Self perception

All the physical things and the way I act in front of other people is almost entirely for them.  I do seek affirmation and self-gratification in things but it isn’t my top priority.  I could never see myself how others see me and although I agree with a lot of the words that people use to describe me; I would almost feel narcissistic using them myself.  Even as I type this I feel like I’m lying but I truly wish I could remain oblivious in perceiving myself sometimes.  Vanity is something that I would like to be devoid of.  Unfortunately it seems like an impossible undertaking.  I think individuality is found in moments of purity when you don’t care about others perceptions or even your own perceptions.  In moments when you are remaining true to your core values.  In thinking about how I perceive myself I have two main views.  One of which is that I am not doing enough.  What I mean by that is that I look at what I am doing in terms of work, school, and personal health and I always think about how I could be doing better.  The times of negativity for me are when I know I should be doing something but instead I am off drinking or partying.  These are times when I judge myself the most.    The second way I perceive myself is actually through my own self awareness of these interconnecting perceptions of me.  How I view myself vs. how my family views me vs. how my friends view me.  It all seems to be this eternal, malleable, interconnecting relationship that is always changing.  Depending on who you meet and that kind of person you want to be.  I think I can honestly say that I don’t know who I am yet.  I have an idea of the person I want to be.  I am mostly aware of these ideas that I perpetuate about myself.  I guess I want people to see in me what I see deep down in myself.  It seems to be a never ending cycle of self gratification.  Circles can be brutal.  I just hope one day I can find myself.


 

This may be reaching but I liked the last part about the circle and as I was reviewing the post I noticed it was 365 words.

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Snake Pit

 

Lying on that couch with my leg elevated in a cast, my mind had felt like a dull knife.

Friday afternoon and my ankle had just started working again.  Business professionals were just beginning to vacate their desks; people who define themselves on the hours between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.  I sauntered to the closest bar I could find.

My beer began to sweat as soon as it hit the table, I drank it quickly.  The man at the table next to me was drinking a whiskey on the rocks.  He was playing with his daughter; she was drinking an orange juice.  Two big open windows let fading sunlight into the dive bar.  The smell of beer and spicy mustard was circulated by the cool summer air.  3rd grade level paintings of snakes looked like they were tossed up on the wall.  Two bartenders alternated between disdain and cordiality under a sign that read “Snake Pit”.  I slithered through another beer.  Derek walked in and asked “Where is your whiskey?”  Before I had a chance to decline he walked over to the table with two glasses of Jameson and his own perspiring beer.

The darkness that overtook the elongating shadows of the snake pit crept inside my head.  I said goodbye to Derek.  I stomped back home.  I sat on my couch.  Through the clustered black holes of my front gate I could hear the rats that infested the bamboo shoots in my neighbors yard.  I listened to them as they climbed and made the leaves rub against each other.  My mind tumbled in a wave of breaking anticipation.  I undulated between contentment and grief.


 

For some context this story is about an injury that I sustained recently.  It forced me to go on leave from work for a few weeks.  It left me with a decision when to go back.  I also had a prompt for my writing class that was to write a story about a character going somewhere and coming back.

the red brick wall

THIS IS FICTION


 

He maintained a small apartment among the clutter of downtown San Francisco.  The apartment was meager compared to the extravagance of his Friday nights.  There was one room and a bathroom.  There was no kitchen.  A sink and mirror sat in the corner in front of his bed and above that stood a small television set which was never on.  There was one window that contained nothing for him except light and fresh air.  The red brick wall of the next building was all you could see out of it.  The buildings downtown are built so close together, one would have to give his life for a room with a view.

The morning light and the fog rolled into his room together like they were playing in bed sheets.  He sat on the edge of his bed smoking a cigarette and stared at the endless brick wall.  He was complacent with his life.  He lacked purpose.  He didn’t have something that he was willing to die for.  He didn’t feel that he was a scale upon which a man could be measured

‘Brrrrrrrring’

His phone rang and he picked up quickly.

