Asphalt Waves and Good Books

When I was 7, or 8 maybe, they canceled school as they did for my kids today. Now, it wasn’t for the snow, I lived in the high desert of the Mojave and it did indeed snow there from time to time, no, this day they canceled school because it was simply too damn hot. I couldn’t give you the numbers, I was a kid and I didn’t pay attention to that. What I do remember is the reason my mother said I couldn’t go outside.

The asphalt was melting see.

They thought of the street turning into so wave of blackness to swallow me whole terrified me beyond rational thought and I spent this day where the temperatures had to be in the upper limits of human endurance hiding in my closet so I wouldn’t get swallowed by the street.

Yeah, I was a troubled child.

I would have panic attacks like this more often as we lived in Lancaster longer and longer. Earthquakes, melting asphalt, my mother getting out of her room for the first time in a week, CPS, school, and on and on.

A totally irrational fear of things that were above and beyond any sphere of control I was aware of. School never did it to me, personal interactions, meetings, but when it came to things I couldn’t micromanage, that is when I would collapse into the little closet that I spent so much time in that I had a blanket, a lamp and the books that kept me sane by taking me far away from scary things like the San Andreas fault line and 125 degrees in the shade.

I may not have a closet anymore, but I still have the panic attacks, I just got better books and sweet air conditioning.

Cherish

I suppose you could say I was a Lakers fan growing up. I mean, I suppose you can say the same of most of the kids who grew up here I did in the valley. The Clippers weren’t exactly spectacular back in the day so if you liked basketball and you lived in Los Angeles, you watched the Lakers. I grew up with Magic, Kareem, and Worthy. I watched the death matches with the Celtics and Bird and even though I am not now, nor have I ever been a significant basketball fan, I was aware of the team and pride is a thing that makes a city tick and tock better. When I moved to New York in ’91, I couldn’t tell you a thing about the team. They, like a lot of my memories of California, has faded over time to something that isn’t quite made up and isn’t quite a memory.

Now, the only reason I said any of that is to say that I am not writing what I am about to because I am a dyed in the blood of the Lakers Lamb. You hear the name Kobe, yeah, you know who he is. I am also not here to take his life apart piece by piece and talk about the things he did on or off the court. People far smarter and more qualified than I will surely start doing that as soon as they feel it is not too morbid to do so.

No, I am writing this because death and I are friends. We have met many times in this life and when I heard that his daughter was on the helicopter that crashed, there was a part of me that went out to meet that old friend again to catch up and see if there was anything new.

Sadly, there was.

Rewind.

I lost a son. The tragedy of losing a child is not something I am going to try and paint here in a few words. It is pain beyond description. All of those memories came back tome yesterday as I sat here and watched the news reports over and over again. All of the darkest and most wretched parts of the story played themselves out for me again and again and instead of locking them in a little chest and putting them in a closet, I thought of what I am saying now. Kept pain has no purpose for me, it festers and rots me and I can’t do it anymore.

So, here.

Kiss the people you are with. Hug them close to you and tell them you love them. Make sure you tell your children that you love them, especially if they roll their eyes when you tell them. Make sure they are never in doubt that your love for them is ABSOLUTE. This applies to your friends, your lovers, your pets and your most loosely associated acquaintances.

Life is so short.

It is so brief.

You need to tell the people you need to tell the things you need to tell them so that if your meeting with my old friend is tomorrow, or today, or in three minutes, you will go knowing that there is nothing left unsaid in your heart and your mind.

Originally I was going to write a lot of things about a lot of things, but why? All you need to do I know the simplest and deepest of truths.

Love the people you love.

Tell them.
Show them.
Teach them.
Praise them.
Cherish them.

That’s Why I Said It

I was going to write an email last night, explaining a sentence that I said to one of my closest friends. I wrote about half of it and then my email client crashed and through the fog of the literal handful of medication I had taken to kick this cold in the ass, I just gave up and I laid my head back and let the songs of Orpheus take me and bring me to the sleep I very much needed.

It was a one-sentence text message and it summed up a thing, but I did it backward I think. Plus, this is going to be vague because I am not going to say who it was or what the sentence was, so enjoy reading this, or, you know, don’t?

See, what I did was state the conclusion without the supporting points.

You make me realize the depths of things. You make me see the heights of things. The Right, the Wrong. You never let ego overshadow fact.

You love, you care, you understand. You walk around with no lights and others don’t even bother trying.

See, it isn’t just the sentence at the end that makes you, you, it is everything that led me to say it.

Loves

RAWRZ

State Of The Bear – Special Post Visit Edition

I will use the words ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ this once. I will refer to that organization as a cult from this point onward.

I hate it when I know they are coming. I dread the day for weeks on end, if I even get that much notice that they are coming in the first place. They make me feel small and pathetic and worthless in front of my own child and even though I am positive that not ALL of it is intentional, there is no such thing as that much smug and holier-than-thou on accident.

They make my skin crawl, my spirit wither and my temper flare to places it should never go. Someone who is much smarter than I am told me I should write all of this down and get it all out and purge the whole thing from my system, so that is what I am going to do. All of it though, not just this weekend, all of the skeletons.

We wouldn’t have been screwed without them. I say that we would have a lot, but if I had gone back to work, then everything would have remained the same, and that is a good thing in this particular case. I would have worked there until they shut it down, and even that was six or seven years later. All those years without the guilt and the horror show.

I should back up I think.

