A woman says “no”

Previously… – or – The whole mess till now…

“Now Clive, are you sure it was your dad? Like, ‘hand to Christ’ sure?” asked Douglas, placing one hand high in the air and the other to his breast. “You know I don’t believe in that stuff Douglas, but yeah, I’m sure. It had to be him” Clive sheepishly responded. “But what about all that ‘egg jazz’ you used to describe them, m’man? I mean, doesn’t one egg look like any other? How could you ever point to one particular egg n’ say, ‘yep, that there is one of my kin’?” Douglas inquired, affecting a southern accent towards the end that was hardly worth the effort. “Well they do, in a sense, all ‘look alike’ Douglas” Clive responded, ignoring his attempt at lightening the mood, “but each has a certain – well – a “center” to them…” “You mean like  a yolk?” interjected Douglas. “Yes Douglas, very funny. No, not like a yolk – but yes – I suppose sort of like a yolk. They each seem to have a different essence buried deep within them. A unique stamp. Maybe even a soul? Truth be told, I never gave it much thought before, because I never really ‘recognized’ any of them until yesterday. Yesterday, when dad showed up.” “You’re still pretty wrecked about it, hmmm?” Douglas plied as he gently placed one hand on Clive’s slightly trembling shoulder. “Yeah” Clive admitted, remembering the puzzling tactic his father had taken of questioning his sexuality. Why? What had it meant? What had he been trying to accomplish with that, Clive wondered. “Well, I find it simply Christ-on-a-cracker stupefying that in all the folk that have dropped in to pay you a visit, not a one until yesterday was anyone you recognized” Douglas exclaimed a little too loudly to shake Clive back to reality. “Well, it is a big world Douglas, and there’s been a lot of death upon it since the beginning” reasoned Clive. “Clive, really m’man, I just can’t see why someone who loved you in life wouldn’t have popped in to visit you again by now. None of the others have been shy about it. It just don’t seem to make sense. Unless of course, there’s certain ones you can see, and others you can’t?” “What does that mean Douglas?” “Clive, I’ve no idea – just bouncing ideas around, until we can untangle this lil web you seem to have gotten y’self all wrapped up in” Douglas replied, while stroking his chin in an attempt to look philosophical.

“We are many, we are legion.” The words came to the forefront of Clive’s mind again. She had looked different from the rest. More “real.” And not like the man with the red hair. No, for all his airs, he was still just a memory. A something no longer human, trying to appear as if it still was. The girl however, almost seemed weighted. More human than human. Clive would have to think on Douglas’ words more when he was alone. There was something to them, something there that he just couldn’t quite see. Not yet. Clive was interrupted from his thoughts by the not-so-gentle tap Douglas had just delivered. “Clive, I gotta tell you, there are times when I sing to m’self, ‘here I am… just a walkin’ down the street… just me n’ my zombie friend.’ Did ya ever think that maybe all these cats are visiting you just because they think you’re one of them already? I mean, look at ya, m’man. Pasty white all over – ‘cept for the rings under your eyes of course – looking like you just lost your best friend. But only after he had just lost his. AND his puppy, to boot. Moping about like your spine fell down into your leg. I mean, Clive, I love you, but you could do with some serious sunshine m’friend. You need to get y’self laid!” Clive smiled at the thought, giggling a little as he replied “oh yeah – easy, breezy Douglas! I mean, mopey pasty white men are all the rage right now. I’m sure the chicks will just come running as soon as they hear I’m on the market.” “Number one Clive, you don’t want a ‘chick’ – they ain’t worth it” Douglas cautioned. “You want a woman.” “What’s the difference?” asked Clive, honestly ignorant. “Well, a ‘chick’ is someone who follows ‘the rules.’ Plays into the idea that a woman is only worth what her potential suitors think she is. Only accomplishes what Madison Ave. tells her she can. A real woman however, is someone who knows who she is, and would respect herself even if every last ounce of sex appeal was squeezed from her like a sponge. She don’t give a shit what the advertisers think, and she relies on her mind, instead of the body that holds it up. Clive, in short, a chick is someone who says ‘Yes’ – even when she doesn’t mean it – and a woman is someone who says ‘No,’ but only when she does.”

