Logan tries an mBerry / No Year in Review

Hoping for some sweetness

My friend Jaerik once said that he liked reading my posts because they were never ranty.

I kinda feel all my posts for the past two years have been ranty. Have to somehow get back to how things used to be. Somehow.

Used to write up these year-end reviews and be able to joke about things like death. That seems like a million years ago.

But I’m gonna try to make the most of the life I have now with the kid.

The Gymgirl bought me something called an mBerry from Amazon for Christmas, which makes sour things taste sweet. The above video is one she took of me eating a lemon. It’s pretty cool; it was like eating a super sweet orange.

God, if only there was something I could take to make my otherwise bitter life sweet.

2018 is coming up. Always hope that the new year will be different and better. Hope I’m right this time.

I hope there’s some sweetness for Alison’s family, the boy, and me in the years to come. You as well.

If only.

Location: 3 days from the new year
Mood: (very cautiously) hopeful
Music: dreaming of bigger things, and wanna leave my own life behind
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Alison’s last gift to me

 Everything else can burn

I think that all good relationships have secret kindnesses as invisible string, keeping people together. All bad relationships have secret cruelties as wedges that push people apart.

Alison and I had very little bad between us. The good stuff, man, it was good.

The thing I loved most about Alison and my dad were those secret kindnesses. My dad, for example, told us he loved us every time he saw us.

I’m told not all Chinese fathers do that. Wouldn’t know. What he did with us was all I knew.

Told you once of one of Alison and my secrets. But I’ll tell you again, anyway: For Christmas, we always got each other the same thing every year – a single Christmas ornament.

I always got her some beautiful, classy thing. Cause she was my beautiful, classy thing.

She always got me some funny, goofy thing. Why that is, I dunno.

The ornament you see above is what she gave me in 2013. Cause she knew I loved The City so.

In 2015, before she was diagnosed, she gave me one with a father, mother, and son. I think I actually hugged it.

In 2016, when she had the goddamn cancer, she asked me to come to the room and, with her one good arm, handed me an ornament.

She had asked her mom to get it for me. I stammered out a “thank you” for it and tried my best not cry in front of her.

Even in all her suffering, she thought of me.

God, I cannot think of a fucking thing I ever did in my otherwise unremarkable life to deserve her.

That was the last ornament I would ever get from her.

This year, tried six times to put them up. Couldn’t do it. So I put up the stuff the kid made in his art class instead.

Wanted to take a pic of the ornament from 2016, but that’s a no go.

In case you’re wondering how I’m spending the holidays. I sit alone a lot, when the kid is away or sleeping, and shout obscenities. For serious.

Leigh’s husband said it’s like tourettes. And it is.

You’re randomly sitting down and some memory comes up and and hits you in the face and you scream out, “FUCK!!”

It’s always a memory of some tiny kindness of hers that tears through me the deepest.

The memory of her handing me that last ornament was enough to make me sit down on my cold shower floor  and struggle for breath while the kid mimed “Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” outside in front of the tube.

That ornament was her last gift to me. The kid, the best.

If the house ever burns down, I’m grabbing the kid, the ornaments, and my network attached storage device.

The last one because it has stuff like “Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” for the kid. And cause it has alla my pictures and videos of my families before we got broken.

Everything else can burn. Just like 2015-2017.

Location: 11 days from the new year, as if it matters
Mood: drowning
Music: My drink’s my only remedy, for pain of losing family,
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The brightest thing I got

My college friends finally got to meet my kid

Her: He’s so chill!
Me: (laughing) It’s funny. So many people use those exact words to describe him.

My college friends never met the kid all this time.

Was always worried about Alison getting sick since her immune system was weakened, and we were never in a social mood all these years. It’s easily been four years or more since any of them have been over.

But I decided that it was time for them to meet him. They’ve all – quietly and not-so-quietly – done so much to support us. The problem with seeing them all is that it just makes everything that much more real.

And I despise my reality so. But I’m stuck in it.

So, I cleaned up the pad, picked up a dozen danishes, some cheese, and some olives, made 14 cups of coffee, eight cups of tea, and laid out alla my mugs. Tried to do it like she woulda done.

Everyone was just great. As I knew they would be. They brought their kids, who were also great with the kid. That’s him sitting on my friend Kathy’s lap.

You can still see my messed up left eye.

On the plus side, only broke down once. Quietly in my blue bathroom. So I suppose that’s a step forward. Yay.

After they all left, I put the boy down for a nap.

