Okay, so let's rewind here a little bit. I know, I know, I am keeping you waiting. Suck it up, we will get there soon enough.
There are days that I forget the memories rattling around in my head are mine and not some bad movie I watched. It's hard for me to imagine that the scared little girl always looking for an exist was a key part of who I was. But then there are days that I feel myself returning to her, as if I never grew out of her shoes. On those days I find it hard to get out of bed and face my life now, the depression being an uphill battle I'm never 100% sure I want to win. Some days I'm in my room, singing along to whatever song I'm listening to on repeat for the next few days, huge smile on my face, as I dance like nothing in the world can touch me. Other days I'm hiding under a mound of blankets, not eating for days, crying at the memories that berate me. On those days I think of all the questions that were left unanswered to me. Why did he love the bottle more than he did me? How come my sister was perfect but I was nothing to him? Why hasn't he changed after the drinking stopped? Where did everything go so very very wrong?
"Starting January 1, 2018, New York State's Paid Family Leave provides New Yorker's with job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition or to help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service abroad."
Here I am writing. It is 1:17 PM. My one year old daughter is down for her nap. I should be sleeping too... My little one was up at 1 AM and didn't go back to sleep until 7 AM this morning. I'm exhausted.
Joe was a lonely, broken man, walking cold wet streets late one Christmas Eve. He wore, contrastingly, the jolliest of outfits, clad in the uniform of his latest job a mall Santa Claus. He was a poor imitation of St. Nick, sad, slumping, looking thin and depleted, despite a mound of stuffing around his middle. He oozed the odor of Jack Daniels, and walked as only a drunk could walk. He staggered down the street, thinking of family he never saw anymore. He was alone and angry. He hated Christmas. In fact, the only reason he kept his Santa job was because he felt it fitting to collect on this awful day any way he could.
I honestly do not know where to even begin telling my story. I remember growing up, at least to the age of 10, life was pretty normal and decent. Mom worked and Dad stayed home with my little sister and I. I recall my dad being strict, but that was nothing compared to what was about to start in late 1999.
Fridays couldn’t come any quicker. The entire week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and so on are spent anticipating Friday. Typically, Friday evenings are spent at my friend Kaylin’s house, congregating around the TV for Full House reruns; 7:30 marathons couldn’t start any sooner! Amidst Stephanie Tanner’s “how rude” schpeal, the unknown number that has already called three times that day calls for the fourth. I excuse myself during the next commercial break, to deal with the “anonymous caller.” I hold the phone to my chest, allowing it to ring until I can answer it in the bathroom. A familiar voice states, “This is a prepaid call, you will not be charged for this call, this call is from…” I mouthed my father’s name and correctional facility. This is the second time I’ve spoken to my dad this week, on account of his “good conduct” with the other inmates. My excitement for the weekend, the TV marathons, and free time with my friends overshadowed my reality. Putting on a brave face and improvising excuse after excuse was already easy: “Just another guy prank calling me.” Today, my dad only had enough change to call for five minutes. Tomorrow, the next day, and so on, my friends and I will recall the joke for years to come. Today, my dad has five out of his ten years left.
So, in a previous post, I said mortality's a bitch, talking about my best friend, Noe; a friendship that started in the 3rd grade to his death in ’91 and my brother’s, Joey, death in ‘00. Another friend commented about missing Noe and missing out on the end. It's not the first time I'd been asked. I'd only given the bare bones answers partly, because I didn’t know this friend and it hurt, and partly, because I didn’t know what exactly happened after the ambulance left his place. I do know now and it chills me to think he went through that alone…on purpose, so the rest of us wouldn’t have that as the last memories of him.
July 26, 2017, attempted to end @3:58 AM.
Have you ever wondered if the holidays are not like they used to be? That maybe your younger self enjoyed the holidays more, and not because you were a kiddo? I wonder about this a lot, and I think most of it has to do with our expectations that the holidays bring. When I was growing up, I wrote letters to Santa, put out milk and cookies, and attempted to stay awake to sneak downstairs and spy on Santa Claus. It was exciting, and a joyful environment to be around. I realize not many people celebrate Christmas, but I know this thought extends to more than any religious holiday.
My mom walked toward me in a solicitous was as I was stretched out on my grandmother's apple green couch. I remember how much I hated those couches when I had first moved down to Greasy Hill Loop, they were always so damn uncomfortable. I grew to love them, up until they had became a self-proclaimed throne of mine. My mom smacked my leg as she asked for paper, more specifically graphed paper. I didn't have to answer her at all, she already knew I did. From the many years I spent doodling, and hoarding sketchbook after sketchbook, I had accumulated stacks of paper of many different varieties. I ran off to my side of my grandmother's bedroom and searched for graphed paper, tossing everything aside, I was anxious to know what she had needed it for. I took the papers into the kitchen, and placed them neatly on the dining table. Surrounding the oval dining table was the three women of the house, the fourth slowly made her way down the hall. My mom, Evelyn, sat at the end with a pencil handy, and the papers laid in front of her. My sister, Earla, sat adjacent to her, this was her usual spot at the table. To the side of her sat my grandmother, Evangeline, she was silent and gazed off into the distance. Their demeanor and silence had made me anxious and curious. I turned and stepped into the kitchen, just as my grandmother Floria had eased herself into her chair. I opened the fridge and glanced over at the table, they were all seated so still, and not one spoke a single word. The TV was the only noise filling the empty space between all of us. I grabbed the nearly-ancient pitcher of iced tea and headed for the counter. I stood there as I examined the pitcher, and wondered just how old it was. I reached upwards into the cabinet for a glass, I could not take the dead silence any longer. I spoke. "Why are you all so serious? It is freaking me out."