A(nother) night in Solas

A goddamn rock


My cousin invited me out again and I figured I should try and be social. We ended up going to my old haunt Solas downtown. The last time I was there,  I was with Alison.

Used to go there every week or so for years. Turned 30 there. Also found a lost heart once on the long walk home from there as well.

And old habits are hard to break

Me: Hi. My name’s Logan, and you are…?
Her: (laughing, takes hand) Joan.
Me: Joan. Y’know, I knew a lovely girl named Joan in college…

I asked another woman to take a picture of me and my friends.

Me: Focus on me, the others don’t matter.

Which was a joke, of course. Because the night was only bearable because of them.

Me: You’re 27 right? You don’t have a drink?
Pez: Yes. And no.
Me: (handing her mine) Here’s a gin and tonic. Do you know the story about how it came about?
Her: (laughing) No.
Me: Great, I’ll tell it to you. It started when the British were in India

Think I was fine, for the most part; was there a few hours. But then the bouncer – who’s an old and dear friend – showed up and I totally broke down. I remember introducing him to Alison.

“I’m gonna marry that girl one day, man. You watch.”

He gave me a bear hug and said he was sorry. The owner came out and gave me a hug and and handshake too, which only caused me to break down once again.

Me: I never thought I’d ever be single and back here again. I’m sorry I’m such a mess, man.
Him: (gently) You’re doing great.
Me: (bursting out laughing and wiping eyes) Sheyeah, I’m a goddamn rock.

Just managed to pull myself together when Bal and Mouse from my wrasslin class were leaving so I  ended up leaving with them as well.

Bal headed to NJ and I walked Mouse to her station.

Me: I’ve been meaning to ask – are you dating X?
Mouse: (laughing) You should ask him. Why?
Me: (shrugging) No reason. Let’s just say I’m curious. Oh, what are your thoughts on Nietzsche?
Her: (smiles, thinks) Blessed are the forgetful for they get the better of even their blunders.
Me: Ah, that’s my favorite quote from him. There’s a lot I’d like to forget.
Her: It’s funny: You’re a nice guy, without being a puppy.
Me: (laughing) You’ll have to explain that to me someday but I’ll take that as a compliment, I think. (arriving at station) See you in class on Monday?
Her: See you on Monday.

I took the long walk home again to the west side and ended up chatting with Gradgirl before I hopped the train and made it back to my pad.

She was there when I arrived.

Me: How was your night?
Gradgirl: I was out. Danced with some people. You?
Me: The same. Jealous?
Her: (laughs) No. We both knew you’d end up here with me.
Me: So it seems. Come on in. The place is a mess.

Blessed are the forgetful.

Yeah. There’s so much I’d like to forget.

 

Location: same old haunts
Mood: deflated
Music: Got no place to go but there’s a girl waiting for me down in Mexico
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Pretty good out there

Being loved by someone like that


RE Mike recently took me out to lunch around the way.

Me: Last time I was here, it was with Alison.
Him: (sadly) I’m sorry, that’ll happen a lot, I think. How’re you holding up?
Me: Better. Kinda. I’ve been drinking a lot less these days. It’s the pharmaceuticals now that’re screwing me up.

Man, we had some fun times back in the day.

He also has work for me to do. So I guess I won’t starve after all – if I get my head on straight. Still trying to accept that my dad’s gone as well.

And my grief over Alison is still so raw.

Me: Spent the first week afterward wondering if I could kill myself without triggering a suicide clause in my life insurance.
Him: Jesus!
Me: (shrugging) Merely a mental exercise. Obviously, I didn’t do it. Someone has to raise the boy. (thinking) Think I’m gonna get the Reuben.

A Reuben was the first thing Alison got herself when she was finally pregnant.

It’s these constant things that keep me from getting my footing.

That she died before she could really spend time with the boy and me as a family guts me still. Suppose it always will.

Him: When I met Alison, I honestly thought, “Wow – She’s beautiful.”
Me: She was. That’s why I think that I do so well when I’m out and about. It’s amazing what being loved by someone like Alison does to your self-confidence.

On that note, he mentioned a doctor friend of his that was single around the way. Redhead.

