We’re not talking about saving the world

You talk funny

One of my earliest memories is a kid saying to me, “You talk funny.”

I’m pretty sure that I spoke with a thick Queens plus Chinese accent back then but used some over-sized vocabulary. My dad drilled SAT words into us as early as I can remember.

No wonder I didn’t have any friends.

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.

Location: home, with Mouse and the boy
Mood: amused
Music: Sometimes you will hate me, but that’s alright
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Living Milestones

You know…

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.

Location: another’s doctor’s office
Mood: beat
Music: It’s gonna be a good, good life (that’s what my therapist say)
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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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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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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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A poor imitation of myself

My own sense of self

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.

Do you know what Charlie Chaplin, Hugh Jackman, Adele, and Bryan Cranston all have in common? They’re all poor imitations of themselves.

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.

Another friend/mentee:

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.

Location: this afternoon, the 17th floor of 1 New York Plaza
Mood: regretful
Music: I think it’s gonna be a long long time

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On probation

Hoping I’ll do better

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.

Location: Home with Ros and the boy
Mood: hopeful
Music: make them know that you’re with me

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A date with her in a blackout

Send me your location

As I mentioned earlier, Mouse and I saw each other over the blackout. We were originally going to get a bite to eat downtown and then hit up Solas again but the trains stopped at Times Square.

Me: Wanna walk to Koreatown?
Mouse: Sure.

The next thing you know, we’re in a private room in restaurant near the gym.

Her: This is so cool!
Me: (nodding) Yeah, but I’m starving.

We ended up getting mostly full there and then heading to the same bar we went to once before with some other friends.

In hindsight, I shoulda taken the opportunity to speak to her about things but I assumed she didn’t want to talk.

Evidently, I’m not good at reading her cues. Working on it.

Fast forward to this past week when she messaged me.

Her: Where are you?
Me: Just got back from the gym, why?
Her: I’m out with coworkers and my boss wants to meet you. Wanna come by?
Me: Right now? (thinking) Send me your location.
Her: Yes. Fraunces Tavern. Downtown.

Less than four minutes later, I was on a downtown train to see her, her co-workers, and her boss.

It was pretty interesting but this is getting long so I’ll tell you about it in the next entry.

In the meantime, here’s a vid I made for her blog but she can’t post videos for some reason so I’m posting it here.

It’s from when we went axe-throwing. She’s pretty good.

Location: earlier today, a children’s library with the kid
Mood: tired
Music: just need the time and place to come through

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