My entire life

I was…

  • 6 when I had my first memory – it was about food (yoghurt) – and Alison was born.
  • 7 when I went to the hospital for a fever – imagine how smart I’d be if I never had it?
  • 8 when I had my first, of thousands, of gyros. Battlestar Galatica 1980 just aired.
  • 9 when I first saw the building that my father would eventually die in.
  • 10 when I killed something for the first time with my grandma, a chicken.
  • 11 when I read the book 1984.
  • 13 when my best friend left for college (long story). I lost 50 pounds and stopped being fat.
  • 14 when I learned how to drive with my dad and got my first job, a busboy.
  • 15 when I first noticed a girl that noticed me back. She said I was cute. No one that didn’t give birth to me ever said that to me before her. It was on the same block where I just had AYCE Korean food.
  • 16 when I had my first kiss with a girl that had a punk haircut. I was just awful to her.
      • As an aside, when I was in my mid-20s, I drove by her house and randomly decided to see if she was home. She was. I put on an apron and chopped up a ginormous chocolate bar into chips while she baked cookies. She kissed me on my cheek when I left and told me she forgave me. Never saw or heard from her again. Word is that she’s married in Colorado now and raises horses.
  • 17 when I got my first car and Mouse was born.
  • 18 when I started writing for serious.
  • 19 when the insomnia started for serious.
  • 20 when I got my first real job where I had a desk.
  • 21 when I started my own business. I still have it even now and it’s (usually) my primary source of income.
  • 22 when I started doing club work and met demons that looked human. Beat out PriceWaterhouse and IBM for a Madison Ave project that paid for my rent (and my landlord’s Ducati) for two years in one shot.
  • 23 when I went to law school with the scratch from the clubs and biz.
    • (23-25 didn’t exist because: Working and in law school)
  • 26 when I started in a law firm and stopped doing club work. Was 26.5 when I left and joined a Fortune 500 company. Passed the bar on the first try.
  • 27 when I got my first raise and promotion.
  • 28 when I flew around the world and some assholes flew fucking planes into my goddamn city. I also told someone that loved me that I didn’t love her and that I was sorry. She left my side of the country.
  • 29 when I left my only salaried job, met a German tourist at a dive bar, traveled around Europe with her, broke up, and started doing what I do now. These were busy years.
  • 30 when I met the first person I thought I loved. I was mistaken.
  • just 31 when I bought the pad I live in now with Harold and the boy.
  • 32 when I saw my grandparents for the last time because I always thought I’d have time.  We always think we’ll have time.
  • 33 when the woman I lived with left and I thought it was the lowest point of my life. I was mistaken. Again.
  • 34 wrote that a frog in a well knows nothing of the ocean. Been thinking of this a lot lately for reasons I’ll tell you about onea these days.
Me at 30

Between this entry you’re reading now, and the rest of my blog, you essentially have the sum of my life on your screen.

What a meaningless life I’ve lived before 2015.

But I know I’ve changed the course of some people’s lives and that of their families. I think at least two but I hope more –  cause no man’s an island – but I’d be ok if it were just two.

Speaking of two, I look at my little family of two and think to myself that I’m actually happy.

Because I love this kid and I have a purpose again. To make him into something Cellini might recognize. To teach him how to fight monsters. To let him know he’s so loved.

It’s not quite the family I’ve always wanted but he’s still the best thing I’ve got.

Me: What did you see today?
Him: Thunderbirds!
Me: (quizzically) A thunderbolt?
Him: No. (enunciating) A thun…der..bir..d.
Me: Ah, gotcha. “Thunderbird.” Man, Manhattan’s got it all, huh?

Location: earlier today, Riverside Park
Mood: relieved
Music: Give me a paper and a pen so I can write about my life of sin

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Butterfly or man?

Unexpected places

Him: Are you alive, Logan?
Me: Biologically? Yes. I respirate, ambulate, defecate, urinate, and – occasionally – fornicate. But everything’s a copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy again. (looking at my hand) And my goddamn hands won’t stop shaking.

