How did you sleep?

Alison made for the world

There’s a train track that passes under 149th Street between Roosevelt and 41st Avenues in Queens.

When I was a fat kid, another boy once told me that he would kill me.

Don’t remember why; do remember that I believed him.

I was terrified. To the point that I seriously contemplated hurling myself in front of that train to avoid that.

Remembered wondering what I should wear. How odd.

Suppose all bullied kids have had similar thoughts. It’s unbearably sad to me when I hear of one going through with it. And yet depression and suicide have made regular appearances in my life, not just with me but with those close to me.

Never had the nerve to make that final cut. A good thing.

The oddest thing about Alison’s passing is that, since at least March, I’ve gone in the opposite direction.

I’m terrified about getting injured or, even worse, dying. Need to survive to take care of the boy. It’s a feeling I’ve never had before – the need to survive – not even for Alison when we were deliriously in love.

Alison used to tell me alla time that she loved me like a fat kid loves cake. That always made me laugh.

Alison loved me. But she didn’t need me. Didn’t want her to.

(When Alison was pregnant and before the cancer)
Her: What if I need you?
Me: You don’t. I don’t want you to. You need to take care of the kid. A boy needs his mama.

And he still does. But she’s not here. Wish she was with ever atom in my body but she’s not.

I am, though. Man, I was supposed to be the backup if everything went to hell. Everything went to hell.

Now I’m it cause this kid needs me. Like, he literally cannot survive without me.

Nuthin – no one – has ever truly needed me before like he does now.

I’ve never felt such a heavy and awesome responsibility before. It’s terrifying, really. It’s as terrifying to me as that bully that threatened to kill me.

Yet, each morning, I push all of it to the side of my mouth.

Each morning, it’s the same: I wake up to the sound of him on the baby monitor: Papa! Daddy! Papa!

Each morning, I wish he was calling for her.

And each morning I get up, stagger to his door, take a deep breath, and straighten up. I smile my widest smile and say in the happiest, most awake voice I can muster as I open his door:

Good morning! How did you sleep?!

Him: (laughs) Papa! Daddy! (jumps up and down furiously in the bed, laughing)

And I think: God, I love this little person that Alison made for the world.

I love him like a fat kid loves cake. More, even.

Location: insomniaville
Mood: terrified
Music: I can barely define the shape of this moment in time
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No harm

Halfway(ish) through May

The pastor from Vision Church stopped by my neighborhood.

Me: I’m always surprised anyone ever wants to do anything with me. I’m a whirlpool of sadness, I think.
Him: People care about you. You should let them.

We went out for a cup of coffee that I promptly spilled onto the neighboring table with an older Italian couple.

Me: Well, looks like the clumsy is still working. Sorry about that.
Italian gentleman: That’s a fine. No harm.
Me: You’re Italian. My wife was Italian.

The pastor invited me to a concert and I told him that the last concert I went to was a Coldplay concert. Told him that concerts were much more her thing than mine.

Speaking of things, I didn’t feel up to going out with people on Saturday – Alison’s birthday – but I had several people, including my mother-in-law, contact me to tell me to get out of the house.

And the Gymgirl came by and insisted we do something so I found myself walking with her down Amsterdam Avenue.

We ended up at a restaurant that Alison liked called Hi-Life. Grabbed a seat outside under the awning where I had mixed rum-drinks while she had some red wine and split a burger. The Gymgirl nabbed the check afterward.

We went back to my place but not before stopping by a wine shop where she bought a bottle of red and a bottle of white.

I recalled that it was almost exactly a decade ago that Alison and I shared a glass of red wine, back when I called her Heartgirl.

The Gymgirl and I opened the red when we got back.

Her: We should watch something funny.
Me: Have you ever seen Brian Regan? I saw him live with Alison once, years ago.
Her: Let’s do it.

After a while I felt a bit better and we demolished a rack of ribs that I made. My intermittent fasting diet went out the window.

