Albany Journal – 8/5/12

We all fall sick from time to time, and without a doubt there is a certain troubling but soothing spirituality about falling sick – both physically and mentally.  The hope for the one who is sick is to leave sickness behind for once, however, there can be little or no question that sickness is within us only to strike again when we are at our weakest.  Despite all of our attempts to prepare ourselves for the day when sickness will come, there is no escaping the fact that sickness will always follow a good healthy streak, much like pain is the result of so much pleasure.  Naturally, our best intentions usually go awry, and so sickness waits for us, whether we know it our not.  It stalks our streets and enters into our homes, and usually, whether on the earth or on another plane of existence, sickness eventually does go away for the better or for the worse.  In other words, and to make my point clearer, we all fall sick from time to time, and when we are sick, we should not blame ourselves anymore for how we behave while we are sick, simply because sickness is a most holy thing that is orchestrated by God, who will dutifully remind us that, after all, no matter how many battles we fight, or whether our paltry wins and defeats have any effect whatsoever or not, that we are just human in the end, and it is always God’s will that is satisfied, whether we are allowed to continue or fade off into the darkness.  Sickness, you see, cannot win, when God is the ultimate result and end point of it.

Anyway, it is hot and muggy in Albany right now, and here we are within a heat spell that has lasted for several days.  I miss the women in my life, as all of them have seemed to have gone away to find their love in more appropriate people, people who can ensure their survival more so than I can.  It seems as though I have been inside for days.  I’ve had some ten messages or so waiting on my phone’s answering machine, and the more messages I have from people, the more worried I become.  Luckily, I have responded to most of these messages already, and I breathe a sigh of relief when all of them are dealt with and deleted accordingly.  I have amazing friends here in Albany who like to check in on me from time to time.  I can only tell them not to worry and that I am sorry for missing the many events that they want me a part of.  Other than that, I’ve been eating bologna sandwiches on wheat bread with processed cheese and light mayonaise.  It seems as though I have been eating them for days on end, drifting in and out of the netherworld of sleep and oblivion, while, when I do awake, I find myself watching television or listening to the radio.  God forbid that I actually have the strength to read something.  I was born into an audio/visual generation – the slow death of reading – only to return to reading as perhaps the last vestige of honesty in a world going absolutely nowhere.  It’s the world that I cannot make sense of anymore.  I should be so honored to leave all of the sense-making in the world to these colleges and universities – SUNY and Hudson Valley Community College – and all of the great institutions that are a part of Albany’s future.  I just hope that these places of great learning brush up on their reading skills to give writers a final chance in life.  Otherwise, we are stuck with pictures and sounds and digital catastrophes in the machine age – the digital and the information age that is at times worth paying attention to, but annoying and lacking in substance.

It is dark and quiet in my apartment now.  The neighbors have fled the building, frolicking in the heat.  I like one of the women who live next door.  She has blonde hair and fair skin, and her boyfriend is one of the strongest I’ve seen for many a moon.  He’s a good man, this young man, who looks like a Marine in a former life.  They seem to make one fine couple, and this is something I shouldn’t for the life of me disturb.  My old acquaintence, Lisa, has fled my company for her very life, leaving her wooden chess set here in her absence.  When we played chess, she had beaten me every time.  We even tried wrestling in the apartment, where she pinned me almost instantly, and sat upon my defeated back for what seemed like hours.  She said that she needs her space, and so, like every woman I’ve ever fallen for, I simply let her go, hoping that one day she will return.  But I’m sure in Lisa’s case, she is pretty much gone for good, and I hope and I pray for her good fortune and that she finds the man of her dreams.  I wanted to tell her that the gift I gave her – a silver band with a set a matching earrings, should only be replaced by a suitor who gives her such a gift made of gold, as I could only afford to purchase a silver gift for her.  The bill for it will come in the mail fairly soon, but the man who gives her gold is probably the best match for her. Fair thee well, Lisa, my honey.

I can hear the trees swaying outside, and we did have some rain this afternoon.  The area has cooled down to some degree, and I am getting hungry again for another bologna and cheese sandwich.  If it seems like I have nothing to do, dear reader, it is sincerely because there is nothing to do on a day like today.  It seems as though I haven’t done anything of importance for quite sometime, except perhaps for reforming my intellect a little and readying it for the next several years of sobriety.

Harvey Havel is the author of five novels. This past spring, Stories from the Fall of the Empire, his sixth book and his first collection of short stories, was recently released by Publish America. Later this summer, Two Tickets to Memphis, his sixth novel, is forthcoming from Publish America as well. Havel has previously taught Writing at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey and also at SUNY Albany and the College of St. Rose, both in Albany, New York. Born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1971, Havel now resides full time in Albany, New York.