Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Last day as a kid

My mother was at the table when I came in the door, seated with her head in her hands. I remember outside being reassuring, the feeling of breaking through the veil of the nightmare, the heat on my back, and how the air conditioning evaporated the sweat on my cheek. It was all about the transition, and the immediate need to reverse day and go back to being bored in math class, somehow I knew.

The room was filled with pain.

The door slammed behind me and my mother looked up out of her hands, she let out an unrecognizable whelp and started to get up. I saw the age in her, age of her mother visiting upon her. She had lethargy in her rising, but still it was laced with a frantic pressure that threatened to blow out the windows of the dining room and knock down the graying portraits of my forefathers on the wall behind her.

Explosive compassion.

Comforting hands lay on her shoulders suggesting with not unkind force that she discontinue her struggle to stand on her buckling legs and return to the chair. My aunt was in attendance, her ghost materialized in the fog of misery that I felt in my home. My mother looked at me, directly in the eyes, she did her best to telepathically tell me to run back to yesterday. She cried out, "Jed, I'm sorry", and my aunt dulled out her sobbing with a hushed "sshhhh" and some more shoulder rubbing.

My uncle beamed in from the shadows. Nobody had opened the drapes since the heat of the noon day sun was denied admission. He crossed the room directly and took my gaze from my mother. He gave me his own moist eyes and a familiar smile.

His smile had no elation.

My progress across the room was cut short by him grabbing me and holding onto me. I noticed then that even with his extra padding he was an older softer version of my father. He rubbed my back the same way my father did, and his breathing held the same rhythm.

"son, we have to talk."

He cleared his throat and looked down at me even though my height brought us to eye level. I was looking into Dorian Gray's picture, although the image showed me a path of differing choices I was to have for my own life.

"let's go outside for a minute" he asked.

It was a question, although his physical maneuvering was hardly a request. It was time for something horrible to be known, it was time for this man who loved me like I was his own to guide me through it.

Being back outside in that atmosphere of the most recent afternoon's innocence didn't help what he was about to say, rather it made me feel there was never going to be any escape. He knew it would be better for us to share the passage than to partake in it alone.

"Your Dad is a strong man son, he's the best." His voice kind of trailed off into soprano. His gaze tried to impart that which his meager words had somehow failed to establish.

Regaining tempo, he continued.

"They couldn't save him at the hospital son."

The world started spinning.

"he's not with us anymore."

The words were trite. On their own, they were meaningless, they were twigs in the river of his streaming empathy. The subtle ramp onto the highway to a future without my father was here and standing not inches from me. Here was a closest thing in the world to my father, a man who from the back could be my father, breaking me into the harshest of realities.

The twig in the river was the key to his whole presence, the words just gelled the cruel news into stark clarity. He didn't have to say much more although he did continue to speak for a long time. I heard his words, soft rumbling, exactly the tone of someone who'd caressed my broken heart would take. Every one of his words explaining the incident, the gun, the heroism, the madness at the hospital, mixed together into a good story with tragic ending. All this information was a tornado around my head. Right at the beginning I knew I could not stand and listen but I didn't need to, my uncle was strong enough to hold me up.


Blogger Chantel said...

I know there something truly wrong with me. But this might have been the most honest post I've ever read from you.

I'm sorry for your loss but you told it beautifully.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Desireous said...

A very moving and compelling read. You write so well! I'm sorry for your loss that must have been very very difficult for you.


12:35 PM  
Blogger robmcj said...

That was great. Creating something like that out of your bereavement.

Sounds like the uncle is a good man.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Charlie Brown said...

My dad died in a car accident when I was 8. In my blog I was referring to my mom's boyfriend, but they've been together for 13 years, so I consider him my stepdad now.

I didn't cry. I never connected emotionally with my father. I only cried once about not having had a real good father. It was like crying in advance for all the pain I would have to endure to find out what being a man is.

Sorry for you too man. Life is rarely fair.

9:06 PM  
Blogger all bitched out said...


That was absolutely beautiful. Heartbreaking, but beautiful.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Memoirs of a Sheila said...

Ohhhhhhhhh Jeddy. :(

11:57 PM  
Blogger J said...

Such nice people here... I wish there were people like you guys at high school in 1986, I guess I'd be a less tortured individual.

5:52 AM  
Blogger J said...

CB, that's too bad, 8 is a vulnerable time for a loss, you, everyone deserves more..

“If our father is our basis for God, and our fathers abandoned us, then what does that tell you about God?”

As kitsch as pop culture gets, this quote resonates... ten points to those who can name the quotee.

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Jesus, now you've got me crying.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Charlie Brown said...

Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt)

Fight Club will never be kitsch

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew you were foreign.

WTF's up with your other blogs that flash on and then go away.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Mystical Me said...

Sweetheart, I m so sorry!! No one should ever have to endure something as painful as this at such an early age. Life can be a bitch!!
Take care sweetie, I wish you well!! Sincerely, MM XOXOXOXO

8:03 PM  
Blogger Lozo said...

who are you, and where is afraid of the dark?

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've never lost a parent, but i have come close alot of times. i feel your pain. just remember he is smiling down at you from a place he feels no pain.

12:51 AM  
Blogger J said...

anon 8:42 - sorry if I triggered something painful, I'm ok though, really, thanks for dropping by ;-)

CB - well, yes, if pop culture made a $50 million homage to man's latent homoerotic subtext and we all sat up, wiped the blood and spittel from Mr Pitt's upper lip and crawed "bravo" in unison, I guess so. I loved the movie, but I'm not allowed to write about the book...

anon 2:30 - I'm not 100% american, my lineage is basically dog vomit, but my passport might disagree with you... as for the flashing, just some experimentation, subliminal advertising, porn interspersed with disney movies, I don't know, dare to dream?

mystical you - There you are, life can be a bitch... did we bond over our appreciation for Seth and our disdain for Kevin? I think we did.

lozo - AFOTD was an aberration, give it up... now you're here and I'm pretty obvious by my last 40 posts. BTW, your blog seriously rocks...


pink drama - he's probably managing the coors lite factory in heaven and taking home a case a day for personal consumption, mustn't drink beer before work... ugh

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, where is Dirk?

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He took the picture, duh!

7:23 AM  
Blogger Scarlett said...

Another well written and compelling post....I lost my father at 15 and have been trying to get the courage to blog about it but am not there yet.

2:52 PM  
Blogger H said...

J, this was really beautifully written.

like you've spilt the pain on a clear crystal page. without ugly inkblots. just clean honest marks that say it as it is.

All of us become stronger, but we're glad for the pain we once felt... glad that it's so far in the past.

10:52 PM  

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