This fella named Zhuangzi once wrote that he had a dream that he was a butterfly dreaming he was a man.

For the rest of his life, he wondered if he was a man dreaming he was a butterfly, or whether he was a butterfly, dreaming he was a man.

Between that story and the that line about everything being a copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy is how I’d describe functioning recently.

I use “functioning” loosely. Dunno what real and what’s for sale.

The last two months have been rough but the last week has been absolutely surreal. I’ll tell you about what I can when I can.

However, some things are clearer in my head than they’ve been in a while, which I think is probably a good thing.

I once said that all of your life’s problems can be divided up into health, wealth, and relationships.

If one goes south, you’re a wreck. Two, you need to stop everything and right the ship. Three…you need help.

All three came down on me in the past 10 days in unexpected ways. Very unexpected ways.

But help comes from unexpected places too.

Fiction

Him: Here. (hands me cash)
Me: That’s a lot more than the gig required. Honestly, the kid coulda handled it himself. (thinking) If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were trying give me some pity scratch.
Him: (slight smile)That doesn’t sound like me. But I do think I owe you like $5K.
Me: That you earned. (thinking) Someone’s been breaking into alla my accounts. Is it you?
Him: I’m old school. You know I don’t do tech. (shaking head) I’m a businessman now. For everything you think of me…. Look, we were kids. I’m sorry.
Me: A chick I met at a party once told me that I hurt people and I laughed and said, “If I’m honest, how can I hurt anyone?” But I get it now. Everyone’s sorry for the awful things they do to others. I know I am. (laughing) You know, at this point in time, you may be the only friend that knows who I really am and stuck around?
Him: What’re you saying?
Me: I’m saying I  hope this isn’t a long con, man. I’m rough. I need sleep. I need scratch. I just wanna forget everyone and everything but the boy.
Him: You already got fucked by the world. For what it’s worth, I betrayed you when you were up. You have rules? I have fucking rules too. I don’t kick a man when he’s down. And you – friend – are the most down motherfucker I know. Like you said, it’s all just time and chance. We’re not kids anymore, hustling nickels and dimes. (sighing) Keep the money. Get some sleep, Logan.

/Fiction

Location: nightmareland, still
Mood: so exhausted
Music: It couldn’t be a dream, cause too real it all seems

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Twice as good

Friday Pt. 2

A few weeks ago, I changed all my locks. Here’s a bit of fiction that’s more interesting than, “I just wanted to.”

Me: (walking in) HOLY ____BALLS! What the ____, man!?
Him: (sitting on my couch) Hello, Logan. I was worried about you. You weren’t returning my messages.

We ended up chatting for a bit.

Me: Why do you care so much? Who am I to you?
Him: (laughing) You may be the last honest man in New York.  (thinking) In a city of bulls_____rs, you’re a man of your word. You’re unicorn. Who doesn’t wanna know a unicorn? Especially in my profession. (later) Like you said, rare things are valuable. That’s why.

/fiction

RE Mike, Caligirl, Daisy, and Gradgirl have all called me a unicorn in the past too. I thought that was interesting.

To continue from my last entry, I was supposed to meet up with someone at 1:30AM so I thought I’d take the long walk home when I realized I was in front of Kathy and Ricky’s. It was after midnight but I figured they were good friends.

We ended up having some fine aged rum on their roof.

Me: I’ve never been jealous of anyone. But you, Cappy, and the fellas have what I’ve always wanted, family.
Him: (joking) You were always with one hot women or another. That’s pretty good.
Me: (nodding) It’s pretty good. But it’s not family. (looking away) Family’s the one thing I don’t get. F__k all. (looking at watch) I gotta go.
Him: Can’t stay for another drink?
Me: No. I’ve gotta meet someone.

A little while later, I see another old friend. He was with a young man I’d not met before.

