Sunday, March 12, 2017

Eli

   


        "It's dark!" I said in my head. A head that felt like hundreds of pounds. "I can't see! I can't speak!" I started to really freak out. Calm down. I've been scared before, freaking out never helps. I have to take a mental inventory of myself.

1. "Where am I? I don't know."
2. "Why is it dark, am I blind? I don't know."
3. "Am I breathing? Yes."
4. "Move your toes. Ok, done."
5. "Raise your arms. Ok, done. It was difficult though and I can't be sure they actually moved."
6. "What does the air feel like? It feels cool. A little wet. It smells mossy. There is a breeze blowing across my nose and through my eyelashes."
7. "Open your eyes Reid. Reid? Is my name Reid? It is. I'm Reid Samson and I'm going to open my eyes because I am not blind. I pulled them from the top eyelid as hard as I could until the piercing lights punched through whatever shades had been drawn on me.

        I began looking around. I was in  the woods, laying on the ground. The wind was  blowing through the trees and the branches were swaying as if they were dancing. It was peaceful, but my body wouldn't respond to simple commands, so I felt so uneasy. I don't remember how I got into the woods. I laid there for a few hours trying to figure out my own body. After intense effort, I was able to lift my head from the ground for a moment. By the next morning, I was able to sit up. Then on the evening of my third night in the woods, I rose to my feet.

        I was wearing a grey suit. Above my head on the ground, I found my grey fedora that I had no idea was there until I stood above the place I was laying. I had always kept my wallet in my inside pocket, but it was missing. I had something crusted on my neck, but I couldn't tell what it was. Some came off in my hands and it looked like mud. I began my search for home. I wanted to see Eli so bad. The longing was more than I had felt for anything in my life. I needed her.

        Eli was 6 when her mother died of the flu. We were each other's legs. We could not stand without each other. We weathered this terrible storm that tore us to pieces, but we had each other. She was my little girl and I was her protector and her papa. I thought about her with every difficult step out of the woods. I knew that there was an end of the woods in every direction, so I just put one foot in front of the other and tried to make my feet dance like the branches of the trees. I needed to become one with everything around me to take my mind off of the confusion I was feeling.

        After 5 nights and 6 days, I emerged from the woods. I grabbed the last tree in front of me and thanked God for my arrival. I didn't recognize what was in front of me. It was a giant building made of bricks, and I'm guessing painted blue and white. I had never seen a building so large before. I heard there were big buildings in the city, but I had never left home; never found a reason to. Everything I wanted was right here. I walked around the perimeter to what looked like the face of the building. It had a large sign that said, "Walmart." I had no idea what that meant, but it looked like a city center with people coming and going. I moved to the front door, which opened by itself and caused me to shout in fear...and everyone around who looked strange to look at me strangely.

        I walked through the doors and was gut punched with confusion and stimulations. Everything was moving and so loud. There were so many people and so many shiny things. I got nauseous and got sick onto the mat on the floor. I said I was sorry to the person in front of me and hurried out the door. I started walking as fast as my heavy legs would limp. I had one goal, and that was to get to Eli. But first, I had to figure out where the hell I was.

        After a lot of questions to strangely dressed passerbys, and a very nice man in some kind of truck, I arrived at my home. I thanked the man and got out and hurried to the door. My stomach hurt I wanted to see her so bad. I didn't understand the longing, and I didn't think too much about it. I had just seen her this morning when I dropped her off at the bus stop. I had made her a butter and cheese sandwich for lunch and hot cereal for breakfast. She had asked me for 5 cents for a Coke a Cola that she would get on a field trip to the zoo. I gave her 10 cents for two.

        I got to the door and knocked. I was impatient, so I knocked again. The door swung open on the third knock, with an angry young negro glaring me in the face as if he were trying to vaporize me. "Hello... I'm Reid, who are you?" "I'm Calvin, and you can get your ass off my porch. I don't want anything you got. And don't walk across my lawn on your way back home." "Boy, who the hell do you think your talking to?" I asked. "What did you call me? Boy? Get the hell outta here before I kick your ass into the grass." I said, "This is my house, and where is Eli, my daughter?" He replied, "I certainly don't right know who da hell you talkin bout massa, but I'zza try to figga that one out foi ya. Now if you could get the hell out of here before I have to kill you, that would be great."

