current mood: forlorn
...Good for what ails ya.
...Good for what ails ya.
Oh, daddy dearest, do not judge. We are all victims of the human condition, working soul-sucking jobs... You screamed at your children until they prayed you would leave them. So I smoke a few cigarettes. What's the harm?
Hello Vitriol, my old friend. In three hours time do you suppose we'll be at yoga where we belong or ripping ourselves up for old time's sake?
edit: cigarettes & gin taste damn good. I guess I should have been more present in the 1920s.
There's nothing wrong with being privileged... I guess..
I mean, I recognize that it's not your fault that you were born into a family that sent you to college but I have a minimum requirement that you recognize and acknowledge that while some people on this planet can't get access to clean water, you've spent your whole life getting an education and are never really going to have to enter the "real world" where people work for a living because you're going to stay in academia where you get summers off and spend your "work" time pursuing your area of interest. It's cool. I don't want to judge you. It just that I'll have more respect for you if you can acknowledge that GLOBALLY, your education debt does put you in the 1%.
It's not yet November but for several days i've been sensing the approach of anniversaries for last year's losses.
This winter, the other child i care most about in the whole world will be taken away.
Life is but a bus ride.... yadda, yadda.
I was here less than 24 hours when it'd already been the most touching and satisfying reunion i can remember. Andy & Brenda kept us up until 12 with glorious tales and then all were sent off to bed as if we were still small. Earlier Brenda seemed to nearly say that i was Andy's favorite but then she looked around and muttered that she needed to be careful. No small thing since there are so many score of us. But fitting as Andy is more than likely to be my favorite uncle. He frequently comments on the times he tended me as a toddler and he said last night that he was impressed with my toggery at grandma's funeral which was the last time i saw him.
This morning Brenda & i were alone and she told me that she feels Julie & i had a very hard life with dad. She regrets not doing anything about it though i can't imagine what there was to have done. So strange to hear because while i can still remember that i grew up differently from my peers, my adult world view has glossed over most of it and today i think: how can i really know how different my experience was from anyone elses? All we can truly know is our own.
I held dad's hand during grace and i'm amazed that the size relationship between the two looks exactly the same as it ever did. Although I'm now full-grown, my hand still disappears in his cracked, meaty palm. And he still cannot deliver a blessing without his voice cracking as well; it raises an octave or two immediately, and he must wipe his eyes by "amen". My pop.
I think this is what my friend Tere calls “ambush grief”. You think your troubles are all packed away and then BLAM! ..you’re choking and sobbing with your head on your desk at work.
My mom just called to say she’s spoken with your social worker. She’s been doggedly pursuing any news of you for months while I’ve… well I don’t know… I don’t consciously try to avoid thinking of you. I think my mind just doesn’t go there. There’s nothing I can do about this whole rancid situation. The Commonwealth of Virginia wants me to pretend you’re dead. No contact. Why can’t I at least write? So every night just before bed I plead with God to take good care of you. And then I live every day not knowing if he hears me or not but not thinking of it too much until bedtime again. You’re just a memory now. Not part of my current life.
But then mom called and she’s giddy she finally got to speak to your new social worker (who’s just met you – what does she know?). She says you’re improving so maybe prayer works. I can’t stop crying as I write this and I don’t know if it’s because I’m grateful for the news or because they’re only fortifying our communication embargo. Though I only ever get any info third hand, what I keep hearing is that we may never reconnect. At least not until you’ve almost completely forgotten us. They’re so insistent that to bond with a new family you must forget the old. They’ve still not convinced me this is smart therapy for a kid with attachment disorders. I suppose it makes mom happy to think there’s a day on the horizon in which we can see you again. What use is that?? You won’t know us then! We’ll be perfect strangers. Their damage is done, those sonsabitches.
I'm surprised and charmed at the restraint the media has shown in this rapture business. The sources i've read have found the fun in it without ridiculing the faithful outright.
I can just barely remember a time when i was little and my parents - or maybe just mom went to a religious weekend retreat. Pretty sure it was Walk to Emmaus, whatever that entails. Aunt Pat scooped up Julie & i and drove us a small eternity to "surprise her". Seems Aunt Pat had done it the year before and the plan involved driving us all the way to wherever mom was and planting us along a dimly lit path with scores of other loved ones. After this spiritually intensive weekend, the pilgrims were led in silence through the half light of this path, not expecting to see their families there supporting them. We stood in silence, and were then bundled back in the car without touching or speaking to her. Kinda trippy i bet to be the pilgrim.
Popped back into my mind probably because tomorrow i will scoop up Aunt Pat for the drive up to the National Cathedral to surprise mom at her chorus recital. Funny when life draws those little parallels.
I couldn’t remember if I was supposed to be there at one or two so I tried all morning to call my mom’s pre-paid cell phone but of course it was off. In recent years I’ve grown increasingly sensitive to those who endure this holiday each year without their mothers. In 2004 it was Kevin, last year it was Dwayne, this year it’s Charlie and my own mom and her siblings. When I think of it, there must be thousands of newly motherless across the country every year when this day comes. People like my dad and his sisters have lived more of their lives without one than they did with.
I tried to enjoy the ride north but it was a bit too cold and the grocery did not have the tulips I’d been hoping for so two-foot rose stems jutted from under my motorcycle jacket melting their plastic sleeve against the pipes. I felt inexplicably miserable consumed by the sensation that any minute I might cry but couldn’t for the life of me put my finger on a reason. I encounter this feeling often in books and movies but not real life.
After a longer than usual hour, I arrive at the designated chain restaurant to find her sitting alone by the door. This is a mystifying sight to me. I am summoned to Fredericksburg at least a half dozen times a year. Mom makes family holidays of all the usuals plus Memorial Day, Labor Day, Fourth of July, her birthday, anyone else’s birthday… I am always late and I’ve never known her to be alone.
“Where is everyone?” I asked.
“Somewhere else,” she says. My sister, her sisters… everyone has made other plans.
“Dad didn’t come up this time?”
“No, he has a new tractor so he hasn’t come down off of it in days.”
Geez. She’s come remarkably close to being alone on the first Mother’s Day without her mom. She talks endlessly over portions big enough for elephants and although I’m great at, as Simon & Garfunkle say, “faking it”, I’m glad that in accordance with precedent, I do not have to hold up any end of the conversation. Sixty dollars later we browse around a nearby store where she throws worthless crap into a cart if it’s on sale, and I remember again that her least attractive qualities are the ones she gave me: we shop for therapy, fantasize about lives more exciting than our own, sometimes mistake ourselves for the life of the party, and I hate that we are both too ADD to pay attention to the answers when we ask people questions.
When I get home, I want to collect Ms. Flood’s laundry from her backyard and fold it for her but as the street is clogged with visiting cars every year on this day, I can’t tell if any of her relatives could be over and I don’t want to be caught trespassing.
Oh my god am i boring on Facebook. I did one of those year-end amalgamater things and couldn't even finish reading it. I've no delusion that i'm more exciting here, but i'm certainly more comfortable. I'd never forsake you, El Jay!
Next month is the Aunt Charlotte cruise. She's on my mind for dabbling in the crazy tonight. Tomorrow i will hear all about it, like it or not. Anyway, it occurs to me that the first thing we do each year after boarding and getting our cabin is that she wants to borrow my cell phone to call Grandma while we're still in port. So much has changed. This year she has her own cell phone, there's no Grandma, and she may or may not even be married by then. Crazytown.