Him: I can introduce you two – when you’re ready.
Me: Not now. (joking) But I told DC to keep an eye out for investment bankers for me in the future.
Him: (laughs) She’s a doctor, not quite an investment banker but you’d like her.

Told him that I’m not ready to date anyone that might think of me as anything but entertaining company.

Him: Think about it. 
Me: I do OK on my own. I was pretty good out there when we were out and about, no?
Him: You were very good. (laughing) But that was 12 years ago. You’re 12 years older now.
Me: No. (shaking head) I’m 12 years better now.

Location: in my head again
Mood: hard to say
Music: You’re gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow
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Rum carrier part two

New rules

Rum Carrier Lunchbox

Several of my male friends – alla whom have children of their own – told me to just use the rum carrier.

Bryson: Leave the rum tag! That’s hilarious and will be a great story that we will be telling your son later in life. By the way, that bag is nicer than anything I own.
JJ: It’s who you are. You gotta do you, man.
GS: Don’t even trip.
TR: Rum container is genius
RB: Just put some Star Wars stickers over the logo…bam

It always bothers me to go against dispassionate logic – it’s actually the best item I have for the job at had.

So Nate went off to school the other day with his gear stuffed into rum bag with his name over the word “rum” and I went home thinking that I need a rule that ensures he’ll always be true to who he actually is.


Elle wrote me this long and sweet email that made me cry. She moved back to LA, got married, had two kids.

Her: Sorry it took me this long to write and reach out. I’ve been meaning to but each time I thought about it, I couldn’t get the right words.
Me: I want to write you more but I can’t. I’m a mess. I miss her. I miss you. I miss my old life. Everything. I am so very happy for you, though. You have everything I would have hoped for in my life.

That’s kinda how my life is these days. Sweet, sad, and nostalgic, all mixed up together.

And the occasional funny that makes me laugh if no one else.

Everyone finds having someone like me in their lives amusing – until it’s no longer amusing.

Him: My cousin is heading here for a few days. (thinking) Stay away from her, Logan!
Me: She’s 25 right? Don’t worry. I have a strict “no one below 27” rule.
Him: You just told me the last girl was 25.
Me: (shaking head) Well, it was more of an informal guideline back then.

Location: my white desk, getting ready to go out
Mood: wistful
Music: Most of everyday is full of tired excuses
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Non-Starters

That was the plan

Burgers and Fries at Pier I in NYC

Scene: At gym.
Me: (to Pez) You know, you’re the same age as a girl I’m hanging out with.
Chuck: (overhears in distance, laughs) “Hanging out with?” Yeah, you two are going to lectures and coffee.
Me: (to Chuck) We do – we discuss Nietzsche!
Chuck: (walking away) Suuuure.
Me: (whispering to Pez) We don’t discuss Nietzche
Pez: (laughs)

Daisy exited my Venn Diagram, recently.

Been living in the same building for close to 20 years. I’m pretty good friends with the neighboring doormen.

One of them is hinting I should marry one of the female friends/other that swing by the pad. It just makes me laugh.

Larry: Raising a kid, you need a man and woman. You loved Alison, I know. But this doesn’t have to be for love. Think of your son.

I married Alison because we looked at the world the same way. Don’t think I’ll ever find someone that looks at it quite the same way I do again.

Don’t believe in many social constructs but I do believe in marriage.

Both Daisy and Gradgirl do not, which makes them non-starters for me, among other things. Of course, I’m a non-starter for everyone.

Me: I am thinking of my son. I want him to know that if I can survive this, he can survive anything. I’m ok with being by my lonesome. And you’ve known me a long time – if I need company, I’ll find company.
Larry: You’re a father now. It’s not the same anymore, Logan.
Me: Yes. But these are the cards I was dealt, so I play them.

Daisy: Do you imagine if things were different? If I were different?
Me: I always wish everything were different. Everything but the boy.
Her: With us, I mean.
Me: (gently) There is no us, Daisy. None of this is actually real. You’re just getting over something as am I, to different degrees. I don’t want you to be someone that you’re not. That never works out. People shouldn’t have to change themselves to fit into someone else’s world.

