I Used To Worry About Rain

I awoke at 5 AM suddenly on this cold November morning; my feeble attempts to remain asleep were futile as whenever I wake from a restful night’s sleep, my mind begins racing and always will. I realize now that after a lifetime of feeling like an outsider who views life as if looking through a large plate of seemingly impenetrable glass. I realize now that my entire life, up until now, I did not know I was lost, and even if I knew that indeed I was lost, I never could have known to what extent that I was lost. The tears I shed were a warning sign often ignored, as I slowly became disenchanted with my life and love. Shadows fall, love hurts, and the perpetual disenchantment becomes a corrosive that does its magic slowly to the point where only bitterness remains.

I used to worry about rain, and I used to be terrified of lightning. When I was a child, I believed that my life would be a total failure if I was not able to figure out a simple math problem in grade school. When you truly love someone, everything else seems so unimportant, and regardless of what one loses in life, when we are in love with someone who truly sees and loves us for who we really are, everything else truly is insignificant. When one loses love, it feels as if one’s heart is put on display for all the world to see, along with the remnants of their dreams and life plans tossed into threshers and all torn to pieces.

On this cold November morning, I gazed out my bedroom window, lost in a whirlwind of my own thoughts, my eyes immediately focusing on the fresh layer of frost covering the ground. It was then that I realized that winter is again on its way, and the changing seasons brings with it the profound changes of scenery. Wintertime is a curious time for me, and always has been, as most of the time, I’m left to stay inside and succumb to my thoughts and memories, which are always abounding, especially during the winter.

This year, on my 41st birthday I finally decided it was time for me to run away, so I packed a suitcase with my essentials, and simply drove away in my car. I’m again reminded of my life, and how I would often frame and categorize the eras of my life in suitcases, as until now I never had any place to truly call home. Home is not simply the place where one lives; a home is a place where one truly belongs. I put millions of miles under my feet, as I navigated my way through life the best way I knew how, but what did I get? Did I achieve success, or gratuitous admiration, or simply validation that I indeed accomplished something in popular parlance which is commonly deemed to be worthwhile?

I have been a writer all my life, yet until now, my thoughts and words were all too often dismissed as esoteric ramblings; muttered utterances of a madwoman, whose genius, instead of being revered and admired, was instead shunned.

I recently took a trip back to the old apartment Angie and I rented just outside the city of Plattsburgh, and afterward drove down the streets I used to patrol during my time as a medic. It has been years since I last visited and it seems as if everything I once knew has become alien to me as if there’s nothing left that time hasn’t changed. I wish that I had some method of preserving the memories of my life, such as placing the details of my life experience into a box and placing it upon a shelf so that I could open it whenever I needed a reassuring bit of nostalgia.

I returned to the house in Schoharie, it was the first house I purchased, and was where Angie and I spent the longest and last duration of our relationship together. She was surprised to see me, and as I gathered the remainder of my possessions, she began to cry. Everything I wanted and had worked tirelessly for eventually ended up driving me away in sadness and sorrow, leaving me alone and feeling like a stranger that although seen, is never remembered. Finally, as my anchor was finally up, I was swept away in search of a better life, and in doing so, my world was left behind, holding the hand of my former lover. One does not realize exactly what they possess until it is suddenly swept away, just as one does not truly find oneself until they are so helplessly lost that they come frantically crawling upon the shores of solace. Angie knew that one day I would be successful. She must have known that one day I would be a star, but perhaps she never anticipated the possibility that I would be a star in someone else’s sky.

And yet I still remember all my life; snapshots and memories like scattered pieces of my life and times that constantly play in my mind like flashbacks of pop culture movie clips from 1980’s-era movies. I still remember being small, and constantly climbing out of my crib, and my father interrupting his work to find something to pacify my attention. I remember battling imaginary dragons with plastic swords in the back yard. I remember all my days at summer camp, and the days when my parents would come and visit me and meet my friends. I remember the beginnings and the endings of every single important milestone in my life. I remember every high and every low, every triumph and every failure, falling in love, and feeling heartbreak.

