Halloween 2019

Particular Street

I’d meant to post this a while ago but life kept getting in the way.

Do you remember that story that I told you about Alison taking one last October walk before she gave birth in 2015?

I accidentally found myself there with the boy, right before Halloween.

After I accepted being there – part of me wanted to just take the long way around – I told him all about how much Alison loved walking down it.

Him: (surprised) Mommy was here?
Me: Yup. She loved this street.

It was the first time I’d been there since just before he was born.

Handled it pretty well, I think, all things considered. Although the boy has a way with words that seem to cut me even though he doesn’t mean to.

Him: Will she come back in a 100 years?
Me: No. She won’t.
Him: Because she’s in heaven?
Me: If there is a heaven, you can bet she’s there.
Him: (thinking) Maybe she’s with your papa.
Me: (nodding, laughing) I would think so.

And the holidays begin…

Location: right near Central Park
Mood: sick?
Music: I have often walked down the street before
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You don’t have a soul…

…You are a soul

Four people I know – two acquaintances and two dear friends – lost their moms in the same number of weeks.

Rang the friend I’ve known the longest just recently to check in.

Bryson: I didn’t make it in time to see her. I was three goddamn hours away when I got the call. Because I know – because of what I’ve seen – I told them to do what they had to do with the body. I didn’t want to remember her that way.
Me: You don’t have to explain to me. You know, we don’t have souls. We *are* souls, we *have* bodies. You wanted to remember her soul – who she was to you – not her body. You made the right choice. If I could do it all over again…
Him: You should write that down. That was beautiful, thank you.
Me: It’s true. And true things are often beautiful. I’m sorry, brother. When I say, “I understand,” you know I do.
Him: Yeah, I know.

The boy’s been noticing that I’ve been sighing a lot.

Boy: Why do you (exhales sharply) so much?
Me: Because I think of your mama a lot these days. All the time, but more than usual these days.
Him: I miss her.
Me: Me too. But she gave me you and that makes it all a little better.
Him: I love mommy. To the moon and back.
Me: (sighing) Me too.
Him: You did it again.
Me: (nodding slightly) So I did. (boy leans over and hugs me)

Made me realize how lucky I am to still be able to ring up my mom at will so I did and told her I was going to see her this weekend.

Her: How about Sunday?
Me: That’s perfect.

As for my friend Bryson, told him I’d be there with rum any time he wanted.

Me: The kid’s away this weekend so if you’ve got time, I’m there.
Him: Thanks. I gotta clear up a few things but yeah. You know, we’ve known each other 30 years?
Me: Now you’re just being mean. (laughing) On a related-ish note, I lost 20 pounds! I’m so damn gorgeous now, if I were gay, I’d date myself.
Him: (laughs)
Me: I’ll see you soon, brother.
Him: See you soon, brother.

Right after I wrote this, I found out that Kirk Akahoshi passed away from stage four pancreatic cancer. He leaves behind a young wife named Jacki.

I know exactly what Jacki’s going through right now and I don’t envy her one bit.

It never goes away, that feeling of loss, helplessness, and anger.

It’s a horror and it’s all shit.

May she weather it the best she can. I hope she’s surrounded by good souls.

Here’s more of their story.

Location: the basement of my brain, again
Mood: gutted
Music: I will love you till my dying day
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Comic Con NYC 2019: We could rule the world

I’m your huckleberry

Hawk: Got two NYCC Sunday badges. On the arm.
Me: I’m your huckleberry.

Wasn’t planning on going to this year’s ComicCon but Hawk offered so I went. Funny, my life was so different the first time I went. And so different yet again the second time.

This time, I went by my lonesome, although I met up with some friends like Hawk and Cable there.

Also met up with my friend Jerry there, who’s been a comic book fan and artist for years.

Me: I’m not gonna lie to you; you look beat.
Him: Dude, I am exhausted. This is day five for me.
Me: I’ve been here an hour and *I’m* exhausted.

