Robin Amy Bass

ANOTHER EPISODE: PTSD REVISITED

I remember distinctly the first day that we met
And also, the first time I left, with regret.
I suppose we were young, with our fortunes untold.
I just chalk it up to a youth’s episode

I never expected that we’d reconnect
I long to discover, you tend to dissect
You come with a warning – ‘not easy to take’
I look you straight on – as my heart starts to quake
You look me dead on – “this might be a mistake”-
The thought of you leaving again, makes me shake
(For years I’ve been sleeping – now I’m awake)

And though I am older I’m still not reserved
I never stopped thinking you’re what I deserved
And as I talk faster, I see that you’ve slowed
You say it’s a new start – a bright episode

You say your true colors you never have showed
It’s a brand new beginning – a new episode
And if I sign on it will be quite a trek
‘Cause you are a war torn marine – a train wreck

I’ve heard new doors open, as old ones are closed
And learned it’s not karma, it’s just what I chose
So I nod my head, as I start down this road
And think this is right, here’s a fresh episode

I’ve seen windows open – I’ve watched windows slam
But now I’m with you so I don’t give a damn
“The past is behind us” I say – “don’t you see?”
You say “I don’t know if you’ll like the real me’

“I already do” – I respond and I blush
“Just tell me the truth – take your time – what’s the rush?”
But you back away – while I think I’ll explode
“It’s not what you think – it’s a long episode.”

“Just tell me the truth” – so you say, “Vietnam”
I try just to listen – I stay very calm
I learn who you are – more and more everyday
I’m meeting the real you – and I choose to stay

Up close right beside you I want to know more
When you shake your head, or you just block the door
And close off the closet, where the baggage is stowed.
You shrug off the pain to a brief episode.

You wake still asleep – saying, “hush they can hear.”
You lean in real close – “Yes, the enemies near.”
With this war still inside you – you run hot then run cold
I know in the morning that it’s best to withhold
The details and demons from the night before
You will brush them away, – “Guess I should mop the floor”
Looking for shelter – is your survival mode
You simply deny it – this strange episode

You make light and smile – “Babe, it’s only a dream!”
You say that in space no one can hear you scream
You quote from that movie – that alien flick
I laugh along with you – “You think you’re so slick.”

One day you sound distant and I am surprised
It comes on quite sudden – the shift in your eyes
I know something’s wrong, but I hate to accuse.
I nod as you tell me it’s only the blues

You throw up a smoke screen – you speak in a code
You say, “Oh it’s nothing – just an episode.
It comes out of nowhere and then it is gone
Most time it’s 5 seconds – it doesn’t last long.”

She’s there on your shoulder, but you do not say
Your mistress is calling; she’s wanting to play
So we keep pretending that everything’s fine
And we both ignore the invisible line

And it’s just a chapter – call it episode two
You say, “Well this isn’t me” – no it’s not the real you
Well I guess that is so – ‘cause you cannot see me
Does “not you” have a label? You say PTSD.

Well, now I feel better, ‘cause we’ve met before
This isn’t the first time I’ve knocked at your door
And faced down a mistress – and told her get out
She’s leaving I’m staying… was there any doubt

And so you indulge me – it must be this cold
Besides, it was nothing a mild episode
But you soon grow silent – you say you must sleep
The distance is growing the gap is so deep…

That soon I’m the one, who is on the outside,
While that bitch PTSD has chosen to hide
In linings of pockets – and drawers filled with socks.
And somehow she’s managed to turn back the clocks.

If I just ignore her perhaps she will leave.
But this is no schoolgirl; she only deceives,
And frightens her boyfriends and uses them up.
She has them for breakfast, perhaps a quick sup.

You’re lying there, bleeding – you say just a cut
Your voice starts receding – while I’m asking “what?”
You say – I can’t talk – the phones click to my “but”
And all of the pamphlets say keep my mouth shut.

Another episode you finally say
You had a tough time – and then you look away
A minor setback – it is bound to subside.
But I know it injures much more than your pride.

I know inside that you want to get well.
I know that look – I know that smell.
I know you hide it as best as you can.
I know for sure this was never your plan

To lose count of these episodes – all called PTSD
As if it’s a series they air on TV
A show about something
That comes without warning
Sometimes late at night
Or sometimes in the morning
Another episode, an additional chapter
And in an instant, an end to the laughter
That we were enjoying at least for spell
That fooled me to thinking that you’re getting well

Alarm bells are ringing – they fill up the rafters
Am I just a prologue? Or a thought that comes after,
PTSD has consumed all she can.
And you say you’re doing the best that you can.
You warn me to run when the shit hits the fan

But you’ve never turned when they say, “stay and fight.”
And both of us scoff at those gentle goodnights
And slaying a dragon is hard I am told
It’s nice when there’s someone to help with the load.
It’s time we were writing a new episode

The God’s honest truth is I wasn’t prepared.
A strong understatement to say I’m still scared.
I know there are days when it just gets you down
It’s safer you think if I’m just not around.
But hold this inside and you’re bound to implode.
Don’t leave me out side with the last episode.