Wow! My computer just produced a stupid reminder, something like: “Five years ago today!” And then this picture of me standing on a log in Oregon came up. February 4th, 2015 . . . the first time I ever went to Portland. Had some phantom visited me in my dreams on February 3rd, and told me I would rue the day I ever went to Portland, and that I would still be haunted by this catastrophic life miscalculation five years later, I wonder if I would have just stayed home. I tend to trust my dream spirits, so I really do think I would have taken this premonition seriously. To this day I still beat myself up over my decision to move there. Of course many of my problems have lived in my blood since the day I was born, and are bound to me forever, but at least half of the woes that anchor me in hell are ones that I can trace back to Portland. Had I avoided that godforsaken place, I imagine I would now enjoy the silent grass-growing mood that has always eluded me . . . and yet years on, post-Portland, dollars damn me, and the malicious Devil is forever grinning in upon me, holding the door ajar! It was not so much my time there, one full rotation around the sun, that still swims in my heart—it is the self-perpetuating nightmare vine that has hatched out of it, and poisoned everything in its path since the day I first laid eyes on that rainy pit where down below I would soon crawl and scream until they hooked me out. I thought it would never happen . . . I really did think they would bury me there. And yet escaping it was not enough. Because now my memory of it, and the sadnesses that followed me home are still a fucking dance macabre in my peripheral vision. It should not still have power over me. In the quiet of my room, when my mind is sputtering and backfiring and I am powerless to stop it, I watch and cannot look away as the tangled nerve highway leads back down through time and space to that one rotten decision . . . the crushing loneliness, the constant sickness, and all the money I threw away. And beyond it all, living on the far rim of this place, are the dark faces of those that won’t afford me any peace, though that is all I want now. I have tried to get out from under the shadow of it, but like clockwork I still have a torturous dream that I wake up there again. I did my time and paid the price. Please, let go of me. Can I just be left alone now?