A Strange & Complicated Evening Pt 2: Putting on the Mask

Afraid of Yesterday

Me: Technically, any woman I meet is your competition and any man you meet is mine.
Her: (laughing) Oh, Logan…they’re not my competition.
Me: Fair.

It turns out the Counselor was in the same hospital, the same building, the same floor – the same wing – that Alison was during the early part of her illness.

Of course.

Felt that same feeling of “this can’t possibly be real,” that I felt for most/all of her sickness that I hadn’t felt in a really long time. It was an unwelcome but familiar feeling.

Dunno why but, I decided to go see the Counselor and – as if by auto-pilot – made my way from the gym to the Upper East Side.

That’s not true. I do know why I went to see her. There were two reasons, in fact, but more on that later.

Visiting hours were long closed but I managed to convince the guard to let me in after a solid 15 minutes of chatting with her. The truth is a powerful thing and I think the guard knew it would be good for the Counselor (and me) if I made it upstairs.

When I walked into the hospital, I was greeted with the same view that I first saw the day I first went there with Alison in that goddamn ambulance.

It was just missing the Christmas tree.

I walked past the same everything that I did all those years ago and tried to keep it together as I maneuvered my way past several security guards, nurses, and various support staff, alla whom noted that I didn’t have a Visitors Pass a solid hour after visiting hours ended.

I was clearly not supposed to be there. I suppose a bright red leather jacket doesn’t help matters.

But, after all that, I finally made it to her room and walked in.

As always, during times like this, I put on my mask: I pushed all that doubt to the side of my mouth, straightened my back, took a deep breath, put on a big smile, and walked in to see a set of pretty eyes.

Me: This is a terrible date venue you picked, I gotta say.

I settled onto the windowsill and looked out across the river to see the exact same view I saw all those years ago.

Me: (staring out) These windows don’t open all the way, you know?
Her: I didn’t.
Me: (nodding) Yeah. I tried to jump out of them years ago and I found that out.

It got a little darker than that but I was there to try to cheer her up, not bring her down.

As comedy relief, her roommate would let out a hacking cough (non-COVID related) every so often while we were in a deep conversation, which doesn’t sound funny but it was such an odd situation that it was.

There’s more, quite a bit more, but most of that’s her story and not mine to tell, as always.

I’ll just tell you that she’s probably going to be fine.

I was glad I went. Can’t remember the last time someone was that happy to see me. Forgot what it was like to have some kindness. That was probably the most attractive thing about her.

Her: It was sweet of you to come.
Me: (shaking head) No, not at all. I just wanted to make sure you were ok. You should get some rest.

So, that’s the first reason I went. Honestly couldn’t tell you if she was more grateful that I went or if I was more grateful that she let me see her.

The second reason, though, was that I’ve been forcing myself to not think of Alison for…years now. Think I knew that, if I went to that hospital, I’d be forced to think of her and remember her.

And I wanted that.

As I made my way downstairs, everything came rushing back at me at once. The smell of the place, the feeling of dread, it hit me as I felt as if it was December of 2015 all over again. Like it was yesterday.

By the time I got to the ground floor, I went straight to the same bathroom that I threw up in twice before over Alison and did it once again.

Honestly, though, after I cleaned myself off and left, I felt better.

I remembered Alison. I remembered that version of me; the one that was a new father, trying desperately to save his wife he loved more than anything.

Not knowing that they were all already fucked.

My gift, if you will, is to forget. It’s a survival mechanism and part of why I have this blog; because I know I’ll forget things. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here right now.

After all, fear is forward, no one is afraid of yesterday.

I walked outside, hopped a cab home, and was neck-deep in my thoughts when the Acrobat called.

Her: How was your night?
Me: You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

It was a short convo. I was worried about the Counselor, which sounds silly as she’s a stranger to me. But she didn’t deserve anything that had happened to her.

After a while, I shot a text to my mother-in-law asking if she was awake and she replied yes.

So, I rang her and told her what happened.

Me: I try so hard to forget Alison. And I feel guilty about that. But I just wanted you to know that…I loved her so much, mom. (deep breath) I loved her so much.
Her: (gently) I know, Logan. Try to get some rest.

