As I sipped my coffee, I was overcome by a familiar sensation of having been here before, a sense of déjà vu I believe it’s called, it was not an unwelcome feeling, just a familiar one. I write, so emotions are part of the job. Feelings are too.
Even in the middle of the night my emotional upheaval is in full swing. At least my dreams weren’t visited by ghostly apparitions of dead children and lime-like snow in the desert, per my usual nightly routine I thought as I took another sip.
What is this feeling? I can’t quite put my finger on it. My cabin is quiet, a single eye is lit in the living room heater. Of course, it’s quiet. It’s the middle of the night for God’s sake. I glance at the upper right of my computer screen; the digital numerals inform me that it’s almost 0100.
Four hours of sleep will get you this story, four glorious hours of uninterrupted sleep without the small boy holding his brains in his hands, or the rage-filled father shoving his decapitated daughter’s head at me saying, “look what you made me do.”
A light snore comes from the corner of the room and it about scared me to death. My pup has succumbed to his own dream. A green wool blanket covers his cage, but every so often I hear him kick his legs. I grin and suppress a small laugh. Chunk is a Rat Terrier, and he is a high energy dog. One time, he fell asleep on the couch after an especially rambunctious day of chasing squirrels and booger barking at every shadow in the yard. He snored then too. I watched as his little legs raced across his dream landscape. No doubt he was chasing the squirrel that had escaped into the towering tree branches which were far out of range of the flash of white teeth below it.
The cabin is quiet again. My familiar feeling still lingers, and I recognize what it is halfway through my first cup of coffee. It’s silence.
Sometimes the quietness of the morning has caused me to fret. Furthermore, it sometimes has driven me to the brink of madness. Is there a worse feeling than needing an answer, and all that has remained after hours of soul-searching is an enigmatic profundity of silence? I think not.
When I dream of the desert of lime-like snow, inhabited by the lifeless, sunbaked, bloated corpses of a war politicians refused to let us win, it is often filled with an energy-sucking quiet. This morning is not like that.
Instead, it is like the comforting warmth of a hug from a good friend. Or the soft kiss from the lips of the person who gives you the overwhelming sense of completeness. I know this feeling because I’ve searched for it over a decade. It is rooted in a perceived notion of peace, an understanding that each of us is trapped within a cycle of events that none can escape, and yet we acknowledge our powerlessness and still go for the ride with our arms lifted overhead in triumph. Tranquility is priceless.
In a world filled with chaotic happenings you can’t control, sometimes the quiet resignation of “let it rip tater chip” is the best you can hope for, and all too often, it’s exactly what the doctor ordered.
At least that has been my case. Speaking of cases, I’d better get dressed. Another traumatic soul-crushing happening has occurred in our town. “Poor Fredericksburg,” I muttered as I shoved my left leg into the new jeans, I bought yesterday from Tractor Supply. “The town has survived everything, but I fear Death has taken up residence in our tightly knit community.”
At least that’s what it felt like. It was a familiar sensation as well, the dark foreboding sense that bad things had happened, and worse events were waiting in the murky shadows of impenetrable silence. At least I would not be alone for this ride.
My partner, Lilly Thompson, was on the scene. Through thick and thin she had proven her resilient nature was up to the task of not just surviving the meat-grinder life of a homicide detective, she refused to be broken by the never-ending waves of human depravity.
She constantly informed me that with enough coffee anything is possible. I had, as of yet, failed to prove her theory wrong. I made another cup of coffee and poured it into my stainless-steel Yeti mug. Coffee in hand, I walked out of my mobile home and climbed into my big, red Dodge.
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. “Once more into the breach,” I muttered. “One more scar, one more dream.”
Then, all was quiet.