        The name plate on the door said Jackson. I was confused by that at first, but now I was questioning my sanity. "Sir, I don't quite know what's going on, but I'm looking for my daughter Eli. I thought that this was our home, but I must be mistaken. I'm sorry for the offense, I just want to get home to her." He looked at me silently sizing me up. "Why are you dressed like a crooner?" he asked. "I'm a vacuum salesman sir" I replied. "Like Kirby vacuums or something?" he asked. "Electrolux sir," I replied. He asked me my name and I told him. We spent the next hours going over who I was and when I last saw my daughter. Every clue led to this house, but nothing about this house matched. He asked me three times if I was on medication. I don't know why, but he kept looking at me funny. I walked out the door more confused than when I walked in.

        As I stepped down the porch stairs that had somehow repaired themselves overnight, Calvin stopped me. He took me to the garage and led me inside. He turned on the lights and pointed me to an epitaph on the cement in the corner. I didn't even need to get closer to recognize it. I began to cry and could not stop myself from trembling. I walked closer watching the words appeared more clearly as I got closer. Eli and Papa 1961. I ran my fingers over where hers had carved out those words. I didn't know why I was crying so hard. Calvin didn't either, but after a few moments I realized that he was full on hugging me.

        I pushed away and asked if he knew where my daughter was. He didn't, but led me to the house to pull out the deed to the home. It told me the house was sold from Eloise Samson to Calvin Jackson on December 19th 1988. I didn't understand. He asked me a litany of questions. I answered them all wrong. I was wrong about everything it appeared; even the year. During the vigorous interrogation, I broke down again: Again, having to push away from Calvin's embrace. It was now my understanding that it was the year 2017, and I was 54 years old. I had aged 38 years in one long night in the woods. I had lost 38 years of my daughters life. We had a lot of drinks and Calvin found my daughter on a machine. He pulled up her picture, almost instantly. It didn't look like her, but it also did. She wasn't little. She was beautiful, but not what she was yesterday.

        Calvin asked me if I wanted her address. I told him I did. I had to see her; even if she wouldn't believe who I was. He wrote down the numbers and I stood up and walked out the front door. As I got to the side walk, Calvin shouted from the porch, "How you gettin there boy?" "I was gonna walk. The cars around here are a little bit scary." Calvin flipped his keys around his finger, "I'zza good driva Miss Daisy, I'zza could take ya myself." I smiled and headed toward his car in the driveway, and we were off.

        My daughter's house was almost as big as Walmart's house. She must have married rich...if this really was 2017. Calvin shook my hand and told me he'd wait for my signal on whether he should leave or start the getaway plan. I thanked him for everything and walked to Eli's door and knocked with the big brass lion that hung there. I was less impatient this time, and far more scared. The door opened to a young man in a t-shirt and plaid pants. He smiled and asked what he could do for me. I asked for Eli. He asked again who I was. I told him that I was an uncle from her childhood. Frank was my name. He let me in and went to get her. "Eli! he called. You have an uncle who looks like an ex boyfriend here to see you."

        I waited at the bottom of the stairs clinching my fists. I was sweating and my stomach was in knots. How was I going to explain something I didn't understand myself to her? What if she didn't believe me? What if it wasn't even her? It seemed so long and  I waited anxiously for her. Then she entered my eyes. I knew it, even though my vision was blurry. It was her. She walked the same. This was my little girl in front of me grown up. She came down the steps and I lost any words and just stared at her. She looked at me in bewilderment at first, waiting for me to speak. I couldn't say anything. She looked at me for a few moments, then her eyes became glossed and pink. A tear rolled down and she she said one word; "Papa?"

        I told her everything I knew and remembered. She affirmed the things I knew and filled in some blanks. Some of the blanks were that I went missing while she was at school. The police came and took her to my sister's house, who is now dead of cancer. They suspected that I had seen something I shouldn't have while trying to sell a vacuum to the wife of a mob boss. They never found my body. I was laying there alone for 38 years and Eli was looking for me. But she eventually moved on. She got an education and never married. She became the CEO of a huge financial company. None of it meant anything to her.

        We spent all night talking. We shared memories of each other and she told me what life was like without me. My gut wrenched at those parts because she spoke while her hands were shaking. I felt her words. I told her about the cement in Calvin's garage and the difficulty getting here. She explained to me what Walmart was. We talked until 4:30 in the morning when her eyes began to flicker, then fade into the darkness. I let mine close too; somehow knowing the shades would never be pulled again and I would have to let Eli go. I woke up somewhere different.
     




