My buddy Pac convinced me to compete in a grappling match the other day. And I convinced Mouse to do it with me.
Mouse: I haven’t been to the gym in three months – or trained in anything at all. Plus I have an exam the day before. Me: Gotcha. Her: Oh, I’ll still do it. I just can’t prep for it. Keep your expectations low.
She ended up passing her exam on Saturday and came by immediately afterward.
Her: I didn’t even bring any clothes to compete in. Me: You have your top and you can wear a pair of my leggings. Her: Well, I guess I’m doing this then.
Unfortunately, both she and I were overweight for the competition: Me by three pounds, she by five. Lots of people gave me lots of advice about losing weight but I’ve been on a diet since I was 14. So I ignored all of them and did my own thing.
Me: Do wanna have a porterhouse steak with butter? Her: Should we? Me: Probably not, but I’m doing it. Her: OK, I’ll have one too.
Fast forward to this past Sunday. I, unfortunately, had a completely sleepless night the night before and was going to bail but since Mouse was going, I decided to just do my best.
Plus, she and I both ended up losing seven pounds so that I was underweight by four pounds and she was under by two. (!)
My coach and my cousin, Ras, both came to support us.
Me: God, I can’t stop thinking about everything I’m gonna eat after this is over.
I think I went in with the wrong intent:Essentially, I got onto the mat thinking, “OK, don’t get hurt.” The other guy came to win.
He told me afterward that he had a lot of experience competing and it showed – while I struggled to understand what my coach was trying to tell me, he was a machine, instantly doing everything his coach was telling him to do on the side.
I was doing ok for most of it but ended up having to choose between getting my ankle broken or surrendering at three minutes and 58 seconds. Chose the latter.
Other guy: (afterward) I was wasn’t expecting you to jump guard like that! Me: (laughing) I wasn’t expecting you to be able to break out of it like that.
That’s my story.
Mouse ended up winning all FOUR of her matches and taking home the gold. And she won all four matches by submission no less – that’s like winning four times in a row by knockout. It was an amazing thing to watch.
Coach: Damn, she’s a beast! Logan missed the whole thing! Me: I’m standing right here! Him: (turns to see me, laughs) Oh, I didn’t… Me: Don’t worry about it, I was as engrossed as you were.
Mouse literally walked onto the mat with zeropreparation – and spent the last week with her nose buried in study material – yet still took the gold from three other women who probably trained for months.
It was super impressive. Most of it, anywho.
Her: I’m gonna throw up.
As for me, everything went exactly as I planned for most of it; I followed my plan. The other guy was just better and put me in something I couldn’t escape.
Pac: You did the right thing, you know. If you didn’t know the escape, that means a broken ankle. Me: I know. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t think to review that particular sequence. Him: Well, now you know for next time. Me: (laughing) Next time?
I forgot to tell you how Pac convinced me to do it. He told me to do it for the kid.
Him: You want him to know that his parents weren’t afraid of anything. And that they always tried – win, lose, or draw. You want him to know that you always tried. Me: Dammit. You’re right. Fine, I’ll do it.
Wish I brought home the win, but I came back uninjured and generally happy for my coach and Mouse.
I did what I want him to always do, I tried. Just like the people I chose to hang around do, like Mouse. Just like his mama always did.
Boy: Will you read to me? Me: Papa’s tired. I…you know what? Sure. (he hands me a book) Ah, Pigs Make Me Sneeze! Him: (laughing) Pigs can’t make you sneeze! Me: It’s a mystery – let’s find out.
Location: Last Sunday, uptown eating a ton of fried chicken and then icing my ankle
Music: Guard your grill, knuckle up Subscribe! Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.
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.
Me: If, one day, you find out something horrible about me, I hope that you’ll remember that I was a good friend to you. Him: How bad? Me: Not murder or rape bad. But bad. I never said I was a good person. I like to think that I’m a good friend, though.
My friends wonder why I keep certain people in my life. I suppose it’s because – despite their faults – they’ve always been good and loyal to me. For the most part.
Told this to one of the people I mentor. Because, I think, he holds me in high esteem. And that worries me. Cause I’ve made so many mistakes in my life.
For example, Charlie Chaplin entered into a Charlie Chaplin look-a-like competition. He came in 20th place. Same with the rest of them – you can click the links to read their stories.
There’s this line from Elton John’s Rocketman that goes, “I’m not the man you think I am at home.” That’s kinda how I look at myself these days.
