On the flip side, as I see things more clearly, I miss the boy all that much more.
Oh, he graduated this week from Pre4K! It was far more emotional for me than I’d expected.
Which, I suppose, I should’ve expected.
Son: Will you come see me? I miss you. Me: Then I’ll see you soon. I just can’t rent a car right now. Him: You could take a train. Or get a ride with Auntie. I know! You could take a bus. Me: (laughing) Don’t worry, I’ll get to you. Papa’ll find a way.
Oh, Chad and I have a new Scenic Fights Video up – this time, Chad’s breaking down the Jiu Jitsu in Donnie Yen’s Special ID.
I counted the days. Alison lived exactly 13,893 days. HALF of what she was promised. What we were promised. The inequity makes my blood boil.
Alison and George are gone now, for no good reason whatsoever. So, I understand the rage.
But there’s another facet to the rage. And that’s the debt.
In 1847 – after the Trail of Tears – the Choctaw heard about the starving Irish during their potato famine and somehow, managed to scrape together and send $170 (about $5,000 today) to help these people strangers.
For every bit of inequity – where one isn’t given what one’s owed – there’s a flip side. There’s grace; that’s when you’re given something you didn’t earn.
When Alison was sick, the grace I saw, humbled me. To those people that helped us, my family owes them a debt. That’s it.
I think I hold a special place of contempt in my heart for those in mixed-race relationships – particularly white male and Asian female relationships – where the white male doesn’t realize the debt he owes the African-American community.
Like the the officer that murdered Mr. Floyd, who is married to a Laotian woman.
That officer doesn’t realize the debt his family owes to the black community, that was regularly lynched for just looking at a white woman, and had to go to court to gain us all the right to marry any one of any race we wanted.
I was able to legally marry Alison because a white man named Loving – of all things – wanted to marry a black woman, named Mildred. My family would not exist but for Mildred and Loving. The debt every interracial couple owes to them cannot be overstated.
If you’re white and in a mixed-race relationship and you don’t feel any rage over what happened to Mr. Floyd and don’t recognize the debt you owe to that community then I gotta point it out to you now.
You’ll be seeing my coach Chad in this blog a lot while we’re on lockdown for two simple reasons: (1) We’re both totally alone, and (2) we both miss doing what we do.
Him: I’m 180 right now. Me: I’m 155, but I’ve definitely traded muscle for fat. Do you wanna come over and roll? I’m dying to roll. Plus, I’m 99.9% sure that I can’t give you COVID. No promises though. Him: (thinking) Let’s do it.
Honestly, having the COVID antibodies is maxing out my social card in really unexpected ways. I digress.
He’s easing into actual and virtual privates and cut me an amazeball deal for the first couple of lessons since I’m his first private student post pandemic.
It’s always good to be first.
I went down via the Hudson River Greenway to get him a helmet and sunglasses so he could rent a Citibike.
He’d never done it before. While we were getting his bike, Chad turned around.
Him: Hey, look!
It was an old gym buddy of ours that was just jogging to get a workout in. We chatted for a bit before we headed up to my pad.
It was a beautiful day and he’d never ridden a bike in the city before so I led the way and showed him a few sights too. Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.
Him: Man, that was awesome.
Once we got in, we got cleaned up and I laid out the mats. They’re the kid’s mats but he’s not here and we’re pretty desperate.
As soon as they were down, Chad immediately got down on them and started rolling around.
I had to laugh. Like I told him, in a world where bullshit is the norm, the truth is refreshing; he was like a kid in a candy store. He’d not been on a mat in almost two months.
Me: You’re like Aquaman back in the water for the first time in months. Him: (rolling upside-down) Oh man, this feels so good.
We rolled for only a little bit; maybe just over an hour? My knee was bothering, as usual, and I easily ran out of breath.
Me: While I’m cooking, can you clean the mats? You know what a germaphobe I am. Him: No problem.
We then devoured two large bowls (each) of pasta. Afterward, I lent him a bike to head back down so he didn’t have to rent another Citibike.
Me: We’ll do this again when the weather’s good? Him: For sure.
It’s not our normal routine but, it’s something.
I suppose right now, “it’s something,” is a far better than a whole lotta nuthin.
Me: Man, I’m glad we did this; I was gonna be a chubster for sure. Not that anyone would see it. Him: Yeah, but still, this is great.
Chad Andrew Vaźquez and I have gotten some feedback about our training – from people concerned about our safety and those around us, which we appreciate – and I wanted to address it.