Him: Logan! Meet John.
John: So, you’re the Logan I’ve heard so much about. (smirking) Are you as good as he says you are?
Me: (sitting down) I’m half as good as I wanna be. (sighing) But twice as good as he says I am. Let’s see what you’ve got.

It was late when I get home. For reasons I can’t fully – or don’t wanna – explain, I slept on my couch.

“Slept” is a relative term. The insomnia’s definitely back and it’s not leaving anytime soon.

I feel dull and vicious again but don’t wanna be.

I’m Sleepy Logan again, also – swimming on dry land and hoping not to f__k up the real Logan’s life.

I’ll tell you a story about a dreamer and butterfly one day, but for now, I hope to sleep and dream of the people I love.

Or at least sleep. That’d be nice too.


I just washed all my color clothes with bleach and hot water. This is not good.

I’ll be posting a lot this week cause Sleepy Logan and I’ve been awake and doing stuff.

Lotsa stuff.

Only mildly interesting.

Location: between dusk and dawn
Mood: so goddamn tired
Music: Let the rain fall, I don’t care

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What will you do?

Sober and productive

I’ve got a ton going on in my life and it’s hard to sort it all out.

Mouse finally wrote me. The details are her story to tell, not mine. We had an agreement and I intend to stick to it until she tells me otherwise.

Speaking of sticking to things, I allowed myself to go on a constant string of benders for May as long as I was sober by June. Well, June’s fast approaching.

It’s a good thing, cause Pac and some other friends are worried about me. He brought over some fried chix the other day – which he knows I never turn down.

Me: Why are you so concerned? I’m a high-functioning drinker.
Him: That’s why I’m worried. I never see you sloppy drunk. You don’t turn red. You don’t slur your speech. You just…drink a ____ton. I’ve never seen someone drink as much as you and be that normal.
Me: That’s the power of rum. Plus I know my limits. (getting two glasses) Look, May’s almost over. (pouring him a drink) Almost. I’ll be fine.
Him: (takes it) OK…

Speaking of fried chicken, he actually cooked some the other day as well and insisted that I post something about it, so here’s a pic:

I’m joking, it was delicious. When he’s not almost blowing up my apartment, he’s a good friend.

Another buddy came by with a full bottle of rum this past weekend. He never drank rum before. We essentially finished off a bottle between the two of us; he brought the Pyrat below and we alternated between that and the Black Seal.

The next day, he wrote me.

Him: You were right, that rum has no hangover.

In many respects, he and I are in very similar situations with the women in our lives as both of us are kinda in limbo. Well, he still is.

Me: What will you do?
Him: Wait until she gets back and hope it works out. And if it doesn’t, go back out there.

I actually feel how worried everyone is, which I find surprising. Cause if I was gonna do anything, it woulda been a while ago.

Thanks to Mouse and the kid, I didn’t.

Another friend: May’s almost over and you survived it. And by yourself, too.
Me: Did I? Sometimes I wonder if little bits of me just die at a time insteada all at once. Maybe that’s why I’m not the person I used to be. 

The pastor from Vision Church also visited, as well as another buddy who – shockingly – never drinks. So I just had coffee and kombucha with them, respectively.

Because those were the most recent, I’ve been completely sober for a few days now.

Gotta say, it feels…odd. It’s like I was living in greyscale again and someone turned up the saturation, brightness, and contrast again.

In that time, I’ve:

      • Gone to the gym three times and did 100 pushups (not in a row) each day. That’s me, below, being choked out by Curt.
      • Read a crapton of stuff I’ve been saving up.
      • Replaced the deadbolt I’ve had for over 20 years on my gate with a new one, right quick.
        • Then replaced that deadbolt with a smart one that I unlock with my phone but only after using a Dremel to shave it into place.
      • Figured out a leak issue on my roof.
      • Finally fixed my washing machine with a screwdriver, a butter knife, $0.05 of compressed air, and $0.05 of WD-40.