Location: just north of Solas, being tossed out like garbage
Mood: don’t even know how to begin to tell you
Music: I’m gonna need somebody (Spotify)
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A Strange & Complicated Evening Pt 1: Sounds Class

No, no time at all

My friend Bridget hit me up the other day. There’s a bidding war going on for her skills in business and she asked if we could meet up for dinner on Thursday.

I already had a date lined up with the Counselor later on that night but the timing actually worked out.

Me: If you’re up for Korean, we can head to Koreatown.
Bridge: Koreatown sounds class, let’s do that, you pick the place.

The weather was just lovely so we took a walk from 18th Street to 32nd Street. Along the way, I showed her where Alison and I went on our first date all those years ago.

Here’s a picture of Alison that I snapped right before I walked up to her to tell her that I was there.

Man, I loved that girl. Fuck me.

Bridge: You know we’ve known each other close to 20 years?
Me: (laughing) Has it been that long?
Her: You know what I hate the most about that?
Me: What?
Her: You haven’t aged a day. Nadi and I both hate that about you.

I actually interviewed her for her gig all those years ago. I liked her immediately. She had this really cool Irish brogue to boot.

This was being filmed on the walk up.

After we settled into my go-to Korean restaurant, I reminded her that she and her husband were the last people to see Alison out and about, socially.

Her: (thinking) I’ve been wondering when I should bring this up.
Me: What?
Her: (slowly) We’re divorcing. It’s been a long time coming.
Me: I have to say, Alison always wondered why you were with him.

That unpleasantness aside, we honestly both had a great time hanging out.

Her: …I have about 45 people reporting to me.
Me: Jesus Christ. I remember meeting you when all you had was crazy ambition. Now look at you. My cousin Ras has this saying that she loves and you’re kinda the definition of it: You’re a Boss Bitch.
Her: (laughing) I like it.
Me: Now, how can I make this work for me?

Afterward, I walked her back to the train station.

Her: I hope you give one of these women a chance. (gently) The lawyer sounds promising. Give her a chance. The others…
Me: We’ll see. I’m in a weird headspace.

That was totally true.

After she left, I thought about everything we discussed and started getting really angry. It’s irrational, I know.

See, it turns out that he was drinking himself to death. They’ve got two kids and hearing that made me so…angry.

Alison and my dad struggled for so long to survive and this dude was killing himself instead of dealing with his demons.

But then I realized I did the same thing myself for years and, somehow, that just made me angrier.

Decided to head back to the gym and, while I was changing, Chad noticed that I wasn’t myself.

Him: Are you ok?
Me: I’m drunk and I’m angry.
Him: How angry?
Me: Murderously.
Him: OK, then you gotta go.
Me: (nodding)

So, less than five minutes after I arrived, I changed yet again, and walked out the door.

Had to pull myself together because I was meeting up with the Counselor. I was so messed up that I drafted a message to her asking her for a rain check.

But she actually beat me to the punch before I could send it.

Counselor: Hey, I’m sooo sorry to do this but I have to reschedule our date tonight. I had a bit of an emergency come up and I just can’t get around it. I’m super disappointed I have to cancel.
Me: Do you not have any time at all?

This was her response:

Her: No, no time at all.

That was the start of one of the strangest and complicated evenings I’ve ever had.

And I’ve had many strange and complicated evenings in this life.

Location: earlier today, running into a possible past downtown
Mood: not sober
Music: When the world goes changing, I will be your sure thing (Spotify)
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My reason for being here

Ready

My son and I went to NJ to my in-laws for Christmas where I had an endless stream of delicious food.

Mostly carbs, though.

My son’s gift to my MIL was that he played a song for her on the ukulele. I’m ridiculously proud of him, for the below and so much more.

Her: That kid is a genius!
Me: He takes after his mom.

Essentially spent my time playing with the kid, eating, and sleeping the whole time I was there. It was glorious.

The boy was sad when I left but I told him I’d see him soon. I took the train home; on the platform on the ride back was a fella easily six foot four or more.

Her: Is a giant next to you?
Me: Yes.

The rest of the weekend/week was spent meeting up with people that stopped by, with gifts like the Pastor

Him: I have a gift for you!
Me: Dude! I didn’t get you anything.
Him: (later) There’s a huge rat behind you.
Me: You’ll tell me if it comes near me, right?
Him: If you see my eyes widen in horror, run.

