This is a draft copy of Fear without Hope, Chapter 3 of The Other Side by K.W. Turner, unedited. We will be releasing a good amount of the chapters of this story over the coming week to ten days.
Fear. Darkness. I know what’s coming, and I have tried to prepare my friends and family for it, but I have been preparing for the inevitability for several years.
It’s the saddest situation and a sad statement. This, too, is the darkness.
Debo and I were sitting in the kitchen once more. He was sitting at the kitchen table and taking puffs off his god-awful e-whatever fucking thing is called.
I was washing up some petite potatoes at the sink that would be a part of dinner.
In the back of my head, I heard myself saying, “Dude, what’s the fucking recipe for this shit? … Oh, so neither of us know?. FUCK!” Yeah, mental is a bitch.
We had the vodka/Zevia flowing. I took a swig, perhaps you could call it a gulp, and I politely asked, “Is now a good time to continue with “The Story”?”
With a nod, it was time. I’ve always loved how a nod and a glance can portray the appropriate answer.
I’d been thinking about this a lot, and I knew that I was getting to some parts where the darkness started to come out. I don’t want to allow my darkness to consume me.
These chats with Debo have helped ease some of this fear and pain.
“I’ve continued thinking about what it takes to admit to oneself that one was not only a failure, but a monumental failure, and that I have failed everybody and everything.” I know that was a bold statement to start based on the look I got.
I paused for another swig of my drink before looking around for the fixings I needed for these petite potatoes. I think that’s what they are called.
Super tasty and easy to cook in the oven and seasoned the way we’d grown accustomed. Not that I have a cookbook deal, but Special Shit is the Shit.
“Let’s talk about faliure. You damn well know my mother had told us, my two sisters and I, and likely yourself and Ms. J, that she had intended to kill herself and detailed precisely how.”
“A few years ago, as you recall, when she passed away, my sisters and me completely, totally, believed that that was what she had done. No doubt.”
Whew. That was another big statement; I thought to myself as I spun around in the kitchen looking for a ziplock bag, the Special Shit Spices, and the olive oil.
I added, “This is to reiterate there was no gambling-related to when she’d die, how she’d die, and the generalized context of her death.” I could feel the darkness starting to paw at me.
I started chuckling after that… It took me a good 10 seconds to stop. “I know, I had the under on all three! I talk such shit and mean it, especially about her,” I added.
I took another “sip” of my drink took a deep breath, trying not to chuckle further.
“So… Good sister and I had been texting back and forth, and I mentioned to her that I was planning on using a small amount of the money on LegalZoom.”
I know Debo is fully aware of what that means, so I had no reason to express anything on that topic for some stupid ass reason. Call it fear of the darkness I try to control. Or call it two dudes talking and having a few -many- drinks.
“I’m not plugging them. I just want to ensure that I have a properly documented power of attorney, will, trust, all of that legal stuff because…”.
So, there it was. The darkness is starting to creep up. Fear in my heart manifests itself as darkness. And no one likes the darkness inside another, nor wants to hear about it. Darkness is hard shit.
“I’m only telling you this because we need to understand where my mind is when it comes to making a decision that would inevitably lead me to where nothing good happens.”
“Are you good for me to continue?” I asked. The response, another nod, and a hit off that fucking e-cig, whatever the fuck it is. “I’ll continue, but this might be a little longer…”
“Last week, while I was talking with my doctor, we were going over some of the feelings I have been expressing lately. I’m not in a bad way where she scolded me, but she said something to me that was so striking about my willingness to go through with it.”
Debo knew what that meant, his facial expressions changing some based on the topic.
“It wasn’t a challenge, and she made that very clear, and I agreed that it was not a challenge. But in all honesty, the honest answer is yes. I am prepared to because that’s where my choice ends up.”
“Just the other day, I was engaged in the conversation with my ex-wife, and we were talking about my current situation, and she was offering up some ideas and whatnot. I just reiterated to her that, the same thing that I had said to my therapist, that I have been preparing to because…”
And I trailed off in my mind. Yes, a lot of this topic… this topic, in particular, comes from my apathy and just how tremendously it had grown over the last few years, starting with leaving one company and where I had four (4) jobs in 20 years. Since that point, I have had three (3) in three (3) years.
The dynamics of the technology field that I have been specializing in have changed considerably. Where I was a systems engineer at the lead or senior level, that has changed from actual engineering like infrastructure design and implementation to more of a DevOps role. I have a hard time with DevOps because I feel my mental capacity in dealing with DevOps is low.
The DevOps world is more about automation and scripting and continuous integration of pipelining and shit like that. That’s not what I enjoy doing, nor is it within the passages of my mental capacity. I just don’t understand it enough.
I don’t know how long I paused with that in my mind, but I think it’s time to start the grill so I can shut the fuck up for a few. Debo did not like where this was going.
“So what I was saying to my ex-wife was how my experiences over the last few years and the inability to find a job going on 4+ months now, in many ways, is because I don’t have some of the skills that these companies are looking for.”
Debo finally added to the conversation with a very explicit statement, “You are so skilled that it’s retarded that you are thinking some of this shit! You are a leader, not a follower. We’ve known this for a long time now.”
“You aren’t wrong,” I added, and after a short pause, I continued, “This is where my fear takes me. The darkness is brought upon by the fear of having to make shitty job choices in going for the money and not the joy.”
“I’d like to get back to my ex-wife if that’s OK…” I nodded to Debo, and he got the door for me as we went outside to start firing up the grill. He had been seasoning the ribeyes for the last bit, and I wasn’t paying attention as I was blathering about.
