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October 28 • Reality Bytes

Day 476

Mystery moments scare me.

For years after my brother died, I would encounter an emotion or an idea that I couldn't wait to tell him, and before the thought could complete, the sharp edge of reality would remind me that this interaction was not happening and could never happen again. It has always been a mystery to me how the brain can make such a mistake in such a moment and then pretend like everything is normal.

Now and then, that happens to me with massage parlors, online searching, and even social media or phone calls. It doesn't happen a lot, and it no longer lingers past the point of consciousness, but the idea — the compulsion — to call or look at something inappropriate pops up like a surprise zit on date night or that drunk uncle at Thanksgiving. No big deal, right? Then why are they scary as hell?

I don't want those thoughts any more than I want to be popping acne while waiting on an alcoholic relative to make bail.

Maybe what I'm afraid of is a muscle memory that takes some automatic action in that uninvited moment that frees the addict living within me. Those brief un-memories of my brother were not real, except they were. Neither are these thought invaders from my addiction real, except they are.

The dangers are not hurtful until they hurt. But they will not win — not today.



Sometimes the memories take you by surprise

It's hard to see through teary eyes

Watch your whole life crystallize

–David Pfeffer, ”All blessings Fall"


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