It all goes back to them refusing to come to Naomi and I’s wedding. Stupid cult politics told them that it was wrong to go to the wedding because they had agreed to the cult publicly shunning their oldest child and only daughter. So they came the day beforehand and threw hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of things into the carts at Walmart and then promptly left without another word. They missed one of the happiest days of their daughter’s life because a cult told them that because she didn’t want to be part of the cult, then she was to be shunned, ignored, chastised and despised, publicly, if not privately. Remember that last part, it becomes the key here in a bit.

Almost exactly three months after we were married, my mother died. I will not unload that dumpster fire here, what matters is that when it happened, I lost it and had a complete breakdown. I spent weeks sitting in my bathtub because it was the only place I felt safe enough to take a deep breath. Now, I got time off and money because of things at work that allowed for that, but I couldn’t go back when they said I had to. I was a shell of a person and for someone who spent as much time in the bathtub as I did, I smelled like old worry and new fear.

Naomi was my everything during those weeks. She made sure I ate, made sure I slept, didn’t laugh at me for the half-dozen completely unnecessary visits to the Emergency Room I made because I was terrified I was about to die. She was, as she always was, my love and life and strength,

She came down to help Naomi more than to help us and while she was here, I was walking up the hill to Wegmans with her and this idea popped into my head, from a place I cannot fathom. Within hours we had decided that we would move our entire life to Quebec and abandon the very nice life we had literally just begun together.

Goddess, I hate the fact that there is so much about that place that I fell in love with. For a former catholic I got to see some of the greatest churches in Western Christendom, I saw the city of cities for Canada and I immersed myself, involuntarily mind you, in an entirely new culture and language. Montreal at night is one of the best places in the world that I have been to. There is nothing you can’t find if you know where to look and what to say in French to get there.

We moved in with them at first. We had nothing at all and Naomi was pregnant with middle duck at that point. What else could we have done?

One of the chief conditions of moving in with them is that we had to go to cult meetings with them. I swear on all I am, I didn’t know how bad they were before sitting down and listening to the nonsensical drivel that came out of these peoples mouths day after day after day. From scripture I literally knew in Latin and Greek being purposely mistranslated and misused to their horrific treatment of their own, and others, and pretty much everything that was in line perfectly.

I truly think if they hadn’t made me fucking shave every day I would have been far more open-minded than I was. Well, I wouldn’t have, but the humor never hurts right?

Let’s fast forward to that horrible day, almost five years ago now.

I called and I had to tell them she died. I had to maintain some form of sanity while I told them that their daughter was gone from the world. In shock, as one could imagine, they immediately got off the phone and headed down to see the boys and me.

Even that day, with their daughter gone but hours, they started it. The guilt, the shame, the looks. I thought they were manifestations of undeserved guilt that I had at first. No, no they were noticed by others that were here with us all. It grew and grew each time I saw them, each visit where they would take the Elder Duck and pretend my other two children, their own grandchildren, didn’t exist unless I was there with them at the time.

Money is how they say I love you. Wow, and did they say it a lot the first few years. Then it was narrow, like a laser beam and they would pump Elder Duck for information, prime him over and over with cult bullshit while dumping mountains of cash and presents on him under the thin guise of the spoiling grandparents. Then, just like that, they started coming once, if that, a year.

At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but I have had some conversations with Elder Duck and I am pretty sure it is because he has the audacity to talk about wanting to be things like an astrophysicist and explore the unknown of the Universe instead of walking behind them lockstep with the other cult members in a country he doesn’t live in.

Now, I have skipped a lot on purpose. I made the most relevant disclosures because everything would be counterproductive and take too damn long.

They make me feel like I killed their daughter.
They make me feel their other grandchildren are Other, Less.
They acknowledge to your face, deny later.

They are my In-laws and I hate them.

Yeah, One Of These

Sometimes you need to leech the poison out…..

I do my best you know. I try the hardest I can on the days I have the ability to fucking try at all. I get up and Dad the best I can, even the days I want to hide under the blanket and pretend that I have no idea whose kids those are making all that noise. I get up and I come down here and try to be sociable, yes, at 3:30 in the fucking morning. What am I supposed to do, sit here like a rock and ignore the little dude who wants to sit in my lap, the middle guy laughing at the wonders of the world and the elder asking me questions he genuinely wants to know the answers to.

When they leave I come in and I cry, almost every day, at least for a minute or two. I cry because I am missing them already, I am in pain, I am sad because that is what I do or because I saw a cat that was homeless. It doesn’t take now, it never really has taken all that much at all.

I sit here and I message my people. I message them all in the same way, in the same order, with the same words, every single day because if I don’t have my routine I have nothing.

Then the day does what it does.

I don’t want sympathy, I am writing this because my brain told me I needed to and when my brain tells me to write something, I write it. I have no option in the matter. I am a slave to it and I will never not be and it is what has kept me around here long enough that you get to sit and read this thing.

I have written hundreds and hundreds of thousands of words. You have read some, a lot it may seem, but no.

The things I can’t write down, the things trapped in my head forever out of fear and shame, guilt and pain. I read them, in my head, behind my eyes, every single time I blink or try to sleep or tell myself the headache will go away soon because nothing can last that long, right?

I whine a lot to all of you. I call it all kinds of things, but let’s keep it real, I whine. I won’t promise to not do it, that is a lie, but I will at least own the word and try my best to mitigate the circumstances in which I do things.

Randomness Ensues

If you know me past a little bit, you know February is up there on my list of months that go can go fuck in a grease fire.

I miss all of you so much.

Rarwrz