…and Pac…

Him: Man, I never thought of it that way. (thinking) You see things that other people don’t see.
Me: It was my gift, seeing all the angles. Except with Alison. I didn’t see what I needed to see and she paid for it.
Him: You can’t blame yourself for that.
Me: (shrugging and taking a sip of rum) But, I do.

…and my buddy Miller that, unexpectedly bought me a handcrafted knife from Raven Knives.

Him: Merry Christmas, brother! I got something for you.
Me: Ooooooh, is it a busty 32-36 year old? Because I’ve always wanted one of those. And, you shouldn’t have!

I carry so much guilt, you wouldn’t believe it. But, somehow, I feel better than I have in a long while, I have to say.

Think it’s because I survied another holiday season. Well, almost.

Just a few days more.

All these years, I keep wondering if Hope is a good or bad thing.

I suppose there’s no way to ever tell until our race is run.

Me: I only have 5,000 days left here.
Him: That’s it?
Me: (nodding) It means I can’t waste time. I gotta make sure the boy’s ready.
Him: If anyone will get him ready, it’ll be you.
Me: (shaking head) So many people put their faith in me and I feel like I’ve let them all down. Alison, Mouse, Gradgirl, Daisy. So many people. But I can’t let him down. He’s my reason for being here.

Location: having coffee on W 18th Street, telling him that I finally understand
Mood: hopeful(ish)
Music: Problems I created, yeah, I wasn’t perfect (Spotify)
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The cool kids (2X)

Sprinting away

My mom misses my dad a lot these days. It’s the holidays, I think.

Her: It’s been four years since they left. Time moves so fast.
Me: The hours drag but the years sprint away. Yes.

While the gym was closed, Chad swung by to go over some plans for 2022.

The weather’s been freakishly warm and nice in the city lately; we’re obviously going to hell in a hand basket what with climate change and all but I suppose one takes any win one can.

We got a salad and then went to get a cup of coffee.

One of our students lived around the way so I hit him up; he’s the one with the second nicest apartment I’ve ever been to.

Me: Are you around for a cup of joe with me and Chad in the hood?
Him: Now? Yes! I am a cool kid…
Me: Thank god, we need at least one in the group.

We ended up going to his place and chatting for a spell, which was interesting because he had a different perspective on a few things as compared to Chad and me.

The views from his pad didn’t hurt.

The next day, I went to get my COVID booster (finally) and chatted to the girl ahead of me.

Me: Not everyone can pull off a red leather jacket.
Her: Only cool kids can!
Me: Oh, then we have a problem.

I got both the flu and COVID shots in the same arm; zero effects on me as a whole but my arm hurt like the dickens.

Today, I took my first class in the gym after the construction was done. Looked like a million bucks.

Me: Well, that wasn’t cheap but the guy did a killer job.
Him: And the mats feel great too.
Me: Considering how much we spent, they’d better.

Back before my world turned to shit, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years were a whirl of parties to meet women and clients.

In a sense, I’m back there again, but mainly to numb the pain of holidays more than anything else.

Got invited to seven parties just this week alone. Went to two of them so far.

One was my law firm, and their annual office holiday party. Even though I’ve not been steadily active with them since Alison got sick, I was touched to still be invited to all the reindeer games.

They ordered porterhouses from Benjamin Steakhouse and I ate most of it, I think.

It was a more interesting party than we had pre-COVID for a number of reasons, including that one of our buddies made partner and we had a slew of new, young attorneys in the office.

Her: Anyone want to go outside for a smoke? This one is covered with gold leaf.
Boss: Well, it is legal…
Me: I, personally, am offended by this suggestion. I will go and supervise.

I’d forgotten was it was like to be a young and optimistic attorney.

Seems like a million years ago.

I’d not met most of them but they’d heard stories of me so it was kinda like they knew me but I just met them. I felt a bit like a celebrity.

But I had to leave early with my boss because I had another party to attend, this time with an old client.

On the way there, a busker was playing With Arms Wide Open by Creed and I thought of my son.

He was on my mind when I got there and looked for my friend when I met this pretty blonde.