“I have tried to help my ex-wife understand the level of apathy that I am suffering from and what that means because she has always been the type of person who thinks that health changes people by giving them self-esteem.”
“I knew and understood that she was giving me her honest position, and I have never guessed the was anything aside positive intent. I know that she’s not doing it to be an asshole.” Under my breath, I chuckled, “that was my job.”
That raised an eyebrow or two from Debo as he fired up the grill. He’s a fucking streak-grilling master, always perfect to what I want. A magical meat magician. OMG, that’s so fucking funny!
“By the end of the conversation, I think she was starting to understand that I have lost so much, as have so many other people. I’ve had to go through this process of not feeling sorry for myself and dealing with selling and getting rid of things that I don’t want to, but that’s part of being an adult, apparently.”
This is one of the parts that hurt me the most, things that I had worked so hard to get. Some take over ten years to be able to obtain finally.
“As you know, I just sold my best computer monitor, my best in the ear earbuds. I sold my Apple Watch, and I have one of my speaker amps up for sale. I have a digital to analog converter (DAC) that is phenomenal. And that’s just the beginning because I will have to make more sacrifices.”
Debo got a call from work, and I stepped inside and shut the door, trying to give him privacy. I mean, I think it was from work. I mean, doesn’t everyone call their co-workers sweety and honey?
My mind went sideways with the chance to dance around the edges of the darkness. It’s a joyful task if I do say so myself.
“A few days ago, I was getting my haircut from my stylist of the last 20+ years. She and I were talking about the same general topic as earlier. She told me that I was being selfish and that I should be looking at any jobs possible, even if it’s a help desk position, just so I have extra money coming in.”
“I sadly told her the same thing I had told my ex-wife. I just don’t care. I’m at the point where I have been beaten down by so many people I just don’t care. How do you survive when you don’t care about anything?”
And there it was, my brain popped. Darkness. Boom.
“All of this is a part of the general downward spiral I am currently experiencing. It’s an important part of the overall story because it is a complicated topic for people to talk about. A lot of times, people don’t know what to say.”
“In a funny bit, I was on Tinder recently, and as I was looking through profiles (mostly swiping left), I happened upon a gal whose profile/blurb was rather interesting.”
“It felt like I know this woman, but I have no idea why. She had a shirt in one of her pictures that said “Suicide.” I thought it was funny because of where I am and how hard I am trying to keep the darkness in check.”
I continued, “I’m pretty sure her name was Ms. E, and I knew her from a previous employment gig. At one point, I knew that she was doing a pet sitting service, and I always considered that if I had traveled but… to no difference.”
We both knew I fucking hated traveling. Unless I went first class, my knees were never cool about sitting in economy. Fuck that. Too painful.
“All of this, as I have learned, as part of the story about what’s going on in my life is the readiness that I have. Ultimately it’s selfish, but all I want to do is to protect myself and the boys from the extraneous circumstance of what could be.”
“One of the things that I have been thinking about, besides taking a shitty, shitty, shitty help desk level job, was something that my hairstylist mentioned to me. Maybe I could also look at doing a driving service like Amazon delivery or BevMo, as examples, that kind of stuff where I don’t have to be around people, which is a fabulous thing for me because I don’t like people.”
Debo knew how much I disliked people. Darkness sets in when I think about taking them all with me. And some glee always came from the idea of doing that. Not that I have the means. Or energy, fuck that.
“I feel a rant coming on… I had just spent $675 on maintenance for the fucking BMW because I was three months behind on a slew of services… oil change, air filter, brake fluid, coolant, and who the fuck knows what else was done.
“I don’t want to talk to good sister about the money as this was one of those things that I told her that I had to do. Do I use this as an opportunity to skip out of my $214 a week from the state of Arizona because there’s no fucking hope that the politicians in Washington, all those cunts, are going to get anything done that we would provide me with some relief? And just don’t care.”
“I really just don’t care. I don’t care if I work. I’ve been enjoying writing the book. I have enjoyed working on my writing blog while paying more attention to leveraging SEO plugins formula to learn more.”
“It has been great and interesting to me but… That’s not going to pay the bills, and if I want to stay in this house, I’m going to have to figure out a better solution because I can’t pay the retarded amount of money.”
Debo knew that I was hitting hard in the fear area. I could sense he was seeing it in me.
“I have gotten empathetic to the point where I just don’t care about much of anything, including myself. I very obviously care about and love the boys. I don’t care what people say, I don’t care what people think of me, I don’t care about any of it, and it’s just my apathy running rampant.”
There, I said it. I brought the darkness to the fear and the fear to the darkness—a perfect circle of a downward spiral.
“It made me very nervous because there is always a possibility I can make my way through where I am right now and find a way to make it work. But I don’t know what that looks like, and every day I wonder if I can do it.”
“And with that, I knew I have gone over the limits of what I could talk about with you tonight and am very appreciative…”
And I trailed off for a couple of seconds as I mentally added, “that you didn’t put my head in the grill and slam the lid down a few times.”
“I probably knew that about 15 minutes ago and didn’t shut the fuck up. My apologies.” I added, feeling shitty for having gone on and on.
I concluded the evening with, “Hey, how about some refills and you school me again on the proper steak-grilling process?”.
Backlinks to other Chapters
DRAFT – Chapter 0 – Lost – The Other Side |2022
DRAFT – Chapter 1 – Backstory – The Other Side |2022
DRAFT – Chapter 2 – Hope With a Side of Fear – The Other Side |2022
DRAFT – Chapter 3 – Fear without Hope – The Other Side |2022