At three something in the morning we get back to our hotel and loudly/drunkenly reflect on the night. At the same time we decide that’s a great time to start watching a movie.
I get up later on at 7 and hop in the shower. I wash off my “war paint”. I wash the straight out of my hair. I come out of the bathroom baggy eyed and crazy haired. Relief.
We make the drive back to town and Layla decides to come to work with me. I am exhausted by the time we get back. At the cabin I split wood and start thawing the cabin, it stayed warmer then I thought it would. I finally start to realize what the pit in my stomach represented.
We all have that one person. The person that’s always in the back of our minds. The person tangled in the arteries of your heart. You can pretend you don’t want that person, you can pretend you don’t need that person. There’s always going to be that person. I didn’t realize how much I’d been missing someone until I ran into that person at the show. It’s been a while.
As soon as we embraced I was brimming with things I wanted to say, to catch up on. The smell of wood-smoke brought me back to a happy place, good company, live music and a free feeling. Pure calm. I had loved this man. I had the feeling we might see each other and was dreading it. I’ve grown into a tough ass man/woman and I havn’t given a shit about anyone. Today I’ve been struggling. Hiccup.
I do care about some people. I care a fucking lot. Having like-minded friends around you that allow you to be all the things that you are, community. I don’t have that anymore.
Sadly your not a part of my life anymore, and I can’t express how much you’ve been missing from me. I hope this finds you well.
I guess even bushmen have hearts. As B explains it, “You cannot control your heart, the same as you cannot control the tides. I might have been a trapper out in the middle of nowhere and a self-sustaining bush man, but I also loved a woman. I had a family and that was everything to me.”