I fear I’ve lost it. I’m not sure when. I’m not sure how, but as I sit here today—and really the last several months—its occurred to me that there’s nothing left. This is difficult for me to even think, let alone say.
When I was little my parents went through what they went through and in turn as a 6 to 7-year-old, I went through what I thought was the worst thing a child could go through. Surviving that ordeal is, well, still is a process. Having the rug of a normal life pulled out from under me, it was a life goal to be what I thought was normal. I wanted nothing less than to have the perfect life, the perfect wife, the perfect kids and the perfect little house with the white picket fence. Odd for a guy to think that way maybe, but its the way it was, nonetheless.
I’ve always considered myself a very loving and caring person; nurturing, thoughtful. If you ask me I’ll swear I’ve always put everyone else first. In my life, I can remember putting myself first in only one instance. Lets just say that turned out horribly. Not because I put myself first but because I was blind and stupid (but that’s another story). Bottom line is I have always cared about others more than I cared about myself. I always have had so much love to give and with the lack of confidence in my physical appearance, I’ve always tried to be creative in the romance department.
One example of this is the way in which I proposed to my ex wife. I surprised her with a very public proposal on a sign in the middle of town, had the flowers and ring and all that you could think of that goes with the occasion. Over the years there have been many times I’ve went the extra mile to make moments with significant others very—no, extremely romantic. I’ve never been one to use anyone. I’ve never been the type of person looking for the quick, easy, good time. I’ve seen this many times with others, and to be honest, it always made me ill to see guys using women.
I’ve always been honest. If it wasn’t a long-term relationship I was looking for, I stated that up front. If it was an issue, then nothing else moved forward and there was no issue at all. I hold no grudges. I never pressured or got upset. For the most part I’ve always been too shy to be aggressive. I guess you could say I’ve always considered myself the hopeless romantic.
For some time now I’ve been in a funk of sorts. It’s the best I can describe it. With all that I’ve been through the last few years, its a wonder I still have any of my faculties left. With kids having kids they cant afford, a daughter who can’t ever seem to get her life going in the right direction, a father I never talk to, a job I hate, an ex that is nothing short of a black hole for money—I could keep going but I think my point.
With all this and more, I am nearly convinced that I’ve lost it. It being the operative word here. And it being the ability to care, to have feelings about anything. or anyone, the ability or maybe a better word is the willingness, to let anything or anyone get inside my mind, or worse yet, my heart. I’ve not ever had the empty feeling I have right now—empty and dark, closed to anything or anyone, outside of my own mind; even to the point where all I can stand anymore is to lock myself away in my truck and seclude myself from the outside world. Netflix has become the most important thing to me.
As sad as that is, I have no desire to talk to anyone. I have no desire to be around anyone. In fact, its so deep I get depressed more on the day I know I’m coming home than I am the day I am leaving out. I never thought I would get that way.
I used to enjoy conversation. I used to enjoy talking for hours. I used to love the fact that someone on the other end of the phone line was missing me. Now I really don’t care. I have a few close friends I could talk to. I have maybe one or two I could call right now or anytime and they would be happy to hear from me—at least I think they would. What I’m missing is the desire, the need. And honestly it’s nothing to do with them, it has nothing to do with anyone but me.
I don’t know when I became this way, or the reasons why. I’m not sure if I will ever know. What concerns me the most is will it ever end. What will it take for me to care again, to care at all about anything?
-Michael Collard is one of my life-long friends. We cruised many back roads in his vintage ‘70 Mustang “back in the day.” Professionally, he has driven a truck over-the-road for as long as I can remember. Too many long roads have given him time to overthink everything and hone his outspoken, independent, hell-bent attitude. With a little coaxing I convinced him to share some of his writing with me to publish here. When not on the road, he spends a lot of weekends spoiling his seven grandkids.