Clive was so intrigued by Douglas’ explanation that he didn’t see – and as a result – slammed right into a woman going in the opposite direction. Forcing her to drop her handbag, which in turn vomited its contents all over the sidewalk. “Oh my God!  I am so sorry!” Clive hurriedly exclaimed “can I help you with your things?” “No.” the girl responded curtly. Then flashing a smile a touch on the mischievous side, “of course you can, silly. You’re the one that caused this after all!” Clive bent down and helped her return the purse’s contents to their rightful place. Douglas stood firm. Ladies things were ladies things, and Douglas felt much better not knowing anything more than that. Knowing Clive never would, once everyone was straightened back up, Douglas said “Hi, this here is Clive, and I’m his friend Douglas.” The woman smiled before saying “kind of like a horse and his boy, right? He causes all the trouble, and you do all the talking? Well, it’s a somewhat painful pleasure to meet you both. My name is Tia.” Her smile settled in on Clive, much like a warm blanket greets a cold body. For the briefest of moments, time almost stood still. There seemed to be – well – “something” about her. A something Clive couldn’t describe, but still desired after, and for the first time in a very very long time, he found himself smiling from deep within. After years of the world dragging him down, he was almost sure that in her, he’d find sanctuary. Douglas noted Clive’s smile as well, and abruptly announced “well, as we’ve inconvenienced you, I feel that we are simply propelled to take you to lunch Ms. Tia. It is ‘Miss,’ yes?” Laughing, Tia responded “yes, it is ‘Miss,’ but we’ve a problem with lunch. You gentlemen seem to be going in the opposite direction than I am.” “Miss Tia, directions are meant to be changed” responded Douglas confidentially. And with that, the three of them went off to grab the one thing Douglas cherished even more than Clive – lunch.

For his part, Clive couldn’t believe his good fortune. Not only had he literally ran head-first into a beautiful and intriguing woman, but he also spent an entire morning with nary a single visit. Had he only known the truth of it all, he would had felt much different.

© t – 2o12

Briefly…

So, as of late, my two boys have been on this Weird Al Yankovic kick, playing his videos almost every single day.

And you don’t even know how much I wish I was joking about this…

On a lighter note, here’s this week’s 100 Word Song – enjoy!

A Reunion, Of Sorts

Previously… – or – The whole mess till now…

He sat there, head cocked and wide-eyed staring at her. It had to be a “her,” as of all the visitors he had seen thus far, she was the most “in form” yet. Well, besides the man with the red hair, of course. But he was a thought best left untouched for the moment.

She was young. Barely seven, if he had to guess. He chuckled a little as he imagined himself cutting her open, to count the rings and see. His impromptu and bad humor was interrupted however, by her silently and slowly placing one solitary digit into the air. She lowered her hand, then raised it again with two digits being held up. And again, with three. She repeated this task fluidly and patiently, one at a time, until all ten digits were realized high in the air, directly above her head. Once there, she made merry dancing movements with them, as she spread her arms out in an ever-expanding fan. Coming full circle before bringing them gently to rest in her almost-bosom. “We are many. We are legion.” That had to be what she was saying. Clive could feel it. He knew it to be true. Recognizing awareness spreading across his face, she smiled sweetly, blowing him an almost-kiss before she stepped sideways again through the veil.

Why had he let Douglas escape? Why had he let him go? The questions were stupid of course. Douglas was allowed his freedom, his own peace. He had told Clive that he would stick around, be glad to in fact. But Clive had told him to leave, told him everything was OK. They both needed their rest, he had said. Truth was, Clive loathed to be alone, but he didn’t want Douglas to have to suffer as a result. It appeared that Clive was the only one unable to feel that breath of freedom that Douglas must be enjoying right now. The only one who would never sniff that smell of life-giving freshness, that peace. Clive alone was damned to walk amongst the dead, even while being so woefully alive. Had he only known, the very thing he wanted to lose, was the only thing they were hoping to take.

Unlike the rare occasion when Douglas would tear the curtains back, allowing rays of light in to pierce the gloom, Clive’s room was frigid and tense. He sat there, feeling small, putting it down to another bad day. He was lost deep in thought, but still wary, and almost before “he” came, Clive knew that he would. After all, it might never happen, but Clive had always felt as if it had to sooner or later.

He stood silently before Clive, in almost the same place as the girl had stood earlier. But where her stance seemed to pull Clive towards her, the new visitor seemed to push away. In fact, had they both resided on a curve, she would have inhabited the concave side while this new person would have been splashed across the convex. Clive could tell who it was, even though this spirit was almost unable to keep any form whatsoever. The silence, the slouch, and the eyes – the only thing human-like about him – made Clive very much aware that whatever the others were, this was no angel or demon. This was his father.

