Promises Kept and Promises Unfilled

Scribbled inside Johnny’s notebook:

“And Max, the king of all wild things, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”  Where The Wild Things Are

In the quiet of the evening I send my soul searching for yours and ask that it remind you of how two hearts stopped time. My eyes are shut but my heart is open and all I can do is hope that this time you will let yourself hear what your heart is saying.

This wish of mine stems from the dream we once shared. It is powered by both lust and love, heart and hope. It is a moment in time that remains framed in memory and formed from the fabric of the truth that we wish was and not the fiction of what wasn’t.

Lost in a wilderness of wishes and wants I wander alone and uncertain wondering if the north star that once guided my heart can be lit again. Will you ignore my entreaty and defy that which we both knew to be true. That which once was can be again but this time bolder, richer, fuller and more rewarding.

There is a price to be paid for all that we wish, all that we seek and all that we hope and if you would but give me your hand I would pay it without question.

These dreams I dream and these visions I see demand a real response. I cannot extinguish the fire that we set nor quench the thirst that your absence has created.

And so I find myself still dancing in the fire.I burn and I ache….alone and apart.

Hand outstretched, sweat pouring down my brow I reach for you. I hold faith that our fortune was not fiction and trust that which was still is.

I cannot ignore this feeling nor pretend it doesn’t exist. I cannot, will not and shall not. I would rather fail and fall than fall and fail.

End of entry

Have you ever seen a one-armed man punching at nothing but the breeze?

Johnny stood in the doorway and looked out at the cars driving by on the street and remembered days long gone by when he would jump in the Camaro and just drive.

He closed his eyes and remembered….Remembered what it was like to open the window and hit the freeway destination unknown. Remembered what it was like when he had nothing but freedom to do as he wished and countless hours within which to do it.

Those were days to remember. That car may not have been alive but it might as well have been a dog or a horse. It was a big part of him and it shared more than a few adventures. If those wheels could speak they would told a colorful tale or two.

They might have mentioned quiet moments in the mountains or sunsets painted across a bright blue sky and set against the sea. They might have spoken of the persons who spent time in those places and shared their thoughts about how they impacted and influenced the life of that driver.

And though there had been more than a few there was still only one who mattered more than the others. Just one whose memory had never left and whose name was never far from his lips. She had turned his life inside out and upside down.

They had sworn a blood vow to never let go of each other and had done the things that they could to ensure that it would last.

But that was then and this is now.


Life is nothing but a series of moments in time set against the backdrop of the people who share them. It was a lesson that Johnny had learned all too well. There had been moments of triumph and moments of tragedy. He had tales of sorrow, had gained and garnered more than a few scars.

That is what happens when you live and love. Sometimes you come out of these moments feeling like you are a one armed boxer punching at the breeze and sometimes you come out carrying the grand prize. The trick and the challenge lies in recognizing those moments for what they are.

They say that those who do it well find life to be easier and more enjoyable, or so it was said. Johnny didn’t necessarily buy into it wholeheartedly. He tended to believe that in order to enjoy and appreciate the sweetness of life you had to experience some of the other side.

Not to mention that even if you recognize the moments you still have to be willing, ready and able to take advantage of the moment. And that was one thing that tied all people together- missed opportunity.


It was something that he knew about and had experienced. It happened back in that past life he used to live. Back when he and June had shared their hearts and lived a life together.

They had missed their window or at least that was the explanation she gave for leaving him. Well, it was one of them. She had thrown out a bunch of other reasons and excuses for why they couldn’t be. With the perspective of time it was possible for Johnny to see more clearly how things had unfolded and to recognize how close they had come to overcoming the consequences of their confusion.

One step to the left and a jump to the right would have helped them to avoid a few of those land mines and had they done that the harsh words they exchanged might not have been uttered. But that hadn’t happened and instead they had gone down that same rocky path that so many other couples walked upon.

Battered and bruised they turned away from each other. Stopped talking and ceased communicating. Two people who used to hate not being in touch learned how to be alone and apart.


It was the picture of June in the blue dress that changed things for Johnny. He came across it unexpectedly and was surprised by the reaction it caused in him. She was simply stunning and it took great effort on his part not to pick up the telephone to try and call her.

The pain of the disconnect and the distance came rushing back. For a moment he let himself bathe in it. He looked at her picture, remembered what it was like to kiss her and got lost in memory. What had once seemed impossible had happened.

All these years later he could hear June tell him to promise to find her no matter what happened. Remembered laughing at her and asking what he should say if she wouldn’t talk to him. She told him to remember that she would be mean. Said that he should ignore that and remember that she wasn’t being a bitch because she didn’t love him but because she did.

He said that was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard and she told him to shut up and listen. “Shut up and listen” had turned into a joke for them with deep meaning behind it. If ever they had a fight it was something that one or both of them said.


Johnny stared at the picture and said the words out loud “Shut up and listen.” As expected there was no response. So he took a deep breath and told himself that it was time to return to reality. June was living her life and he was living his.

Later that night as he went to sleep he swore that he heard her say “Shut up and listen” and then promptly dreamed about the reunion that they always knew would take place.

When he woke up in the morning he didn’t remember the dream but in the back of his mind he still felt her touch and wondered if somewhere she could feel his.


Those moments were really hard for him. It was like being trapped between two worlds but not belonging to either one of them. His head would fight to rouse the body from its slumber so that they could start their day but the heart would resist. It would fight to close his eyes so that they could resume their ethereal dance.

She would have liked that image if she could have seen it. He pictured the two of them effortlessly gliding across the dance floor. She was in a long black dress and he wore tails. It never occurred to him to wonder about whether the real thing would look like the vision he saw in his head nor did it really matter because unless there were dramatic changes it was nothing but a dream rooted in the fantasies of what could have happened had they made different choices.

Choices. It always came back to that place where he looked at the choices he had made and wondered when he would forgive himself for not choosing differently. He blamed himself for doing things that didn’t help them and for not listening to the voices in his head. Maybe it was a matter of not trusting his gut and his intuition to do the right thing or maybe it was something else. The net result was that he found himself confused and confounded about the past, the present and the future. Not a pretty picture nor a comfortable place to be.

Although one could argue that he was in this awkward and uncomfortable place for a purpose. It was a teaching moment and a learning experience that would help him make the changes that he needed and move to that next place in his life. Sometimes in the silence of the night he would close his eyes and try to convince himself that this were so. If he could buy into it, trust his gut and let go it would happen or so his heart would say. But there was always that other set of voices whispering in his ear that maybe he wasn’t listening.

Most of the time when that happened he would go through his mental checklist of promises kept and promise unfilled making a little mental tick next to each line item that had been completed. That checklist was really responsible for making it easier for him to accept and believe that maybe there was more to the feelings he had because most of those promises that remained unfilled were things that could be taken care of later. The window hadn’t been quite shut, at least it hadn’t yet….

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