Just like a dream, you never really know when it began, only that you're in it. Sometimes you're so far into the dream that it seems all too real. I would like to say that everything started with the first kiss. Was it the flirtations, the laughs or the constant nightly phone calls, always in hushed whispers? Whenever it started, I knew too late that I was in too deep. No one was supposed to know, but the more we kept the secret, the more I wanted to shout out my feelings, my eternal deep desire. Here was one small problem: She was living with her boyfriend.
It was 1984. I asked my girlfriend to the movies, as were the case when people dated (no Instagram, no Facebook, no texts). We sat in the theatre, holding hands, deeply enthralled in the story, waiting for the climax. Does he win the girl? Will she stay with him? The heroine does not but then the song plays at the end. I watch it wanting the song to end because my eyes well up as some unforeseen force hits my chest causing me to rush out with my girlfriend. The words to that song still affect me, but for different reasons. My girlfriend and I grew closer as she thought of me as a more sensitive soul. I felt for the yearning of a movie fairy tale ending. My feelings were not attached to the heroine but to my hero.
Who is this giant, this legend from afar?
We need to be very concerned. My clarion call is not hyperbole. We are now looking at President Trump no longer hinting at flouting the rule of law, but actually legitimizing Mr. Arpaio's willingness to defy a Federal Court Order while couching Mr. Arpaio's situation as a witch hunt.President Trump has used this "witch hunt" label as a broad stroke in painting Mr. Arpaio a "victim." Mr. Arpaio's actions cannot be minimized in one small capsule. Let's see who Trump pardoned.
I was 12 when his anger flared again. Despite the consistent paid-for piano lessons, I was not as consistent practicing. Amanda, my very plump piano teacher, outed me as any good teacher should. I simply was not doing my homework. I sat on the piano bench when Dad started. He told me that I was disappointing him because I was not trying hard enough. I was not living up to my potential. He did not want to waste his money. I then did what I never wanted to do: I cried. As hard as I tried not to, the tears simply poured down my face as an unspoken anger filled my heart, ashamed of the tears. It showed weakness. I promised myself never ever to cry again. I held true to my self-induced vow for 8 years. Whenever I was teased or hurt in any way, however much I wanted, I simply would not cry. That stubborn desire was my stronghold and my answer for survival. To myself, I dared anyone to make me cry, feel remorseful, or feel anything. I simply rose above it.
The lights. The blinking lights flashing green and red, alternating in duration, yet somehow in sync, clearly the difference maker. The lights illuminate the season. The smell of pine fills the air as I pass the rows of wreath and tree vendors. With several packages in hand, I struggle through the streets of New York feeling the brisk cool air, evidenced through my foggy breath. Yup, tis the season. It’s Christmas time. Whenever I casually walk the city streets, I always experience incidental bumping by New Yorkers seemingly in a hurry - typical. Now, there are shoppers with bags upon bags of gifts no one will ever use. I too am on that same quest except for me it’s a tradition that invokes a curse. This curse is not one conjured by a witch or warlock but one that was self-imposed, unwittingly through my own selfish, childish actions. Only after the third or fourth year as an adult did I realize I was under said curse. Some may call it retribution. Some may call it a well-deserved boomerang effect. I call it quite simply: The Curse of the Secret Santa.