It wasn’t until midnight that I felt a sigh of relief. As if I accomplished something.

Like I said, everything that should be happy is sad instead.

Her: (pouring the last of the wine) I liked this.
Me: It was pretty good. It wasn’t rum, but it wasn’t bad. (pause) I miss her.
Her: (nodding) I know. I’m sorry. (lifting up her glass) To Alison. Happy Birthday, Alison.
Me: Happy Birthday, Alison.
Her: (nods, leans in and kisses me on my cheek)

Location: Almost half-way through May
Mood: not great, not terrible
Music: How wonderful life is while you’re in the world
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Happy Birthday, Alison

I would only do this for you

Alison woulda been 39 tomorrow.

A friend of my sister’s dropped by yesterday with gifts for the kid – an owl plush toy, and a children’s book – plus a gift for me: Rum.

Her: I didn’t know her but I wish I did. She sounded like an amazing person. I hope you don’t find it strange that I show up here as a stranger.

And I spoke to an old friend I’ve not spoken to in ages.

Him: I met this girl. I’m selling everything and moving outta the city to be with her. I  wouldn’t have imagined doing something like this before but then I thought of you and Alison.

In their own ways, they apologized for reducing the sum of Alison’s life to a life lesson or story.

But I told them not to apologize and related a quote I like from Margaret Atwood: In the end, we all become stories.

All I have left of her are a handful of pictures, two videos, and these stories in my head. And the boy, of course.

In honor of her birthday, let me tell you a silly story. It’s for me, really. To put it out into the aether and make it real again, if only for a bit.

She disliked beets. But I loved them.

Her: You like beets?
Me: As my buddy would say: Nothing beats beets.
Her: (rolls eyes)

So I came home one day to find her wearing gloves and covered in beet juice. When I saw her, she pretended that I caught her in the middle of a murder (we loved Dexter, you see). She wanted to surprise me with some roasted beets and dried beet chips.

In any case, I asked her if I could take a picture of her and she resisted. She hated having her picture taken. But I insisted. And I asked that she recreate the scream as well. She did.

She disliked all those things: The beets. The pictures. The recreation. But she did them all because I asked. Because she loved me so much.

It’s an amazing thing to be loved so much by someone you love so much.

Dammit, I wish I insisted on more pictures and videos. We never think we’ll need things like pictures and videos until it’s too late.

I f__king hate that I only have two videos of her. It guts me.

For her birthday, do me a favor?

Take a picture – or even better, take a video – of someone you love that loves you as much as she loved me. As much as I loved her.

As for me, I drink. I cry. I drink some more. I’ll be going to a party with friends and drinking myself silly.

And I try to forget that I had someone that loved me so deeply and so much that I loved so deeply and so much.

Her: Why do you want to take a picture?
Me: Because I want to remember it.
Her: I look terrible. I spent this whole time cooking.
Me: You look beautiful. Please?
Her: Fiiiiiine.
Me: Can you recreate that scream?
Her: (laughing) OK. But only for you. I would only do this for you.

Location: in front of pictures and rum
Mood: gutted
Music: you lose something you can’t replace
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Armagnac and owls with friends

Interacting with people again

1975 Armanac de Montal

There are people that I’ve not spoken to now in years. After everything went down with Alison, I kinda just dropped off the radar, save for this blog.

But a little while ago, I met up with my friends around the way and had some 1975 Armagnac de Montal.

Me: What’s the occasion?
Him: Just good to see you again.

And KG Betty wrote me to ask if I was gone from her life. Called her this weekend to tell her I wasn’t.

Me: I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long. I’ve just been dealing with alla this stuff.
KG Betty: I know. It’s nice hearing your voice again. How are you?

The problem is that so little means anything to me these days, beyond the boy. It’s hard to muster the energy it takes to be part of society in any meaningful way.

Yet, I’m trying to come back however I can. Had dinner with my friends Kathy and Ricky at Nickle and Dinner to thank them for everything they did for Alison. Had a beer with an owl on it.