Me: You’re a star, kid, you’re a star!
Him: (laughing, shaking head) No. No.
Me: Do you know how to say anything but “no?”
Him: No.
Me: (nodding) S’ok. You’re still my star. You’re the brightest thing I got. Poppa loves you more than a fat kid loves cake. (sighing) Mama too…

Location: my white couch
Mood: struggling to make it to 2018
Music: If you ask me how I’m doin’, I would say I’m doin’ just fine. I would lie and say that you’re not on my mind
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You’re not gonna believe this

Had another accident

It’s been a pretty insane week – which is saying a lot considering everything that’s happened the past two years.

Immediately after my last post, I had a week of insomnia. Serious insomnia.

My demons seem to like to stop by after midnight and stay for a spell.

After about four days I took some serious sleep meds and woke up in daze at 3AM on my floor.

And a lotta blood. A whole mask of blood, in fact, courtesy of a two-inch gash on my eyebrow and blood all over my face. No idea what I hit but I probably tripped on a chair.

Got to my feet and staggered to the bathroom where I took a tube of crazy glue and roughly sealed the cut. Then I called up Gymgirl.

Me: Sorry to wake you. I had something happen and I need you to do two things: (a) Call me in three hours and make sure I wake up? And (b) do me a solid and come by tomorrow to watch the kid?
Gymgirl: What? Why?
Me: It’s a long story. But I need your help. Can do those two things for me?
Her: I’ll call you in three hours and see you as soon as I can.

She called me and I woke up.

The crazy glue kept the wound closed and I managed to drop the kid off at his daycare. Gymgirl would watch after him after his sitter.

Because I had to go to the ER and I had enough goddamn experience to know it’d take all day.

Surprisingly, the local medimerge said that they had a plastic surgeon that could patch me up. In six hours. Downtown. So I made it back home, crawled into bed and slept until it was time to make it downtown, which I somehow did.

Doctor: That’s quite a cut
Me: I always go for the superlative.

Took 13 stitches to patch me up. Had rough flashbacks the whole time.

Took a cab home cause I was so out of it that I was sure I’d end up in the train tracks otherwise.

Me: How’s the kid?
Gymgirl: He’s good. How are you? (looks at me) You look OK. You look like you’re wearing makeup.
Me: That’s the look I’m going for.

My demons come at me after midnight. Wish they wouldn’t.

Then again, I wish for a lotta things.


Location: home, sick and in pain, again
Mood: just @#$@#$@# peachy, again
Music: my life has been a silent fight to be ok
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I hate the holidays

Sorry for being outta touch

Sorry I’ve not posted in a bit. The period between Thanksgiving and Xmas used to be my favourite time of year. Now I hate it so.

On so many levels.

Been averaging about four hours of sleep a night. Last night as well. Was sick all last week. Then I injured my neck. Again.

Also had to go to the dentist because I had a toothache.

Dentist: You have some of the best teeth I’ve seen on someone your age. No cavities, barely any plaque, barely any tartar. But…
Me: Oh no…
Her: Well, you have some cracked teeth.
Me: Some cracked teeth? How many are some?
Her: Four. You have four cracked teeth.
Me: Of course I do. How many need to be fixed?
Her: Um, four? (quickly) But really only two have to be replaced right now.
Me: “Right now” can’t happen right now cause I don’t have insurance. (laughing, shaking head) Happy Holidays to me, right doc?

So, I was waiting for my insurance to kick in to – evidently – get four teeth replaced.

Dentist: Have you thought about doing some other exercise besides wrestling?
Me: Well, *now* I am…

But found out this week that the office never sent in any of my paperwork. Meaning that I’m on day 1 of a three-week wait for insurance instead of day 10.

Goddamn holidays.

I’ve been curled up popping sleeping pills and painkillers like popcorn. Alison’s mom took the kid since I haven’t been able to sleep with all the pain and he doesn’t need to see his dad a zombie.

But I made plans to have some friends over for dinner the past Wednesday. I drank a pot of joe and made chix so that the week wasn’t a total wash.

Me: You brought KFC?
Him: I brought biscuits from KFC. You were making chicken so I thought, “What goes better with chicken?”
Me: I honestly can’t argue with that.

But then on Thursday, I got a crazy call at midnight from Gradgirl that kept me up until 4AM.

Her: We need to talk about a few things.
Me: (sighing) Lemme just make myself comfortable.

I hate the period between Thanksgiving and Xmas.

Goddamn holidays.

Location: home, sick and in pain
Mood: just @#$@#$@# peachy
Music: Every night, I live and die. Meet somebody, take ’em home
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Cleaning up so well

Roaring back

The kid touches the TV sometimes when he sees something he likes. He thinks it’s real, that he can reach out and hold what’s on the screen. It’s cute.