I’m both sober and productive. And it’s not even June yet. I’m gonna call that a success, which, let’s face it, is a pretty low bar.

Still, I gotta say that I’m super proud of myself for fixing that washing machine.

It took three days – well, two days of drunkenly taking it apart with the first hour of the first day forgetting to unplug it, and then one sober day of reading the manual and fixing it. There was also a disastrous water overflow that reminded me of the night I met Mouse along with people from my gym. I was gonna post up half of this entry yesterday but had to clean up that spill (and troubleshoot the roof). But really that’s all beside the point; the main point is that it’s f

Fixed.

I’ll drink to that.

This is a super lengthy entry.

Was gonna tell you why I changed my lock but I’ll save that for another day.

Location: home, with a fully assembled and working washing machine, front gate, smart lock, and roof
Mood: sober – I know, I’m as surprised as you are
Music: I wish you well and hope you find whatever you’re looking for

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Logan’s 46: The Guard dies

…it does not surrender


It’s my birthday today.

I remember for years that I used to say, Wish me a Happy Birthday, alla you bastards that read me and never say anything.

The last time I said that was 2014, before everything went to hell.

This year, I pour out my soul to you with a simple admission: After Alison died, three words kept ringing in my addled head over-and-over again: The Guard dies.

The Guard dies.
The Guard dies.
The Guard dies.

I said those three words to myself hundreds thousands of times after she died. I would fall asleep to those words in my head and wake up to them as well.

I plotted for months on how to do it the right way, if there could ever be such a thing.

Because, I promised her parents and you that I would keep her safe. And I failed.

I failed you. I failed her parents. And, most unbearably of all, I failed her.

Failure has a price and I’ve always been driven to pay my debts.

There’s an apocryphal story about the Old French Guard during the Battle of Waterloo when the Middle Guard turned and ran, a solider from the Old Guard asked the general if they should run as well.

The general replied, La Garde meurt, elle ne se rend pas.

The Guard dies, it does not surrender.

In my drug/alcohol/grief/anger-fueled haze, I only remembered the first part.

Alison was my charge and I failed her so it was only fitting that I follow her. Because, wherever she went, I was always close behind.

It’s remarkably selfish and self-centered, I know. I wasn’t thinking clearly then.

But, due to a number of interesting bureaucratic twists and people like my mother-in-law, my father, Daisy, Gradgirl, and – of course – the Gymgirl, the fog slowly lifted.

And I remembered the boy. I am so ashamed to say that I forgot him in my grief.

Well, more appropriately – in my head – he was better off with people that were functioning, and I was clearly not functioning.

Moreover, I was so focused on Alison needing me that I didn’t really consider that he needed me.

Interestingly, the thing that really pulled me out of this mindset was a conversation with my mother-in-law one day. She said that I needed to raise the boy and that she would help but that he was my responsibility. I suspect she had some idea where my mind was.

In any case, that triggered a memory of a conversation that Alison and I once had: She told me that, if we were ever in an accident and I was given the option to save her or the child, she would never forgive me if I saved her.

And that, in turn, caused me to remember the rest of the quote: … it does not surrender. That’s when I realized that leaving would be surrender, not staying.

I lost my charge. But she had a charge too, one that she cared about more than herself: The boy. So, even if he weren’t my son, he would still be my charge because he was Alison’s.

Because she loved him more than anything, including her own life.

The boy’s given me something as well: A chance for me to redeem myself and my failure.

Essentially, the general was saying that the Guard does not run or surrender to overwhelming odds. It either does its job or dies trying. Like Alison did.

I’m 46 today. If ever there was an Old Guard, it’s me.

And the Old Guard does not surrender.

Him: Will you come get me today? From school?
Me: Of course. What am I gonna do, leave you there? That’d be silly.
Him: (laughs) That’d be silly! You’re silly, papa.
Me: (nodding) Yes.

