Monday, August 1, 2016

Familia

     


        The world has been making me ask, "Who am I singing to? Where am I migrating?" I guess it's not just the world making me feel that way, it's me. I'm also the problem. It's a dark place that causes so much anxiety and I think we all need to sit down and look at a sunset and listen to something peaceful, or something that reminds us of when we were kids without these worries. I've had such a short fuse lately, or even for the last 5 or 6 years.

        I had the opportunity to go on a weekend trip with some life long friends. We are all still young, but not kids any more. In fact, one of my kids is an actual adult. We went to a club to let loose and immediately found a place that had a live band playing songs from when we were the most idiotic, impulsive, and beautiful teenagers. It was like being a little bit young again. It reminded me that the world may be somehow missing that right now. Maybe we aren't going back enough to remember how awesome it was to be a kid. Maybe we aren't putting in the time to know just how even more amazing it is to be who we are right now.

        I had a lot of fun, but Laura and I just wanted to get to our kids as fast as we could. We would hug them tonight and watch the last remaining episodes of "Stranger Things," and would eventually have to hold the kids while they wept at the ending. While watching the blue lights flicker on the screen in this basement in this city that sleeps, I looked to my left on the couch and saw my entire life and dreams curled up together with me. That is all I need. I just wish everyone had it, or appreciated it. I wish everyone could experience the awful weight that loving someone else so much puts in your guts. I am obsessed with my family and friends. So much so that all of my friends have become my family.





Sing.
Migrate.






Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, June 27, 2016

Elliot


        The light shined so bright that I could barely make out who I was looking at. What I saw was an angel of my past. The only hope I held in death. He was my Elliot, he was my son, but he was not mine. 
...

Shelly-

        It took Henry and I two divorces to figure out we still loved each other. When Elliot died, he was only 3. We had been married for only 5 years. Elliot was a smiley kid. He drooled so much when he started cutting teeth. Sometimes we would have to change his shirt more than his diaper. Henry made me make him sleep in his own bed once he turned 2. I wasn't happy about it, but I understood that Henry needed me too. 

        We were married as kids. When we started holding hands, we were only 13. We married when we were 19. I don't think either of us even thought that maybe we should look around a bit before we bought in to the first thing we loved. But I loved him, and he loved me. It was obvious. Two years into our marriage, Henry held my hand still as I screamed and willed Elliot into this world. 9 lbs 6 oz, 27 inches long. Henry said he was as long as an elephant’s trunk.

        Elliot was playing in the sandbox at the park. We had bought him these sand pales from the drug store because he threw a tantrum and neither of us had the patience to wait out the terror of telling him no. The sand was dry, unlike our sandbox at home that we would always spray with the hose to make it better for building. He would pack the pales and turn them over only to watch the sand fall and sprinkle through his hands. He kept groaning with frustration and looking to us like it was our fault.

        I went to the concession stand to get us some water. I tipped the boy at the counter $5 because he didn’t call me ma'am. I turned back toward them and saw Henry frantically looking for Elliot. I panicked immediately and dropped the water to the ground and ran. We searched all night long. Once the search parties went home, we kept searching. Two of the other moms told me that Henry had rushed over to help a child who had fallen off the monkey bars. He turned around and we never saw Elliot again.

...

        I remarried a hedge fund manager who was boring and wanted children. I told him from the start that I wasn’t able to have kids. I told him that I have severe endometriosis. He asked about treatment options and different ways in which we could be parents. I didn’t want to be a mother. I wanted to be invisible and forget I lost my little boy. I’m guessing Henry felt the same when he remarried. I saw them once at the theater. His new wife was watching the film and laughing so hard, but I couldn’t stop looking at him. He looked at the screen, but he wasn’t looking at the screen. He was in an entirely different place.

        I wanted to say hello, or anything to him really...but I didn’t. Instead, I got divorced and remarried and so did he. This next guy had a thing for shouting at me. I wasn’t into it at all. I didn’t love him. So I left. Henry married a much younger woman. I guess she was only fun for a short while because they divorced quickly. I decided to be alone for as long as I felt alone. No one was going to make me happy. I had that realization during a day time fake Dr. TV reality show. So I spent the next 5 years walking around and going to work and going to support groups and going nowhere.

...
Henry-

        I tried to make myself a better man. I felt the guilt and weight, but I really wanted to live a full life and move forward. Shelly and I got divorced because I drank too much and cut myself off from her. I couldn’t stop it. Every night, I would read the same news clippings. I’d look at the photos of this monster that took my son. Seeing him in cuffs was no consolation for me. He hurt my son and gave him the horrible death by drowning, then threw him in a dumpster like garbage. I would let the very smallest of visions of these acts into my head and then scream into the night and break things. I would keep drinking and go to the the river by our house...the very river he took my son and try to drown myself. I wanted to feel what he felt, but like the true coward I am, I would always come up for air.