I particularly like this tee-shirt of his and if you like it too, buy one or a dozen and support my buddy.

Afterward, I started to walk over to the Hudson Yards just to clear my head from the cacophony of ComicCom.

But I decided against it halfway there and hopped a train heading home. Got there right before the littlest roommate I’ve ever had showed up as well.

Him: Mr. Papa!
Me: (laughing) Oh…we could rule the world, you and I…

Location: chatting with Princess Leia an hour ago
Mood: busy
Music: nothing is lost and we’ll always know

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Straight up…up

A fella can dream

Boy: Are you ok, daddy?
Me: Yes. I got lost in my head again is all.
Him: (nodding) OK, papa.

After a lotta soul-searching and talking to the mother-in-law, I set the kid up to take an IQ test for a specialized school here.

We met the tester in his office just off Columbus Circle, not far at all from where I got my ACL diagnosis. The tester was an older fella and sat the kid at a little table with alla these 3d plastic/wooden shapes on it.

He asked I would leave the room and sit outside. Was worried because the kid doesn’t do well with strangers, especially men. But he was cool.

Me: Papa’s right outside, ok?
Him: (nodding) OK, daddy.

And I paced in the waiting room. Cause that’s what I do.

30 minutes later, the boy opened the door with a big smile and said, “Come in, papa!”

The tester said I wouldn’t be given the results for a while but I was happy because both he and the kid seemed to be in good spirits.

The boy and I walked outside to the hallway and something about the door sign seemed familiar. That’s when I realized that it was the same medical center that Alison went for health problems before the cancer.

We were standing in the same hallway as she did once a month for years.

That took my breath away. Like alla these unexpected blows. And I struggled to keep my composure as we traveled home.

It was my father’s birthday this week, you see. And this was yet another sad something to think about.

Problem is, I can never stop thinking things. As I made dinner, I dropped two dishes and spilled his milk.

Afterward, I sat at my computer while the kid watched TV. There was a long message there from Mouse.

She was just telling me about this crazy solo trip she decided to take this month and finished with some unexpected kindness.

Swear, she reads my mind, sometimes. I didn’t know what to write back so I just dashed off something short and innocuous.

But I felt better. After all, somewhere, on the other side of the world, there’s this pretty girlie I was thinking of, who thought of me.

Anywho, everything’s a seesaw of emotions these days. Then again, I suppose up and down is better than just down.

Maybe someday, we’ll just get straight up…up.

A fella can dream, yeah?

Location: 3PMish, on a bus heading to Columbus Circle
Mood: conflicted
Music: don’t know what, I’ve got myself into

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My greatest award

And we sang…


Her: Logan – your son just read an email on my phone!
Me: Oh. Yeah. He reads.
Her: You need to get him tested!
Me: (slowly nodding) So I’ve been told

When he was two, I used to brag to all the other parents that he could read a word or two.

Now, I rarely mention it because that’s not what I want him to be known as; as someone different and odd.

But he has another characteristic that I am glad that people notice:

Another mother: I’m sending you these pics because he’s SUCH a happy boy!
Me: These are great, thank you!
Her: It’s such a joy hearing his laugh.

Gotta say, I wasn’t prepared for him to be able to read or do math this early. But I think I was more prepared for that than…how happy this kid is.

Man, lemme tell you, if you’re on the Upper West Side and you hear a kid laughing loudly and singing, “Joy to the world” on the top of his lungs, that’s my kid.

That’s nuts because – man – you don’t know the house of horrors this kid grew up in.

Take all your fears for the one you love the most in the world and imagine those fears come true. That was our life for years.

Fucking. Years.

If I’m proud of anything, I’m proud at my ability – and that of my mother-in-law – to hide alla the horror in our lives from him.

We should get a goddamn Oscar.

Swear, I could be fly like DeNiro and kill like Pacino. At least in one acting gig. But, at some point, you do gotta break character.