Location: this afternoon, my blue bathroom, thinking of my possible pasts
Mood: heartbroken
Music: I’ve lost my place. I’m close behind
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Sewer

Massol Dental and My Mom

A little while ago, when Alison was in the ER for the umpteenth time, two buddies of mine showed up despite my telling them not to.

I think that most of my friends must have read that because my Facebook and email exploded after my last post with people wanting to meet up.

It was flattering but I told them all that I was busy with the kid, which is the truth.

But even then: Three people are swinging by while the kid’s asleep this week, another friend came by already, the ABFF told me she was stopping by as well, and this sweet girl – who’s also a pro-fighter – from my new gym wrote me this really upbeat message. Some of the mothers I know also boosted my ego as well:

Her: When you’re ready to date again, I have someone for you.
Me: This *just* happened!
Her: I didn’t even know you were dating again when you told me that you were exclusive with Gymgirl! Anyway, what are your thoughts on pharmacists?
Me: They give me drugs, what’s there not to like?

Of course, all this was balanced out by my mom:

Her: You’re single again?
Me: Yeah, it’ll be fine, I’ve been…
Her: Oh no! Can you function by yourself? What about the baby?
Me: Thanks, mom. (nodding slowly) That’s just what I needed right now.

Speaking of my mom, she sent this to my brother (in blue) recently, who sent it to me with a title: I’m. 46. Years. Old.

Told my brother that it doesn’t matter how big the kid gets, he’s always gonna be my little guy.

On that note, I had to scramble to find someone to take care of the kid while I went to the dentist for a final fix. Ending up having my cousin from the Cornell trip come by.

Me: Have you ever taken care of a kid while he’s being potty trained?
Her: (dismissively) I have two dogs. It’ll be fine.
Me: I literally have nothing to say about that.

The dentist is actually the wife of another friend of mine from the gym: Massol Dental, NYC. Honestly, it was the nicest dentist’s office I’d ever been to – much better than my usual dental joints. It felt kinda like a spa but with teeth drills.

She was amazingly nice and I probably spent way too much time pestering her for childrearing advice because she has sons, while most of the people from my daily life have daughters.

Me: I didn’t know parenting would be so gross.
Her: Oh, it’s gonna be gross for a long time.
Me: (nodding) OK, good to know.

Eventually, she got to the task at hand.

Me: You’re lovely, really, but I hate being here.
Dentist: We get that all the time. Open wide…
Assistant: (later) Do you want to hold these [foam stress relievers]? They’re for children but…
Me: (mouth numb, nodding) Sewer.
Her: Here you go.

I’m 45 in less than a week but I got a birthday cake today after all.

OK, my mom may have a point…

Location: earlier today, a plush leather dentist’s chair
Mood: amused
Music: you can’t get what you want, but you can get me

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Self-destruction

Fiction, by Logan Lo


Nothing in this blog entry actually happened. Just writing some fiction.

An old friend rang me the other day to accuse me of trying to ruin his business and life. Found it so strange because that requires a level of hatred that I don’t feel for anyone. It’s hard to feel anything these days. For anything and anyone.

Me: To be clear, if I wanted to ruin you, I’d want you to know it was me. You wouldn’t have to call to ask. You’d know.

Hatred is actually the farthest thing I feel for him. You see, he and his wife raised more than anyone for Alison when she was sick. I owe a debt to him and his family.

But he’s also extremely difficult.

Don’t think we’ve ever had a conversation in the 18 years I’ve known him. He talks to you rather than with you.

Him: Wait, I’m not done.
Me: You do realize you’ve said 10 words for every one of mine, yes?

In many ways, he’s a classic bully: He uses his position in life to demean and belittle others.

He’s never been unkind to me – far from it – but like Trump, you kinda want someone to say to him, Dude, you know these are people, right? What you’re doing is wrong.

Like Johnny, what I actually feel for him is a mixture of affection, gratitude, and disappointment.