        Shelly was losing her mind trying to hold both of us together and I wasn’t even trying. She left me and I completely understood why. I didn’t blame her at all. I gave her everything in the divorce and moved across the country to marry this girl I met at a support group. Apparently two supremely damaged people shouldn’t marry each other because they both need a savior and both are drowning. We divorced and I moved back home and married one of my co-workers. I didn’t love her, I was just done being lonely. She was young and had her whole life ahead of her, so I let her divorce me without dispute.

        I spent most nights getting drunk and walking around the city, trying not to think about anything that still mattered to me. But at the end of every drunken night, I would end up on that bench in the park I lost my whole life in. One night, I was sitting there and looking at the moon. I was teetering between passing out and getting up and going home. I usually found home at these times. But I heard something behind me. I turned and saw the only living person left on this earth that I still tried not to think about. I loved her still everyday.

        She sat down beside me and said nothing for a while, then laid her head on my shoulder and began to weep. It was like a wretched fist wrapping around my stomach. I hurt so badly that I wanted to throw up. I began to cry. I embraced her and we both cried and felt the wind blow into and around our faces as if Elliot was there too. We met there a few times over the next few months. The last time we met there, she asked me a question. She asked me if I would still have loved her if Elliot had never been born. “Of course” and she began to cry. She took my hand and asked me to never let go. We married again two weeks later.

...

Shelly-

        Twenty-two years after we re-married we were holding hands in the car on the way to the race track. Henry had a "shoo-in." “The Dark Knight” was supposed to win us thousands. He was middle of the pack. I laughed at Henry as I always did because all of his picks were "shoo-ins." We were turning onto the service drive when the car struck us. I remember nothing after. The blow jarred me so hard that I could see that I was upside down and in slow motion, but I was too slow to move at all. Then the lights went out.

...

        Then the lights came on. The lights so bright that I could only see the shape of a little boy coming closer to me. I could feel a hand in mine and I knew it was Henry’s. I felt him. He squeezed it as he also saw the shape of this child. We maybe both hoped so much that we were in Heaven or anywhere that Elliot was. The shape came closer until we could both make out his beautiful freckled face. His brown hair with a hint of red. His nose that was Henry’s and his mouth that was mine. He smiled at us and reached for our hands. “I’ve been waiting for you.” He took both of our hands and at first touch, his head shot upward to the sun and he stood there seemingly basking in energy. He was just a boy, but the harder we squeezed his hand, the more overpowering his became. We began to try to speak, but he pushed is finger to his mouth and we became silent.

        He closed his eyes and swayed with the wind as if music was playing all around him. The very touch of his hand was making me feel light inside, like air. I felt invigorated by the moment. I felt extreme happiness and forgot all bad things that had ever happened. I had back my boy and my husband. Both with their hands in mine. Elliot looked at me and I saw a vision of me feeding him baby food as he spit it out all over both of us. He showed me his memories. He apparently was showing Henry his own as I began to feel Henry tremble and squeeze my hand tighter. Elliot showed me the time he fell out of the tree and broke his arm. He let me feel the way it felt to be him rocking in my arms, comforting him. I felt so loved.

        I felt Elliot’s hand let go of mine. Then I felt Henry’s hand let go on mine. I looked all over for them, but they were gone. A voice said, “Mom?” I answered, “Yes baby.” He said, “It’s going to be hard for a while. You have to hang on to our hands." It was then that the light left me alone in the ICU, breathing through a tube. The pain hurt like nothing I had ever felt. I hurt all over my body. I hurt more inside. It was like awaking from the cruelest of dreams where everything you wanted really didn’t happen. Both of my hands were tied to the bed.  Later, the nurse would tell me that I kept trying to pull out my breathing tube. I woke up and got physically better.


        I got home and started the process of trying to drink myself to death. My family took away all of the alcohol and moved into my house. I tried to sleep the rest of my life away, hoping to dream them back in that light sky again. It didn’t happen and eventually I couldn’t sleep anymore. Months of self destruction passed before I remembered what my Elliot said to me. “You have to hang on to our hands.” So I got better. I went out and learned to paint and sit in the park without the horrid thoughts of my son. I learned to love again. Not in a romantic way, I could never love anyone but Henry...never could. But I learned to love living in the sun again. I let it all go because I knew they were going to be there to greet me...even if not mine anymore.




Sing.
Migrate.