A little while ago, I bought some fractions of bitcoin to get some medications for Alison. Been checking the monumental rise of it so I wanted to clean up my accounts.

The site I use requires a copy of your driver’s license to do some higher level stuff and I usually have a copy of such things on my computer.

So I did a simple search for “license” and came across a picture that Alison musta taken right after we got married. I copied all her stuff onto my computer to look at some day, you see.

Don’t recall it at all. It’s of our marriage license, our rings, and the bouquet she had.

I was doing really well, all things considered. My brother, his best friend, and PB met the Gymgirl recently cause we all went out one night last week.

And I managed to get through Thanksgiving without losing it, which surprised me greatly.

Yet, when that picture popped up, found myself touching my cold monitor hoping that I could reach out and hold it. Like I was some stupid kid.

So the rage and sadness comes roaring back and gotta go into my blue bathroom to turn on the water and scream for a bit before going to the liquor cabinet to pour myself a glass of rum.

Found my wedding ring a few weeks back too. It’s like getting repeatedly punched in your soul. Repeatedly.

F__k. I was cleaning up so well.

Me: I’m sorry I talk about her so much.
Gymgirl: Don’t be. I like hearing about her.

Here’s a kick in the head: While drinking my rum with ice, realized that I have a cracked tooth that I musta gotten while wrestling at some point recently.

Man. Can’t even have a goddamn glass of rum in peace…

Location: in front of another cold screen and cold glass of rum
Mood: the usual hell
Music: Hope dangles on a string. Like slow-spinning redemption
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Thanksgiving 2017: It’s time to get up

She’s on Mars and we’re stuck here

Me: Hey, kid. Get up. It’s time to get dressed and go.
Son: (yawns, smiles)

Tomorrow will be the first Thanksgiving without my dad and without Alison in over a decade. Trying to accept that.

Before 2017, I rarely wore black. I think it’s probably because I did so much as a kid.

But since Alison died, I’ve only worn black. It was my quiet way to memorialize her.

Tomorrow, I’ll stop. It’ll been six months since that fucking day and three months since my dad passed. It’s time to accept my new normal.

It felt weird wearing all black and now, it feels weird not.

Everything is weird. I’m weird. Nothing will ever be normal again.

Dunno if I ever told you but Alison spoke fluent Spanish and, by extension, understood French and Portuguese. Thought that was pretty cool.

There’s this song by David Bowie I’ve always liked called Life on Mars. But there’s a Portuguese version I prefer, with very different lyrics.

One part goes:

Se o futuro assim permitir
Não pretendo viver em vão
Meu amor não estamos sós
Tem um mundo a esperar por nós,
No infinito do céu azul,
Pode ter vida em Marte

If the future allows
I don’t intend to live in vain
My love, we’re not alone.
There’s a world waiting for us,
in the infinite blue sky,
perhaps it’s a life on Mars

Always told her that I’d go anywhere she was. Even if it was Mars. Cause heaven wouldn’t be heaven without her, hell wouldn’t be hell with her. But where she is now, I can’t follow, as much as I wanna.

It’s been six months since Alison was taken.

I miss my wife, but even more, I miss my best friend. She was the first person I saw and spoke to in the morning, and the last person I saw and spoke to at night.

I’ll never be the same and I’ll always have a hole in my soul in the shape of her.

But I have to move on with my life.

Because I can’t follow her right now; the boy needs me here and he needs me on my feet.

Me: Get up. (gently) It’s time to get up.

Location: home, surrounded by her clothes
Mood: hard to say
Music: I’m going to want to move to a life on Mars
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Cleaning up the friends list

I’m running outta time

It’s been so long since I’ve seen most of my friends that I realized I’d an opportunity to whittle down the people in my life. I’m running outta time to do the things I wanna do. And the things I gotta do.

After all, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.  Without Alison to ground me, I worry that my worst instincts will take over.

Johnny I’ve known for 25 years. Invited him over the other day.

Me: I think our friendship’s run it’s course, man.
Johnny: What? What’re you talking about?
Me: You tried to con RE Mike outta his cut for that last deal I sent to you.
Him: (shrugging) Who is he to us, Logan?
Me: I sent him to you. That means he’s someone to me. $500,000 is a lotta hurt, man.
Him: We’ve known each other over two decades, Logan.
Me: And that’s why I’m cutting you out. I deserved better than this. Thanks for trying to help Alison. But she never woulda wanted you to be part of our lives after what you did. Lemme walk you out.

The Devil stopped by not soon afterward.