Him: Are you ok, papa?
Me: (quickly wiping eyes) Of course I am. Don’t be silly. I just … got lost in my head for a bit.
Him: (laughing) You can’t get lost in your head!
Me: (sighing) You’d be surprised, kid. (brightening) You’d be surprised.

Still, the fact that he’s as happy as he is, is my absolute proudest achievement, above and beyond any award or prize I’ve ever earned or could earn.

If he’s a happy, healthy, and productive toddler/boy/teen/young adult/man, then I did my job.

The guard dies, contently, knowing that he did his job.

Me: What do you want to eat?
Him: Can I have ice cream?
Me: That’s a lotta carbs but you were good today. Ok, you’ll get it if you do two things for me. First is tell me what time it is.
Him: (looking at clock) It’s 5:55.
Me: How many minutes until 6PM?
Him: Five!
Me: Yes! OK, second – sing me the chorus to Coachella.
Him: (laughs, sings) “In your head it’s Coachella every weekend…” 

Location: in my head, dreaming of lost chances, Coachella, and my possible pasts again
Mood: hopeful
Music: I miss the way that you laughed with me

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It’s terribly lonely

So different from everyone else

I’m doing only a little work these days and yet it still manages to overwhelm me at times. Whatever work I do has to be interesting and challenging enough to keep me engaged for something more than just a paycheck.

Of course, it’s nice to talk to adults from time-to-time. Well, nice for me at least….

Me: …so that was the Battle of Vienna. It’s the reason why Europe’s Christian and not Muslim and is also a great example of how, when you lose your primary weapon – in this case, cannons – it’s better to bail than pour good assets after bad. Which is my point.
Him: Honestly, how do you know all this ____?
Me: (shrugging) We’re all given 24 hours to spend. It’s how you spend it that makes us different. For me, the choice is between self-improvement and mental masturbation.
Him: (laughing) You roll around on the ground with sweaty dudes all day, I’m not sure you should be one to talk about mental masturbation.
Me: I don’t like to run or lift weights. Wrestling’s the most economical way, in terms of raw time, for me to be physically fit.
Him: You’re the strangest dude I’ve ever met.
Me: Mission accomplished, then.

Went out to NJ this past Saturday and met up with an ex again.

Afterward, I went to a birthday party for a gym friend but rang up Mouse ahead of time.

Me: Free for a drink beforehand?
Her: (pause) Sure.

We ended up showing up late and leaving late.

There’s more to alla that, but that’s all I wanna share right now.

Life surprises me, almost always in ways I don’t like. Still, the occasional nice surprise happens here and there.

The boy, meanwhile, is always surprising me. Suppose time will tell if they’re ultimately good or bad.

Teacher: (in Irish accent) Mr. Lo, I have to tell you: In 11 years of teaching, I’ve never had a three-year old student read before and certainly, nothing like your son does. Every book I pulled out – even up to third grade level – he could read. I honestly don’t know what to do because he’s so far ahead of any child I’ve ever seen.
Me: He must take after his mom.
Her: Your son should be in the gifted and talented program. We may have to send him to another grade for reading.
Me: (shaking head) I don’t want that. I don’t want that for him.
Her: Why?
Me: Because…because it’s lonely. (long pause) It’s terribly lonely to be so different. I know it too well. (agitated) I don’t want that for him. To be so different from everyone else.
Her: (gently) You might not have a choice, Mr. Lo.

Solitary trees grow strong. But only if they grow.

Location: the pit of my brain
Mood: worried
Music: 11 minutes away and I have missed you all day

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In the hospital again

No one else

Him: My tummy hurts. (cries)

My Labor Day began with a massive scare. Without getting into details, something happened that made my heart leap to my throat.

Me: Are you ok?
Him: No. (shakes head) No.

My pediatrician actually just closed her office so I couldn’t call her. Instead, I rang up my brother, who told me to take him to the ER in the morning, and another pediatrician buddy – Bryson’s wife – who told me:

Her: It’s probably nothing. (pause) But it could be intussusception – telescoping of gut. This has to be ruled out. I would bring him to the ER. Right now.