Thanks for reading...Z

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Hunger- The Day Walker- Part 2

     
     

        The hunger is the wall that stands between who I was and who I am now. The world has also been separated. What were we then vs. what are we now? Or who are we? The immortal encompass 2/3 of the earth's population in my estimation. The number is growing. All major cities are empty, except for the sentimental immortals who like to sit on top of buildings and take the moral approach and eat stray dogs and cats. They are the weakest of all things.

        I am immortal. I was bitten and then released back into the world. Most people became food and were completely devoured. They saw something in me that made them bite me and leave.

        Moments after I died, my eyes opened. I blinked once. Then again. And again. I remembered my last moment and knew something was different about this moment. I wasn't alive anymore, but here is the world in front of me. My vision was blurry at first, but then became so sharp that I could see all things even if they were in darkness. I wore the scars of my other life, but my body was so strong and so fast. I could leap onto rooftops. I could throw boulders.

        I awoke so hungry for nothing I could remember eating. My stomach ached and cramped. I laid there in the night, fully aware that there were others watching me from the shadows and the high places. I couldn't move the hunger hurt so bad. I vomited several times. I laid there shaking and feeling myself dying for the second time.

        One of them threw a rabbit onto the ground next to me. My instincts took over. There wasn't a single shred of evidence of it's life when I was finished. I let the blood sit on my tongue and savored it for it's warm, bitter flavor. I closed my eyes and the world started to spin so fast and I found myself completely overcome with joy and happiness, that I fell asleep. I'd been a vegetarian since 13 years old. I would have to reconsider. This was the greatest feeling I had ever known. I felt it so badly that while eating, I was in wait for the next meal.

...

        They threw a rabbit every now and again because I was squeamish. I also wanted them all to die and couldn't wait for my chance to kill them. But there was something about this hunger that made me always think of eating first. So I ate rabbits. I felt their fur on my cheeks and watched their white hair turn red. But every time I finished eating, I was still hungry.

        I laid on the ground in the woods for weeks, waiting for something better that eating rabbits and sleeping to happen. They kept looking at me so intently, as if they were studying me. They would retreat just before sunlight and return in darkness. On I believe the 45th day, they threw a child into my sight. The child was wounded. One of them had bitten him, but he had not turned yet. In hindsight writing this, I know now that they knew I would eat him to keep him from being them...or me. My stomach tied into knots. I vomited trying to resist. My lips were quivering and I was sweating. But I still felt myself inside. He made me ache for Bea. I missed her more than the hunger. But he was dying. He would become eternally damned.

        I ate him without ever once wiping my mouth. There were no feelings of regret...no thoughts of his childhood. Every part of him that I devoured made me feel stronger. When he was gone, I finally felt the hunger leave me. But as with every hunger, it will return.

     


Sing.
Migrate.




Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Day Walker, Part 1

     
        I wasn't always a monster. My favorite memory of a time you'd be proud of was when I rescued that girl from that terrible man trying to hurt her. You were already gone. This was during the part when everyone was dying. Bea was with me. I had to take his life, but I saved Elli. Bea and Elli were best friends immediately. When the storms rolled in and the lights went out, they would play games to take each other's minds off of their fear. I sat there helpless. What does a father say when he is absolutely positive that nothing at all is going to be ok? I let them play their games and I worried.

       Mom, Elli died in front of Bea...torn limb from limb by a night walker. There was no way to console her. You had the great fortune of dying from the plague before they came. We all felt so much regret then, but now we wish we would have gone too. They came when more than half of everyone was buried. The world was in mourning and no one saw the worst coming because they thought it had already come. They came in the night and killed the old and young, eating almost every piece of flesh on their bodies. Those in between got bit. They would die for a few days. Then they would wake up in the night hungry and no where near the person they were.

        Me and Bea fled to the mountains. We found a small cabin there empty, and stayed. Winter came, then spring, summer, and winter again for two years. We hunted. We trapped. We witnessed the demise of television, the internet, the newspapers, and finally short wave radio. The last thing we read was a headline that read, "For those under the sea, we have become prey." I clicked the link and it opened a letter to all that remained. It was just a man sitting in a basement of a house in California. He had fortified his home and surrounded himself with arms. He believed he was the final stronghold. But he didn't believe very strongly.

        Bea and I were all we had left, and as long as she was living, that was all I needed mom. I guess you would understand that. We both missed Lena so much and would hold each other when our memories overcame us. We would pray every night, hoping there was a god that had a plan after all. We would pray that the most beautiful and loving woman either of us had ever known was happy and waiting for us somewhere that there is no darkness.