“Hello”

After a few moments of heavy silence the receiver clicked.  He grabbed his jacket and went out.  The  cigarette sat in the ash tray with fire still burning at the end of it.

His car sat inert in traffic as red brake lights shone bright on his face.  The Bay Bridge looked like a toy the fog plays with.

“How could she be pregnant?”

He thought to himself, the red brake lights still flashing in front of him.  Aside from the ambiguity of their relationship he was considering cutting off the drunk late night hook ups they shared.  That was all their relationship was predicated on.  Now he thought he would have to marry her without question.  He thought about how his life was going to change.  He thought about how he would have to get a second job and a bigger apartment.  He knew he wasn’t ready.  He knew he couldn’t even take care of himself let alone a wife and child, but he had a calm feeling.  A sense of fulfillment and reassurance.  He knew he would figure it out, he always did.  He thought about abortion for a quick second but then whispered,

“Fuck that”

under his breath.

He pulled up to a suburban neighborhood in Oakland and put the car in park.  He picked up his cell phone to dial out.

“I’m outside” He said.

“I’m sorry, I’m not there anymore” She said calmly.

“What the fuck do you mean you’re not here?” He replied with worried annoyance.

“Christina picked me up, were going to the walk in clinic,  I’m getting it taken care of” she said in a declarative and matter of fact tone.

“So we’re not even going to talk about this?”

“I’m sorry” She said “I didn’t have time to consider your feelings.”

He hung up as his heart fell deep inside him, somewhere not easily found.

The bridge was still gripped by the fog.  He drove back aimlessly but this time a hollow shell of his former self.  He was completely detached.  He felt as if he was watching himself drive from the back seat.  He was at a loss.  He knew he didn’t have a say in the affair.  Ultimately, the decision was always hers.

He sat on the same bed staring at the same red brick wall.  He was chain smoking like he just came home from a funeral.  He thought about his father.  His father was a man.  His father raised him to be a man but he wasn’t.  He was a pathetic hollow little organism with no direction except down.  He decided to write a letter to his little one.

‘Dear my child,

When I was young I would sit by the window and wait for my father to get home from work.  When he would arrive he would always sneak around the back of the house so I would have to go looking for him.

Life is tough my love but you would have made it worth living.  I would have shown you the value of life.  It would have been difficult but at least we would be together.  I’m sorry, your mother is playing by societies rules.  Don’t blame her, it’s my fault I didn’t stop her.

I’m trying to be indifferent but guilt is gripping me the same way you would have gripped my thumb after you were born.  Who am I to say you can’t live your life?  It’s yours not mine.  It’s your heart that doesn’t get to feel love.  It’s your hands that don’t get to touch.  It’s your eyes that don’t get to see.  Now it’s your soul that sits heavy on my conscious….’

He grabbed the letter, crumpled it up and threw it violently but it just hit the wall and landed softly beside him.  His apartment was very small.  He put his face in the palm of his hands and tears streamed down his arms like little waterfalls.  He didn’t understand why he cared so much.  He was free, he could go on living his life.  Then the sun broke through the fog and shone bright on the red brick wall that sat outside his window.


 

I got the inspiration for this story during a recent trip to San Francisco to visit my brother and the book I read there which was The Age of Reason by Jean-Paul Sartre.

 

Men With Similar Interests

Men With Similar Interests

 

Northern Spain 1950’s

 

Francisco Alvarez sat on his boat on a warm August morning.  His schooner was docked as he awaited a group of Americans that had chartered his boat for a day of sport fishing.  He prepared bait and lines as his dog Bruno watched him pensively.  Bruno was an African Ridgeback he had purchased many years ago from a young French Yachtsman.  He never kept a deck hand or co-captain.  It lowered his expenses.  He made a living as a fisherman in the Bay of Biscay.  As the sun rose above the Cantabrian sea the city of San Sebastian became a hive of activity.  The bulls were running just twenty miles south in Pamplona.  This time of year brought in an influx of English and American tourists seeking to empty their pockets for a thrill.  It was a very lucrative time of year for Francisco and the small port town of San Sebastian.  The life of a fisherman is a simple one.