With two doctors telling me to get to the hospital, I was out the door in a shot. Or, I tried to, at the very least.

Him: No! I don’t feel well. I want to stay home.

I had never wanted to have another human being with me so much as that moment – with the exception of the last time I went to the ER with him.

With that, I ran about the house like a madman – getting him dressed, grabbing a car seat, etc. I think I tripped at least twice.

With one hand holding a baby car seat and my phone, and the other holding him, I stood on the corner of my block at midnight (I think) waiting for a stranger to bring us to the only hospital north of 42nd Street that I’ve not yet been to.

The boy, by his lonesome. He was a bit frightened.

After waiting hours, we were finally seen and cleared.

Doctor: We could run some more tests if you want, but I’m fairly certain it’s something viral that will pass his system at some point. It might take a while, but as long as you keep him hydrated and keep an eye on him, he should be fine.
Me: (relieved) Thanks, doc.
Him: Thanks, doc!!

I do note that he was a big hit with the nurses. He sang Love yourself to them.

Blue-Eyed Nurse: OMG, he’s made our night!

Then they finally let us go. And the experience made me feel relieved and yet terribly sad and lonely for reasons too complex for me to get into.

I think I stared at him the entire ride down.

Before we left, someone wished us good luck.

Me: I don’t…I don’t have the kind of luck that people want.
Green-Eyed Nurse: I don’t know anything about that, Mr. Lo. (gently) But he’s not you. He’s your little boy but he’s not you. He’ll be ok.
Me: (nodding) Thank you.
Her: I know about his mother. (pause) Is there anyo…
Me: No. (shaking head) It’s just me and him.

Location: The other night, 168th Street and Broadway
Mood: heartbroken
Music: I didn’t want anyone thinking I still care

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Afraid of the dark

Landslides take us down

Me: I forgot the anniversary of dad’s death.
Brother: I forgot too – until you brought it up.
Me: I feel guilty about that. I feel guilty about everything.

It was the anniversary of my dad’s death this past weekend. I actually went on a hike in Long Island to clear my head that day and somehow forgot it.

It’s a terrible thing, but when you lose someone you love that deeply, you can’t really think of them. You do everything in your power not to think of them.

And yet, late at night, I do. I don’t wanna. Because that gnawing anger and sense of loss is too much to bear and that’s when the insomnia creeps back in.

Two friends from the gym each gave me something to help me forget and sleep, and each worked for a while. But I ran out of one and the other ran out on me. And I’m left with … me.

I get how people become alcoholics or drug addicts. Pain is a difficult thing to bear in prolonged capacity. You blunt it however you can.

Used to be afraid of the dark because I thought I might not be alone when the lights were off.

Now I’m afraid of the dark because I am alone when the lights are off.

Ain’t that a kick in the head?

At least, though, you can scream out, “What the fuck?!” as loudly and as often as you want.

So there’s that.

Him: Why? He would never want to you to feel guilty about that. He’d want you to remember how he lived. Not how he died.

Wonder if my son will think I’m a good dad. Hope so.

Didn’t realize how much my dad musta wanted everything for us and how much it musta killed him that he couldn’t get us much when we were kids.

But he loved us. That was enough. Love’s enough, sometimes.

I get that now.

I get a lotta things now. The past few years have been a landslide of things I didn’t wanna know but now know.

The thing is, landslides take us down and bury us if we’re not careful.

So I struggle for breath.

It’s been over eight years of death, loss, and pain. And I still struggle for breath.

Location: chatting with a new friend on an orange chair
Mood: WTF
Music: Can I handle the seasons of my life?

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The 9th Step

I think that’s who you really are

Me: You met me at a strange and awful time in my life.
Her: You keep saying that.
Me: In some ways you never met me. Who I actually am. You only ever met me all f____d-up.

Alcoholics Anonymous has a 12-Step program where Step 9 is apologizing to all the people that you’ve wronged.

In some ways, since the 4th of July, I’ve been trying to do something like that.

