2.45. 38 Days (Camp NaNoWriMo Journey)

2 and a half hours in and I am at a road block.

I came up with the idea for my current piece on August 29, 2011. 38 days after my father passed away.

Now, here I am, 21 days from the two year anniversary of my fathers death and I am incorporating the father figure into the project. There is a phone call. A voicemail. A dropping of a phone. Panic. Screaming and a collapse in a hallway. Crying. So much crying.

I chose to use my memories of those moments to describe the call the main character gets concerning her father…

And this where I am stuck. Because, although I’d like to think I’m healing, thinking about those moments makes me relive them. And it makes me want to cry. And I want to scream and claw at my assistant manager and beg her to bring my father back all over again. I want to ask a guy I would normally ignore (my old DM) to please tell me it was a lie.

I am there. Avoiding their eyes…those looks of pity. I am there. Calling home, desperately. Hearing my sisters voice break. Hearing her say those words. I am there. Calling my fathers cell in hopes he will answer one last time. That he will call me “babe.”

I am there. Unmounting my tv so I could pawn it to fly home. Feeling hopeless and stranded. I am there…flooded with support of distant friends who flocked to me to help me fly. Looking at my son and feeling like he lost out. He will never have a memory of my father. His grandfather. He will never call him by some cute nickname. He will never hear an I love you from him.

I am there. Drowning in wine because I wanted to be numb so fucking badly. And yet, the alcohol did nothing. I am there, getting a tattoo for my papa bear. Grasping at anything that would bring me back. Bring what we had back.

I am there…in that driveway. When the floodgates opened and I couldn’t walk into my sisters house. Sitting on the back patio. Making my way inside and down that hall. And getting stuck. Not able to face it. The empty room that smelled of my father. Locking myself in that room and breaking down completely like I never have before. Dying.

I am there. Every second replays and I am cold.

I am here. considering re-outlining this part of the story and omitting the father. The father I molded from my own. Because I wanted to immortalize him. Because I wanted people to love this character just half as much as I loved my father. So the world could know his spirit through these words.

I am stuck. Because I NEED to write this. Because I always said I wanted to be a writer but my father never got to see me start. Because I waited too long. Because I have to heal. As much as here is painful in these moments…there…there is something that kills me.

I need my father.

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2.6. Those Eyes

It was the sadness in your eyes, the moment I felt a breaking in my heart, realizing you cared far more than I’d assumed.

It was the cracking in your voice, the moment you struggled to say nothing was wrong, realizing you had so much to say and no way of saying it.

It was the way you averted your eyes, the moment you were willing to walk away in silence, realizing this pained you more than you’d ever let on.

It was the way you quieted your tears, the moment you told me a thousand things, realizing the switch stayed on for you.

It was the way I yearned to hold you, the moment I wanted to comfort your wounds and raise you up, realizing I cared more than I’d imagined.

1.151 – Film in Life

This post is a lot harder to write than I thought. So I’ll just start at the beginning.

I watched a movie tonight, under the recommendation of someone I know. The movie had many odd moments and an intense racial moment about midway through. I actually stopped the film at its halfway point…unsure if I could carry on.

I’ve seen some harsh movies dealing with race, gender, orientation, etc. I’m always hesitant on whether I can view certain images. However, I wasn’t prepared for the ending of this film. Something told me it wasn’t going to end well. But I pressed play. Mind you, I’ve seen much more graphic scenes (the curb check in American History X to name just one). But this one still struck me.

It wasn’t the brutal beating of the Jamaican character. It wasn’t the use of “Nigger” or “Coon.” It wasn’t the kid crying in the hallway while the Jamaican man remained still. It was the moment the kid helped the attacker move the Jamaican mans body and the attacker kept saying, through his tears and the childs sobs, “don’t look at his face.”

As if not looking erases the fact.

As if me not watching this movie will turn such hate into make believe.

And I rewind to eleven years ago when I moved to Kansas. When I enrolled in my senior year of high school. When I was met with questions of “have you ever been shot at?” “Do you own a beeper?” ” You smoke weed, right?” “Are you legal?” “Do you have a green card?” “What exactly is Puerto Rican? Is that some kind of black?”

I rewind to eleven years ago when I stood at a gas station and watched a car drive by as the passengers screamed “Nigger.”  I rewind to all of the nights when I could hear people throwing bottles and garbage at my house. I rewind to the morning I scrubbed the word “Nigger” off my front porch.