Hitachino Nest

Spoke to Gradgirl recently as well.

Me: Are you alright?
Gradgirl: Yeah.
Me: Should I stop asking?
Her: It doesn’t matter. I’ll keep lying.

And I saw my sister-in-law the other day at her new home in New Jersey to fix her WiFi network and grab lunch. Went with her for her closing earlier this year, just for moral support.

SIL: You should stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Me: I don’t think I feel sorry for myself. I feel sorry that she’s not here.

It’s weird interacting with people these days for any reason beyond child-rearing. Feel like I’m putting on a show alla time. But I suppose it’s a lotta, Fake it till you make it.

Did see the Gymgirl the other day, though. She invited me to a work/school thingy. We’re trying a few things out.

Gymgirl: Who was that?
Me: The Gradgirl. She’s in town for a bit.
Her: Are you going to see her?
Me: Why would I do that?
Her: Didn’t you say you like to make out with her?
Me: But I already have.
Her: Oh, that’s a good response. (holding up hand) That deserves a high five.

Location: still in my hellish week
Mood: weird
Music: And how the days have flown too few & fast
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Who’s my neighbor?

Thanks to Vision Church and the good souls


I’ve a neighbor in my building that I never mention but should. After Alison passed away, my neighbor came to see me. She said that her church, Vision Church, wanted to help in some way.

Me: I’m not gonna lie, I could use the help. But I’ve lost my faith in God. In everything, really. It seems dishonest for me to take money from people that believe when I don’t myself.
Her: (waving her hand)That doesn’t matter to us. We want to help, in some way.

Told her that I could really use some nannies. So for the past year, they’ve been covering most-to-all of his childcare. And some of her friends also help me with childcare on nights I’m able to go to my fencing class. One of the women from the mommy’s group also happens to go to the same church.

It’s pretty amazing, really.

I’d been meaning to write this post to publicly thank them – and her – for some time now but I’ve avoided it because of all my anger.

My friend who also lost his family said that you never get over the anger. He’s right. For every iota of sadness that exists, there’s a commensurate amount of rage.

Even writing this, I feel such a rage that I cannot adequately express.

Yet the kindness of these people – predominantly strangers – buoys me as much as my anger drags me down.

In any case, quite some time after we talked, I pulled up the website to Vision Church and was pleasantly surprised that their tagline was, Who’s your neighbor?

That comes from Luke 10:25–29, the Good Samaritan parable. You probably know it. Or think you do:

A guy’s robbed and beaten up and three people saw him but only the last one helped him. The third one happened to be a Samaritan. And he, out of the three, help the man.

“Be a good Samaritan/Be a good person,” is what most people think the moral of the story is.

But that’s not quite the point of the story.

See, the first two fellas were Jewish – the very first was a rabbi, the second, a Jewish nobleman. The third was the eponymous Samaritan – in other words, the third was not Jewish. Put another way, the third was not of the robbed man’s people whereas the first two were.

In fact, the Samaritans were adversaries of the Jews. Some might even say enemies. And yet this man still helped.

The real point of the story is: Help people, even if they’re not of your tribe. Even if they’re against everything you believe in. Even if they’re your adversary.

If you read this blog, I talk about tribes and family a lot.

These people from Vision Church knew I was not of their tribe and still wanted to help me and family. They still do. It’s humbling.

My rage is something I don’t think’ll ever go away. Don’t think it’s meant to.

I contact the Devil more frequently than I’ve ever done in the past because God – if he exists – and I are, at the very least, indifferent to each other.

At worst, we’re adversarial.

Yet, my anger is only ever tempered by my gratitude for people like those of this church and the kind of people that go to it. Those that say one thing and follow that same thing.

They are the good souls and I’m forever grateful for the good souls.

Her: There’re no strings attached. We just want to help.
Me: (nodding) Then, thank you.

Speaking of good souls, Alison’s friends are doing a walk to remember her on her birthday this Saturday, May 12th.