Me: Where’s Jen?
Her: Oh, she got wrecked and left early.
Me: Well, you’ll have to keep me company, then. She’s the only person I know here. My name’s Logan.
Her: (laughs) Hi, Logan…

She was 23 (of course) and a huge fan of illicit pharmaceuticals. But loads of fun. That’s all I’ll share for now.

It was late when I got home. Fun Logan and alla that.

I’m still trying to figure out where I belong, if I belong anywhere.

Suppose as long as with the kid, I belong somewhere.

Location: earlier today, talking about the UCC and Kokomo just off Grand Central
Mood: curious
Music: I hope he’s not like me, I hope he understands (Spotify)
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Three people, independently

Another of my many life rules

What do coffee, tea, and chocolate have in common?

      • Coffee comes from relatively tall trees originating from a region called Kaffa in Ethiopia, Africa.
      • Tea, meanwhile, comes from an evergreen shrub in East Asia.
      • Chocolate, finally, comes from the relatively short cacao tree from South/Central America.

They’re really completely different species of vegetation that have absolutely nuthin – nuthin – in common with each other.

Yet, somehow, each plant, completely independently of each other, somehow figured out how to make the below chemical compound as a means of self-protection from animals that might eat it:

(c) Someone else

Caffeine.

I always found that remarkable. That three, completely unrelated organisms (they’re literally on different continents), can come to the same logical conclusion: Creating the chemical compound of caffeine will help it survive – and potentially flourish – somehow.

It musta worked because they all started this potentially millions of years ago, and are still doing it now, to this day.

I developed my own life rule  from this rando bit of knowledge.

Case in point, a little while ago, I was unkind to a fella at the gym I was going to at the time. Three people that I like and respect told me that I was in wrong.

So, I found the guy, sat him down, and apologized for how I treated him and he was pretty receptive to it. We now chat regularly and he actually joined Paxibellum.

Told you repeatedly: I’m not a good person.

It’s one of my many life rules that I keep for myself to similarly survive and, hopefully, flourish:

If three people, independently, tell me something, it must be true.

And the same rule works in the contrapositive:

If something is not true, then three people would not independently tell me about it.

I’ve been doing a lotta self-reflection with my therapist lately and just spoke to her today.

Me: What do you think, in your honest professional opinion? Am I a narcissist?
Her: (thinking) The hallmark of narcissism is a lack of empathy, but I don’t see that at all. You tried to help your father, your wife, your ex, Chad, etc, because you empathize with their struggles.
Me: And the rest? Am I irredeemable for all the things that I’ve done?
Her: I don’t think so. I see someone who went through – and is still going through – a lot of trauma but trying to be better for his son and those around him. I mean, you’re talking to me, after all.  It’s the people that never bother trying to be better that end up staying the same.

Location: earlier today, the Metal Park
Mood: trying
Music: I don’t want to dream about the things that I used to be (Spotify)
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Wishing for horses

Wins and shady secrets

My father died exactly four years ago. It feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago.

I talk a lot with older male friends about what it’s like being a father, I think – in part – because I can’t talk to my dad.

It’s less than ideal.

If wishes were horses…

The boy’s been away for a few weeks and will be for a few weeks more.

While I miss him terribly, it’s good because I’ve been coming home at midnight most nights because Chad and I are setting up this new gym.

I’ll tell you more about it once it’s all set up.

Last Saturday, NYC had the most rain it’s ever had in a single hour and I’m happy to say that my apartment did NOT flood, although it came pretty close a few times there.

It was super stressful, but now I know that the things I did to help the situation worked.

I’ll take any win I can get

I’ve become a shady secret again, this time to four different women – not all of them romantic interests, but all have their own reasons for wanting me not to mention them.

Which is a shame because some of the stuff they say is truly amusing. Here are some rando convos, completely out of context.

Her: (to waiter) Do you have something like a Corona Light?
Me: (to her, after) Wait, why didn’t you just ask for a Corona Light?
Her: I’ve been disappointed too many times in the past.

Her: How’s the gym going?
Me: We’re moving at lightning speed so I’m exhausted.
Her: You’re the knife instructor?
Me: Technically, I’m the backup knife instructor.
Her: Oh, you should tell people that you’re a substitute knife instructor.