Yes, we understand that my having the antibodies is not dispositive that I’m immune, but it’s a calculated risk and one that the country is currently relying on since a vaccine isn’t ready for at least a year. Yet all states – including NY and CA – are slowly opening again.
In for a penny, in for a pound, I say: Either having the antibodies confers *some* safety, so we open things up carefully, or they don’t, and we stay in lockdown.
Chad and I are picking what the (reasonable) leaders are picking.
Note that he’s *only* actually rolling with me, as I’ve documented antibodies, and offering virtual privates (via video) to others. Neither he nor I are around any high-risk groups and we continue with the standard social distancing protocols out there.
Random Girl: You threw her a birthday party? You’re such a good guy! Me: (shaking head) Nah, it’s a less the quality of my character, and much more the quality of hers. Anywho, that’s her story, not yours. What’s your name again?
We all stayed for a bit longer but I ended up trying to avoid several people that night, for various reasons.
Which, let’s be honest, sounds about right.
Him: Logan! You gotta stop drinking, or you’re going to do something you’re going to regret. Me: With them? (shaking head) They’re not the women you should be worried about with me. Him: All the more reason to stop. (stepping away) I’m getting you some water. Me: Yeah. (nodding, sliding into seat) That’s probably a good idea. Yeah…
There was one woman I spoke to that night who wasn’t a rando, though, and it was the most interesting conversation I had that night.
She was actually the wife of a friend and she asked me some questions about my past; turns out that she (kinda) knew me before I became the me you know
You see, she knew me when I drank with the Devil. But that’s a story for another time.
Her: Holy s__t! I was there that night! I must have met you! Me: (laughing) I was the grey man. Very few people actually knew or met me, which is how I liked it. Her: (later) Do you remember B? And C? Man, I had such a crush on B! Me: (laughing) Haven’t heard that name in decades. C called his group, Jade after a chick – well, Jade was my girlfriend. But she was a lifetime ago. It was all a lifetime ago. (shaking head) I’m not that person anymore. Not even a little bit. (looking around club) OK, maybe a little bit…
That couple went home – but not before handing me some red envelopes – and I sat down at our tables with my thoughts about all my possible pasts.
Shoot, I also need to thank my cousin Ras and her husband Kit – they gave me a red envelope for my son as well. More on that in a future entry.
Anywho, everyone slowly left, one-by-one.
Him: I gotta go. You should go home, too. Me: Can’t. Him: Why not? Me: (shrugging) Because I won’t leave Mouse alone on her birthday if she wants to keep hanging out. Him: We’re all too old for this. She’stoo old for this, now. Me: (laughing) Well, me for sure. Look, I gotta make sure she gets home ok. Him: She’s not your responsibility. Me: (shrugging) She is tonight.
Afterward, Mouse and a handful of friends went to the hookah bar next door. The one with the weird bathrooms.
Her: We are at hooks place.
Hadn’t done anything like that since my dad passed of lung cancer, but I knew she enjoyed it so I went.
I made the waiter laugh and told him it was her birthday so he comped us a plate of fries.
Him: You’re funny. Me: My life’s nuthin if not one tremendous f_____g joke, man. I’m gonna need some water. And some complex carbohydrates.
It was well past 2AM when we finally left. It was just Mouse and me at the end.
Mouse: Thanks for doing that. Everything. Even the hooka bar; I know how against that you are what with your dad and all. Me: Of course. It was your night. You get anything you want, if it’s in my ability. You deserve it. Her: My friends were impressed. Me: Well, win for me, then. So, what now?
There’s more but that’s between her and me.
I did everything I intended to do and more – both for her and Chad. That felt good.
The night went exactly as I had hoped it would. Better even, actually. They both left for home with huge smiles on their faces.
Like I said, if anyone deserved it, it was the two of them. Each for their own special reasons. We pick the people we choose to care about, for reasons none of us can fully articulate, but that we all innately understand.
Chad and I spoke the next day.
Him: I just wanted to say thanks for doing that. I had a great time. Me: Good. That’s all I wanted.
My reward for alla this? Slept like the dead for 13 glorious, uninterrupted hours.
While Mouse was off doing her own thing, Pac and I decided to explore the island. The first thing we did was hit up the local KFC. Of course.
Me: Should we get a large order of fried chicken and then hit up the Greek place next door for a gyro? Him: I didn’t come to the Bahamas for Greek food. Me: We didn’t come here for KFC either!