“We need you to take us out, we will pay you,” said a tall skinny man who was now standing over him.  

He hadn’t noticed the three men walk up along the dock to his boat.  The tall skinny one who spoke to him wore a very nice suit.  He had long blonde hair which he had slicked back.  His long nose and strong jawline made him look villainous.  From the way the men were positioned he seemed more managerial than the other two.  The other two men also wore suits but of lesser quality.  One of them was short and stubby like a thumb.  The other one looked like an average man except for he sported a thick black beard and was missing three fingers on his left hand.  

“Con permiso senor,” said the skinny man, “but we are eager to depart.”

Francisco noticed submachine guns slung around the shoulders of the other two men.  They were all carrying black briefcases.  They looked like Mafia henchmen in the midst of a turf war.

“I apologize but my boat’s been chartered for the day, the party has already put down a deposit,” said Captain Alvarez

“I’m afraid this isn’t negotiable,” said the tall skinny man

“How so?” said Francisco “I may charter who I please.”

The tall man lifted his jacket revealing a silver pistol.  He reached for it and pumped one round into the head of the dog.  Bruno lay on the floor of the boat in a pool of his own blood, still wearing his pensive face.  Francisco acquiesced to the situation rather than reacting.  He put his face in the palm of his hands as the three men boarded his boat.

“Take us north to Biarritz and don’t get too close to the coast,” said the tall skinny man.

Francisco Alvarez pulled his 28’ boat out of the slip in the dock and headed north along the Spanish and French coast.  They must be French he thought.  What kind of shady dealings were they doing in San Sebastian?  What’s in the briefcases? Money? Drugs?  The speculation and the sight of his dead dog made him queazy.  He could hear the sound of blood and water sloshing around on the floor of the boat.  The three assumed French men stood towards the bow of the boat discussing their plot.  He stood at the helm offsetting the current of the ocean with a subtle tilt of the helm.  Francisco listened to them converse with each other.  He could barely hear them over the sound of the ocean, they spoke French to each other.

“Why haven’t we killed him yet? The stubby one asked the tall one.

“Do you know how to pilot a sailboat?” Replied the tall skinny man.

They all looked at each other.

“How much did we get?” Asked the bearded man.

“Let’s not worry about that until we get to Biarritz.  I saw a row boat hanging off of the side.  Once we get anchored close enough to the coast, we will waste him and row to shore,” said the tall skinny man.

They continued talking but Francisco discontinued his eavesdropping.  He felt his heart and stomach drop to the floor.  He knew immediately what he had to do.  He thought about his family.  His dog still lay dead on the floor of the boat.

“I have some food below deck if you gentlemen are hungry,”  said the captain.

“We’re not hungry,” Replied the tall skinny man “but what about to drink?”

“Only Grappa,” said the captain “there are two bottles below deck in the cabin, you may help yourselves.”

The stubby one went down and came back from the cabin with the two bottles in his hand.  He uncorked one and took a long drink.

“Give it here you hog!” Shouted the tall man.

He snatched it and took a large gulp then handed the bottle to the captain.  Francisco poured the warm Grappa into his mouth like a man preparing to complete an unwanted task.  He was going to do something he didn’t want to do, but he had to.

“Do you make a good living as a fisherman?” Asked the tall skinny man.

“I make an honest living and I enjoy the tranquility of the ocean,” replied the captain. “I would never work just for the money.”

“Then why work at all?  What other motivation is there besides money?” Asked the tall skinny man.

“I do what I have to do to provide for myself and my family,” replied Francisco.

“We are men with similar interests then,” said the tall skinny man.

“I don’t agree,” replied the captain “I don’t fraternize with criminal enterprises and I don’t steal from the working man.

