Light beams through every small hole or slash without mistake. Anything open will be filled with it's energy that came from something that gave it up upon death. Energy cannot be destroyed. It must go somewhere. So in part, when something dies, it travels to us and becomes a part of us. We become a part of their story, and theirs ours.
My father suspended his energy. I was 12 when he was about to die of liver cancer, then was immediately placed into a machine that froze his body to a temperature that would "preserve him." My mom told me I'd see him again in this world, and that he wasn't dead like grandma. He was just sleeping until something wonderful would wake him. I always believed he would wake like she said. I never closed the book as a child. I waited. I waited until I was no longer willing to wait and I stopped believing. He was dead, and I was cheated of saying goodbye.
My father was a pianist. He was famous for pretty much everything he did. He also sang. He also was an actor. He also wrote screenplays, and once wrote a novel. He never paid too much attention to anyone else. He also was an alcoholic. He was stoic, then angry and violent, then stoic. He slept-in most days until at least 2 PM, and worked on his projects throughout the night. He drank all day and whenever I saw him. So why would I even care right? I was connected to him in a way I cannot explain.
I don't miss him though. I don't think much about him at all. I never knew the guy. My mom says he was once pretty great, but even she couldn't find any reason to stay at the end. He got sick, we moved away. The last thing he said to me was "Why are you staring at me? Look away." This came directly after he had called my mother a bitch, and I was shocked into looking at him.
The asshole had himself frozen he was so arrogant. So talented, but so awful. He never did accept that I was not him. I am gifted at literally nothing. I am as average as you get. I got average grades, graduated from and average college with an average psychology degree that I don't use. I got a job in the automotive industry as a laborer, and make average money...relatively speaking. So you can see his disappointment when I couldn't and didn't want to play even "Chopsticks" on the piano.
On October 23 this year, he was thawed. Cancer had been cured. No one had ever been thawed to life before.
The very first conscious thought or feeling I had was my sense of hearing. I couldn't tell at first whether it was a dream or real. I had at least thousands of unique images in my head that I don't remember any context to. What I heard was different that dreaming. I had been "kind of" dreaming for 30 years. I remember the face of a woman that re-occurred. No idea who she was or what she wanted from me. At times I heard the music, but so distant that I could only barely make it out and recognize it. I remember one song in particular. I don't think I'd ever heard it, at least I don't remember it. I think I would have remembered it though. It was breathtakingly sad and beautiful. Whatever limited brain activity happens during that ice age will always be unknown. I heard a man's voice speaking in words I tried but failed to decipher. It was being born again into the world I left decades ago. I experienced limited sensual capabilities over what they told me was two weeks. Then one day I understood what they were saying and I tried to speak. I wanted to tell them that I was cold. Instead, I spoke without real words.
It would take months before they would release me into the world. They had called all of my emergency numbers and the numbers were all disconnected or other people. I guess I didn't take into account that I would awake to everyone being dead. My kids were too young to have phone numbers, so they gave me the money I had deposited with them with interest and called me a cab I guess. I walked out into a world that I didn't recognize, nor did it recognize me.
I looked for a payphone to look at the yellow pages. There was no payphone and there was no yellow pages. At the library, a nice girl showed me the internet. Don't ask me to repeat a single thing she said, but she found my son and directed me to him.
I had learned about energy from science class. It always fascinated me. During a drunken night in college, a question occurred to me; "Where does talent go if talent is energy and energy must be funneled elsewhere?" It didn't go to me. It didn't go to my mum. It didn't go anywhere as far as I could tell. My only guess was that the bastard was holding on to it like some petty gambler who lost and turned over the table while still holding on to his money.
I always remembered what he looked like.
When I opened the door, I was stunned, then shaken, then angered. I shut the door on him. I was reeling. I didn't want to be mean to him: I just reacted. When I opened the door again, he was still standing there, except his back to me as though he were looking at my neighborhood. "What's your birthday?" I ask. He tells me and I know it's him because of his voice. He had this booming voice that gripped you. "So I guess you're feeling better then?" I asked. He just looked at me and tears began filling his eyes. He dropped to his knees and began convulsing. He was unconscious and not responding to anything. He kept saying, "Tha tha tha tha tha." He said nothing else. He would shake for a while, then be calm and sleep until he woke again. This went on for weeks. The physicians kept telling me it was normal. He had no where to go, so he took the guest room. He didn't speak really. He just mumbled beneath his breath.
Until he asked for grits. This was the first thing I could understand since his re-birthday. He wasn't himself. Months went by and he was alive, but not the same person I knew then. He was actually the opposite. I asked him to play the piano that I bought just to have as furniture. He couldn't play anything. As soon as his fingers touched the keys, he would shiver and shake, then leave the room as fast as he could. He was only interested in my kids. This is strange because he had always hated kids. He was honed in on everything I had wanted as a kid, except it creeped me out now. It was like looking at an incredibly familiar person that you'd never met.
I saw him and my heart broke. I had written about heartbreak and put it to music my entire life, but I had never felt it I don't think until today. It hurt so very much. His face was familiar because I knew him when he was little, but also because I think I saw him while I was cold...maybe saw him a lot.
He looked at me at first as if I wasn't there, then closer. After a moment, I felt his eyes inside of me. He asked me my birthday, and the answer came across my lips before I could even figure it out. I panicked and tried to speak, but only looked simple. I was still the blubbering idiot I was at first thaw. In his eyes, I remembered him running around the yard in his little cape, pretending he was the most powerful force on earth. I remembered holding his little frail body when he was born. I remembered him trying to suck on my nose.