Sing.
Migrate.





Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Problem with Autobiographies


        I once wrote a screenplay about my life. Narcissistic I know, but my friends kept telling me I should. They told me I saw things differently...I do love to write. I do see things differently. If you give me a choice between the positive and the negative, I'm gonna choose the negative, even though I desperately need the positive. It's the classic attitude that everyone sees the positive and I see the truth , situation. That's me. I've seen enough negative to know when it's gonna win.

       I finished writing the screenplay on my in-law's pontoon boat in the middle of the lake that was named "Doc and Tom," after two horses who had drowned due to a winter electrical storm that drove them into an unseasonably thin iced over lake. I typed the last sentence and took it in. I just finished my life as I knew it at that very moment alone, on a boat, with no one cheering me on. It reminded me that most people die with no one watching and without applause. The narcissist in me wants the applause.

        I showed the script to my brothers Will, Joe , and Andy anxiously. People are very sensitive to how they are portrayed to other people. I was nervous to give it to them. A few days later, I got a call. Then another. Joe thought I made him too absent minded, but liked that he was a hero in the end. Will asked to be at the filming to help get it right.

        We were able to score a little money and casted the film through a talent agency with actors that just wanted a screen credit. I ran the casting because I wanted the perfect people for the roles. I casted well. We filmed most of the movie in a couple of months. My wife had a baby during the filming, so of course "Adam the Narcissist" took over and I spent too much time away from them. During filming, one of the lead characters tragically died. She had beaten cancer after a really long fight. She had been in major motion pictures before, so she gave my script the honor of making it her comeback. This was supposed to be her re-birth and she died during filming suddenly; leaving her son, who was also in the movie. This was the biggest reason we killed the film.

...

        I look back now at the footage that will never be seen, that I got it right. The actors were who they should have been...except the one that played me. I purposely left out that I'm not some sad bastard my whole life waiting for something to go right. I laugh more than that. I make jokes because I love when people laugh at them. I'm a clown. I'm and idiot, but I'm sincere. I wrote my best qualities out of my own character. The actor who played me, was really, really good. He played the part I wrote with great precision...but that wasn't me.

        I wanted to shock people. I wanted them to wonder what was wrong with me. I wanted to be someone that people would remember. But instead I wrote my brothers as I saw them, but should have written myself how they saw me. Joe read the script and came to one of the shoots. He watched the shoot and said it was awesome, and that it was accurate...except for my character. He told me that that wasn't me. I wasn't the person I had portrayed myself to be.

        During filming a very fun and intimate scene, Will came out to watch. After the scene was over, he came to me and had tears in his eyes. He told me that he was back there again and that the scene was like a time machine...but...my character wasn't me. I wasn't who I portrayed myself to be. He saw me differently. Joe saw me differently. I saw myself differently.

        I think it takes a good amount of our loves to figure out who we are. I'm not sure this me is the real me either...but I'm gonna live it because right now it feels like home. Maybe things change in a while, but this is me right now writing on a laptop in my basement about the time I wrote about a fictitious character on a pontoon boat on a lake that killed two horses.






Sing.
Migrate.

Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Milk - A Short Story


"She sent me out for milk...how cliche." -Walter

        I was driving down the utility road that rolls adjacent to the interstate. The nearest market was about 10 miles from my house, so sending me for milk meant that she either wanted a break from me, she was pregnant, or that she carried a lover. I went either way really. It didn't much matter, I have always accepted fate as it comes.

...


        We met at a bandshell dance, which was held by the local charity to raise money. The Bandshell was this pompous outdoor stage with a shell-shaped cover. I'd go every Friday night looking for a girlfriend. I was a lonely 15 year old that had never attracted the attention of girls. All of my friends had girlfriends and I didn't...it was embarrassing. I wore the right clothes that night. I wore my ripped up jeans I modeled after a Def Leppard video. I wore a sweatshirt that only the rich kids in my neighborhood could afford...I had stolen mine. I saw her at the ticket counter. She was with two girls that had previously rejected my advances. 
-->
        I remember the first time I saw her. I was trying to impress her friend, who didn't care whether I came to school or not. She kissed me once at a party during a game of "Spin the Bottle," but didn't acknowledge me after that. The lunch lady came by and asked if I was finished with my tray. I hadn't touched my food really; maybe a couple bites. I always got nervous around her. I told the lunch lady I was finished, but it would be a shame to throw the food away with so many hungry in the world. I said this because I wanted to show my "bleeding heart" to the girl. In reality, I considered myself one of those starving kids in the world.

