Return Ticket

round trip return ticket. paid in full. the train has left the station.
no alpha, no omega. neither beginning nor end but constantly rotating
with karmic retribution in full effect. the days are warm and the nights
produce a breeze reminiscent of ocean front nights.

it all started with a toking of friendship. an offering, or
gesture of kindness. the first time around was a chance for acceptance
into a foreign culture. only foreign because forgotten. this time. there
is no submersion. the circle is gone but the comfort zone has not
followed the circle’s suit. it stood by owner like the two loyal dogs
lapping at his fingertips. so much for taking the time to get to know one
another first.

the room is dingy in a town where no one is indigenous. to the
east lies the flatlands of the south and midwest. to the west lies a
sight too spectacular to describe in words. familiar longings come back
into play. one by one, they each have their turn at bat. some strike
out, some don’t. by no means have we rounded the lineup or the bases.
the umpired are still out on a call or two. like a grand jury
deliberation, the best or worst are expected. there is no room for a
middle ground. compromise does not exist in sports. you win or you lose,

this town is friendly to the homeless. they would be content only
with a roof and a place to rest their heads. what values, he wonders, are
so deeply instilled in him that make him want so much more? as it is such
a part of his culture, h wondered who was to blame.

perhaps it’s post-pardum depression. his home was like a child.
his views and ideals shaped what he saw around him and the people he let
come close to him. now, it was all gone. he made a bid for a new life
and so it was. the game goes on. another inning comes, another inning
goes. this time, he found himself on the defensive. although he was
usually passive, he rarely found someone or something acting as the
agressor. the fear of being ravaged uncontrollably crept in and made a
home before he was set and ready.

there was as much of a bright future as there were sunny days.
hope still existed. although unseen, it was on his side, but something
made it intangible and that something needed to be given a name. this, he
thought, would give him a feeling of control.

that something was a someone. a she. a she who moved to his new
hometown shortly before he was able to do so. those were his friends. it
was his idea first. she was a part of his past; their feelings held
deeply within. in the high altitude and thin air, everything came to the

although it was a surprise at first, he became comfortable with
the idea of sharing his new life with her. she was now to be a big part
of what he wanted so selfishly for himself. the demolition,
reconstruction, and growth of feelings, which their relationship already
seemed to be founded on, occupied him intensely. he had to make room for
what no one knew if she wanted.

she, too, was tormented by thoughts but his were kept in unuttered
secrecy. even when one managed to escape and surface, a new one quickly
took its place. immediately, even before the actual moment of arrival,
two worlds had been created in a third neutral location. separately, it
was decided that this new world would house the fabricated two. like his
thoughts and feelings for her, no one asked this world if it had the room
for them. all things ordinary were taken for granted. these pioneering
world leaders had been unable to extend the common courtesy of
communication. something had to be done first or nothing or no one would
exist. all it would take would be the ability to step back and out of the
situation. there needed to be a common ground more stable than that of
which buddhist meditation was based, fore he was incapable of reaching
such high and abstract levels. an outside critic suggested that he was
not evolved enough. in either case, he was unsure.

treason to his patriarchy might provide a solution. after all,
there is a right and a wrong and no one wants to be on the losing side of
any affair. he already sensed himself losing. the first two times
around, he fought so hard that it destroyed those closest to him. he
refused to do that to her. in either world, she meant too much already.

the repercussions of such an action are great. he was all too
well aware of that. unless she agreed to break the rules and create a
middle ground, there seemed to be no choice shy of retiring. this, too,
was an option heavily weighed. no farm team, no one with which to trade.
the burden of action was great but the action of inaction held within it
the greatest burden – the crushing defeat from which he might not be able
to recover. a third trip to the mat would put him out for good. in the
lingo of the inner-city students left so far behind, he was forced to
answer their most prevalent question: what to do?