Me: How’s online dating going?
Her: I like to think of it as, Meeting-strangers-online-to-waste-three-weeks-of-my-life-with-at-a-time.
Me: Accurate.

Remember when I told you that the Heiress had the same type of cancer as Alison? Welp, I was just introduced to yet another woman with this fucking cancer.

She’s asking me for help/advice and – while I don’t want to relive the past – I have to help, I feel. And so, I do.

Again, this type of cancer mainly affect older, white, males. This woman is the third young white female I’ve met that had it.

It’s madness.

Then again, I’m finding that either madness tends to find me, or I tend to find it. Not sure which one is which.

Had lunch with a business associate of mine as well as dinner with another friend of mine.

They each offered me a job in two radically different fields of work. One was a high six-figure a year job, the other a very low five-figure a year job.

Both jobs have their charms.

Him: What are you gonna do?
Me: (shrugging) Not sure. In the end, I suppose all I really want is to raise my son and have a family.
Him: You can’t have it all?
Me: Have it all? (sighing) Clearly, not. If wishes were horses…
Him: …beggars would ride.
Me: (nodding)

Location: not Union Square, lemme tell ya that
Mood: busy, busy, busy
Music: I lost my mind trying to fix broken things (Spotify)
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Tooth Fairy Logan

Achievement unlocked

Was brushing the kid’s teeth the other night when I reached down and noticed that his new teeth were growing behind his baby teeth instead of underneath.

So, late Sunday night, I contacted his dentist and set up an emergency morning procedure.

It was stressful. All this happened on the anniversary of Alison’s passing so I was already rough and this didn’t help.

Still, within 12 hours of finding this out, I had a procedure scheduled. I pride myself on getting shit done.

He was blissfully unaware Monday morning so, when it was around time for us to walk out the door for school, he said, “Why haven’t you started making lunch? It’s almost time to go!”

That’s when I told him we were going to the dentist.

He was sad and upset but only for literally a minute. In some ways, he’s what I always wished I was, like a reed – bending at bad news but then springing right back to normal.

Honestly, the whole experience could not’ve gone better. The dentist was a pro and the kid was a doll. 30 minutes later, it was all over.

Me: You get a burger for lunch and ice cream for dessert tonight.
Him: Yay! Will the Tooth Fairy come?
Me: I think so!
Him: (thinking) Does she come every night to check? How does she know when someone loses a tooth?

This kid’s really too smart for me to handle.

This is him counting his “money” – from the dentist – after everything was over and done with.

Note that he was high as a kite on laughing gas and that’s a story for another day.

Every year Mouse would come spend time with me on the 24th but she’s gone now.

But Chad was kind enough to show up to check in on me. He ended rolling with both me and the kid.

Thank goodness for the good souls, yeah?

The night was interesting.

Spent a solid 15 minutes trying to get into his room without waking him up and finding the teeth under his pillow.*

Once I found them, I bent over to pick up the crisp two dollars I lay on the floor and my knee made this insanely loud popping sound. I froze for a solid 90 seconds as he tossed around.

I would not make for a good burglar.

Anywho, he didn’t wake up and I managed to slip the two dollars near his pillow – didn’t want to chance getting this far and waking him up by slipping the bills underneath his pillow.

Level unlocked: Tooth Fairy.

Like everything else, it was bittersweet. This woulda been something fun and sweet to share it with, instead, it was just me and my bum knee.

OK, and Chad…I get why people look at us funny.

But the boy’s ok, and that’s all that really matters.

Him: (next morning) Papa, papa, the Tooth Fairy came! I got two dollars!
Me: Great! I get 10%.
Him: I thought she didn’t give me anything but I found the dollars next to the bed.
Me: You gotta believe in the system, kid.

*As an aside, whose bright idea was it to have this whole tooth fairy thing UNDER the pillow of a sleeping child?

If I manage to take over the world someday, that’s gonna be one of the things I’ll have to change.

That, world peace, and basic universal healthcare.

Location: earlier this week, my office, of all places
Mood: empty
Music: be okay, be okay, be okay (Spotify)
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It’s spring in January

It isn’t hell

Speaking of FOMO and not caring, last year I threw Chad and Mouse a joint bday party but this year, Chad just swung by on his actual bday and I just got the two of us a massive amount of Vietnamese food.