“It’s like you said captain, I do what I have to do,” replied the tall skinny man.

The sea rolled as the distance between the men and their destination shortened.

“Hey you!” yelled the captain looking at the stubby man. “Come man the helm for a second while I check on the engines.”

The stubby one walked to the wheel with the machine gun still slung over his shoulder.

“What do I do?” He asked the captain,

“Just keep her on a straight line, don’t let the wheel deviate, I’ll just be a minute,” Replied Francisco.

He glanced toward the bow of the boat where the other two men were standing facing the ocean.  They were passing the bottle of Grappa back and forth to each other.  Francisco turned around and descended into the engine room which was located at the stern of the vessel.  He felt a slab of concrete slide from his throat down into his stomach.  He reached down and opened his toolbox that contained his pistol.  The toolbox had carried the pistol for many years on the open seas and never came close to being used.  Francisco always wondered why he kept the pistol on the boat.  He realized that this was the moment it was meant for.  He was filled with nerve and he prayed the gun wouldn’t jam.  Francisco Alvarez ascended from the engine room and he got that cold feeling you get right before you kill a man.  The stubby one was still at the helm as Francisco approached him from the rear.  He raised the pistol to the back of stubby man’s head and pulled the trigger.  The muzzle was so close to his skull that it bounced off of the pistol as he fired.  He aimed down his sight at the bearded man and let off two shots in quick succession.  As he swung the pistol towards the tall man and pulled the trigger, he heard a shot from the pistol that killed his dog.  Pop! Pop! Pop!  Francisco emptied his clip at the tall man and simultaneously felt a sharp pain in his shoulder like someone was plunging a fire iron into it.   The impact of the bullet made him fall down behind the steering wheel of the boat.  He pulled himself up and leaned against the helm and waited a few moments to investigate the fate of the tall skinny man.  When he finally peaked over the steering wheel he saw two men lying next to each other in a pool of blood.  He walked over to the bodies and discovered the tall skinny man, still alive, and writhing on the floor of the yacht.  The tall skinny man was hit in the neck and had his hands clenched around his throat in an attempt to stop the bleeding.  Blood gushed from his neck and as he gasped for air you could hear it filling up his lungs.  Francisco felt the cold murderous feeling subside as he watched blood spray from the tall man’s mouth and his eyes roll to the back of his head.

Francisco felt no pain, only the cold wet blood running down his chest.  He put pressure on his wound but to no avail.  He didn’t feel an exit wound, the bullet was lodged in his shoulder blade.  He went down to the cabin of the boat and grabbed a small emergency hand flare that he never had the use for either.  Francisco unbuttoned his shirt and put it in his mouth and bit down hard.  He activated the flare which glowed hot and red even in the daytime sun and pressed it hard against the bullet wound in his shoulder.  All Francisco could smell was burned skin and blood and death and the ocean.  The adrenaline went away as he turned his boat back towards San Sebastian.  

The floor of the boat looked like the Nile river after the first plague of the Egyptians.  Francisco stared out at the ocean but wondered about the contents of the briefcases.  One of the briefcases sat down next to the body of the stubby man.  Francisco picked up the briefcase and opened it up revealing stacks upon stacks of crisp US dollars.  They were federal reserve $100 notes.  He immediately shut the briefcase and brought it down to the cabin with the other two.  Francisco then dragged the corpse of the stubby man over to the other two frenchmen.  His shoulder stiff with pain and his arm hung with limited movement.  He detached the rope with the anchor from the bow of the boat.  He ran the rope through the belt of the stubby man then through the belt of the bearded man then through the belt of the tall skinny man where he tied it off.  He threw the anchor overboard which assisted him in lugging the corpses of the Frenchmen into the ocean.  When he got the last body over he tossed the machine guns into the cold bloody water.  He kept the pistol which killed his dog.  Francisco wrapped the body of Bruno with a blanket and put him below deck next to the black briefcases that were filled with cash.  He would have traded all the money on the boat for the life of his dog.  Francisco thought about how money changes people.