Mutual friend: You mean pity. You pity him. That’s not what you’re supposed to feel for a friend.
Me: I feel obligated to try to help him. For everything he’s done for me and my family.
Him: (gently) You’ve done that. He’ll only change if he wants to and he said, straight up, he’d rather lose everything and end up homeless than change. You’ve done your part.

Also like Johnny, the punishment for his cruelty is that he doesn’t get to hang out with me.

I’m running outta time. Don’t have time or energy to waste on anything or anyone that doesn’t make me better. And, by extension, my son.

The fact that someone wants to destroy him makes me more comfortable in my decision to cut him out.

Think about the level of hatred it would take to have someone spend weeks – if not months – of their time plotting how to unravel everything you’ve worked for.

And if someone has that level of animosity for you, think about how many people simply dislike you.

I’ve always lived my life – including the womanizing – with the credo, “Leave people better off having met you than not.”

In any case, it’s puzzling how someone can be so compassionate to some and yet so cruel to others. But many of my close friends are complicated.

Me: A relative of mine said that he thought I was a sociopath.
The Half Man: I disagree with that. A sociopath lacks empathy. You’re one of the most empathetic people I know.
Me: Perhaps it’s something else then? Or maybe he’s just wrong.

I wonder what others – Johnny, The Devil, him – see in me, both good and ill.

Me: What does that say about me?
Gymgirl: I don’t know. Maybe it was Alison that kept you from turning into them?
Me: Maybe. Then what am I without her?

Still, I’m not able to cut off all the deeply flawed friends I have. Because I see my reflection in them. I need them for some reason.

And they each have their own twisted humanity, in their own strange ways.

The funny thing is, that I did spend weeks – months – plotting to destroy someone that I did hate. But it wasn’t him.

Months ago…

The Devil: Are you sure you want to do this?
Me: (ignoring him) The three coins are worth about $20,000. (placing a USB stick on the coins) This has almost a whole bitcoin that I used to buy black market meds for Alison. It’s worth about $17,000. Both are untraceable and cash equivalent. The rest of the money is in trust for the kid and he’ll get that once I’m gone.
Him: I’m a thief and womanizer, not this thing you ask me to do.
Me: We both know what you’re capable of.
Him: That was in war and when it was my job. Neither is true here.
Me: I’ll find just someone else.
Him: You don’t have anyone else, that’s why you came to me. (laughs) But suppose we do this? I just wanna ask one thing: (leans in) Without you here, without Alison, who’ll protect your boy from someone like me? People, like us.
Me: (startled, angry) You’ll never meet him. Just like you never met her.
Him: Ah, there you are. (stands up) Pull yourself together, Logan. Raise your son. When you’re ready, we’ll talk again. (takes a gold coin, pockets it, turns to leave) I earned this. See you soon, brother.

I’m better now.

Don’t hate myself quite that much any more.

Location: home, sick
Mood: unsettled
Music: son, if you can hold on, if you can hold on, hold on

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Go nuts

You can’t just eat peanut butter all day


My son is definitely my kid.

When my mother-in-law stayed with me, she marveled that I ate an entire jar of peanut butter every 4-5 days. Nate may beat me.

Me: Kid, you can’t just eat peanut butter all the time…
Son: (refuses to eat dinner, throws it)
Me: (exasperated) You can’t…you can’t just eat…nevermind. (sighs, goes to kitchen) I give up. Here (handing him a spoon , bowl, and an open jar) go nuts.
Him (takes spoon, beams)
Me: Not literally nuts, per se – a peanut is a legume. (shakes head) Man, I hope you’re a nice, nerdy kid when you grow up.
Him: (smiles)

Was planning on seeing some other friends in Harlem for the fights on Saturday when I got a call.

Daisy: I’m thinking of coming over later.
Me: What if I have plans?
Her: You’ll break them for me.
Me: Dammit, this is true. (thinking) OK, bring food cause I got nuthin but rum, peanut butter, and baby food.

Location: home, in front of some peanut butter
Mood: resigned
Music: Oh no – having trouble finding out which way to go

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Thanks, George

Let’s hope 2017 is better

Clocks in a New York City flea market

As a break from my usual tales of woe, lemme tell you some stories.