Him: Somehow, they knew it was my birthday and gave me two cans of coke.
Me: (puzzled) Yeah – I told them.
Him: Oh…

He only recently started getting a taste for good alcohol so I taught him how to make Hemmingway’s favourite drink, the daiquiri. At least, my version of it.

We pounded about four of them each and just discussed his new hobby, which is a wholly different conversation.

Me: I baked cupcakes.
Him: Thanks!
Me: They’re mainly for the kid, but I saved you one for your born day.
Him: I’ll take it.

Another friend stopped by this week; she was just in the city to train but the gym wasn’t open that day so I invited her to come here to shower and clean up.

Me: Do you want brekkie?
Her: Oh, I couldn’t…
Me: (rolling eyes) You’re a guest, are you hungry?
Her: I could eat.
Me: A heart-attack sandwich it is then.

Like I said, I have no shortage of friends. It’s the shortage of family that weighs on me the most.

Speaking of family, do you know the Roman/Greek myth of the seasons centers around family?

Essentially, the goddess Ceres – from whom we get the word “cereal” – was the goddess of grain and harvest. Her daughter, Proserpina, was kidnapped by Pluto and she refused to allow anything to grow until her child was returned.

Eventually, she was, but Proserpina had eaten six pomegranate seeds and, because of that, had to live in hell for six months out of the year.

During this time, Ceres despaired and so came winter until her child was back and spring could return again.

The boy came home this week – after all this time – and it was spring once again, at least in a tiny UWS apartment.

Me: He’s home!!!
Him: (inspecting the house) The bathroom’s dirty. Grandma’s bathroom is cleaner.
Me: (laughing) Everyone’s a critic. Also, to be fair, no one’s bathroom is as clean as grandma’s…

Ridic easy daquiri
One shot of light rum
1/2 a lime, freshly squeezed
1.5-2 TBS agave
Soda water
ice

Squeeze half a lime into a highball and mix in the agave and shot of rum until it’s thoroughly blended. Fill the highball halfway with ice and then the remainder with soda water. Gently stir to combine. Pound.

Repeat until every person of the opposite sex looks beautiful.

Location: home, without any rum but plus one boy
Mood: tired but content
Music: It’s so cruel what your mind can do (Spotify)
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The 2020 Christmas Spirit

Bit of a Grinch

Son: But I don’t want to get a shot.
Me: Kid, no one wants to get a shot. But we do what we have to do to keep the people we love safe. Do you want to keep Mouse, Grandma, and Grandpa safe?
Him: (hesitatingly) Yes.
Me: Then you have to get a shot.
Him: (nodding sadly) OK. If you say so.

The kid was due for his annual checkup so Mouse picked me up and we went off to NJ to get him. It was so nice to have him home, if only for a bit.

We even put up the Christmas tree together. This is him putting up the first ornament.

It was the one that Alison I got together all those years ago. We even put it in the same place.

I told him the story of each of the ornaments that Alison and I got for each other. Well, I tried to at least.

Me: And this one…and this one…
Mouse: (gently) Do you want to go to the back room for a second?
Me: Yes.
Her: (turning to the boy) That was a special ornament. Your mom got it for your dad and you because she loved you both so much.

The boy was really brave at the doctor’s office. Impatient, even. I like to think that too was born of love.

Him: I just want my shot now.
Doctor: Oh! (to me) Do you want the shot or nasal spay?
Me: I was unaware the latter was an option. Heck, yeah we’ll take the nasal spray!

The boy was puzzled but – ultimately – thrilled, of course, that he didn’t need a shot. Because he was so ready to take the shot, I still gave him the chocolate I promised him.

Him: But I didn’t get the shot.
Me: You weren’t going to get chocolate because you got a shot, you were going to get chocolate because you were brave. You get points in life for being brave.
Him: Yay!!!

It was hard bringing him back. He’s mine. I want him here with me.

Speaking of thinking that Mouse is great – and catching up with people during the holidays – I also got a chance to catch up with KG Betty.

Me:…and now you’re caught up to everything.
Her: I have to say, I’m on Mouse’s side here.
Me: I can see that.

The boy’s doctor was right by the ABFF’s pad so I rang her but we missed each other. But we made up for it because she swung by with her sister, kids, and a bottle of rum in tow.