As Francisco and his boat re-entered the port town of San Sebastian there was a boat similar to his passing close by.  From the deck of the passing yacht a dog barked at Francisco.  Francisco locked eyes with the captain of that vessel and they nodded at each other as they passed.  The acknowledgment of men with similar interests.  

—————-

I drew inspiration for this story from an Ernest Hemingway book To Have and Have Not.  When I pictured the dialogue I wanted the characters to be speaking French and Spanish but for the sake of my demographic they are speaking English.   This is the first story I’ve written in which I’ve done actual research.  I don’t know anything about yachts or fisherman in Spain in the 1950’s.  When I was researching about the currency Spain used in the 50’s I found out they used pesetas which were coins of copper, nickel and silver.  I felt the aesthetic of Francisco looking into the briefcases and seeing stacks of cash was better.  I tried to tie in The Running of The Bulls in Pamplona and how the foreign currency most likely came from the Frenchmen robbing a bank there.  I tried to use a lot of implied morals and I left it up to the reader to decide what Francisco does with the money.

When you walk to the library.

I decided to walk to the library yesterday instead of driving.  It was cold outside or at least I thought it was .  I decided to wear a pair of old Adidas soccer gloves that I had purchased in a different part of my life.  I enjoy walking but the convenience of driving has trumped my urges to walk.  My main motivation was driven by an introduction I was reading to the book Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes.  I didn’t get to the actual book because the introduction was a fucking novel in itself.  It said during the three year period in which Hobbes was writing Leviathan he had a very strict routine.  He would wake up every morning at 7:00 am, he would eat his bread and butter.  Then he would walk through the streets of Paris for three hours and write down his notes in the afternoon.  I can’t speak to the inspirational qualities of 17th century Paris compared to present day West Hollywood.  I’m sure he had more to work with.  Even though my walk was motivated by meditation it was manifested by the need to get somewhere.  I tried to concentrate and be mindful during my walk but I just found myself rushing through the cold.  I walked down Gardner towards Melrose as the sun fell beyond the horizon creating a pale blue in the sky.  I stopped at a juice bar on the corner of Melrose and Gardner to get a shot of ginger and lemon juice.  When I continued my walk down Gardner the hue of the blue sky had changed into a midnight-ish feel.  I petted a curious dog on the corner of Beverly and Gardner and smiled at his owner.  He was nice, I don’t know about the owner.  I got to the library as the sky turned from blue to black.  The library was just as cold on the inside as it was outside.  It could be the reason why there was no one in there, or it could be because no one goes to the fucking library anymore.  After skimming through the atrocious selection of literature I decided to check out a Fitzgerald book that I had previously read.  I left and walked west on Beverly towards Fairfax because I knew there was a mailbox on the corner there and I had to drop off some letters.  Right now you’re probably thinking  “Library? Letters?  Who the fuck is this old lame ass thinking that hes cool because he writes letter and goes to the library?  I think he’s an asshole.”  Honestly you’d be right.  Anyways I saw my friend Franco on the corner of Beverly and Fairfax.  He was riding a fixie and he told me that he was heading home from reading at Barnes and Noble (another asshole).  I dropped off the letter and walked north up Fairfax.  I had a slice of pie that burned the roof of my mouth even though it was slathered in ranch.  Afterwards I went to The Dime for a Jameson with Ice.  The bartender gave me a heavy pour probably because I was the only poor bastard drinking by myself.  I found my reflection in the mirror behind the bar and said “cheers shithead” as I took a gulp.  The cold Jameson felt good on the roof of my mouth.  I watched the first quarter of the Laker game but left because I figured I wasn’t missing anything.  North up Fairfax then East on Willoughby and I was walking back into my apartment with a buzzed smile.  I didn’t get any meditating done and I didn’t have my gloves on anymore.