Afterward, I went to the local supermarket for some fruit and soda.
Me: Do you want some oranges? Him: I can’t think of food. I’m too stuffed. Me: You’ll regret this later.
We met up with Mouse and some other people for dinner and drinks.
The next day, Pac and I went out again to try another fish fry, this time, right under the bridge.
Waitress: Do you each want a fish or split one? Me: I’m not… Him: (interrupting) We each want one. Me: There you go.
Me: God, I’m so full, that was huge. Him: We shoulda done this the first day.
The next day was the wedding itself.
The weather was just perfect. I’d tell you more but that part is their story, not mine.
Afterward, came the party.
Romance was in the air.
The next day, Mouse took me out for some all-you-can-eat.
Me: How is it? Worth it? Pac: Worth it. They have oxtail and mutton curry.
And then it was time to go home.
Pac: I’m ready to go home, have a green smoothie, and make out with my girl. Me: I just wanna see my kid. Him: What should I get her? Chocolate and wine? Mouse: No girl is gonna be upset getting chocolate and wine. Me: Good to know…
Fast forward to now, I can’t bring myself to talk to the kid in any other way than the way I normally talk. But I’m realizing how odd I must sound to other people.
Me: How’s your sandwich? Son: It’s lovely, papa.
My buddy Spak has made fun of a few phrases I use, but – oddly – the ones that he points out the most are the ones from Alison.
Me: We’re late, let’s get crack-a-lacking, Lo! Son: Let’s get crack-a-lacking!
Mouse has noticed it too.
Her: How was your day? Him: It was amazeballs!
But it makes me happy to hear the words that Alison used coming out of his mouth. I can’t help but smile when I hear him say them. I want, so much, for him to have her influence in his life, somehow.
Of course, there are things he says that are exclusively mine.
Me: Do you wanna have a bubble bath? Him: Sure! Me: (later) How high are the bubbles? Him: (runs to the bathroom, runs back) It’s so high! It’s cray, daddy! It’s cray-cray!
Some of the things he says to the world are so hilarious that I can’t help but think he’s brilliant, even if it’s just a typical dad thinking typical things of his typical son.
Uncle: Are you watching TV? Son: It’s on but we’re not watching it. Uncle: Then what are you doing? Son: Just talking Uncle: Oh nice. What are you talking about? Son: Nothing. Uncle: You’re not talking about anything? Son: No. WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT SAVING THE WORLD!!
God, I hope he has friends growing up and I’m not screwing him up too much.
As an aside, he also runs cray hot – dammit, I have to stop using that word – like me. This is him when it was 40 degrees out. He flat out refused to wear his jacket, hat, or gloves.
Mouse and I met up with Bryson in midtown the other night.
Me: We’ll go where ever your little heart desires, my friend. Of course, dinner is on me. Up to $4.23. I’m not super generous. Him: Let’s let Mouse decide. If we do sushi it will be at a place that serves Nakaoche. Otherwise, how about The Meatball Shop? Me: Fair. Hold on. (checking with Mouse, then back to Bryson) She said the better place to get snockered. Him: The Meatball Shop it is.
We met up at around 8PM and ate a ton. But really, we drank most of our calories that night.
Him: Are you enjoying your girlie drink? Her: He’d prefer to have an umbrella in it. Me: Wait, is that an option?
And we talked about old times and old friends. It was nice having Mouse there to have someone hear our old stories.
Me: We used to be toe-to-toe once. You’re one of the few people that’s seen who I once was. Him: (laughing) That was a long time ago, Logan. I’m way ahead of you now. Me: I know, I resent it.
He and my buddy Steele came together to see my dad to learn sushi-making before he passed. It meant a lot to me that it was the two of them.
That’s the thing with friends; they’re the living milestones to your life.
Him: Did Logan tell you about the time he crashed at my – all black – fraternity because he was hiding from his ex-girlfriend? Me: Oh no…
Then he paid for the tab when we weren’t looking. (!!)
Me: Don’t make me look like a jerkface mcgee in front of Mouse. Him: Now, why would I do that?
So we paid for the tip and put him into an Uber home.
The next day…
Me: Man, my liver hates you. Haven’t done something like that in over a year.
We all end up on our knees at some point in our lives and it’s our friends and family that pick us up.
When Alison was sick, I was on the phone constantly with him and his wife.
Like I said, some people in your life are seasons and others seem like they’ve always been there.
Me: Are you ok? Him: Good and bad. You know. Me: (nodding) I know.