People that grow up with zero friends seem to fall into two camps: The ones that learn to do ok by themselves or the ones desperate for companionship.

I’m definitely  more the former than latter. All the times that I said that I set Alison apart, the obvious question is how did I treat everyone else?

For better or worse, most people I’ve met in life were/are disposable.

There’s something about being social and glib that there’s always another interaction around the way, another new relationship just with a wink and a smile.

I’m better than most at shallow relationships; slightly more than half of the people I dated between 33 and 35 are still on good terms with me.

After Alison died, I went into full pickup mode and met a number of women. A total of zero are friendly with me. Well, one still kinda talks to me.

Don’t remember much of that time except the pain, guilt, and insomnia. Everything hurt. Everything was agony. Women and alcohol were a great salve. But somewhere along the line, I think I was just awful to everyone.

It’s hard to be nice to people when you’re in agony. And I hid it so well that I suppose that people kinda forgot that I was clinging onto life.

It sounds like I’m making excuses for myself and perhaps I am, to an extent, but I’m also just trying to let you know maybe why I was as I was.

I contacted about six people, including my brother and sister-in-law whom I stopped interacting with for various reasons; only my brother and sister-in-law responded.

Well, they responded and so did Mouse. But not the way I’d hoped.

Mouse: No. (shakes head) I think that’s who you really are, Logan.

Location: home, alone with the boy
Mood: thoughtful
Music: I need direction to perfection, no no no no, help me out

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It’s gonna be ok

Suddenly, everything’s different

Him: Another drink?
Me: Thanks, but I can’t. Got an early morning tomorrow.
Him: I thought the kid was away.
Me: He is. I’m in court tomorrow morning.

Sorry for the lack of posts.

Took on some work a little while ago and it all came to a head this past week regarding three court cases; and I’m only a lawyer in one of them. In the other, I wear my other professional hat, and in yet another, I’m the petitioner, representing myself.

Been almost five years since I was last in court.

Submitted my legal memorandum to one client this past Wednesday after working on it for several months. Then, that same day, met up with another client in court downtown and happened to have my own case in the same courtroom with the same judge.

Turns out that there were several errors in my paperwork – not in any of the others. I suppose, when you’re your own lawyer, you’re less exacting.

That’s what I tell myself.

Guessing that the weight of what was going on must have shown on my face. Cause this stern judge admonished me for the errors and then looked at my ashen face and brightened a bit (only a bit) and said, “It’ll be ok, counselor. It’s gonna be ok.”

Then he signed my OSC and suddenly a lot of things were different in my life. And different for the boy. All with the stroke of a pen.

The judge also signed an order for my client, who’s also a good friend of mine. The path of his life just changed along with mine. And we walked out of the courtroom different men than the ones who walked in a few hours earlier.

Buddy: Thanks, I’m not sure I woulda done this if you didn’t help.
Me: Well, I wouldn’t have done it if you didn’t do it, so…same. Thanks.

Afterward, we met up with my buddy Pac…and Mouse, for some Vietnamese food.

Me: (getting up) Can we talk for a sec?
Mouse: (hesitates) OK.
Me: (privately) Thanks for coming. It really means a lot to me.
Her: I didn’t come just for you, they’re my friends too.
Me: I know. (nodding) I’m still glad you came.

Afterward…

Pac: Is lunch on you, Logan?
Me: (thinking) Well, considering the three of you are the only people I consider that I actually mentor, sure.
Him: I was only kidding!
Me: It’s fine. (taking out wallet) I want to do it.

The picture way above is with my buddy from around the way. He’s a writer and he and I talked about the craft. It felt almost normal.

And the drink was in the hotel I once stayed at with Alison when it was called Nylo but it’s now The Arthouse Hotel.

Everything changes around here. Sometimes I hate that. Sometimes, that’s for the best.

Suppose time will tell which is which with this massive change I made in our lives.

Location: home, telling someone that I’m sorry
Mood: hopeful
Music: more than worth it

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