Of course…

I wrote this after taking four shots of Robitussin and reading the entirety of Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.  I forgot about it until I was looking through my notebook recently and found it.  It seems like my emotions were out of balance at the time and when I read this I think about Bobby Boucher’s mother yelling “That girl is the devil!”   I am hoping this is a more eloquent version of that anecdote with the same affect.  Just keep in mind the Robitussin.

——————————————————————–

Of Course…

They sat in a small french cafe with its white table cloths and light wooden chairs.  The place was filled with natural light that made her eyes look like the morning.  They had coffee and croissants together and they joked about how the place would be their own little parisian get away from the cesspool of Hollywood.  The way he stared at her was the way a father stares at his daughter as she performs on stage.

His phone rang incessantly but he did not notice the vibrating in his pocket.  A commercial airliner roared over head and his attentiveness to her remained unwavering.  A train rumbled past them so close that you could hear the patrons of the dining car conversing about how the chicken was over cooked.  His gaze was still unabated.  A car crashed through the front window of the cafe and hung there to the right of them with the engine still running and ambulances rushing to the scene.  Still he looked upon her unmolested by outside forces.  Then the earth shook violently and rattled the entire world.  The ground fell off and splintered away around them into a dark hell-fire.

She said to him

“My what a marvelous hole! Would you jump in it for me?”

He replied

“Of course darling”

He got up and wiped the bread crumbs from his jeans.  Then he turned and jumped into the abyss, with a smile.

quicksand

This was supposed to be a poem that turned into more of a short story.

quicksand

I try to forget about her and the love that we shared.  But every time I see her I fall in love with her again.  I fall deeper each time like trying to escape from quicksand.  She is beautiful and from my perspective she is perfect.

There was one cold night when she lay in my bed.  It was dark except for a small sliver of light that shown through the blinds exposing her face and neck.  Her diaphanous features made my heart jump like a scared cat.  The pale light rested on her soft lips and as I rubbed her neck I stole a kiss and inhaled her breath.  I wanted to steal away with the bounty of her, but her defensiveness thwarted my attempts at rekindling a forgotten love.  The love that I squandered with immaturity.  The glass that I fill up with sorrow now has a glass next to it filled with regret.  Both goblets are brimming and glimmering as our bodies come close and our hearts seem to touch but only in the memory of a forgotten tryst.  It was like she left and I stayed foolishly.  When I finally made the decision to follow her the time had created a wedge in our energies.  I feel disconnected, indifferent.  Lost would be a slight overstatement considering I am still able to find love.  I want her to be mine but I don’t want to possess her like an object.  I just want to always have the idea of her as the pure and innocent young girl that I knew.  I only wish to supplement her beauty with tenderness and so that when she smiles it isn’t just her beauty but the emotion of love emanating from her lips.  Our connection seems to rise and fall like that hands of a clock and I can only hope that our love unfurls as the second hand strikes midnight.

the garden

A young man and his grandmother walked through the gardening section of a supply hardware store and had a conversation about vulnerability.  The grandmother was old but she wasn’t gone yet.  She knew she was close but she was very strong.  She had always been.  It wasn’t strange seeing them walk together.  The grandmother spent many hours in her garden.  She spent her life raising children and her children’s children.  When there were no more kids to raise she found purpose in the soil and flowers in her backyard.  The young man wasn’t necessarily interested in gardening.  He enjoyed taking his grandmother on little outings as he knew they were limited.  They always thought about the concept of death, but these thoughts were always hidden.

“These Lilies are beautiful.” said the grandmother as she picked one up to smell.

“Whenever I see the roses in your garden they inspire me and give me compassion, stick with those grandma.” said the young man.

“Roses are beautiful.” She said “But they can hurt you if you get too close.”

“Kind of like me, right grandma?” joked the young man.

“I certainly miss when you didn’t have such a tough exterior.”

“Well, I am your grandson.”

