Adventures In Paradise

You know, you’ve been pretty jaded this week.

I know, I know. I’m just feeling selfish I guess, put upon.

Yeah, well you had better shake it off pally. It’s not exactly like you’ve got it bad or anything.

From the outside, I get what you’re saying. But sometimes, from deep within, it does feel that bad. Sometimes, it feels like dying. I feel lost, and ashamed of myself for being so.

So, basically what you’re telling me then, is that you’re having for yourself a pity party?

I suppose.

But didn’t your dad always tell you to just “walk it off?”

Well, yeah. But that response seems too car-blanche. Far too easy.

Because it is.

So what’s the answer then?

You know the answer. You’ve had it in your noodle the whole while. You’ve even offered it as advise to others who have been in pain. “When you can walk it off, do. But when you can’t, rest up first. Have yourself a good cry. Get well. And then walk.”

So you didn’t have that meeting that you were so cock-sure would change your life. So what? So you don’t understand why the meeting was scheduled in the first place, had J.C. truly had your back. Again, so what? Remember when you used to read to your children? They didn’t know what the words were, but you did. And even though they couldn’t read along, they still cuddled up close to you, they trusted you. And the story was still told. So now you once again find yourself illiterate to Life’s ways. Big whoop. Just sit in J.C.’s lap, let him read to you.

It’s that easy?

Of course it’s that easy. And that’s precisely why it’s so damned hard.

It is hard. Impossible at times.

Can I do this?

You have been all along. Just because you’re not listening doesn’t mean he’s not reading – the story is told, with or without your active participation. Dude, it’s just life. You’re not the first, and you’re not the last (and if I might add, you’re for damned sure not the prettiest!) to go through it. So, buck up lil’ pony, and walk it off. Or rest until you can. You know, your mom has had some pretty cool catch phrases as well…

You’re talking about her infamous “this too shall pass,” I would assume?

Yep. And yes, it will. In the end, it all will. In the end your career will have been just that. Just something you did to fill the hours and pay the bills, a mere footnote on your resume for Life Eternal. In the end, C’s health will be no better or worse for all your fretting. And your life together will not benefit from your inability to be patient and/or simply roll with the punches. In the end every last person you’ve lost along the way will be found again. In the end, J. C. will close the book – only to open a new one – and hopefully you’ll have learned to read at least a couple of the words by then, you know?

Yeah, I know.

Good. Now, do something for me. Do something different this week. I know you usually like to write in silence. I know you feel as if it makes you a stronger writer (trust me kid, it don’t). But just this once, write while you’re burning some of your old crappy vinyl over to MP3 instead. For this post, plug in your earphones, and write while the docile tones of your “South Sea Island Music” box set laps up against your brain. Do it, and see if you can’t end this week on a high note, OK?

OK. I will.

And hey, thanks.

My pleasure. You and I are the bestest of friends, you know. And it does my heart good to see you smiling. I love you man.

I love you too.

Good. Remember that.

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…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…