        Her friend looked at me right in my eyes. It was a piercing and unlookawayable look that paralyzed me. She said, "That's very nice of you." It was then that I looked at the object of my affection and thought, "I want to be everything to you, but I also hate your guts." I turned my attention to Sarah; her friend...my wife. She was to be my new obsession. I wanted her to love me like she did the time that she told me I had done a nice thing. So I followed her. I learned what she likes and doesn't like. I learned what she did after dinner. I learned what time she got up in the morning.

        I wasn't a pervert. I didn't try to see her showering or anything...I just wanted to know her like a husband knows his wife; except before we are married. At the bandshell, I walked up to her at the concession stand and asked her to dance. Her friends...the awful assholes I told you about earlier who didn't care about my existence, encouraged her to walk away from me. I must have said a lucky thing, because I am not charming, and she agreed to dance with me. 10 years later, this girl married me.

       On the day of my wedding, I sat in the limo, thinking about the events of our relationship. I got mad for a moment about all of the rejection. Everyone was celebrating with champaign and vodka, splashing about in front of and all over me. Watching them celebrate me was a reminder that I had gotten the greatest girl of all, and she had married me that very day. She didn't marry Todd, the football guy, or Steve, the guy that she dated before me, who got a scholarship for soccer. She married me because I paid attention to who she really was.

...

        This night was dedicated to milk. She never asked for much. I gave her anything she desired, mostly before she asked for it. I have always thought of ways to keep her with me...it rules my mind really. We have three daughters just like her. They pay attention to details. They correct me all the time. They are beautiful. They are pictures of their mother at different ages. They are the very reason I write this now...to you...whom I will never know...Who may never read this.

        In all honesty, she sent me out for milk because she was having an affair. I've known about it for weeks. He left a message on our answering machine thinking it was her voice mail. I deleted it and have spent weeks trying to put it out of my mind. I can't live without her...and especially can't live without my little girls. I do everything so that they will love me. I wouldn't be able to live without them, so I try to forget.

        As I drove to the market, these things lurk behind my thoughts about today at work in the train yard. A few guys asked me to go for some beers, but I said no...as always because of the thought of her. I pulled into the parking lot and sat for a bit before getting out of the car and moving through the parking lot. There was a song on the nostalgia station that reminded me of when I was a lonely little kid lying on the dryer, praying for something better, absorbing it's heat.

        I got out of the car and walked to the doors of the market and looked up to the sky just before I heard the alarms. It looked like a bullet followed by flames above my head by about 300 feet. I watched it trail across the sky and seem to dissipate into the darkness above. I was waiting for the boom. I was waiting for the end of all things. It didn't happen then. It happened in small increments over the next few months.

        The television told me that the bomb had landed 350 miles from the supermarket; spreading it's venom to all inside of a 1200 mile radius. I didn't come home that night...or the next. I sat in this motel room writing this to you...because me and everyone else I care about will be dead in a week.

        The problem is that I don't know what to say to her. It doesn't make much sense to tell her I know now. That doesn't serve much of a purpose. So I tell her I love her and that I have always loved her. I told her that from the moment that she told me that I was nice, I believed that she was mine. I told my girls that they were my entire heart. I told them I would walk to the edge of the world just to die for them.

I coughed.
Then they coughed.
We bled together.
Then we died together.


At least that's what I hope happened.










Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, December 19, 2016

Those Christmas Lights



        They don't see what's broken inside of you because your broken parts are part of your perfection to them. They are family, and to them, you cannot be replaced in a world where everything is replaced.

        I've always said that you can choose your family. This isn't popular with people who have great families and I get that. Laura has a great family, and they are always there for each other. Others who's families could fit into a small room may see it differently. I had two blood relatives at my wedding. My mom, whom I love, and my brother, whom I love. I think that family organically happens with life. You meet these people that you like for one reason or another, and they end up being uncles or aunts to your children. Laura has friends that are family to us and so do I. I think it's beautiful. I think the world is disconnected and separated into terrible categories and labels. It's a really nice feeling to know that someone in this world loves you no matter what. That they are gonna take your side in this world, and kick your ass in private.