“Dad?” The spirit stood silent. Clive tried again “Dad? Why are you here? Are you here to help me? Finally?” Again, the spirit said nothing, but his eyes began to stir. His eyes were unlike those of the living any more, in that they came alive in a wholly “other” fashion. They had a power to them, a raw emotion. By gazing deep within them, you could tell what the spirit was thinking. Sadly for Clive, he did just that. His father’s mind was full to the brim with defeat and fear. Of regret and self-hate. The spirit’s mind was full of negativity, filthy and cheap, sloshing about with all the rest in a disgusting stew that made Clive queasy. Unannounced, the entire mess of it came leaping from his father’s mind and poured itself directly in Clive’s being, almost touching his very soul. Almost.

You filthy son of a bitch. You’re wrong. Just wrong. You always have been, you always will be. Go ahead, try your best. It won’t be good enough. It’ll never be good enough. NEVER! Look at me, I tried. I hoped. I prayed. I played it safe, played by the rules. Assholes still got more than me, and I’m still gone. Stuck here still, with you, wishing you had never been born. You’re a disease. Filth. Trash. All the years I wasted on you. Loving you. Feeding you. Look at you! Do other people see ghosts? You think that’s normal? You think your queer pansy-ass boyfriend sees ghosts? Sissy faggot piece of shit who sees ghosts, that’s all you are. Oh look me… such the proud poppa! Why don’t you just go and do what you want to do anyway? Why don’t you just die already Clive… juST FUCKING DIE!” And then, after a feeble minute, plaintively “please son. Just die.” None of the words were spoken, but Clive heard every last one of them. He felt them sinking in, taking an all to familiar hold, and quickly became enraged. He was too goddamned old to take this abuse, especially from a dead man. One whom, with the exception of Clive and damned few others, was all but forgotten already. Clive rose from his place, and shaking, screamed back “when does it end??? WHEN? When will you leave me in peace you bastard??? Whe…?” Clive found himself once again cut short. As he was screaming, his father had formed the saddest excuse for lips that Clive had ever seen. With them, he began sucking at the air rapidly, much like a fish does when it’s eating. Once Clive stopped speaking, the air-sucking stopped. “What are you doing? What are you doing to me?” Clive pleaded. Again, as the words – filled with raw emotion – tumbled out of his mouth, his father sucked viciously at the air. Trying to capture… something.

Clive realized too late what that something was, and in reaction, clamped his hand quickly over his mouth. His father, seeing the jig was up, began to shiver visibly. The entirety of his formless form began to wave to and fro violently, while his lips became like that of a hurricane over an ocean. Swirling in wider and faster circles, the lips continued their insane twirl until from them erupted a bottomless scream, painful and true, reverberating and real. One that shred through Clive’s mind and out onto the street below. One that could be heard – not just by Clive – but by anyone within earshot who happened to give a damn. His belabored bellow ended abruptly, when Clive’s former father imploded. Literally splashing all over the floor like a busted water balloon, his essence dribbled through the floorboards, leaving Clive alone. More alone than he had ever been before, alone like his world meant nothing at all.

“We are many, we are legion.”

She had “said” it, and Clive knew it to be true. He now sat praying to a god he didn’t yet believe in, that her message was actually one of hope, instead of doom.

© t – 2o12

* EMI are bastards who don’t like to share. Click here to listen to the prerecorded version of this song on YouTube.

Can big girls be super models?

Sure.

Why not? It’s important to remember that beauty comes not only from within, but from without as well.

And fearful little men – the kind that never raise a fist – may also be willing to throw a punch from time to time, should the cause be just.

Gay kids may very well have a crush on someone of the opposite sex, and straight kids may experience the same with a member of their own.

Packs-a-day smokers may eventually see the light, and quit before Big Daddy Cancer wraps his fist tightly around their lungs. And teetotalers – the kind that are much better at preaching than they are at practicing – might stop wagging their fingers just long enough, to instead hold out a hand to help.

The lion and the lamb may never lay side by side on this mortal coil, but that shouldn’t stop the Christian and the atheist from doing so.

The rich person might someday be more concerned with the content of their character, than they are the cut of their cloth. While the poor person might, on that very same someday, stop using their poverty simply as an excuse to not achieve.