They actually sang – and danced to – Feliz Navidad outside my door in their matching jammies.

Me: (laughing) This is how people get arrested in NYC.
Daughter: Do you or Mouse want some candy?
Me: We do! But we won’t take any.
ABFF: Get into the Christmas spirit!

She was right; I suppose I’m a bit of a grinch these days as Christmas makes me feel probably the opposite of what I should be feeling.

Then again, I’m probably not the only one.

Me: Wanna watch the news? See if we still live in a democracy?
Mouse: Hold on, I gotta finish all this bullshit gift shopping first.
Me: Well, if that’s not the 2020 Christmas spirit, I dunno what is.

Location: my empty apartment, doing some bullshit gift shopping of my own
Mood: missing the boy
Music: Take a shot in the rain, one for the pain (Spotify)
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Grief-Stricken

Chuck and Chad(wick)

Chuck, Cho, Chad, and Mouse came by on Friday to wish Chuck a safe trip back home.

Me: Well, I already spent thousands this month on my apartment and health so I figured, “Why not blow another $150 on a smokeless grill? What difference’s 150 bucks at this point?”
Chad: Makes sense.
Me: We should invite Chuck over for a last BBQ in NYC.
Him: Let’s do it.

For anyone that’s been to my pad before, they know that the air circulation is low-to-nonexistent. No matter what I try to pan-grill, my smoke alarm goes off and it’s a sauna most days of the year.

I’d gotten the grill a while ago and decided to christen it and wish Chuck a farewell at the same time.

We picked up burgers, kielbasa, kraut, cole slaw, roasted veggies, potato pancakes, and drinks around the way, bringing them back and grilling everything up. We were supposed to start around 5:30.

Mouse: (walking in at 7PM) Wait, you haven’t started eating yet?
Me: We started a bit late.
Her: I can see that.

After we were done eating, we watched an episode of a food channel, an episode of hot ones, and then got down to serious matters, like board games.

We started with SpotIt

Chad: My morale’s deflated.
Me: I gotta put that in the blog.

…before moving onto Exploding Kittens

Everyone: How could you have that many defuse cards and still lose, Logan?
Me: It’s a gift, really.

Chuck: I’m going to throw a hairy potato at you. And not one of the cards.

…and finishing up with the classic, Pictionary.

Guess what this is and click it to read the URL of it to see if you’re right (Chuck figured it out)

Note that we were all two-sheets-to-the-wind – except for Cho – because he was the only one driving. Which is why I found the following exchange so amusing:

Mouse: (drawing)
Cho: What is that? An eye?
Her: (nods)
Him: Eye circle?
Her: (shakes head)
Him: Eye globe?
Her: (eyes wild and wide, stabs picture)
Him: Eyeball?
Her: YES! It’s an eyeball! EYE GLOBE?! EYE CIRCLE?! WTF is an EYE GLOBE, CHO?!

Chad was laughing hysterically when he glanced at his phone and suddenly turned sober. “Oh, no!” he said.

Him: Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer. He was 43.
Me: What? (taking out phone, reading) Um, I need a second, fellas.

I went into the back room, sat down, and just cried. That’s how it works, you see. That’s how grief works.

One minute with you’re with your fave girlie and good friends, and the next minute you’re in the back pulling up pictures of people you know you love and that you’ll never see again and an actor that you never knew.

You never know when life’s gonna hit that grief button. But when it does, holy shit…

I always knew the word, “grief-stricken,” but I never truly appreciated the etymological brilliance of the word until that moment.

It’s actually so perfect with how it works as a word, you are literally stricken – hit, bludgeoned, injured, wounded, struck – with grief.

That’s what grief-stricken means. Grief hits you like a fucking baseball bat, and you’re left gasping for air.

I was literally laughing one moment and trying to cry as quietly as I could the next. That’s what grief-stricken means.

As for Chadwick, that’s a whole different matter that I need to work through.

Chad: (leaning in) I’m sorry, brother, I wasn’t thinking.
Me: (shaking head) Why are you sorry? It wasn’t you that took her from me.

Podcast Version
Location: alone in my apartment
Mood: Friday, grief-stricken
Music: Sooner or later in life, the things you love you lose (Spotify)
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