        I got to do something really fun and cool today. I got to take the ice where the Red Wings play. I got to play hockey with my friends. We were excited and came out to the ice early to look around and take pictures. As I looked into the huge arena, I got to see all of the families of my friends that came to celebrate a really good day with their dad, or brother, sister, friend, or child. Watching them all take pictures with their family put things into persepective for me. I've been in a bit of gloom this year as I usually am this time of year, but watching these people love each other deeply is a reminder that this life is so great. It's great that I see these terrible things at work, which I've desensitized myself to, then come home to a little boy and two girls that don't see my faults, or forget them quickly. And a 19 year old girl who will drop whatever she is doing to see me. I'ts a warm place. Today felt like Christmas. Any day that feels like Christmas is a good day.

        It is way too easy to focus on the negative. Laura and I find ourselves thinking this way so much and we often remind each other that although the negative is destructive, the positive is a really good reason to keep smiling...to keep forging ahead...to keep reaching our hands out to other people. I'm so thankful for the people in my life that have reached out their hands to me when I needed help to get up. You all know who you are. I hope I've told you how great you are. If not, I will.

        I went to lunch with Will and Joe's mom and dad last week. I struggle when seeing them during the holidays because I don't know what to say to them. I think about my own kids and what it would be like to lose them and I cannot figure out a way to reconcile the fact that those two are still standing...and smiling. As my brother's mother was taking me home, I got this overwhelming sadness all of the sudden that she was going to drop me off and that would be that for Christmas. I had this feeling of dread that I had wasted the time I got to spend with them feeling uneasy. It was at this moment that I remembered that I slept under their roof probably a thousand times. I ate at their table. Their dad took me to canoing trips with them.

        In the car, and all at once, I remembered that they are my family and they chose me as much as I chose them. I felt gratitude. I felt love. I felt sadness, but also togethernes in that sadness. I felt so thankful, because at some point in our history, they stopped seeing me as this loud and often annoying kid and they started seeing me as family.

I can't wait to see the rest of my family this Christmas.

     







Sing.
Migrate.




Thanks for reading...Z

Thursday, December 15, 2016

It Effaces Every Piece of Light



You ask why I keep still
Why I don’t pour it out into the night
You know
You know if it rises and floats
It effaces every piece of light

- Soap & Skin (Cradlesong)


        When we were kids and had just graduated, all three of us had serious questions about what we would do next. Part of the theme of the "Dead End Kids" was that none of us would make it out, and I guess we all assumed none of us would. Then Joe decided to leave. I showed up to his house one night after a really bad night during a series of very bad nights. I was living in my car at the time. I had just been caught sleeping in my car in the park by police and treated really badly. I was upset. I was hopeless. 

        I showed up to Joe and Will's house in a pretty bad place. I sat down in the living room and Joe sat on the couch. He was really quiet. This was really unusual for him as it is for me. After a lot of yes and no answers to my queries, he asked me to go have a cigarrette with him outside. The answer to this question was always yes. While we were smoking, he started shaking his hands and breaking up in his speech. I couldn't get what he was saying, so I asked him, "What's wrong man?" He told me, "I enlisted in the Navy." It was final. There was no getting it back, Joe was leaving the Dead End. To me, he was leaving me...a moment I had feared more than anything. 

        A few months past and the day came when Joe had to go. He didn't want us to go to the airport with him. He didn't want an ordeal. We all stood outside and watched him hug us and tell us he loved us and then walk away and get into a car and fade away into the darkness as the lights dimmed, and disappeared. Once I lost the lights, I lost my guts. Joe's mom was there to grab my head and pull it to hers. I cried like I had never cried before. I had definately never let anyone see me as an adult cry like that. She just stayed silent and rubbed my head.

        I was sad because my friend was leaving. But more than that I was sad because I think I got the reality check that I couldn't hold on to them forever. Someday they would go. Everyone moves on. Some to other states. Some to other countries. And some to Heaven. Joe came back after a couple of years, angry that I had moved on and made a home for myself. I think he got the same reality check that day. He was so much of part of my life, but he wasn't any longer the center. 

...

       I've spent a lot of time this last 6 years in this basement...in front of this computer...writing about the "Dead End Kids." Sadly, much of that time has been spent as Christmas lights twinkle on the tree right behind me, going unnoticed. I always find myself going back. I think it's because feeling sad about them is all that is left of them. Joe came home from the Navy and we had the greatest and most terrible times together. Then he went away after his brother went away. And here I am...totally unwilling to follow them out of the Dead End. I love my life. I wish they had loved theirs. God, I wish I could have put the love of living in them. I couldn't do anything. 