You see, I realized that Mouse saw the worst parts of me and still stuck around for over 18 months. Spoke to her about it recently:
Me: Why did you stay so long? Her: I was hoping. Then I stopped hoping.
It’s almost like I’m waking up from a nightmare and realized how crazy everything made me. How crazy I was.
Mouse sees me as this terrible version of myself and I can’t really blame her because – at best – I was a poor imitation of myself, of who I thought I was. At worst, I was exactly who she thought I was.
But maybe I can be better. I’d like to be better.
Fucking cancer took so much from me. Even my own sense of self.
I’d like to be the best version of myself again. For Mouse, for myself, for the boy.
I suppose, even if I come in 20th, at least that’ll be closer to who I thought I was versus who I actually was after everything went to hell.
Him: You’re the strongest guy I know, Logan. Me: Sheyeah, I’m a goddamn rock. (shaking head) I’m not sure if you’re saying that seriously or not. Him: I’m dead serious. I dunno many people that coulda gone through what you went through and be ok. Me: That’s the thing: Am I OK? I think I am now, but I’m not sure. And that’s what’s scary.
I’m always surprised who reads my blog. But I’m realizing that people don’t fully know that these entries tend to lag my real life.
Mouse and I are seeing each other regularly but things are still decidedly complicated.
Which leads to this conversation, as my buddy thought I was upset with her:
Pac: Mouse is coming. Don’t be a b___h. Me: What am I, nine? It’s fine. Plus, you know I always like to see her.
We were heading out to crash an acquaintance’s birthday party. He had it at the Bohemian Beer Garden – which I last went to almost exactly a dozen years ago with two friends, one of whom I’ll tell you about below.
Bought two pitchers of beer for $40. You don’t get that in Manhattan.
I should go there every dozen years or so. It’s a fun time.
Afterward, we stopped by the SVL Bar for some killer Greek food because we were in Astoria, which is known for it’s Greek food.
Cashier: Do you eat a lot? Me: Uh, yeah. Her: Then you should get the party platter. Me: Done. (later) It’s on me, fellas. Just eat.
Then we went to another bar where Mouse bought drinks for us and we saw the Shevchenko vs Carmouche fight.
It was midnight when we called it.
Me: Are you coming by mine afterward for a drink? Her: (thinking) Yes. Me: You know I’m crazy about you and I’m gonna make a pass at you, right? Her: Yes. Me: OK.
I met Kirk Akahoshi in real life and on LiveJournal ages ago, when he was still Captain Redstar.
He’s the fella in the black. He’s younger than me. I was…33/34 in that pic?
He moved out to Cali a while ago, started a business, met a nice girlie, and got hitched.
Exactly 37 minutes after Mouse asked me to come downtown, I found myself shaking hands with her boss. Mouse whispered in my ear:
Her: She’s one year younger than you. Me: (nodding slowly) Great…
She ordered me an Old Fashioned and I barely got to start it when her coworker pulled me aside and we went outside to chat.
Coworker: You know, she really cares about you. Me: The feeling’s mutual. She’s just super mad at me. Justifiably so, to a good extent. Her: She is super mad. You weren’t very nice to her. But I’m still on your side. Me: Why? Her: (shrugging) She said that you made her who she is and I can tell she’s still hoping you’ll be better. If you want to be with her, you have to be nicer to her. Do better, Logan. Me: (nodding) I’m trying. She met me at a weird and awful time.
We went back into the bar and Mouse sat next to me and asked:
Her: Why are you such a jerky-jerk? Me: Like I said, you met me… Her: (waves hand, rolls eyes) I know, I know. (later) My friends and family can’t stand you… Me: I figured. Her: …except for Co-Worker – which I don’t get at all – maybe Chai, and kinda Twin. You don’t listen to anyone. It’d be different if you’d just listen sometimes. (later) It’s crap out there. Since we broke up, I’ve met a block of wood and was set up with a puppy. (sighs) If you’d just listen…
We bounced from topic-to-topic before it was time to go.
She ended up drinking way too much so I brought her back to my place and put her in my guest bed, but not before plying her with copious amounts of water.
When she woke up the next day.
Her: (groan) What happened last night? Me: You said lots of rando stuff. Her: (worried) Did I do or say anything I shouldn’t have in front of my boss? Me: (laughing) No. I don’t think so. How do you feel? Her: Not great. Me: Sorry. In any case, brekkie? I’ve been making a lotta shakshuka lately but with bacon. Her: Dunno what that is but sure.
