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Posts Tagged ‘life story’

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything. My writing chops have become stale, worm-eaten and moldy. Time to dust them off and write something, anything.

So:
The last two years have been uneventfully eventful; by which I mean a lot has happened in my life, a lot of changes, but nothing spectacular or particularly special. I have become a father and then a fiance and someday soon I will be a husband. To be sure that is not the normal route, but it’s not that unusual either. We talked about our relationship when we found out a little one was on the way, we wanted to make sure we were on the same page, we weren’t going to stay together just for the sake of the child. I mean how back-ass-wards would that have been? If we didn’t have any other reason to stay together than a child how horrible an example would we have set for my daughter? Especially as neither one of us mince words or is of a sparkling disposition. So we stuck together, intent on seeing where our relationship was going to go. Then the big news hit us, our daughter was probably going to be born with down syndrome and she would definitely be born with a heart defect that would require open heart surgery before her first birthday.

Yikes. Ouch. Ugh.

Time to bear down and prepare myself for a long life of disappointment, for all my expectations falling short and the fun of having children sucked out parenting. Big breath fella, man up, suck it up and soldier on, she’s still going to be your child, you’ll do what you have to.

Isabelle was born right on time, in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter. 

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Old men gathered around a pipe, pointing and arguing as though it were a piece of art. As though their lives were tied to it; that small piece of pipe.
Which, being metal mongers, men of steal and heat, I suppose they are tied to it.

Across the bay the battleship sits quiet; low and heavy in the water. Her guns point east and west towards the falling and rising sun. Helicopters and jets pass overhead. The wind shifts. I adjust my shotgun and sigh, I’ll be wet with the rain soon.

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One of his most vivid memories is of him and his half-brothers finding a dead deer and poking it’s eye with a stick until it popped.
“It was green…” He remembers.

All of his brothers are Half-brothers. His life is full of half remembered instances, stop stills of an unfinished film. Being dropped off with a grumpy old women and two or three of her other charges, her dirt lawn and harsh voice, the laughter of the other children. Being kicked out of elementary school because his best friend pissed on the door of a rival school.
“He had to go, he thought it would be funny. I don’t know why they kicked me out…”
He describes his school life as quiet and boring, he had friends but they weren’t close. He fell out of touch all together with the friend who just had to piss after he had moved to a different school 4 miles away. The first time he heard of his parents divorce,
“I was playing outside the house, no-one else was home and these two strange men came up the walk and took me away with them…”
Weekends with Dad and his four half-brothers, weekends with Mom and his two half-brothers.

He had a girlfriend at the end of high-school, he broke up with her. “why’d you beak up with her?” I ask him, never really expecting an answer.
“She was… (he nods his head as if confirming long held suspicions) … a bitch.”
Everything he says is slow like this, as though each word has to be turned one way then another, carefully inspected to be sure it is the right one. “Bitch” must have been the perfect description in his mind. During ‘lengthy’ speeches of say eight or more words, to include several sentences, he clears his throat often, as if to be sure we understand how much effort is required from him to talk. He doesn’t seem particularly unsure of what he is saying, nor insecure with saying it, just unsure he would like to speak at all. As if by letting these few stories leave his mouth they might leave him. They would no longer be his own life, his own private joke.

He moved out at the end of high-school, he and his girlfriend moved into a house together. It was cheap for them, his grandfather owned the place and charged a minimal amount, yet large enough to teach his grandson the economics of living. Soon after a friend of his from high-school moved in with them. The girlfriend and the friend did not get along.
“Why didn’t they get on?”
“He hated her… (shrugs) She was a bitch”
During these few years nothing much happened; he worked at warehouse, hung out with his half-brothers and his friend, his girlfriend became increasingly unhappy and he became dissatisfied with her. Their breakup was as placid and boring as their relationship. That was the only story he had to relate to me from this time in his life, the ‘breakup story’. They were at a grocery store getting necessities for the super-bowl party they were to attend at his half-brothers place. The argument was over the party, she didn’t want go. She wanted him to stay with her at home, he wanted to drop her off and go the party without her.
“…So she said ‘You just don’t want to be with me!’ and I told her she was right. The next day she moved all her stuff to the room next to mine.”
“She didn’t move out that night?”
“No, she stayed with me that night and when I came back the next night she had moved out.”
A month and a half latter he joined the Navy.