        Two years today Joe. Happy birthday kid brother. A conversation with you comes to my mind right now. We were in high school. We were sitting on my bed and you had said something outragious. I laughed, and you said, "Sorry buddy." I said, "No problem man." You said, "No seriously, I'm sorry buddy" and pointed to my bed, which was completely soaked with the root beer you had spilled from the two liter bottle you had been carrying around. 

        When I think of times like this, it doesn't feel so dark. It just makes me miss you. I miss your raspy smokers cough laugh. I miss the embelleshments of your stories. I miss being able to sit in a room and be able to say nothing without any awkwardness at all. I miss fishing with you in the middle of the night. I miss every incredibly stupid thing we did together as kids. I miss the way we could look at each other and speak without words. Goodnight little brother. Be happy and be perfect. I'll see you again sometime. 

        





Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Ghosts of Christmas' Past



        Nothing really has changed about Christmas. Every year, I get excited to put the lights up on the tree and string them across the front of my home. There is something so gratifying about putting lights on my home for me. It's mine. What lives in it is mine, and I am theirs. I work all week and enjoy listening to the same Christmas music on my way that I listened to last year and the years before. They all take me back to the reasons I have always loved Christmas. No matter how bad things had been for me in my life, there was always a savior for me on Christmas.

        I was such a lonely kid. But when I think about Christmas now and remember, everything was so beautiful and perfect. I'd sleep under the Christmas tree, or alternate between the tree and the floor heat register and watch the lights promise me something that no human could ever fulfill in me. I can't think of a single Christmas growing up that was ruined by anything. I'm sure my mom had a few, but she was strong enough to not let me see that. She was always really good at redirection with those kinds of things.

        I moved out and experienced Christmas on my own. This was in a really bad time in my life...the worst actually. Christmas became a thing of sadness for me for reasons I could not even describe at the time. I'd think about all of these great Christmases and get really sad and feel more lonely. So I'd walk around the neighborhood and look into people's front windows to see them be families. Super Creepy, I know.

        I married this woman this one day, and got what I was promised under that tree. I made it my mission to string up the lights on Thanksgiving or a day or two after. Took them down in March, but who's counting. I got to be the family in that front window. My kids came into the world and the only thing I wanted to do was what my mom did for me. I wanted them to believe something very special about Christmas. Something very comforting about a savior being born that would make it all better. Even if everything seemed hopeless.

        The last bit of Christmases have been marred with some pretty terrible stuff. It makes it difficult because I have become at odds with my favorite time of the year. The feeling now makes me so happy and so profoundly sad. My favorite thing is when I get to see Andy and when I get to see Jeff and his family. These are people that are family to me and I don't get to see them much. Then, that reminds me that two of the most influential people in my life aren't here anymore, and that is my worst thing.

                                     I guess the word I would use to descibe it is: Disappointment.

        They were supposed to always be here, with me and for me. But they aren't anywhere I can see them. Me and Will used to cut class and sit on top of his car in the park to kill time. We weren't killing time. We were making the very best of it. We would talk about our future and we were both present in each other's. Me and Joe use to used to carve our names on everything because we wanted to come back decades later and remember what we were when we were kids. So I guess the Ghosts of Christmas' past come to haunt me now.

                                                                          The good news.

        God is still good. Jesus is still our savior. I am still the guy I wanted to be in that front window, albeit a bit more broken. I string up the lights and love watching my kids play in the snow that is now blanketing Michigan, giving millions of kids a day off of school tomorrow. I shield my kids from the things they don't have to see. I think of times with my brothers who were everything but blood to me, and smile. I don't get lonely at Christmas anymore. I am full. I am what little kids under trees want when they are praying hopefully and lonely to an invisible God.

God is good.
God is with us.
God saved me.
Even when it hurts everything inside me to admit.




Sing.
Migrate.




Thanks for reading...Z

It is God

I am weak. I am strong. I am weak. I am strong. I am weak. I am strong. I am human. Humans are weak. Yet somehow, we take credit for our strength. It is God.