Interestingly, not too long after that, we met up with our coach and a group of buddies for some AYCE Korean food downtown.
Afterward, some of them came by my pad afterward for some drinks and board games. Then it was just Mouse and me.
There’s more but that’s all you need to know for now.
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.
If there was a single moment that captured everything about my cleaning out Alison’s closet, it was when I found her Filofax, opened it, and something fluttered out.
For those of you that didn’t know her personally, this was a rarity. Because she was the single most organized and clean person I knew. Nothing fluttered out of anything when she was here because she always put everything away where it belonged.
But what fluttered out was a sonogram of the boy. Our first picture of him.
I remember walking into the room one day and catching her staring at it with a look of such love. Realize now that she musta taken out that sonogram a million times to just stare at her son.
Several friends and acquaintances have recently had babies. While I’m thrilled for them, it reminds me how much we’ve lost.
And I don’t think anyone except a mother could truly understand what must have gone through her mind when she was told she had cancer and would die.
Do you know the very first fucking thing she said to me was? Not about herself or even the cancer. It was,
I won’t see him grow up?
She cried for 24 hours straight after that. I didn’t think a body could cry so much. It was only five days after he was born. Fuck all.
Goddammit. Just typing that hit the pain button full-on and I’m trying not to be a basketcase.
So I put away the photo and try to not think about my most aching possible past.
Just watch the first four minutes. It’s worth it.
I’m putting stuff away cause, unchecked, grief can definitely be fatal. If not for Mouse and the boy, I wouldn’t be here.
In the past 45 days or so, a number of people that have been experiencing grief have reached out to me, exactly as I did to Leigh’s husband when Alison died. And like him, I’ve been trying to help as much as I can.
It’s hard. Cause I gotta dredge up things I’d rather not. But people like Leigh’s husband did that for me so I gotta do my part.
The thing is, you don’t know true grief until you feel it yourself.
Went to the gym on Friday night because I dropped the kid off with my mom. Was planning on going home and going right to bed because I agreed to see a buncha people that night but then the ABFF dropped me a line.
Her: What are u up to this weekend ? Me: What do you have for me?
Before I knew it, I was at her pad breaking my fast with some Moscow Mules and Peruvian food with her and some other people.
Me: To be clear, everyone thinks I’m a good human being because I lost Alison and my dad. But I was never a good person; I was only good because of Alison. Her: I don’t believe that. Me: Yet it’s true.
The ABFF convinced me to not shelter the boy from the women/people in my life.
Her: Kids are resilient. As far as they know, everyone is just your friend. Me: He asks about Mouse all the time. I told him she was coming by this past Saturday because we chatted but then plans changed and he was pretty…confused. Her: Kids are resilient, Logan. He’ll be fine.
Her sister and I also chatted about dating in NYC.
Sister: I’m taking a break. Me: Man, I feel that, as a woman, online dating’s gotta be easier. Her: (rolls eyes) No. And it’s exhausting. And the same guys you didn’t want in the first place keep showing up over-and-over again.
Looked at my watch and told them I had to run, thanking them for the company and hospitality. Hopped a train downtown.
Soon, I was in an Italian restaurant with a dear friend of mine. It was his birthday.
Me: I wanted to buy you dinner. Him: (laughing) You better have cash, because that’s all they take here. Me: Get outta here…
Ended up having a latte and paying for most of dinner but not all, which was a disappointment.
We chatted for a bit. He lost his love to cancer too. It’s part of the reason I avoided seeing him. That, and another friend of ours also has cancer.
Suppose I’ll have to write about that as well soon.
Me: I wanna contact him. I’m just a coward. Him: You’re not. (gently) Write him. He’d love to hear from you. I know he would. (later) I met someone. An old flame dropped me a line. Hoping things will work out. Me: I hope so. You deserve a good life. Him: You do too, Logan. (later, on 3rd Avenue) I’m always here, if you need anything. Me: I know. I’ll see you soon.
Stopped by Solas for a spell and talked to some people there. There’s more but that’s all I wanna say about this part of the story.
It was after midnight when I left for my appointment but then I got sidetracked by another old friend.
I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.
It was a long Friday night and the kickoff of a three-day crazy insomnia streak.