I rewind to the moment I witnessed a group of ten year old white boys gang up on a little Mexican boy and hit him in the face repeatedly with a basketball. To the moment when I stood up for him. To the moment after when one of the other boys went and got his mother. To the moment after that when this woman stood in front of me and justified her sons actions with someone I considered family. When that supposed family member admitted to using “wetbacks” in her everyday speech.

I rewind to the moment I sat at a dining room table and awkwardly tried to explain what a Puerto Rican was. To explain politics and geography to a table of ignorant people so they could understand what commonwealth means.

I rewind back to the moment when I was forced to hide in a backyard so my ex-mother-in-law could explain to her mother that her son was dating a “colored girl.”

I rewind to every moment I had to fight to nullify a dead end conversation in which every Spanish person is responsible for the fact that “real union workers can’t keep work.”

I rewind to the moment he said “well, I thought that’s what spics did – suck dick and eat sardines.”

I rewind to the moment in the hair salon when the woman repeatedly questioned the texture of my hair because she mistook me for being black and thought my hair was relaxed despite me explaining I’ve never had to.

I rewind to every moment I have been put in that awkward, uncomfortable situation in which my race is a punchline.

I rewind to the moment when a 16 year old snob gets away with calling me by my race instead of my name and I didn’t take the opportunity to knock his fucking teeth in.

I rewind to the moment I had to reprimand someone I thought to be a friend for playing the race card when he was losing an argument against some guy I didn’t even know.

I fast forward and hope that my son doesn’t have to know what I’ve known. I fast forward and hope that my son will never see what I’ve seen. Because I’ve seen the face of evil. In so many forms. In those that spew hate in ignorance. In those that spew hate with conviction. In those that spew hate under the name of their god. In those that equate pride of their own with hatred of others.

I want to shield my son from the reality that is much more horrific than any film. No matter how much I say “don’t look at his face,” the face of hatred will always loom in the shadows…waiting for the moment to stick it’s venomous fangs into the innocence of my boy. I can’t say “don’t look into his face…don’t look into her face,” because in this sad world…you never know where the hate will come from.

I can turn the film off. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the flaws of man.

1.132 – Turmoil

The art slips away from me…a mind boggled with an abundance of questions. Stories and ideas sit on the back burner when, in all actuality, they should be at the forefront. Reflecting on life is a reminder of a failed one…what could not be saved is what leads me to this tailspin of uncertainty.

Don’t let anyone fool you; divorce takes two people. I swallow the pill in knowing that I wasn’t my best to make my marriage work…I wasn’t strong enough to encourage it to evolve instead of perish. And in the aftermath of realizing that…I sit here as a broken woman. I am broken because I was apart of something that could not last, could not beat the odds. I am broken because I am faced with making even more difficult decisions. I am broken because I could not guarantee my son a unified front.

My spirit is ready to make the move, to return to my birthplace, to start my life anew, to create a life I want to live. My mind is fogged with the concern for others, for the connections that may suffer if things don’t go as planned, for the worry that I am…yet again…not making the right decision. My heart breaks because, as much as I want to be fair…I can’t imagine being apart from my son for a day…a single day…that far apart.

This whole scenario makes me want to break things and spit and curse and banish all smiling faces. If I was a man and I was offered a job far away…the move would make sense. It would seem justified. I’m doing what needs to be done to provide. But I’m a woman. I’m a mother. I can’t give my child up…even for three month periods. What kind of person am I?

Is the opportunity to make more money and be closer to a family source a justified reason to sacrifice six months of the year with my child? Shouldn’t I be able to find a way to be happy and accomplished exactly where I am? What does it say about me if I can’t? Do I stay where I am for the sake of my son if it means I am not happy as an individual?

I’m crushed. Because I feel like there is no middle ground. I’m either selfish or settling to remain as I am. This person I despise. So many would say that my child should be enough. Is there something wrong with me if I want…more? And I feel like the biggest piece of shit on the face of the earth for writing that last sentence. But I want to be more so I can give more. Even still…it feels wrong to feel.

I don’t think I’m strong enough to make this decision. But by not making a decision…haven’t I already decided? I am broken and it is taking all of the fight left in me to not curl up in a ball and hope for the moment when I whither away. In this case, there is no good decision. And I don’t know if I can live with that.