Sing. Migrate. Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, November 28, 2016

About Them

   
       
        I've been taught my entire life that Jesus is coming back soon in church.The writers of the New Testiment also told us that Jesus is coming back soon. This gives me the same feeling that sitting in Mr. Winnick's pricipal's office does, waiting for my discipline for mooning the entire 3rd grade class. Obviously there is a big difference in perception of time between us and the writers 2000 years ago...or Jesus returned already and we didn't even notice; a thought more sad than waiting forever. So if we are to see time so linear that soon may be almost forever, than we ought to start thinking about the future with the expectation that we are stuck here for now. We aren't orphans, but currently homeless.

        I told myself this very thing as I slept in my car after high school. Things were going really badly and I was accepting one mistake after another...because I was proud and angry and especially stupid. So in principle, I rejected conditional living and chose to face my mistakes head on...while making new and more audatious mistakes. I slept in the back seat of my car. My back hurt and I would lay awake all night with the awful feeling of a future being flushed away. I had walked away from a basketball scholorship, from any further education...because I knew it all. I didn't ask for advice. I didn't listen to anyone. I just acted out of pure emotion and rage against pretty much everyone. Laying in the back of that car in the cold, I told myself that this was only temporarily and I was only currently homeless. This was true. I got an apartment with friends soon after.

        As I was walking out of the Chinese food take out place tonight on my way home from work, I watched the "Open" sign flash through the reflection of my headlight. The parking lot was empty and the night was particularly dark tonight. I got this lonely feeling that at that moment, there was only me, this flashing light, and a little old Asian woman left in the entire world. It made me think of time. How terrible it is that time passes without you knowing how important it is.

        One day, no one will remember a single thing about our culture experientially. Maybe pictures. That flashing "Open" sign will be a joke of primitive technology. I think we all will be a joke of primitive humanity.

        I write a lot of short stories about the very distant future. One thing that has always intrigued me is wondering what the distant future will think about the things we have left behind. It's kinda sad and lonely and that's probably why I like it so much, but I really never have thought about what the not so distant future looks like. What will my great grand children think of me...if at all. What a disasterous world we have made.

        It is likely that this is not the end of "Us." We should start thinking about "Them."



Sing.
Migrate.


Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, November 21, 2016

Her

   
 
         I'm thankful for my wife. I write about her often because I need to get it out. She hates it. She doesn't like attention...that's me, I like attention: It's like gasoline to me. She is quiet and subtle. She saves everyone in this house and no one knows it but us, so I always feel the need to tell everyone because no one has ever loved me like this. There isn't a place I wouldn't go for her. I'd give everything that I like about myself for her, but she would never ask that of me. She is beautiful. She works so hard for us. She is anxious because she cares so much. She will find me in whatever darkness I go to hide. She will strip away any bravado or membrane I use to protect myself and reach in for my hand. I love her and am so very thankfull for her this Thanksgiving.







Sing.
Migrate.





Thanks for reading...Z

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Super Powers



        The world would be a different place if people had x-ray powers that saw into other people's souls, but I don't think we really want to have to see all of that. There are a lot of super powers I would love to have. I would love to fly. It would be so great to feel the wind hit you, then cover you, falling behind as you burst through it's invisible membrane. It would be great to move things with my mind. I'd love to move every slow moving vehicle out of my way during my commute to and from work. People driving slow in the fast lane would finally pay for their ignorance!

        Most of all, I'd like to travel through time. I'd love to go wherever and whenever I wanted without any ability to change anything. Some would say that would be cruel because we often visit our moments of regret in our memories. But I don't regret anything. I didn't do anything that didn't make me who I am. I don't like some things that happened to me and I don't like who I was, but I like that I feel a little better about myself now. I, for the most part, like who I am. There are many things I'd like to change, but I think I am pretty OK in the things that matter to me. I'm a good husband and a good father and I think I'm a pretty good friend.

        I don't much care for the other things. I care for relationships. If we love each other, I'm all in. I'm never halfway about the people I care about. I ask difficult questions and tell you what I really think. I do it because I care and I can't stomach small talk with people I want more from.

        But back to time travel. I'd like to go back and watch all of these moments in my life and learn more. I'd like to learn more about how my memory betrays the truth or how I have blocked out details that change the narrative. I'd like to go back to feel many things I did as a careless and stupid kid again. That's a great super power. The best superpower...because you can't hurt anyone with it. You can only relive your own life moments.



       





Sing.
Migrate.




Thanks for reading...Z