The Death Spiral – Part 4

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I pulled my Oldsmobile into the small dirt parking lot. I would come here often when I wanted to feel lighter, happier. The parking lot was reached by a very potholed dirt road running off of fourteenth street in Calgary’s northwest. The parking lot overlooked the district of Huntington Hills where I had lived aeons ago. It also offered an excellent view of Calgary International Airport in the distance. A WestJet 737 was just landing on the mile-long runway that ran north to south. I liked looking at the planes taking off and landing.

In lighter moments I would imagine myself sitting on the plane flying to some exotic destination. In darker moments I would think this would be a great place to launch a SAM missle from.

This day I was in a dark place. A really, really dark place. I got out of the Olds before I did something rash, like crash the car through the rickety fence, drive breakneck down the hill, onto fourteenth street, hopefully in the path of a semi. I started up the path I had walked countless times. Then I noticed it. A button flower blooming in the sere prairie grass. It is missing a few petals but it is still the most vibrant plant around.

I look at my watch. Shit! I let the time get away from me watching jets take off and land. I had a coffee date with Annie at Bell’s Bookstore Cafe. I hustled down to my car. Got in. Started it. Reversed into the parking area. Drove down the dirt entry road, rocking on my springs all the way. I turned onto fourteenth street. I was grateful that Bell’s was on thirty fourth avenue just a half block in from fourteenth street southwest. If the traffic was light I could just make the coffee date with Annie.

Luckily I found a parking spot next to Bell’s. I hadn’t been to Bell’s in years. It was too far from home and I had developed a fondest for the energy of the Good Earth Cafe near my home. At Bell’s I really liked the fact you could drink a coffee, snack on a muffin, and search the shelves for second-hand paperbacks. You could even take the books to your table for a closer examination. Although if you spilled coffee on the book it was yours to buy. Annie was nowhere in sight. So I ordered an Americano. I skipped the muffin because they had nothing that appealed to me. I started browsing the bookshelves. I started where I always started. With the mysteries. Hmm. A Prey novel that I hadn’t seen before, I thought.

Just then I heard the coffee shop door open to let in the wind and the noise of the street. There was Annie. All 5 feet of her. Flaming red hair. Touselled by the wind. A white silk scarf wound seemingly carelessly around her neck. A black leather jacket hugged her slight frame. A matching black leather skirt modestly hugged her knees. A black blouse made of some shiny material, probably silk, peeked out of the collar of her jacket. I waved and pointed to our table. Walked over and hugged her. The scent of Chanel No. 5 gently wafted up from her. I hugged her for seconds longer because I was secretly in lust with her.

I said, “you look great as always. How are you doing?”

“So, so,” she said. “My ex is being a pain. I’ve told you we bought some property in the South years ago, as an investment. I want to sell it. But he wants to hang on it till the market goes up. The market for that property will never go up in our life times.”

“So. How are you?”

I took a risk and told her how I really felt. “The pain is bloody awful. I lay awake at night in agony. The doctors have prescribed countless kinds of pills. But, nothing works. If this keeps up I’m going to drive my car into a concrete wall.” I said. I didn’t tell Annie I had already rehearsed such a movie.

“Don’t say that Lyle,” she said. “There must be another answer. Maybe Yoga. I do Kundalini Yoga and it really helps me relax.”

“Did yoga. Didn’t work.”

We continued the converstation. She proposing remedies and me naysaying them. Finally, we wound up our cheery coffee date and I drove home to my apartment.

It was 15 days till I would hit the wall.

An exerpt from CRASH! Memories of an Healing Journey, Lyle T. Lachmuth, All Rights Reserved


The Death Spiral 3

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Here is what I wrote in my diary July 20, 2010.

I have been in severe pain every day since i came back from the mountains 3 weeks ago. Basically the pain starts at 2 or 3 in the morning and goes for 12 to 14 hours.

I’m not sure how long I can sit here today as I have pain just from sitting.

Oh. And, I ran out of money today. out of money today.

I’m not sure what the fuck to do with my life.

I’m going to go and read.

It was just 32 days till I hit the wall.

I pulled my Oldsmobile into a parking space in the lower parking lot at Heritage Park. I prefered this older dirt lot as the new, paved upper lot was often crowded and stifling hot in the July sun. This one offered ready access to the walking path besides Glenmore Reservoir. I scrambled up a path beside the giant H sign which stood at the entrance to Heritage Park for decades. I walked south on the paved surface. The reservoir’s waters, to my right, reflected the sun as an intense, blinding, silver ball of fire. I heard the shrill tinkle of a bicycle bell behind me. It made me jumpy. Three cyclists whizzed past on my left at what seemed like 80 kilometers an hour. Their passing stirred a faint breeze that brought some relief from the heat of the sun.

Soccer moms walked side by side entranced by the significance of their conversations. They pushed extra fancy strollers bedecked with all manner of paraphenelia which I did not recognize. Occasional in-line skaters would whisk by mostly without warning. Some courteously said when approaching, “on your left.” Finally I reached the pathway to Glenmore Landing. Nothing I want there, I thought. So, I turned around and went back.

After 15 minutes of walking I reached the big H sign. I decided to carry on. I thought I might sit on the outdoor patio at the restaurant. I heard the distinctive ring of the street car. I looked to my right. The street car was going towards the its stop next to the old train station. I snapped a picture of the car. The street car tracks crossed the pedestrian path on which I was walking. I crossed the tracks about 5 minutes after the street car had passed. By then I could easily see the outdoor patio at the restaurant. It was full, full, full. Disappointed I turned around. Go home. I feel discouraged and depressed anyway.

I scrambeled down the path to my car. Got in. Started it. Drove home. Up fourteenth street. Taking the off ramp to Glenmore. Driving to thirty seventh street. Air conditioning on. Lost in my depressed thoughts.

It was 32 days till I hit the wall.

An exerpt from CRASH! Memories of an Healing Journey, Lyle T. Lachmuth, All Rights Reserved