1.128 – Temptation

I am tempted to recall your recorded words…to hit replay and rewind, to live in a moment of rapture when oxygen filled your lungs and love was true. I am tempted to say I miss being understood by a chaotic soul filled with divine, unprecedented beauty. I am tempted to cower under auburn sheets…whispering silly jokes only you would understand. I am tempted to laugh when I fall because I know you would. I am tempted to speak in a language that is not my own because you would speak it fluently with me. I am tempted to cry rivers and oceans and tear down mountains with the anguish of a broken heart. I am tempted to call out to you in songs only we can identify. I am tempted to talk you on the wind of a melody…codes embedded in the strum of a guitar and the voice of a dead artist. I am tempted to sleep an eternal slumber, so we can swim in a fountain and lay on the sands of our island. I am tempted to swear off what I do not have because I know what I had…what my heart dreams about. I am tempted to whimper like the lost girl that I am…what I wouldn’t give to hear you say “hello.” I am tempted to read the words you penned for me…those words being the only words worth knowing for a lifetime. I am tempted to say no one will ever match the magic that radiated from the fibers of your soul. I am tempted to say I will die alone so I can return to you and keep my oath of loyalty. I am tempted to wither away and die…a thousand deaths… painful… agonizing… torturous…to see you for the first time…a thousand times. I am tempted to live on…to live for the both of us. I am tempted to be your tongue…delivering truth. I am tempted to be the woman you saw me as.

Yesterday, today, tomorrow

1.108 – Suffocating

…I’ll see you, see you on the other side.

My father passed away 6 months and 3 days ago. Today, it feels like it was just yesterday. I’m in an emotional tailspin – truly in fear of life and death. How do I teach my son to love when those we love will leave? Some day, I will leave him behind. I will abandon him despite my best efforts. I will leave him to cry tears of loss.

Close my eyes forever…

I want my father back. I want to see my father again. I want to hug my father right now. I want to call him and I cant. I need my father.

I think it’s safe to say – my panic attack is over. Far too many tears, far too many emotions in such a short period of time. It boggles my mind how hearing about someone else s ailments can thrust me into sheer panic…rewinding me six months. That fear of looking around…wondering who is next. Fearing the ringing of a phone because it can deliver the worst of news. Wondering how many times I will have to shield my son from the agony of loss.

Life means death. Life means loss. Life means sickness. It is as simple as that. It’s as troubling as that. It’s as scary as that.

1.64 – R.I.P Don Gato

“There are people that have known me for a long time that don’t know me the way you do. That will never change.”

One year ago my best friend lost his battle with Devic’s Syndrome, a severe and fatal form of Multiple Sclerosis. It’s been 365 days and the loss still isn’t easy.

I wanted to write something profound. Something that would encompass what it means to lose your very best friend, a kindred spirit, your soul in another body. There are no smooth words.

I’m angry. I hate life right now. Because it isn’t fair. Such a good person…a good human being…someone who was flawed, someone who was a beautiful chaos…and he was stolen from this earth. I’m angry because it doesn’t make sense to me. He was a father, a husband, a brother, a fairy god-mother. He was laughter and smiles, snorts and giggles. He was a survivor, a soldier, a speaker of truth. He spoke through music, through art, through poetry.

He fought that disease, as it took his life so quickly, but he fought. He loved with his whole heart. He was forgiving. He was the best damned listener I have ever known. And I feel robbed.

I knew this holiday was going to be tough for me. Losing my best friend and my father just 7 months apart…it’s scary. And I think of these two men who changed my life, the very essence of my being and I cry for myself. Because I needed them here. But I am selfish. I should be happy for them. My friend and my father were both in pain. And they aren’t anymore. They are somewhere, free of the burdens of this life. They watch over me. They send down their love in teardrops, which hit my cheeks as purifying rain. They smile down on me and a star twinkles in the sky. They speak to me through music, through every moment of inspiration that finds its way into my life.

Nico taught me to be myself. To not be scared of my thoughts. To forgive. To love with my whole heart. To be passionate about the little things. To embrace my dorky sense of humor. To express myself even when I doubted if people would agree. To fight for the person who doesn’t have a voice. To never judge someone by their past. To never give up hope. To read all of the chapters of a book before judging the cover. To read between the lines. To embrace my feelings.

I wanted to write something that changed how I felt right now. But the pain is still there. Its raw. Its real. I want to break shit right now and I want to wipe away the tears. I want to scream and ask some god, any god…why him? Didnt he deserve a chance? I will never understand. And I guess…I dont have to.

My best friend, Nico, died on December 9, 2010 at 2pm in Messina, Italy. I am grateful that he was able to go home for his last days. I am grateful that I met this man. I am grateful that I was blessed to know someone so strong, so real, so good. I am grateful for four years of true friendship.

I will live this life for the both of us. And I’ll see you when I get there. Until then, may you laugh with my father.

(He sang this damned song all the time. I’m sure he’ll smile down at this).

“How do you know that you wont forget?

Because I’ll never forget.”