Him: This is the first time you’ve ever invited me over in all these years.
Me: Considering you didn’t ask for my address, I assumed you knew where I live.
Him: (laughing) You know I like knowing things.
Me: Good. I’m here to tell you that I think we’ve outgrown each other. I’m a different person from the kid you met alla those years ago.
Him: Are you really, Logan? You and I are different from the rest of the world. We need each other.
Me: I only need the kid. The rest of the world can burn. And this is for the kid.
Him: I’ve never hurt you and I’d never hurt the kid. (scoffing) You’re gonna raise your kid to be like everyone else? In a world of sheep he can be more than we ever were.
Me: He’s my son, and – more importantly – Alison McCarthy’s son. That means he’ll be better than alla us.

Of course, there are those friends without whom I couldn’t imagine life.

Me: You still working in the Upper West Side?
Bryson: Oh, I shifted over to the design department at The Olive Garden. I’m taking care of all of their interiors.
Me: Wait, do you get free food? Can I get free food? Answer the second question first.
Him: (laughing) Yes, and yes. Just tell me when you have time.
Me: For friends, I find time. For free food I have time.
Him: Great, we have a nice bar too.
Me: You had me at, “Free food.”

Location: a red chair in front of her desk
Mood: kinda sick
Music: Don’t say you’ll stay, cause then you go away
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Random Meetings at Arte Cafe

Empty men

She collapsed exactly two years ago today. So today, I drink.

Went to my law firm the other day for a bit of work. It was the first honest work I’d done in a while. It was as if nothing had happened.

Afterward, walked over to the train in a daze. An older fella asked me for directions to my neighborhood for a party and we got to talking.

Him: You know, I was supposed to go to this party with my business partner and he can’t make it. Why don’t you come with me?
Me: (laughing) I should head home.
Him: Why? You just said that someone was watching your son. You look like you could use a drink. It’s an open bar.
Me: You had me at “open bar.”

We walked a bit when I realized that the place we were going to was the very last place Alison and I ever ate out at: Arte Cafe.

She got nauseated when the food came and we both assumed it was from the pregnancy. I only learned later it was probably the tumor. She gave birth soon after. Then everything went to s__t.

My face turned white, so the man asked me what was wrong and I told him everything.

Him: (gently) Come in. One drink. It’ll be good for you.

I nodded and went in. Stayed for a moment cause it was too much and I politely said goodbye to the man, who nodded again that he understood.

As I walked out, someone handed me a glass of wine and I downed it in a gulp. I turned to leave and bumped into a young woman with brown eyes.

Me: (smiling, holding out hand) Logan. You must be…?
Her: (laughing) Sharon. Nice to meet you. Who are here with?
Me: Well, Sharon, it’s a bit hard to explain…

I chatted with her for a bit and left. I don’t know why I do it; meet so many random people for no reason. Something pathological about me and my childhood loneliness, perhaps? Who knows…

I put on personalities like you would an old coat. Take them off just as easily. But I always feel empty afterward. Like I’m the coat and not the person. It’s why the Devil calls me a friend; the devil likes hollowed-out men.

I’ve got so many stories that’d blow your mind. But I don’t want you to think less of me.

Not that I care. I only care what Alison’s family and my family thinks.

And the Gymgirl. She’s different to me than the others. Mainly, I suppose, because she actually tried to help us when Alison was alive. That means so much to me.

And because of this conversation:

Me: It’s only fair to warn you that I’m a mess.
Her: I expect that. If you weren’t, I’d think something was wrong with you.
Me: I should also tell you that I’ll love her until the end of the world.
Her: (nodding) Of course you will. She sounded amazing.
Me: She was. (pause) Thank you.
Her: For what?
Me: (exhaling) For letting me be in love with her. I miss her terribly.

Location: inside my head
Mood: empty
Music: maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me
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Heading out for Halloween

A lifetime ago

Went to a friend’s place for Halloween with Gymgirl – you can see how I’m dressed above.

Me: I like your hair that way.
Gymgirl: I get it, I look better and less homeless.

Reminded me of last year when Alison, the kid, and I were the bat family.

Everything that should be nice and fun is never just that. Everything reminds me of stuff.

But I did have a nice night out with friends, which is always a good thing.

On that note, Gradgirl’s finishing up school here and heading abroad in a month or so.

Me: I wanted to say thanks for the company.
Her: (laughing) I could say the same.
Me: Maybe we’ll see each other again someday. If I can get my head on right.
Her: You’ll always love your wife. And that’s one of the things I find attractive about you. But…
Me: I know. That wasn’t our deal anyway.
Her: No, it wasn’t. Let me know if you’re ever by me.
Me: (nodding) Paris was nice the last time I went. That was a lifetime ago.

Location: on my white couch, looking at pictures of my family
Mood: conflicted
Music: I’m always thinking of you, but my words just blow away
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