Her: He wants to meet up again. (pause) Do you think I should go?
Me: (nodding) That was the plan, right? I was always only supposed to be just a distraction.
Her: Yes. (pause) That was the plan.

Haven’t seen her since. Maybe he’s her person and she, his. We should all be lucky enough to find our person.


Me: So it’s just you and me now. (pause) Are you ok with that? (grinning) You won’t be worried I’ll fall madly in love with you?
Gradgirl: No. I know you’re not available to me. Not like that.
Me: Well, strictly speaking, I’m not available to anyone.
Her: (laughs) I might fall for you, Logan.
Me: This is true. You’ll let me know if it happens? I’ll do the same.
Her: Don’t worry. (thinking) I could never love someone that wasn’t in love with me.
Me: (nodding) That’s how it’s supposed to be.

These are the cards we were dealt. So we play them.

Me: Morning, kid! Ready for the day?!
Son: (yawns, stretches, smiles)
Me: God, I love that face. C’mere you…

Location: with my son in my empty apartment
Mood: wondering
Music: Oh, uh oh, you’re changing your heart
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Parenting with Logan

Social Constructs

Her: Is that a wine carrier?
Me: Strictly speaking, it’s a rum carrier.
Her: Logan! You can’t use a rum carrier for his lunchbox!
Me: Why not? There’s no rum in it.
Her: It says “rum” right on the flap. What is wrong with you?
Me: How much time do you have?

Alison’s BFF and several of her college friends paid for a preschool that started this morning. One of Alison’s other college friends gave me four bags fulla clothes that ABFF brought back for me. I brought her a beer.

ABFF: His birthday’s coming up. Are you doing something?
Me: Not sure.
Her: Are you getting him a cake at least?
Me: I’ll get him a muffin.
Her: A muffin? It’s his birthday!
Me: A muffin is merely a naked cupcake. I’ll put peanut butter on it for frosting.

The ABFF is a lawyer. Another lawyer friend of mine was giving me parenting advice, despite her not being a parent, regarding my choice of lunchbox.

Her: You can’t send him to school with a rum carrier.
Me: Logically, it’s the best choice. It holds a change of clothes better since I roll them, and can hold his drink and food container more easily. It’s fashionable and will probably be easier to find as it’s taller than it is long. I refuse to raise him with these absurd social constructs.
Her: Didn’t you say, “Communication is what the other side hears?
Me: (groaning) Fiiiine. Let the record reflect my vigorous objection to this acquiesce.
Her: So noted.

Location: 40 mins ago, surrounded by children
Mood: adulty
Music: get up and stand up and climb the rope of hope
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Until the end of the world

A Hole in my Soul

Coffee for two in the UWS

Went to my law firm the other day. Felt weird getting dressed and walking through the doors. They were taking pictures for the firm website and I was touched to still be considered part of the team.

Boss: There’s he is!
Me: Barely.

They ordered pizza which few ate. So I ended up eating an entire large pie all by myself. I’ve been doing intermittent fasting, which is an entry for another time.

Me: If they didn’t slice this thing up, I’ll roll it up like a burrito and stuff it in my mouth.
Him: I believe that.

Saw my family afterward.

It’s weird that I now have a “thing” that I do when someone dies. What a horrific realization: That one has a thing that one does when someone he loves dies.

That thing is clean up. I attribute it to Alison. Whenever something horrible happened, she cleaned up the house. So I do the same, in honor of her – as did my mom.

Her: I can’t believe he’s gone.
Me: (nodding) I’m so sorry, mom.

Here, at my pad, I try to fill my time with the boy or other company.