I remembered feeling so intensely that I walked away from them. I didn't want to feel it. So I went.
I worked and worked. I buried myself in whatever misery I could glean from leaving them
in the same house I still lived in. I became a wild success. I remembered feeling so happy and so accomplished winning awards and having people notice me. It felt like being someone else...this huge star that would never burn out.
But I can remember things now from when I was frozen. I remember emptiness. I saw myself being adored. I hated it. I didn't deserve it. I don't remember many specifics, but I do remember a sequence in my dreams or whatever you want to call them, that focused on me as a little boy. I was speaking to another little boy, who appeared in front of me from somewhere. He looked like my son. but he was older. I remember thinking that it was him, but wound up just staring at him. It was a memory. I was trying to play baseball with the kids from my block. I was always a band geek, but I wanted to have a friend. I kept trying to join their game. They kept refusing. I asked if I could just sit and watch or be the referee. The kid I most wanted as a friend told me to just "Go Home!" In this sequence of dreams, I kept hearing a variation of this kid and my son shouting for me to "Go Home."
So when I woke and my body could move again...I went home. I travelled through a foreign world to a foreign house. But I got to look into the eyes of my son, who was anything but foreign to me. I looked at him and I saw him. It made me sad that so much time had past. My stomach drops to think about it. All of those times of celebration, mourning, and milestones were spent on earth without me. I was in a cooler when his mother died. He was alone. All of those years spent when he was just a kid one room from me. I closed the door on him. I put my fingers to the piano keys and sold my son.
I never married. I didn't want it. I never had kids. I have been lonely my entire life, waiting for something good to happen. But I wasn't really trying either. A friend once told me that good things happen to the people that are really trying at something. Something like God helps those who helps themselves. I don't know. I just didn't see much use in putting in the effort for a long shot.
In my first year of college, I took a creative writing class. I never thought of myself as creative or poetic or anything my father was. But I took this class because it seemed to be an easy way to get those English credits. I wrote about my father. I wrote the paper during a drunken night, the night before it was due. I wrote whatever without anxiety. I just wrote. A week later, my professor would email me. He had given me an A. I expected this, creative writing is a blow-off anyways. But he also wrote something in the email that touched something in me. He told me, "I love your words. In fact, your words continue to echo in me. But I knew it before you wrote them. You wear those words all over. Keep making words, and keep wearing them."
I felt valued and validated. I had always wanted some piece of creativity. I wanted anything but who I was. This meant a lot to me. Over the next two months, I put all of my energy into the class and writing about things that mattered to me. I got stumped with the right words and it never came naturally to me. I got C's for the rest of the semester. On my last paper. the professor accused me of plagiarism. He told me that these essays were not written by the same author as the one about my father. I got C in the class. I never picked up a pen again to express anything.
Then he shows back up and I don't know how to take him. So I ask him where he has been. I ask him why I didn't matter to him.
"You always mattered. To me you mattered. I didn't know how to react to feelings that felt good. Good feelings never inspired me. When I was feeling good, I couldn't be me. I walked away not realizing that you were the very reason to play that piano, and to play beauty into the abyss." I told him everything. He was my son and the only thing I wanted left was for him to forgive me and love me again, like when he was just a kid.
But he didn't. He asked me to leave. I left his house and walked down the street shaking. This wasn't because I was cold. It was because I had finally felt what it feels like to be warm and then be stripped into the cold. I felt the feeling of being left when you are the most vulnerable. Like he was.
I walked to a motel and checked in. I went into the bathroom and took down the shower curtain. I twisted it until it was a large rope and tied it around my neck and fastened the other end to the shower pole. I said a prayer to a God that I've never been sure exists and I let me legs go limp and closed my eyes, trying not to struggle. I thought about my son and my wife. I thought about that beautiful song I couldn't remember. I thought about everything and realized that for once in my life I had to try. All of this musical talent came easy. Being a good father was the hard part. The part I was terrified of. I found my legs and stood back up. I loosened the noose and went to the bed and sat down.
I had to be a different person than I was before I left. I had to try. Then a knock on the door.
I couldn't watch him leave again. I was so mad at him, but I couldn't let him go again. I followed him as he walked to the motel. I sat in my car in the parking lot just trying to figure the whole thing out. I weighed it all together. I remembered the bad times and remembered that feeling of inexplicable connection I have to him. I think about my mother and her funeral. I remember that she died still believing he would come back. It all didn't make any sense. Why now?
I turned my key and backed out of the parking lot. I turned on to the main street and sped off as fast as I could. I wanted to be as far away as I could from my father, who left me. My father. My Father?!? I stopped, got out of the car and ran to the motel door. I slammed my fist against it without anything from the other side. I banged and banged and no one answered. So I took a running start and threw my body into the door and it broke open. I found myself on the floor of the motel room looking into the eyes of my father who was sitting in the bed bewildered.
I got up and sat down beside him. We didn't speak for a while. We both just sat there.
He busted through the door. He was the last person I thought I would see. There was knocking on the door, but at that moment, I wasn't up for visitors. Then he came in. He sat down next to me and we both became silent. I couldn't figure him out. I was so confused, Why had "God" even woke me in the first place? Why did they thaw me? So I asked him. "Why did you come for me?" He didn't answer at first. He just sat there thinking about it. After grueling moments, he replied, "Because you came home."
"Can we just go home now."
Thanks for reading...Z