All these mistakes I’ve made don’t exist, except in my memory. It’s past and just as fake as whatever I can imagine comes next. Only now exists. The rest is a mind-game-mind-fuck. I have tortured myself beyond any pedestrian waterboard (which, by the way, really doesn’t sound that bad, especially if you’ve bodysurfed the Wedge or Sandy’s). I’m tired of living in the shade. “Let there be light,” is a metaphor. It didn’t happen like the book says. It happens every second. Wait, this might be hard to wrap your head around, but seconds are too long. Every moment of comprehensible difference from the last. Nano-nanosecond. Every single one of these whatever you want to call them, is a chance to let there be light. God exists in minutiae. The smaller everything gets, the greater is the change in our rules of understanding.
“Did you see those catahoulas?”
“Some wild-ass, crazy bitches.”
“Their eyes, they’re like different colors.”
“I’m familiar with the breed.”
“God, they’re beautiful.”
“I don’t believe you appreciate the metaphor.”
Some of it is obvious. The drawl. But the longer I’m here, the more I listen, the more I am inclined to believe in ghosts. Things happen here in the shadows. Everybody knows the truth but no one’s quite ready to acknowledge it. Let alone say it. God forbid out loud. Maybe I’m reading too much into things. Maybe the eggshells I hear crunching are only because of love. And I’m listening a bit more intently. Intensely. Intensity. I’m writing this prose on a phone, one finger at a time and I appreciate the deliberation this allows. Normally the words don’t just flow. They spew. They insinuate themselves in the most unlikely of places. That’s wrong. Water comes to rest where it might flow. It’s not trying to be; it sorta just is. That’s one of those lessons you sometimes accidentally happen upon. Unless, of course, you are like me and don’t believe in accidents.
Returns. And haunts us with his pain. Are we going to be punished? Shall we pay for the sins of Hophni and Phineas? Who pays? Someone always pays. Where is Hannah to sing her beautiful song to God? Who might save us from ourselves?
“Just spit it out. Spit it out”
“I sort of think we’re over”
“We’ve been over for awhile.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I’ve been trying to be a nicer person.”
“Fuck you too.”
“You’re a drunk.”
“You’re a punk.”
“I’ve been one since I’ve known you.”
“I thought you would grow up.”
“Well, I’m never not going to be punk. I have it tattooed on me for god’s sake.”
“Yeah I know.”
“Do you think I would ever take it off? That is me.”
I don’t know about god, I just want to see her face. Please, lay your hands on me. Wake me up. I’m tired of sleeping. I need to rise.
“You know what you are? You’re a gargoyle. You’ve been around since the dawn of time and are very hard to get rid of.”
“I’m your girlfriend.”
“Not any more.”
“You’re breaking up with me?”
“No. I broke up with you about two months ago, I just never told you. God, that feels good. I feel like I just broke out of Shawshank.”
“That’s not nice.”
“You haven’t been nice in two years.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too. But we’re done.”
It’s hard to sing with your soul. To let that voice, your true voice, out. Sometimes we are bigger than we are. And it makes it harder to be smaller again. Learn to live like a god, and you will be one. Feel it in the moment. Bigger, stronger. Everything all the time.
Hold it, God, while you can. Maybe use your left hand. I’m going to bend right now. But lately every time I lay down. I can’t even close my eyes. You put me here. You made me what I am. If you exist. If you’re there. Make it end, please.
“Hold on. Pull it in, pull it in, pull it in.”
“Oh, god, why them? Why am I waiting for you? Why am I the fool? What am I missing? Why do I need you to pull me though?”
It’s over. Thank you, God it’s over. I can see the light. I kiss grandma. I hug uncle. Then a voice rises. “Go back. You’re not finished yet. Go back.” It’s like a womb. It’s so warm and I don’t want to leave. “Your daughter. Your son. Go back.” I wake and I run home. I grab their hands and lift them to the sky. She giggles. He mocks her. And I try not to cry.
“I think I’m in love with a hooker.”
“Then we can’t hang out anymore.”
“Are you kidding me? I hardly judge anything. Smell my balls for god’s sake.”
“No thank you.”
“I’m not judging. I just don’t want to be in that situation. Trust me I like hookers.”
“Then walk away.”
“I’ve already started walking.”
I’m filled with gross sadness. The future looks brighter than it has in a long time, but I find myself having staccato bursts of five-second weeping. My friend says “You can’t look at yesterday, there’s only today and maybe not even tomorrow.” She’s right, of course. But my kids live in yesterday, today seems so ineffectual, and tomorrow scares the shit out of me. I don’t want what I had and I hate what I have. I’m on my knees with hope and humility that the sun decides to rise tomorrow, and whether I deserve it or not, takes a shine to me. God, please help me. Faith can help. But I’m still human. Of course, I’m going to be scared.
“Men are always surprised. When they do the right thing, they want congratulations for it. Yeah, you took out the garbage. Big deal.”
“No, no, no, no, no you’ve got this wrong. It’s in our DNA.”
“I don’t want to hear this.”
“That’s because the truth stands in contrast to your statement.”
“I guess I don’t have a choice.”
“Your job is the kids and to be soft and nice. That’s just the way god made it. That’s why you always get custody and don’t go to jail as much. Men are not nurturers. We’re not gatherers. We don’t naturally gravitate to keeping the place clean. Our job is to kill wooly mammoths. And you can’t get pissed at me just because they’re extinct.”
I haven’t even thanked god for saving me.
Pick up your feet, little boy. It helps you pass things. God, how I do love you.
“But, Daddy, I….”
“Absolutely not. Don’t even finish your sentence.”
“But, Dad you don’t…”
“I swear to God, not one more fucking word.”
I don’t know if you remember the ’70s? But the vaginas were, um, hairy. Hustler scared me. Now they’re all bald. Believe me, I’m not complaining. Did god make a mistake? Should the stock model have been smooth? My libido would say (a resounding), “Yes.”