He has never lived what he would consider an interesting life. Every sentence ends with an ellipsis, every story he tells, the few I can get him to tell, is told with the same monotone. Still he is a happy and contented person. The kind of person for whom the most amazing thing he has ever seen has only elicited a small grunt of  appreciation. He is an interesting person though, if only because he is so quiet, so non-committal about life. Because of this, because he has so few stories to tell, the ones he does tell leave the listener wanting more, leave the hearer strangely effected, moved. You can feel the impact to his life that each event has had through the few words he lets grudgingly drop. These are the things that stick out the most in a life that is otherwise tapioca blandness. A few defining moments of childhood, confrontations of adolescents and decisions of adulthood. And when you think about it, that’s all any of us have. Sure we might have more to say, might even make some of it up, but when you strip it down, its just a bunch of bright spots in the film of our lives. The most defining moments of a man don’t have to be worthy of a novel, most would not even get a novella. Often the most defining thing about us will barely merit a sentence yet will carry all the force of a Pulitzer prize winner.

“It was green…”

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The ends of stories are the very worst parts. You can forgive the author all his transgressions before this point (“Why did he kill her?”), all the little gripes and complaints you may have had are forgotten when you get to this point, the saddest part of the book: the end.

Especially if was a good story, and it must have been for you to feel this way, a story that took you in, took you away from the “real” world; a story with places and characters that just get into your skin. People who are real to you; people, characters, you love, you hate, you know; you are intimately involved with their lives, you know their hearts, their minds. And so the story takes you in, rushes you headlong towards the brick wall of that last chapter, those fateful, famous last words: “The End”.

And with that last page, those final parting shots, that last period, the curtain closes and all the house lights come up. You bid fare-thee-well to those, your loved ones; you have been with them all this time, seeming months or years, their constant companion; but now their plight is resolved and their future(dark to you)bright and open before them. It is the proverbial sunset and these your erstwhile companions and loved ones are walking off into it.

And you, you return from your harmless eavesdropping to the real solid fact of your existence. Your own life with its own struggles and desires, loves and losses. Your own future, a story yet unwritten, rolls out before you.
A crushing disappointment after all that you’ve just witnessed right?

To be sure your life will never be as fantastical, as rich, as full of danger or intrigue. Will your loves be as sudden or passionate? Will you ever have to fight for your life, or those of innocents, against an as-yet-unknown evil? Your enemies are the noisy neighbor, the surly waitress- your boss, whom you believe to be supremely evil; maybe even your mother-in-law. But you will probably never have the sort of adventures that, those, your literary heroes have. The nail-biting, life or death, edge-of-your-seat situations they always seem to end up in.

But you do. Every time you dip politely into a different world and hitch a ride on a strangers shoulders. You ride with them through their little bit of life, their own short play. You are taken into that world, you know it, you see it… and you live it; if only for a few hundred pages.

Which is why, after all, a good book seems to go by so quickly yet lasts in your mind so much longer. You didn’t just read that story my friend, you lived it.

You where there when Frodo cast his ring into the forge from which it was set; you sat in that cold, gloomy cabin and listened with horrified fascination to the story of a man who called himself Frankenstein. You have seen the resting place of Lord Dracula and witnessed the re-awakening of Cthulhu; you were there, watching the news, when the Man From Mars escaped the government, and you were part of the mob that witnessed, and participated in, his martyrdom. You know all the ghosts of Christmas and have walked the jungles with Bagheera and his man-cub.

You may just be the greatest traveler and explorer of far off lands that the world has ever known. For you have seen far more than the ordinary day-to-day man, who orders a cup of coffee every morning over his stock quotes and sports pages, spilling the crumbs of his danish on all the portions he deems unfit for reading.

And yes the end is sad, and though you may be melancholy and dejected when you bid your final farewell to those whom you have so recently loved, when you close those last few pages and set the book aside, you are no poorer for it. In fact you life may have just taken an interesting turn. The book set aside, the characters taking their final bow in your mind, the house lights come up and you look ahead; your own story continuing or starting, you are authoring it and the end, as far as you know, may never come.

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