        In a moment of rare weakness during the winter a year ago, Bea asked me to cover her face with a pillow so that she could see her mommy again. I shouted at her so harshly. I sent her to the other room on the deck upstairs. I was so angry. I threw my glass and it shattered against the fridge. The sound of the glass breaking startled even me because it was louder than I thought it would be. That's when I realized that the glass I broke was not the sound I heard. The glass had broken upstairs. I didn't even hear her go. I opened the door and realized that my baby girl was all over.

        I went outside and shouted for them. I begged them to come for me. I screamed and I wailed and I cursed God. No one answered. No one came. They took her from me and didn't have the decency to end my misery. So I walked to the edge of the mountain, all the while listening to the restless activity in the trees behind me. I heard their feet crushing the leaves. I knew they were there. I didn't know why they weren't attacking me. So I jumped from the edge of the mountain. As I fell, I felt joy and peace for the first time in just over a year. Then I felt one of them latch on to my back and bite me on the neck as it pulled me to the other side of the mountain.

        I wish I could tell you about my death. I wish I could tell you about my last moments of being me. I don't remember them. I got really sick and wretched endlessly. I remember throwing up blood and looking at them watching me from the trees. I closed my eyes and woke up feeling incredible, yet hopelessly terrible. I was me without a soul. And I was so very hungry.

        Thank you for raising me, I love you mom,       Gaelan.

...

To anyone alive and still listening,
    
         I was born with Xeroderma Pigmentosum, aka "Vampire Syndrome." It's a rare condition where a person is completely intolerant of the light. It was so crippling that I had to homeschool and live a nocturnal life. I would sleep all day in the cedar closet in the basement and my mom would educate me at night. I wanted to be an engineer, but she helped me find a more reasonable goal as an air traffic controller...because everyone is going somewhere and the planes torch the sky all night.

        I got a job on the midnight shift, of course. I met a beautiful women who loved everything about me, even knowing who I was. My mother told me once that when she met my dad, he loved her regardless of her many faults. That was when she knew that he was the one. This girl didn't seem to see anything but me. The real me. It's hard to meet people and become well rounded when all of the people you speak to are middle-of-the-night people. I had a lot going against me, but she didn't care about any of that. She changed her job to the night shift and lived with me where I was. Her name was Lena and she was bitten and still walks the night somewhere, waiting to bite me too.

        I'd like to tell you I am different because of heroics. But that's not it. I am different from the night walkers because of my disease. The night walkers walk at night because they cannot live in the day. I already couldn't live in the day. I was bitten and all of the sudden the sun comes out and I am drawn to it. As if my DNA had flipped.

        I'm still hungry every day. I sleep at night like those that used to rule the world. I sleep hidden from them. They are looking for me because I hunt them during the day. They hunt me at night. Yes, I will eat you if I see you. Like I said, I am not me.

     





Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Friday, June 3, 2016

Where am I?

       
        So where have I been? Why haven't I written about anything in weeks? I don't know. I really don't. I sit here and think about things to write about. I have dozens of short story ideas written down, but nothing seems to fit me right now. So I sit here and try and figure out why I don't want to write. Maybe I only write when I'm sad or lonely. Maybe I am not sad or lonely. I certainly have been doing better with all that. Maybe I don't write when I am too sad or lonely. I certainly could not rule out a confusion between contentment and sadness. Either way, there haven't been many words from me.

        I've been living. I've been happy. Often times on this blog, I have portrayed a person that isn't me for the most part. It happens because I usually write when I need to express myself. I usually only need to express myself when I am sad or sometimes feeling sorry for myself. Right now I am neither.

        I feel lonely sometimes when I'm alone. I miss my brothers for moments every day. I react to certain songs or smells or places. But those things have been fleeting. For most of the day, I am me...the real me. I laugh and try to make others laugh too. I am the clown that wasn't forced to be. I enjoy my wife and my children and do the day-to-day work to make sure that continues. I get up after going back to sleep after taking my kids to school. I usually eat lunch. I may do a chore, but probably not. I watch television until I have to pick up my kids from school. After, I run. I run until exhaustion. I eat dinner with my family and they all go to sleep. I am left sitting here for a while, debating on whether to go to bed or to stay awake and allow some of the things that lie in wait for me to be vulnerable to take me.

        Most nights, I choose the beautiful comfort of sleep. I mostly choose to be with with my loved ones in repose...to experience the unpredictability of the night with them in oblivion. But some nights, I let them all go away into the peace and I stay right where I am. I stay because I miss the places of sorrow. I sometimes miss being in agony. I miss it because they were there and I always want to feel them. But most days I know they aren't there and I want to be present for my family that remains.