I wanted you to know this because I wanted you to know that there are all these people that loved her so much that they would travel somewhere and do this for her.

As for me, I can’t go because … I can’t go.

I’ll be in the Bronx somewhere drinking and trying to forget what day it is. I try to forget a lotta things.

Location: in my hellish week
Mood: angry
Music: we never mention real horror
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It’s May. I hate May.

Some new friends


This time last year was absolute f_____g hell.

I’ve been dreading the start of May since about three weeks ago. And now it’s here.

I hate everything about everything, I think.

That’s not completely true.

Someone told me that the people you hang out with most after having a kid are other parents. Remember thinking that made sense but I wasn’t really aware how true that was until I started caring for the boy myself.

There are three women that I chat to online or in RL on an almost daily basis.

Me: I have a new hobby since I’ve become a father.
Her: What’s that?
Me: Well, I prepare all this really great, expensive, organic food, show it to the boy, and then throw it right into the trash.

One is a Slavic woman, another Chinese, and a third, Caucasian that lives across the street from me. There are other great people, almost all women, that I see on a weekly basis but they’re the main ones.

All three were exactly the type of women that Alison would have liked. Witty, kind, and intelligent. And great parents.

Me: I was running late so I crossed in the middle of the street with the stroller. I feel guilty about that.
Her: (dismissively) Please, I do that all that time. If someone judges you, that means they don’t have a kid.

We met for drinks around the way the other night.  The owner musta liked us because that’s him taking a shot with us.

I’m grateful they’ve accepted me into their club. It’s funny because I must be an odd addition to this group of mothers. An otherwise sad and peculiar single father of this awesome little kid.

As for me, I feel like I’ve stepped into Alison’s shoes and I try to do what she woulda done. At least, what I think she woulda done.

It makes me sad because I’m certain they would all have been friends with her  and she them instead of me. I woulda preferred that so.

But I’m grateful that they’re my friends and help me feel like I’m doing something right. I also wish Alison was here so I could tell her about them. That we have that village here she wanted to have.

And maybe they could tell her that we’re ok.

Because Alison always worried about us and I wanted her to know that they think we’re ok.

Her: You’re doing great as a father.
Me: Am I? Thanks for letting me know. I worry. About everything.
Her: That’s called parenting. He’s such a happy kid. That’s why you’re doing great.
Me: It’s all we ever wanted for him. To be a good and productive member of society. (clearing throat) Thanks.

I’ll tell Alison if I ever see her again.

Oh, I’d love to see her again.

Location: in front of a new bottle of rum. It was new. It’s no longer new.
Mood: heartbroken
Music: Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
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The earth from the sun

Family

Her: It’s the 24th. Are you ok?
Me: No. But I fake it well.

Brought the kid to a playdate at a church this morning on the 24th. Some of the people there read my blog, which is heartening.

I’m writing this drinking beer of all things.

Mainly cause I’m outta rum. I hate the 24th.

My cousin’s probably been the biggest support for me this past year. It’s funny because we’re so different in age – she was always my kid cousin – but she insisted on coming by on my birthday so it wasn’t just me. She also took me out to eat along with her boyfriend to an all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse recently.

Me: I’m not sure I’m up for it.
Her: It’s all you can eat steak! And it’s on me. Steak!
Me: This is compelling…

I don’t think I have a pic with just me and her. That’s her brother up there with me.

Gotta remember to take a pic with her.

Speaking of family, someone I know uses the word “family” all the time to talk about his business – and there’s a group of people, my included, that suspect he doesn’t understand what the word means.

He really means, acquaintance which is about four levels below friends.

Family, you can’t get rid of, even if you wanted to. At a minimum, it’s difficult. He has no problem cutting people out and people have no problem cutting him out.

I find it sad he can’t tell the difference.

Another old friend friend told me once that good family is like a balloon that lifts you up. She told me that her family was like an anchor. She had to change her name and move across the country to get away from them.

