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.
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.
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.
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.
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…”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.