        It's not that they don't remain...my two dead brothers; it's that they cannot be seen except for a few.



Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Friday, May 13, 2016

Laura

     
         I thought I was a single stone in an ocean so vast that one could never find their way to home. I walked through some fire and some sunlight. I saw some things that people to this day will not believe. I lived a life that was based on doing the things other people would not do. I wasn't happy.

        Until the night the camera's flashed and this beautiful woman held out her hand to dance. That day everything got turned upside down for me. I used to have control. I knew who I was and what women liked and wanted. This girl was something different to me. She made me nervous.

        I was so nervous when I started dating her that I had to make an actual game plan. I bought a new wardrobe (which garnered the dreaded green sweater). I changed my 3-5 day policy to like 18 hours before I called her. I wanted her to like me. I didn't actually believe I was much, but I wanted her to think I was.

        I think she did. Not because I had fooled her, but because she saw something in me. She saw potential. There are very few people at that time that saw potential in me.

        We dated for a year before I proposed. We spent most of that time driving around. On our first date, I took her to the cider mill, then to the train tracks that I used to talk to the homeless in. I gave her a hundred reasons to leave and not look back. She didn't leave...except this one time we broke up for 19 minutes over the phone. She was in my driveway the whole time. We hung up on each other, then in desperation called back. We decided to be together forever and she made the 17 second journey to my door. We have never been separated more than those 17 seconds since.

        She doesn't think much of herself most days. She always underestimates just how beautiful and wonderful she is. I think that is my favorite thing about her. And also my least favorite. She is so humble to let me lead, yet so blind to what she means to this entire world, especially the world living 17 seconds within her reach.

        Today I tried to give my wonderful wife the best birthday she has had because I really appreciate all the hard work she does to keep us all together and happy. At the end of the day, I just felt like writing about her.

        She is my inspiration. She is that voice inside me that tells me to stop underestimating myself. She is the first person to call BS when I am feeling sorry for myself. She is also the first to catch my tears when things have gone badly.

        Laura, happy birthday. Thank you for marrying me. Thank you for Caeden and Aevry. Thank you for watching me struggle and fail and finally succeed. Thank you for being the best woman I've ever known.




Sing.
Migrate.


Thanks for reading...Z

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Quiet

Oh, but the distance between us. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hope?!?

       
       

        And there is the point where the colors fade out and in and back to darkness. This place when you decide to give up based on everything you have learned from the state of the world; from the awful horror that happens.

But horror happens everywhere.

        There is no escape from the darkness that seems to reign here. Believe in what you want, the world will always turn your stomach.


...

        I believe in God. I believe because I have experienced the joy of hope. Many others haven't. I will never judge. I will be the very last to judge. But if you knew me before, you know me now as a different person. Because I have hope. The single thing that puts light into the eyes of the blind is hope.

        It doesn't matter to me if you agree with me or not, or if you actually hate the message I am sending. It's just my story, and you have yours. It's just my story.

        I was once very unhappy without losing much. I am now very happy having lost much. My hope in God seems to have gotten me somewhere in my life.


Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Monday, April 4, 2016

Carving Your Name


        A photograph may be the most important invention for people still living. You get a snapshot in time of a moment that only those involved in the photo can share.  It was a moment that no one may remember, but it was this moment it time that happened and proves you were alive in the mist of our existence.

        When everything else is gone and your existence hasn't been thought of for centuries, someone will eventually pick up that photograph and prove you were here. Someone will know that there was a story to be told here.
...

We carved our names on that tree.





Sing.
Migrate.



Thanks for reading...Z

Sunday, April 3, 2016

They are There and You are Here

       
        The colors flash and the lights dance and everything is art. But those things don't stop reality. I always try to bury really important things in words and cover them up with pictures. I try to make them less because I can't handle more.

        Lately, I've been really ok. I feel better when working the day shift. I'm 75% less lonely. I've been able to go back to church. I've just felt better.

        But feeling better doesn't mean I have forgotten.

...


        I saw your mom today. She was composed and graceful as she has always been. Your dad got married yesterday. I got to go to the reception. Of the three of us, I'm the only one to have been at his wedding. I was doing so well too. I was looking forward as if I had blinders on.

        You both haunt me. In my dreams, you show up. When I'm driving, you show up. When I look at your kids, you both show up. I wouldn't trade those moments for anything. But I get sad sometimes when I think that you might be watching. It has been a really ugly road back to happiness. I'm not sure any of us would have wanted you to see it. But as ugly as it was, we held on to each other and I think we learned what made us all keep moving. Underneath it all, we turned out to be strong. Because we held on to each other.














Sing.
Migrate.

Thanks for reading...Z