The one who suffers from anxiety may very well look deep into the mirror, and come to realize that they actually ARE exactly as beautiful as people say that they are. And the jaded soul? Well they could decide to melt – even if it’s just enough – to allow for and enjoy that long offered and sought-after hug.

You see, this world is full of untapped possibilities. They dot the sky like so many stars, washing across our existence like rainbows of opportunities. Anything can happen, and it bears enough weight as to be said again, anything can happen. All that’s required is that we first remove our goggles of ignorance and discard our unneeded, yet overly used, fear of power. True power. The power to grow, instead of stagnate. The power to be better, instead of just OK. The power to be real, instead of realistic. The power to love freely, instead of hate selfishly.

All that’s needed is that we stop placing ourselves first.

I am in no way better than any other. Twice a week I write weakly of love and family, of observations and desires. I write of flight and imprisonment, of people that never lived, and people that never should.  But for all my writing and wistfulness, I have yet to actually felt the sky beneath my wings. I have yet to conquer my fear of me and become what is my birthright as a child of God. Hell, I am only just now starting the process of tearing those damned goggles from my apathetic eyes, feeling them squint and squirm as they’re exposed to the new and burning Light.

This process began two years ago when I laid down the last cancer stick to ever touch my lips, followed shortly thereafter by my enrollment in college. Finally. And after forty two years, today I will be receiving what most of you earned when you were twenty. After forty two years, I will receive my Associates Degree. Seven semesters down, with a 4.0 for each and every one. It scares me to no end what that means. How it frees me to actually go after success. How it precludes me from ever using again my well-worn excuse of being stupid. Of being unworthy. It scares me, but that fear will not stop me. Not this time. Not ever again. Listen, because I don’t say this very often: my name is Troy, and today I did something that is forty two years overdue. Today I impressed the hell out of me. Today I finally realized that mom was right. I am “better than that.” Today, I’m gonna walk off that fucking stage with my head held high, and I’m gonna start to live.

I’m gonna finally take flight.

Is it stupid and naive to think this way? Most likely. But I don’t care. I’m gonna give it a try anyway. Because sometimes even packs-a-day smokers eventually see the light. I would ask you to join me if you will. After all, in the final analysis, we really are all that we have, and what we have is exactly enough. And the possibilities? Well my friends, they are simply endless…

~ Love ~

…daD

Walk it off.

Dad, I’m walking it off for you.

Suck it up.

Dad, I’m sucking it up for you.

Be a man.

Dad, I’ll be a man for you.

Help your mother, she’ll need you.

Dad, I’m trying. I really am. But I am frost instead of ice. And I crumble at the merest touch, the lightest breath. I know that mom will need to lean on me. But right now, my shoulder feels much more like a morning dew than the Gibraltar that it lays upon.

Forgive me son, because I don’t believe Jesus can. I don’t believe he will.

Dad, I told you, the only man Jesus can’t forgive, is the man who won’t let him. You taught me that dad. You.

I’m scared son. I’m scared to die. I’m scared shitless.

I know you are dad. And I am too. You were always so huge. So much bigger than life. So – well – immortal. I think you almost believed it too. And now you’re dying, and now you’re gone. And now I’m alone. But not. I have mine. Mine, that grew out of you. You’re gone, but we carry on. You’re gone, but “You” will always be with us. You live on, in us.

I’m scared son. Your mother and I argue all the time. I’m scared. I’m afraid.

It’s OK dad. I’m afraid too. I’m afraid that J.C. will offer you a brotherly hug, and you’ll instead turn in disgrace. I’m afraid that, through your thrashing fear, you’ll first destroy the memory of 47 years with mom before you go. I’m afraid that you’ll pass, and I’ll be left here sitting mute – like so many in our family have done before – too fucking scared to ever really tell you how much I love you. Too frightened to expose myself like that. Too scared to hold you, knowing that I will then have to let you go.

I love you, dad. Not because you’re perfect. Not because you’re saved. And most definitely not because you’re right. No, I love you simply because you are you. And because years before I knew how to, you loved me first.

I never did enough.

No, you did. You gave what you could, when you could. And in the final analysis, you did so freely. Even if you might have felt otherwise at the time. And that’s why I love you.

I don’t think I’ll make it to see June.

I love you dad, and I don’t think you will either. But I will. And I will see June for you. And when we meet again someday, I will tell you all about it. OK?

Just rest till then. Please, find peace. And when we meet again someday, I will catch you up on all the Junes that followed after you. On all the June’s to follow…