Still, I was able to see a lot of friends this month who are almost like family in many regards. They’ve all managed to keep me together in some fashion.

Him: When you’re ready for a cruise, you let me know. We’ll set something up.
Me: Oh man, thanks. I need to get away from everything.

And the college friends had a birthday party for one of their wives.

As great as they all are, though, family is always something different from friends. Something special.

That’s why I dread May so much. It’s when I lost my family.

The truth is, you can’t lose family without losing part of your soul. Family is as far from acquaintance as the earth is from the sun.

I miss my family.

And all I got for company this 24th is this goddamn swill beer.

It’s good, though, that if I needed company, I’d have friends to come and keep me afloat.

Him: Do you wanna play?
Me: No. You guys play. I’ll take a pic.

Location: in front of can of PBR
Mood: rough
Music: in my tomorrow, all the fields are golden
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It’s all gotta mean something

Putting up some artwork

Back when I was a bachelor, my old roomie Cain somehow scaled one double height wall to put up a painting hanger. After he moved out, and took the painting that was there, I bought this canvas Campari and put it up. You can see it in the background of this entry.

Alison was never a fan of the canvas but we kept it up because we didn’t have anything better. Always thought that I’d put up something like a picture I took of the W Hotel in Hoboken, because that’s where I asked her to marry me.

Never got a chance to do that.

But I decided that I wanted the things around the kid to mean something. It’s all gotta mean something.

So I gave my brother a ring and asked him to edit two pics for me. The first was that picture I was talking about.

The second was a quote I told my son in a letter a little while back.

Perhaps someday the kid’ll ask me what both pictures mean and I can sit down and tell him.

There’s so much I need to tell him.

Don't be afraid.

The Gymgirl and I are talking again. Kinda.

Her: Can you help me with something?
Me: Sure.
Her: (later) You’re the best ex-boyfriend I’ve got.
Me: (laughing) That’s really what I’m going for.

Brought the old Campari canvas down to another gym buddy downtown. Almost got blown away by the wind. It’s in that cardboard box behind us.

She’s a lot lighter than me. Hopefully, she won’t go airborne. If she does, and you see her, try to grab her before she gets too high.

Oh crap. I’ve run outta rum.


On a business related front, a lecture I gave on the GDPR the other day is currently available for free on Lawline. It’s one of their top rated programs with 97% positive rating and over 232 completions.

If you want to watch it for free, it available for the next six days via this link.

Location: in front of my last glass of rum
Mood: sick
Music: my love, it’s raging high inside
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Logan’s 45

Another health scare


Had my own health scare the other day, on top of the cracked teeth and everything else. My left eye suddenly went blurry for no reason and stayed that way for a bit.

My brother – poor guy has to field all my goddamn medical issues – told me to go see a doctor.

Man, I should really stop calling him and just go straight to the doctor.

Went over to the same medemerge I just wrote about before. The same one that I brought Alison and the Gymgirl to.

The doc there said that she didn’t see anything that made her worry enough to send me to the ER but told me to see an eye doctor.

Wanna know my honest-to-god first thought?

Maybe I’ll see Alison and my dad again.

And my second thought was: Whoa, I gotta be ok. I gotta raise the boy.

It scared me because those two thoughts should be reversed.

I’m tired, you see. Life is tiring.

Feel like a copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy again. I wanna raise the kid but I also wanna go see Alison and my dad and call it a day. Not that I have any faith any more.

Then again, the hope is that there are things that’ll make me wanna stay beyond raising the kid someday.

Suppose that’s always the cause and cure for all human suffering: Hope.

The hope that things might be better tomorrow.

Was thinking about that around this time 11 years ago and every day since. I’m still wondering what it all means.

Gymgirl: I was thinking of seeing you on your birthday.
Me: I’m all for that.
Her: Well, really, I was coming over for a sushi boat. (pause) Let me rephrase that: To treat you to a sushi boat and end up eating most of it myself.
Me: Works for me.

