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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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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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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Catching up around the way

It’s an improvement


There’s been an unceasing parade of people through my neighborhood and door since my first post this week.

Kinda feel like people are taking this opportunity to catch up with me since so many haven’t really seen me in years what with all the things that went on with the kid and Alison.

Her: How are you?
Me: Utterly craptastic, you?
Her: I’m sorry.
Me: (shrugging) Honestly, it’s an improvement over my usual suicidally depressed nature last year.

My cousin stopped by to help watch the kid and, god love her, gave me just some terrible advice that I took.

Me: Dude, you were so, so, so, so wrong.
Her: Yeesh….well here are some adorable pics of your son to make you feel better.

They were adorable pics and it all worked out anyway. See above and below.

Then several guys from my gym stopped by for lunch and to meet finally my son.

Me: (to son) The first two guys you can talk to but avoid that guy.
Him: Hey, I’m great with kids. (turning to son) Right?

They brought Cuban Chinese food and I provided some really cheap beer.

Him: Rolling Rock and PBR? Man, you weren’t kidding when you said it was crappy beer.
Me: I need to get back to work and make some scratch. (looking at the food) And I told you guys, don’t get the Chinese food there. It’s terrible. (The Cuban food is excellent)
Him: Don’t worry, it’s for Andy and he’s not here yet so he doesn’t know.

And then another friend called me out for a late lunch and to bring me to her friend’s townhouse to check out what $15 million buys you in Manhattan. Amongst other things, a kitchen bigger than my apartment and a cool shaft where you send up and down wine.

Her: We’re wondering if we should put in a pool or sauna in the basement.
Me: Heck, do both. I’ll come over when it’s done.

Still another buddy has been texting me about all the stuff all of us are dealing with as we’re getting older. The texts culminated in this, which made me literally laugh out loud:

All of this woulda been fine except the kid – who normally sleeps like a brick – has been waking up in the middle of the night and needing a change. So I’ve been getting about four hours of sleep a night.

Plus I’ve been scrambling to have a sitter because both my regular and the Gymgirl are out. That means it’s just me and the kid, oftentimes.

Speaking of Gymgirl, spoke to her late the other night just to tie up some things. While that was great, for various reasons, it didn’t help the sleeping issues at all.

Man, I wish her every good thing.

As for me, I wish everything about my life were different. Every single goddamn thing.

Except the kid. He’s perfect. He’s my perfect little guy.

If only he’d sleep a little better.

Heck, if only I’d…

Location: Utopia Diner at 2PM
Mood: sleepless in the UWS
Music: We can change or part ways, and you take what you need
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Sewer

Massol Dental and My Mom

A little while ago, when Alison was in the ER for the umpteenth time, two buddies of mine showed up despite my telling them not to.

I think that most of my friends must have read that because my Facebook and email exploded after my last post with people wanting to meet up.

It was flattering but I told them all that I was busy with the kid, which is the truth.

But even then: Three people are swinging by while the kid’s asleep this week, another friend came by already, the ABFF told me she was stopping by as well, and this sweet girl – who’s also a pro-fighter – from my new gym wrote me this really upbeat message. Some of the mothers I know also boosted my ego as well:

Her: When you’re ready to date again, I have someone for you.
Me: This *just* happened!
Her: I didn’t even know you were dating again when you told me that you were exclusive with Gymgirl! Anyway, what are your thoughts on pharmacists?
Me: They give me drugs, what’s there not to like?

Of course, all this was balanced out by my mom:

Her: You’re single again?
Me: Yeah, it’ll be fine, I’ve been…
Her: Oh no! Can you function by yourself? What about the baby?
Me: Thanks, mom. (nodding slowly) That’s just what I needed right now.

Speaking of my mom, she sent this to my brother (in blue) recently, who sent it to me with a title: I’m. 46. Years. Old.

Told my brother that it doesn’t matter how big the kid gets, he’s always gonna be my little guy.

On that note, I had to scramble to find someone to take care of the kid while I went to the dentist for a final fix. Ending up having my cousin from the Cornell trip come by.

Me: Have you ever taken care of a kid while he’s being potty trained?
Her: (dismissively) I have two dogs. It’ll be fine.
Me: I literally have nothing to say about that.

The dentist is actually the wife of another friend of mine from the gym: Massol Dental, NYC. Honestly, it was the nicest dentist’s office I’d ever been to – much better than my usual dental joints. It felt kinda like a spa but with teeth drills.

She was amazingly nice and I probably spent way too much time pestering her for childrearing advice because she has sons, while most of the people from my daily life have daughters.