Gradgirl: I meet a lot of married men in my classes and life. I think that some – all of them, really – would try to be with me if they thought they could get away with it. You’re one of only two married men I met in my life where I felt that you would never look twice at me or anyone else.
Me: I wouldn’t. She’s all I ever wanted. You wouldn’t be here now if she was still here.
Her: I know, Logan. (nodding) That’s how it’s supposed to be.
Me: (thinking) I have a hole in my soul and my life in the shape of her. I’m trying to fill that hole however I can, before it expands and kills me.
Her: (seriously) Don’t die, Logan.
Me: Man, I trying my best not to. I’m trying…

 

(continued from last conversation)
Daisy: (laughs) Not every woman is dying to meet a man with a kid that’s in love with his ex-wife.
Me: (sighing) She’s my late wife, not my ex-wife. She never left me. I never left her. She was taken from me. There’s a difference. But you are right about that.
Her: (nods) Which part?
Me: Me being in love with her. I’ll love her until the end of the world.
Her: (frowns, puts her hand on my shoulder)

Location: my white couch in the living room
Mood: fuzzy
Music: It’s fine by me, if you never leave
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Near your casa

My shady secrets

Two Blue Moons at Sugar Bar, NYC
The devil called me the other day. He always calls when I’m on my knees. It’s been a while.

Him: What are you doing today?
Me: Same thing I do most days when the kid’s not around. Drink and randomly yell out “Motherf___er!” (pause) I’m surprised to hear from you.
Him: I’m surprised to call. Despite our differences, I’m legit sorry about your dad and wife. (long pause) There’s work if you want it.
Me: I like that you get to the point. (thinking) Maybe. Maybe it’s time.

As did Alison’s best friend.

Her: Hey I’m near your casa because my neighbor’s singing at a bar near you. Know you’re likely not up for a drink or maybe you’ve been drinking too much already but felt wrong to be so nearby and not offer a drink.
Me: Cool. I’ll pop by.

Ended up walking her home a mile north and forgetting my camera at her pad.

Woulda been terribly romantic if we found each other the least bit attractive. I still say that it’s a stupid Hollywood trope that men and women can’t be friends.

Although, some women transition between the circle of friends and hard-to-say more than others.

Me: I feel guilty about things, sometimes. That I’m keeping you from finding your person.
Daisy: You’re not. Actually, I find it a bit funny-slash-conceited that you think every woman in the world is in love with you.
Me: Not every woman. (thinking) Just the ones that meet me.

It’s all a bit complicated. Then again, nothing in my life is ever simple.

Gradgirl: I’ve got to think of an excuse as to why I can’t show up tonight.
Me: You’ve got so many shady secrets.
Her: Oh, Logan, (getting up) you are my shady secret.

Location: my blue couch
Mood: tired
Music: I’m not rich, but the first night is on me
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Lemme tell you about my dad

I loved him so

Three generations
A boy’s first hero is his father.

My father was a short man, but he loomed large over me as a child, as all fathers do.

We buried him earlier this week. My mother had to help me into the room for the wake. His death, so soon after Alison’s, was almost too much for me to bear.

Cursed under my breath almost the entire time.

But I went for the same reason that every guest that stays over gets a donut and coffee in the morning.

Cause it’s the gracious thing to do. And being gracious means doing things for the comfort of others over the comfort of self.

And the last place on the planet I wanted to be was in that room. But I had to do it because he woulda wanted me there for my mom.

My father, who was raised speaking Japanese with a Japanese name, was nothing if not gracious.

The tributes to him always mention how he went out of his way to make his guests comfortable – picking them up from the airport, cooking lavish meals for them, teaching them what he knew about so many varied subjects.

He taught me how to be polite and, by extension, how to be loved. Because in a world of selfish and rude people, I think that meeting someone that always listens to your stories after offering you a bowl of chili and a glass of rum is refreshing.

Could just be the rum, I suppose. I digress.

Everyone that came into my parents house got a cup of tea, food, and pleasant conversation.

Perhaps that’s why Alison and he got along so well. She would always be upset with me if we had guests and the house wasn’t immaculate. Because a guest has to have a clean and neat place to stay. She was nothing if not gracious.

Alison is gone now but I do what I can to keep up the lessons she taught me to give to our son. I loved her so.

My father is also gone now. I loved him so. But he still looms large over me as a man, as all good fathers do.

Hope I do the same for my boy.

You know, I don’t ever call my son by his given name. I call him by my father’s name. As do the members of my family and some of hers.

Cause I wait for the day he asks me why and I can smile, sit down, and say, “Ah, sit down. Lemme tell you about my dad. He was a great man. I loved him so. Still do.”