They continued to walk among the colorful flowers.

“Do you remember your grandfather’s old property up north?” She asked.

“Of course I do.” he replied.

“A long time ago, you must have been five or six.  You were visiting us and all of your cousins were there as well.  You guys were all playing like you usually did.  That winter a tree had fallen across the stream.  In the summertime when the stream dried up the creek bed filled with thornbushes.  You and your cousins took turns walking back and forth over the fallen tree.  You slipped off the log and fell in the thorn bushes.  Do you remember this?” asked the grandmother.

“No” The young man said.  But he did remember.  He had a vivid memory of this exact moment.  But he didn’t want to feel vulnerable.

“After you fell in, I carried you back to the house.  You were crying because there were cuts all over your arms and back.  My heart wrenched as I tended to your wounds, but I told you to be strong and stop crying even though I just wanted to hug you and kiss your tear filled cheeks.”

“Why are you telling me this?” asked the young man.

“Because I love you very much and you will always be that little boy crying in my arms.” She said

“Maybe one day I’ll get to take care of you like you took care of me and I can see you vulnerable.”

“Being strong is both a blessing and a curse my son, it carries a burden that prohibits you from showing vulnerability.”

The young man laughed and said

“Ok grandma”

The young man remembered the day that his grandmother was referring to.  He remembered it going exactly the way she described, but to him it wasn’t about being vulnerable.  To him the memory was a reminder of how much he loved her.  It wasn’t implicitly apparent to him but that experience among others added a layer to his subconscious.   It made him never want to show weakness or vulnerability.  He wanted to be strong, like his grandmother.  They walked to the car with a cart full of flowers and contentment.  

“Grandma have you heard that ‘the earth laughs in flowers?’”

“My garden is not a joke.” She replied with a smirk.

They loaded the car and drove away.  As he pulled out of the parking lot and accelerated down the boulevard he said,

“Could have fooled me grandma, I can’t help but smile when I’m in your garden.”

What he didn’t see was the pick up truck speeding through the yellow light behind him.  The truck tried to swerve and avoid the car which contained the young man and his grandmother but it was too late.  The truck slammed into the rear end of the vehicle which whipped their heads back and then forward into the steering wheel and dashboard.

———

The cardiac machine maintained a subtle tilde.  The young man sat next to his grandmother’s hospital bed.  He sat with his head down, listening to the beep of the cardiac monitor.  Her face was peaceful but she was enveloped in jumbles of wires and cords.  He looked up at her, grabbed her hand and began to speak.

“I lied grandma, I remember you carrying me to the house, I remember you telling me to be strong.  I’ve tried to be that ever since.  There is something else I remember grandma.  It was a few days after grandpa died.  You were sitting by yourself in the garden and you were sobbing.  It was strange to me because during that time you were so rational and composed even though the love of your life had passed.  I realized now that it was because you were being strong for us.  In your time of great pain, your unselfish strength served as a monument for the rest of the family.  I realize that life has patterns grandma.  I recognize that it’s my turn to be strong for you and for the rest of the family.”  He kissed her hand as the monitor continued, beep…beep…beep.

The Chucks

“When your shoes have character”

He was doing Spring cleaning when he came across his old pair of white hi-top chucks.  When he picked them up he was immersed into a flood of memories about his life the past few years.

It made him think about the things that passed through his life without meaning.  These dirty white Chucks with the big hole in the left foot and the dirt caked around the out sole were far from meaningless.  You could barely see the red and blue stripe.  He must have wore them for a year straight at one point.  It wasn’t that he didn’t have any other options.  It was that he saw the value in The Chucks more than any of the other pairs in his arsenal.  Each hole or spot of dirt told a story.

