As I placed the pillow in the lumbar portion of my back I had an idea. So I got out of the bed and grabbed my favorite notebook where I jot down articles and often complete entire pieces. Sometimes the prose takes a few minutes, other times I labor over single words for hours – even days. It has to be right.
This is what came out last night after a particularly stressful day that seemed to cap off with more pressurized anxiety, alas with a fizzzzzzz of release as the words tumbled onto the pages.
What you will read is almost verbatim. These are my thoughts: (Oh, by the way, more often than not, the thoughts explode so rapidly and quickly that the words are often misspelled. Or I write in my own cryptic shorthand. In those cases I did clean it up in the interests of lucidity.)
You have two choices when something has shattered and is scattered all around you. You can decry its pitiful destruction, kick at the pieces and hold onto both the fond recollections that the shards provide, as well as those memories that hurt so deeply that when you think of them tears begin to well up in your eyes. Or – you can literally survey the damage and decide to rebuild.
Think of a family heirloom that is forever destroyed or an irreplaceable photograph that is now no more than moist paper ashes – or a folder that somehow was lost forever in cyberspace that was crammed with photos you promised yourself you would save to an external drive. But those are all things.
However, when the carnage is emotional destruction, then the repair process, if even possible, becomes a pinch more complex. And then the likelihood of ever regaining hold of what you lost, what you would term as normal, is an even more distant fear. It seems so far out of reach that the only solution seems to be falling into a dark, deep depression, a swirling vortex of such gravity that no one none can come to your rescue to pull you free from its interminable suction – its certain fate.
Think of the scene from “Mission to Mars” when Woody (Tim Robbins) has missed his mark in outer space and is floating further away from the crippled ship and his wife Terri (played by Connie Nielsen) makes every possible attempt to retrieve the man she loves so dearly. She has only so much oxygen remaining and her tether line to the others is just too short to do the job. If she ventures out too far, she will not have enough of either to make the return trip to the ship and both will become casualties.
So despite her depth of love for Woody, she must stop upon the desperate urgings of Gary Sinise, who plays the chief astronaut Jim McConnell, who begs her to reconsider her anguished desire to save her husband from certain death.
So the only way to save his wife, the woman he so dearly loves, is to think not of himself but of her. Only her. So he throws her a kiss, tells her he loves her, and while he smiles lovingly at her lifts the airlocks from the suit’s metal collar and allows the sub-zero temperature of the darkness of outer space to rush into his pressurized suit and in essence sacrifices himself to save his wife as she screams “No! No!”
His frozen features stare at her as he continues to float further away and she realizes that she must return to the ship and continue the mission without an emotionally irreplaceable part of her life.
Look, I know this is a movie, it wants to elicit an emotion from the audience so that they care and continue to care about the characters, dead and alive. The reality is that when you love someone or something so much, you must find the greater endearment so as not to destroy your journey be it spiritual or emotional. A dramatic decision had to be made, and often it is made for you as Woody did for his wife’s sake to live – to finish the mission – travel to Mars to save any survivors of the first attempt.
And despite my penchant for privacy, this is what is going on in my business as I write this article in my bed on my pad. I have to untether myself from one of the things I love to stay alive and to finish my odyssey in the short time we all have to do whatever it is that God put us on this earth to do. And that requires a hell of a lot of strength and courage, but most of all it takes love.
Now businesses are not people. Business ideas have no emotions – that is true. All I’m trying desperately to relate to you is that to survive I have to let an emotion go. I have to hang on to the tether line knowing by doing so the end result will rip an emotional hole in my heart as I watch that feeling slip away out of my reach.
My business will survive, I know I have lost a part of me that I will never get back. But I am now allowed to continue my mission, to go on with my quixotic sojourn to complete my plan despite the sacrifice that was made – that needed to be made.
Will I be the same person once I get there? I don’t know. Will I remember the moment when life was streaming through like sparklers of joy, silver glitter dancing everywhere and the entire world of imagination was mine? Of course, I will, for the rest of my life. But I have the memories to pull me through the more difficult times that I know I will be confronting in this shithole we call reality.
Hey, you wanna be a cigar broker? You gotta be prepared to expose your human side, not just have thick skin and repeat over and over and over ABC! ABC! ABC! ABC! As Shakespeare once wrote in “Hamlet,” and Polonius said, “This above all: to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” Because in the end, that’s all we have is ourselves and that’s what separates us from any other business. We can run with the lemmings, or take chances and make sacrifices rather than follow the status quo. You know what that is: The old pat on the back ‘cause you’re’ doing so damn well, and then the swift kick in the ass when the numbers are down the toilet.
Welcome to the real world of Cigar Brokers. And if you have the guts to admit the truth, it’s not about the money, and for me, it never has been about the money. I’m heading back toward the ship knowing that despite the loss that I cannot seem to take my eyes off of and knowing that I have done the right thing with persistent urging and sacrifice, I will survive. Unfortunately, I cannot enlighten you as to why I wrote down these words tonight that are soaked with such deep emotion. But I can say, my business is a contemplative endeavor. My life remains sacredly private, despite these onion skin peeks I allow you to see.
I will complete my assignment.