In sixth grade, the girl I had a crush on wore a shirt that said GO GO. Had no idea what it was about but, of course, I had to find out. No internet meant asking the popular kids, who just rolled their eyes because I never heard about WHAM!

Got my hands on a tape of them and I thought that they were ok. They were no Beatles but not altogether terrible.

Found out later that, as a child, George Michael was a fat and lonely son of immigrants that wore glasses and couldn’t get a girl to talk to him.

And here’s why it matters to me that he just died: It was honestly, the first time I really thought that the trajectory of my life might be different than it was. That even though I was a fat and lonely son of immigrants that wore glasses and couldn’t get a girl to talk to me, that it didn’t always have to be that way.

So I kept listening to him, impressed that he wrote and produced almost all of what he sang.

Enough that, when I had scraped together enough scratch from busing tables at the local Italian joint, the first two CDs I ever bought were Sting’s Nothing Like the Sun and Wham’s Music from the Edge of Heaven.

That girl that I had a crush on and I grew up together so that, when Faith came out, we were pretty good friends. By then, I’d decided that George was the coolest guy in the world. I bought shiny aviator glasses like he wore in the video. Because that’s what kids do.

The crush girl told me I looked like a bug. Told her that if it was good enough for George, it was good enough for me. He was old news, she said – but not to me.

Listened to I Knew You Were Waiting by George Michael and Aretha Franklin as I wrote my college essay. It was one of the few songs he didn’t write but that didn’t matter that much to me.

When I got to college, the two albums of my freshman year were Naughty by Nature and George’s Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. Dude never released Volume 2. I woulda bought it.

Discussing music, my first freshman writing teacher said George wasn’t that great. He was no Beatle and, to her, somewhat terrible. I said she should give it a chance. She gave me a B+ instead.

It was always Waiting for that Day from that’s meant the most to me. Don’t think he ever even released a video for it but there’s a part that goes:

I just sit here on this mountain thinking to myself
You’re a fool boy
Why don’t you go down
Find somebody
Find somebody else
My memory serves me far too well

It dovetails nicely with a Chinese story I told you once about a man who sat on a mountain waiting sixty years for a flower to bloom as penance for betraying the woman he loved.

Suppose we’re all waiting for someone and someday. I heard that the man George loved the most in his life died just six months after he met him, which I always thought was terribly sad. His mom passed from cancer when he was just 34.

That’s the thing with tragedy, it gives you depth, but at such a price.

Maybe that’s why the songs I loved from him the most were about waiting and longing, two things I knew well growing up and, unfortunately, even now.

As it turns out, the person that I was waiting for in my mountain of brick and mortar was Alison. I wait for her still.

But I digress. Rumor has it that he died overweight and alone. That really bothers me. Perhaps it’s because that’s how I imagined I’d be now when I was a kid.

I could go on for a while. Just lemme say: George, you were the soundtrack to my childhood and you gave me hope that my life might be different for the better. And it was. In some ways, it still is, and others, far worse than I could have imagined.

Thanks for the hope, man. As for me, I hope you find the love the next life that eluded you in this one.

Me: I think my very favorite song from him is I Knew You Were Waiting for Me.
Her: I don’t like that song.
Me: How are we married?!


Crap, Debbie Reynolds died also. It’s like all the little bits of my childhood are determined to go before the year’s out.

This song sums up my thoughts as to her:

Here’s to 2017; let’s hope its better for everyone.

\’

Location: lying on the floor, listening to George, trying to get some relief for my @#$@#$ back
Mood: nostalgic
Music: Seems to me the peace I search to find ain’t going to be mine

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It’s been a year; here’s what happened that night

Searching for NED

Alison pregnant

As I write this, Alison sits outside talking to the baby.

A year ago around this time, she and I excitedly hopped a cab to the hospital a few blocks away to have our first child. This was after years of disappointments. That’s a picture of her above just before the big day.