A good friend once asked me, if I could live my life all over again, would I? The truth is, I don’t know. I have witnessed the best and worst parts of life, I have delivered babies, and held the hands of people during the last moments of their life. I have met the absolute most wonderful and genuine people and have sat face to face with murderers. I have personally witnessed the good, the bad, the fascinating and the mundane, and everything in between. I have experienced brilliance and frustration. All I can hope for is for the story of my life to be told, treasured, and preserved. It is for this reason, I have decided that with the days still left, I will devote the remainder of my life to writing, photography, and love.

The header image is a photograph of a sculpture titled Across Time And Space and was taken at The West Rutland Art Park, West Rutland, Vermont, USA.

These Are The Thoughts Of An Independent Thinker | Keyframe | There’s No Way To Bargain On A Barter | A Little Ghost For The Offering | It’s Awhile Since I’ve Dreamed This Much | I Almost Dedicated My Life To Writing | Do I Have Something Worth Writing?


  • Richard (Dick) Woodhouse

    Onward and upward with the true and loyal support of family and friends. We are here. Virtual hugs, My friend.
    We are here for you, and with you, enjoying your wonderful talent!

  • Deborah Rowell

    Now, this is powerful writing. And I see the reference to the things you wanted now driving you away. You captured a great, dramatic sky behind the train sculpture that sets the mood for the story you share. I relate to your pain. But I think your best years are ahead, and what happened up until now was an important part of your journey. I look forward to our upcoming visit. I hope we can all have some deep conversations about things that matter, not just small talk. Small talk has it’s place, especially as we get to know one another. But life is short, and we all have important things to talk about, which usually we’re afraid to bring up. You can talk to me and Allen about anything, really. And I feel I’m learning a lot from you already. God bless your day. See you soon.

  • Laura S Putman

    This is a wonderful post, I cannot even imagine the life of a paramedic but it has made you a stronger and more compassionate person.

    I recently learned that we must understand that relationships are not to make us happy but a part of our lives for us to learn and grow from, it is how we each come to be authentic and unearth our individuality.

    Just think, Tom, you are a compilation of all of the experiences you’ve lived through and all of the choices you’ve made up until now. To me, it sounds like your becoming happier, wiser and more introspective, for creative souls like us, that is the epitome of attaining greatness within ourselves.

    • Thomas Slatin

      The life of a Firefighter or EMT is a full time job. Even if you’re not at work, there exists a definite likelihood that you will be called to work at any moment. Such was my life for 18 years; I was literally always on call. It was severe PTSD after years of experiencing traumatic events and being the one who is called to start making everything right again. PTSD was also a small part of the reason I had to eventually leave my relationship with Angie.

      Thank you for your absolutely amazing comment as well as your insights! To be honest, my time in the fire service gave me a lot of perspective on life, numerous life skills, and a lot of pride. It was the breadth of my dedication and compassion and skill that eventually promoted me to Lieutenant.

      I’m now living in Vermont in my dream house, I have a new girlfriend who writes and helps me with my photography. So yes, I am very happy now, for the first time in decades I get to wake up in the morning and no longer have to make a sworn promise to my family that no matter what happens while I’m at work, I will make it home safely.

  • Wilson Joseph

    Not a lot of writers have a great sense of reflection in their writing. I am so touched with your ability to be raw and honest with your readers. Such is life dear friend, you win some, you lose some. Without the rain, there will no rainbow. Also much respect for your service, you have done a great job helping your community and the people around you. I hope you find your peace as you continue on discovering more of what life has to offer. More power and I’m looking forward to reading your other work.

  • Minnie Jenkins

    I do think people who put their pain and thoughts into writing will be able to make a beautiful and powerful piece. You were able to channel your thoughts out well here and I think there is some credit to the challenges and struggles you faced earlier on life. Ironic that through the pains of life, we find solitude eventually. Once we sort out through it.

  • Christina B

    Wow I didn’t expect you to be a paramedic and firefighter! I find paramedics very rushed and on the go, from your writing I feel a sense of calmness and introspection. But alas, writing can only reflect what you want to show don’t you agree? I’m so glad that you’re sharing tidbits of your life with us readers. I always enjoy seeing another side of the writer.

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