Location: the corner of sadness and incredulity
Mood: drinking at 10AM, so not too bad, actually
Music: I call your name, but it’s not the same as having you here
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My father’s gone

Logan Music: Uptight

Louis Lo and Alison McCarthy Lo
My father passed away exactly 90 days after my wife did. How’s that for a kick in the head?

Suppose I’ll write more on that when I sort things out. Whenever that’ll be. For now, let me tell you a quick story:

When my father first met Alison, the two somehow got on the topic of hard-boiled eggs. You see, he was an amazing cook and a chef in his younger years.

He asked her if she knew how to keep the shells from sticking to the egg when they cooked. Alison said she didn’t know.

So he pulled her aside and whispered into her ear.

Her: (laughing) Really?
Him: (smiling) Yes, it’s true.
Her: I’ll try that next time.
Me: (to Alison) So what’s the secret?
Her: (laughing) If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret. That’s between your father and me.

She never told me because secrets are special things between people. But her hard-boiled eggs always came out perfectly while mine always came out like crap. Still do.

If there is a heaven, hope they’re hanging out, trading recipes. She always loved to see him, and he, her.

Which makes sense – to know them was to love them.

My son’s favorite song right now is Uptight by Stevie Wonder.

The thing is that this is the song always made me think of both Alison and my dad. Probably why I play it for him so often.

The lyrics are below.

My father came here with nuthin. I was definitely born a poor man’s son.

But he refused to stay poor for long – people with talent rarely do – and I’m forever grateful for all he sacrificed for us.

He taught me how to be a father by being such a good one.

You know, I think that the dirt poor kid from Queens in me makes up more of my soul than I’d care to admit.

But it doesn’t matter. Not really.

Cause my dad and a beautiful girl named Alison McCarthy loved and believed in me. That means I must be somebody. Even if I was born a poor man’s son from Queens, New York.

I dunno what I am without them. Now, I’m forced to find out.

God, I miss them both terribly.


Baby, everything is all right, uptight, out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, out of sight
I’m a poor man’s son, from across the railroad tracks,
The only shirt I own is here on my back,
But I’m the envy of every single guy
Since I’m the apple of my girl’s eye
When we go out stepping on the town for a while
My money’s low and my suit’s out of style,
But it’s all right if my clothes aren’t new
Out of sight because my heart is true
She says, “Baby everything is alright, uptight, out of sight.
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight.”
She’s a pearl of a girl, I guess that’s what you might say,
I guess her folks brought her up that way,
The right side of the tracks, she was born and raised
In a great big old house, full of butlers and maids
She said, “No one is better than I.” I know I’m just an average guy,
No football hero or smooth Don Juan,
Got empty pockets, you see, I’m a poor man’s son
Can’t give her the things that money can buy
But I’ll never, never, never make my baby cry,
And it’s all right, what I can’t do,
Out of sight because my heart is true,
She says baby everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, ha ha ha ha, yeah,
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, way out of sight
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight

Location: hell
Mood: dark
Music: I’ll never, never, never make my baby cry,
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Profiles

Broken me

Heart Graffiti in New York City

Gradgirl: I’m reading your online dating profile book. You can be my dating coach!
Me: (laughing) Sure.
Her: Do you think you’ll ever do it yourself? Get back out into the regular dating world?
Me: (shaking head) I’m not ready for anything like that. I’m gonna stop wearing black in 2018. So maybe then.

If I ever did write one, it’d probably sound a lot like this:

Wish list
Works in a non-profit or just likes to help people. Highly educated with at least a masters degree and two foreign language skills. From a good family, preferably military, with close ties to them. Likes to clean and hates to cook. Wants children. Eats chili. Strong resemblance to Jennifer Aniston but with green eyes (preferred). Self sufficient. Likes to sing to me almost every night and never comments on my constantly singing off-key. Ideally, always wants to have dinner with me. Loves children – and adults – that eat predominately peanut butter. Kindness a major plus.

Non-negotiables
Must love broken things.

 

Location: In front of a mountain of dishes
Mood: indescribable
Music: Mama’s pearl, let down those curls
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