Me: I didn’t know parenting would be so gross.
Her: Oh, it’s gonna be gross for a long time.
Me: (nodding) OK, good to know.

Eventually, she got to the task at hand.

Me: You’re lovely, really, but I hate being here.
Dentist: We get that all the time. Open wide…
Assistant: (later) Do you want to hold these [foam stress relievers]? They’re for children but…
Me: (mouth numb, nodding) Sewer.
Her: Here you go.

I’m 45 in less than a week but I got a birthday cake today after all.

OK, my mom may have a point…

Location: earlier today, a plush leather dentist’s chair
Mood: amused
Music: you can’t get what you want, but you can get me
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What’s there to celebrate?

I’m dull and vicious again


This blog has always been about people entering and leaving my Venn Diagram. Although some the leavings have changed dramatically  – and horrifically – in the past few years.

Gymgirl’s dropped out of this story; there’s more but that’s her story to tell.

Friend: You seem more upset about it than others in the past.
Me: Well, it’s my birthday next week, and it was more abrupt and random than usual.
Her: You should be one to talk about leaving people abruptly and randomly.
Me: (shaking head) The truth is, it’s not so much that she left me – I get that – it’s that she left the boy. She’s the only one that met him. That’s what bothers me the most.

A lot’s going on in my life that I’m trying to get a handle on, least of which is that I’m turning 45 soon. It sounds so weird as I write it. Never thought I’d be single at 45, mainly because I was married and thought that was it for me.

I wanted it to be it for me.

But I’m going into 45 alone. Had a couplea people ask to do something and I’m honestly not sure. What’s there to celebrate?

Did see some friends over the weekend to watch the fights. And ate a lot more than I shoulda.

Him: How much chicken did you just eat?
Me: Clearly, not enough.

Probably drank a lot more than I should have as well.

Him: You should stop drinking.
Me: You’ve never said that to me in all our nights out before. So, I’ll stop.
Him: Good.

And I’m still me, as broken as ever.

Me: So what line of work are you in?
Her: I teach paddleboarding on the Hudson.
Me: (sighing) I have to sterilize everything you’ve touched now.
Her: (laughing) What? Why?
Me: Cooties, obviously.

Actually, it’s not true that I’m going into 45 alone. I have the kid. The kid’s enough. Dunno how anyone could ever leave that face.

Picked him up early from my mom on Sunday, despite little-to-no sleep, because I wanted to see that face so.

Me: Where we going?
Him: Home. Home. (smiles) [Gymgirl’s name]?
Me: (shaking head) No. It’s just you and me, kid. I’m sorry. We both really liked her, I know. Is it…is it ok if it’s just me again?
Him: Yesh. Yesh. (nods deeply then points at mouth) Eat. Eat.
Me: (laughing) That’s my boy. You and me against the world, right?
Him: Yesh. (touches my mouth) Eat.
Me: (nods)

Location: in front of a glass of rum and amaretto
Mood: dull and vicious
Music: the lovers and the lonely, start to whisper all about me
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Travelogue: Cornell University 2018, Day 2.5, 3.0

The food pic entry


Gymgirl and I were planning on eating dinner by ourselves the last night we were there but my cousins and their friends were all pretty easygoing and cool so we just ended up eating with them again.

Ras: No more buffets!
Me: I’m all about quantity over quality.

Alison was always into tapas – I never had any until she introduced me to them. By luck, everyone wanted to have that for dinner. So we went to Just a Taste, which was still packed with a 30 minute waiting list despite all the other restaurants being empty.

We figured that was a good sign.

Because Alison and I have had tapas so often, I did most of the ordering although some of her favourite dishes – Pan con Tomate and Croquetas de Jamón weren’t available.

But other things that she loved like Patatas Bravas were available so I ordered those plus we had two carafes of sangria for alla us.

Afterwards, Young and I started talking.

Him: I’m still hungry.
Me: We should get a sandwich for dessert.
Ras: You’re having meat for dessert?
Me: If we’re lucky!

We ended up going to a Jimmy Johns and ordering and splitting a Gargantuan.

The next day, we woke up, packed, and started heading back but not before having some Vietnamese food first.

Once again, I was so hungry that I didn’t take any pictures.

It was early when we got back. Ras and Young headed back to their pad and Gymgirl headed off to a family thingy.

That just left me alone in the empty apartment.

So I took out Alison and the kid’s picture and poured myself some rum.

Me: Just us again. So, what’d you think of Cornell?

Location: In front of a painting of Campari
Mood: missing my son and wife
Music: Tryin to raise a family is an empty home
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