I just turned 45.

The past few birthdays have been horrific, for obvious reasons. It’s a low bar, but still, I hope that this one’ll be better?

Anyway, wish me a happy birthday, alla you bastards that read me and never say anything.

Me: Have you ever seen, “About a Boy?”
Gymgirl: No, what’s it about?
Me: …a boy?

Location: in front of a thermometer and a sick boy
Mood: curious
Music: I have lived ten years plus ten and ten and ten again. I have seen too much to pretend
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Cannot believe I’m back here (again)

The only luck I have is the kind no one wants


Went to the ER again last week. This time was for Nate.

I’d just written out the last blog entry and gone to bed when I heard him make this awful groaning/coughing sound.

Literally leapt out of bed and almost killed myself getting to his room. When I got there, he was shaking like crazy and making that sound.

Prior to Alison getting sick, prided myself on being pretty cool under pressure but hearing him sound like that and realizing that I was alone, I panicked.

Called my brother – a doctor – and asked him what to do. He just said bring him to the ER.

Not knowing what else to do, I called Gymgirl and asked her to speak to my brother and ABFF and ran out into the street where I nearly killed both of us trying to hail a cab.

Driver: Are you crazy?! You have baby! I should..
Me: (leaping in and fussing with straps) Drive us to the hospital, now!
Driver: (eyes widen and nods) Roosevelt?
Me: Yeah. F____king Roosevelt. (still looking at son) Sorry, kid. You’re gonna be ok. Papa’s here. (try to get seatbelt on)
Baby: (coughs)

And off we went to the goddamn ER for the millionth f____king time.

After getting there and going through everything, they put us two beds away from where they put me and Alison when we first went. Felt my broken heart break again.

We finally saw a doctor who asked a buncha questions and do a buncha exams. Presently, he said that the kid had croup.

Doctor: It’s really common and rarely complicates.
Me: Dude, the only luck I have is the kind no one wants.

Then he gave the boy the exact same steroid that Alison used to take. And those broken pieces of my heart fell into my shoes.

Me: Great.
Him: He’ll feel much better afterward.
Me: (reluctantly nodding) Yeah. Do it.

Nauseated, I got up and went to the bathroom. Walked all the way down to a bathroom I’d been to a few times previously. Didn’t retch this time. When I got out, a nurse was holding the kid who pointed at me and screamed:

Him: Daddy, pee-pee! Daddy, pee-pee!

And then he clapped, because that’s what I do while potty training.  The entire floor turned to look at me and I couldn’t help but laugh.

Me: Thanks, kid.

My brother checked in on us. Then I called the Gymgirl, who lives in Brooklyn, to apologize for waking and scaring her.

Her: It’s fine. I’m in the car going to you.
Me: We’ll just take a cab. I’m sorry, I didn’t know who else to call.
Her: I’m already in Manhattan. I’ll wait for you out front.

It was 2AM when we were finally discharged. And she was sitting in a car outside, waiting for the two of us. After I strapped in – parenting is a lotta fussing with straps – she drove us home, came in, and helped me put him to bed.

Her: He’ll be fine, Logan.
Me: I hope so. (thinking) It’s late. You could stay if you wanted.
Her: (shaking head) I have to bring the car back. (thinking) Why did you make it look like it was nothing for me to leave him in your blog? You and I both know it wasn’t. But you and he are a package deal. So…
Me: (interrupting) I know. I’m sorry. (pause) Thanks. For everything.
Her: I would do anything for him.
Me: I know. I’m sorry about how everything went down. For what it’s worth, you’re my favorite.
Her: (sighing) Go get some rest, Logan.

She left and I shut the gate behind her.

There’s more, of course, but this is all I wanted say on it.

Went into the boy’s room and gently put my hand on his back.

Me: (whispering) Thank you for being ok.

Location: in front of more rum
Mood: worried
Music: don’t know how to fix it now. Sorry, I’m not perfect 
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