They had a synonymous relationship.  It was flawless really.  He was always asking too much of them.  They were always there for him through any weather or outfit.  He and his Chucks were worth more together than they were on their own.  They helped him make his tracks in a new city.  They were his brother when his family was gone.  They were there for him when she wasn’t.  They were with him through life and death.  Through sickness and health.  They had a distinct matrimony.  When people told him to “buy a new pair” it was blasphemy.  To him each hole was holy.  Whether he was walking on stars or through back alleys.  Rough days at the beach or wild nights at the club.  Through fall rain or ball games.  Through complacency and promiscuity. Through  stagnation and inspiration.  Through baked fish or fried chicken.  Through days full of tea or nights full of Hennessy, The Chucks were there.

So he sat in his home, with The Chucks in his lap.  With the memories of his life and the miles that he walked in them.  The things that he had lost didn’t compare to the knowledge that he had gained.  They reminded him of the little things.  They showed him that no matter how bad things get, as long as you keep going you will find a better day.  The old dirty shoes motivated him more than brand new ones.  That’s how you know your shoes have character.

Resolutions

12-29-14

The year is coming to a close.  At the start of this very journal I set a goal for myself.  The goal was to read and write more.  I can say that I am satisfied with what I have accomplished this year.  22 pages total this year on this particular journal.  I have been keeping another journal which is hand written.  This journal has a comparable number of pages.  I have read about ten or more books this year.  I have matured greatly as a writer in terms of my prose and my fear of showing people my writing.  My self consciousness has been somewhat alleviated since the start of this year.  I can’t say with all certainty that I am ready for the world to see what I write.  But i self indulge myself with hints to my social network of my blog affair.  As if it was some mistress that I cling to during the lonely nights of inspiration.  Only a few get the privilege to view it.  A privilege I’m sure it must be, because if a colleague asked me to read a similar scribe that they themself wrote.  I would find it a privilege to read and comment on such writing.

I enjoy this feeling.  I set goals for myself at the beginning of the year.  Now here we arrive at the end of 2014 and I have dove into a pool of retrospection.  I wrote,  I wrote with passion and with my heart poured into pages so that one might feel it in theirs.  I started my blog and I reached my goals in writing and reading.  It wasn’t a sprint like I hoped, it wasn’t a marathon like I was afraid it might be.  It was more like a steady increase in pace culminating into today.  What I mean is that I didn’t write and read madly all year.  I also didn’t take glorious gaps in my work.  Towards the beginning it was slow.  I would read a few pages, write a few wayward paragraphs.  Over the course of the year it started to materialize into something noticeable.  I read more books this year than I have in any year prior.  My writing has become more precise and clear.  At least from my perspective.  It is a joy to me that I still have much to improve upon.  More goals for me to reach, more for me to learn, it puts a smile on my face knowing that I have solely motivated myself into becoming better.

I have a wide range of interests and curiosities.  What is left when you take the monetary value off of anything especially when everything in our world has a price.  The answer is art.  Even though art is creative and brand new it can be refined through learning.  I want to know everything.  But I know that I cannot know everything.  I want to learn.  I want to learn as much as possible.  I want to learn how to play the piano.  I want my house parties to hosted by white and black keys.  Lull loquacious ladies like Liberace would.  I want to learn french.  Je veux connaître la langue de l’amour.  These hobbies must be treated as my writing this year.  With increasing pace I should come to find a checkpoint of progress.  I need not fear disappointment as the disappointment would lie with zero progression.  If I only learn one more word of french this year it will be a step forward.  If I am able to play one note I will be satisfied.

There is a variety of other mundane tasks I have appointed myself in this coming New Year.  The usual suspects, stop smoking, diet, gym, cut back on drugs and alcohol.  Charming little goals for me and everybody else.  I mustn’t scoff at them in that they do provide benefits.  Among the other clear ones like health and wealth, it will add clarity to my art.  My work is steady and constant, my family is loved and beloved, my social life always insists upon itself.  I will find my happiest time, my joy in life in my art and others who would be interested in partaking.  In this here rat race of life you must distinguish yourself from other rats.  Find meaning in the pictures hung on the halls on the way to the cheese.