Didn’t tell you all about her being pregnant because we’d been disappointed, oh, so many times.

Words can’t really describe how it felt during that time. To say that we were excited and happy doesn’t really doesn’t do justice to amount of joy we had.

Nate’s birth was, thankfully, quiet and uneventful. But Alison was…off.

She was clumsy, which has always been my role in the relationship. She was never clumsy. But we all just attributed it to her being a first time mother.

Five short days later, she said simply, “Something’s wrong” and collapsed, shaking into a terrifying full seizure.

The ambulance came and took her away to the exact same hospital that we were just at to give birth to Nate. I went with her. After several anxious hours in the ER, the doctor said that her blood looked “great.” We breathed a sign of relief.

But, there’s something on your CAT scan.

To this day, dunno why he didn’t lead with that.

A few anxiety and tear filled days later, another young doctor pulled me into his room and he pulled up her MRIs.

Even as a lay person, I immediately knew something was wrong. The cancer looked as it were half her brain.

Me: Is she dying?
Doctor: (coughing) Well…we’re all dying, aren’t we?

I wanted to punch him in his cowardly face. We weren’t getting the most emotionally intelligent doctors here. It didn’t matter anyway. I knew the moment I saw the picture. We only had a few months.

Got up and walked over and somehow told her what it was. She didn’t believe me at first. It must be some mistake, she said. But it wasn’t.

Words can’t really describe how it felt during that time. To say that we were anxious and terrified really doesn’t do justice to the amount of heartbreak we had.

Unbelievably, I had to repeat the process several gut-wrenching times over the next few months.

Dunno how much time I spent with her. Could have been an hour. Could have been thirty.

Then I told her that I had to go to the bathroom. Walked out the door and asked a nurse where the nearest one was.

Out the door to the right, and then another right. It’ll be on your left.

Thanked her, made a right, another right, and stepped into the bathroom on the left. Walked into the stall, and sat there by myself and said, “What the f___?”

Dunno how much time I spent there. Could have been a minute. Could have been thirty.

Afterward, got up, walked over to the sink, and told myself that I could do this. That she could do this. Splashed cold water on myself to make sure it wasn’t all a bad dream and I needed to wake up. It wasn’t. Repeated it just in case.

Nope, still in this goddamn hospital. So I went out, made a right, then a left, and then sat with her for another week in that goddamn hospital.

Alison cried every hour after that. I cried every night. At the time, it was the worst period of my life. Didn’t realize that there could be – and was – far worse to come. Said it before, there’s always more room for down (and the link before this comment is to an entry where we lost yet another baby).

Yet things have somehow improved, slightly. At least to the point where Alison is stable, for now. For some, this would be enough but it’s not for me. Like Bligh, I want us to go home.

Wish we could go back into time before she was brittle, or to the future, to see how she and the boy are.

Brain cancer is something so deadly that, unlike other cancers, there’s no such thing as remission. Instead, the best you can hope for is something they call NED: No Evidence of Disease.

We’re not there. There’re two small pieces of tumor still in her head. Like bullet fragments inching towards her soul. I’ll never sleep soundly again until they’re gone. Until we see NED. Even then, I’ll always be uneasy.

But the doctors didn’t think that she was going to last more than a few months. So we’re slightly hopeful.

And, as I’ve done throughout my life, I’ll struggle with whether or not the hope is a good or bad thing. And we wait for NED.

Her: (a year ago today, crying) Will I die?
Me: I won’t lie to you; it’s not good. But I won’t let you. Be strong, ok? We got a kid now. He needs you.
Her: (through tears) It’s not fair. I only had a few days with him.
Me: You’re right, it’s not fair. But you’ll get more days. I promise. I’ll do whatever it takes for you to get more days.

Nate just a few seconds old

\’

Location: home, waiting for more tests
Mood: pensive
Music: build time machines to go and get us back, back before we were brittle

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