Down Stream

Written By: Derek Winter

I’ve slipped up.
I’m scared.
I’m lost.
Confused and fearful.
I can see how I got here..
But can’t seem to find my way out.
Like some troll stuck at the bottom of a well.
A parasite.
Unworthy of a ladder.
Unworthy of rescue.
This is my moment.
A shell of a human being and it’s my time to shine.
Nobody seems to know I’m down here.
Everybody’s too wrapped up in their own trials and tribulations to notice that I’m gone.
How far gone?
I’m not sure yet..
How much further is there to go?
Should I test my limits?
See how much sharper the rock can get at the bottom of this well..
That’s how sick I really am..
I’ll romanticize the fuck out of a flirtatious dance with the devil.
A path less traveled..
Because it leads to no where.
It needs to be left alone.
But instead I trek on.
Placing these breadcrumbs along the way with hopes that I might make it back.
There’s no guarantee.
It’s likely that I won’t.
I’ve ventured too far down the rabbit hole as they say.
An expert destroyer.
Not a dilettante by any means.
A supremely self-destructive troll..
..with grandiose delusions that I will find a reprieve.
Find redemption..
..amongst the sick and the wicked.

Take me, not her.
She’s innocent.
Her only infraction is time.
Was she gluttonous with it?
Absolutely not.
She deserves more.
I’ll gladly give some of mine.
It’s not fair that someone like me gets to go on if she doesn’t.
I’ve wasted every ounce of anything ever handed to me.
She could do more with it than I am capable (of).
A waste of space.
A waste of time, energy, and money most importantly.
A black hole.
Void of self-worth.
A “non-performer” as my father would say.
Just cut me loose.
I feel like a burden.
Anything I do have left please give to her.
Why is nothing of value that we have transferable?
All we have is time.
Please God, let me make the most of it.
Grant me some serenity.
Some things may be set in stone.
We haven’t yet figured out how to change the past.
That would bring about chaos.
But give me the courage to grow as a human being.
Turn defects into assets.
Before it’s too late.
Before she’s gone and life gets lonely again.
Who else is there?
She’s everything.

Swelling with emotions right now.
Impending doom.
Unacceptable closure.
A story left unfinished..
..because no one’s ever “ready to go”.
We all could’ve kept going.
Sure, the anecdotes might become boring.. our health wanes..
And our ability to create cool, new tangents diminishes..
..but at least we’re still there.

Who knows.
Maybe the after-party is epic.
Maybe those of us who lived fast and died young knew something we didn’t.
Maybe it makes sense to hurry through it.
I doubt it..
..but maybe.

What makes sense is to cherish every moment.
Don’t treat it like it’s your last – that sounds like insanity.
But respect each moment (on Earth) as something special.
Think about how unique each passing second is.
How unlike every other moment in time each second really is.
Comprehend how it’s all so linear.
Respect the past.
Learn from it.
But remember that we’re always moving forward.
No matter if you’re stagnant, sedentary, stuck, whatever – time pushes on.
Very few of us know for how long – and therefore it makes sense that all we really have is now.
Right now is a beautiful thing.
Think about where you are..
Physically, or in life.
Career wise. Family wise. How is your mood? What would make things better? What could make things worse? Why aren’t you perfect?
Why aren’t we perfect?
Would perfection be too boring?
Imperfection seems to be a driving force behind evolution.
We’re constantly tweaking and adjusting to adapt to our surroundings.
Never satisfied. Never done.
There’s running water and electricity – but we don’t have a cure for cancer.
A never ending struggle..
Battling against an enemy we can’t see coming.
A disease.
..and by the time we find the anecdote or a cure..
..the lights will burn out and we’ll have run out of water.
Because we were desperate.
Because we were gluttonous.
And who knows, that might be the end.
Can we adjust to life without power?
I feel powerless already.
But could I adapt?
Some might.
Those with true survival skills.
Boyscouts and camping enthusiasts..
..and those of us who know how to “live off the land”.
Women and children should be taken care of in order to ensure future generations.
Every man for himself though.
At first.
Until we learn the value of working together.
Divvying up the duties and sharing responsibility.
It’s a scary proposition.
Men banding together.
Treating women and children like commodities..
..or natural resources.
How long til we can all work together?
How many will have to die before it’s enough?
..before everyone deserves a place.
..before everyone has a purpose.
I don’t like my chances in that world.
I don’t like my purpose.
I can’t find my way.
I’m a cautionary tale at best.
An example of what not to do.
Terminally ill.
A chronic disease that very few people knew existed..
..and those inflicted are its biggest deniers.
But those of us who don’t take addiction seriously are the ones that go.
Sometimes quick.
But often slowly.
Causing a wake of destruction to those dumb enough to step in our path.
We aren’t strong people by any means – but our wrath is devastating.
Cunning, baffling, selfish.
Heart-break and death found at every checkpoint.
Refusal to live life on life’s terms – and therefore life turned against us.
Evolutionism at its finest.
Survival of the fittest – discard the rest.
An immune system at work.
A way to get rid of the parasites..
Those of us that latch on at the hip and take take take without giving back.
Was this always our intention?
I’d think not.
But we must’ve been born this way.
Any reference to self-control falls on deaf ears.
Choice is a luxury that wasn’t passed down to us.
And if it was we didn’t know how to use it.
My better thinking gets me killed.

I dance with the devil until the music stops, the party’s over, and my ride home has left.
Except there’s no couch to crash on in hell.
It’s lonely and I’m not dead yet.
What a miserable existence.
Someone please take me home.
Where’s James?
My sponsor.
Why can’t I ask for help?
Am I scared he’ll say no?
I’m not really his problem.
He probably feels helpless..
..and responsible at the same time.
I’m such a burden.
Why did I do this to myself?
Why did I go out?
Where are those breadcrumbs?
I can find my way back..
I know I can.
But what’s the point?
I have nothing.
My mom is dying of cancer.
I found out whilst sitting on a couch down by the Peconic Bay.
Between Southampton and Sag Harbor.
Off Noyac.
Why can’t our time together feel endless (again)?
Like it used to.