Mocha #1: I still [miss] Remember You…

I declutter.

Facebook was finally on the chopping block.

Time to leave all the pages I never visit, the people I’d forgotten I’d followed, the groups I graduated past.

And then I found a page I was still following. And I remembered why.

So, this is for you.


I remember your smile and humor.

The ginger child on the bus when we carpooled to the christian (xian) private school in the middle of farmland. I still remember your smile and laugh, how silly you were. The pranks, the jokes, the silly faces and bubbly personality.

How you drove your brother crazy sometimes.

You were the funny one, he was the serious one. The Ginger Brothers. He wore glasses, you did not.

I always thought of you as part of two. Two peas in a pod, even though you were the younger brother.

I remember joking with you during the long bus rides. I was pleasant to everyone and in a casual way, our interactions had gradually extended to that gray place between acquaintance and friend.

Then again, I was in high school and you were in middle school. I couldn’t say that I took you seriously, but any gap in age was bridged by humor. I could be silly sometimes and you made me smile too. And I learned that your humor belied a deep intelligence I hadn’t encountered in many of my peers.

It was such a gray time. And a ginger ray of sunshine was a welcome gift.

I remember the day you gave me your necklace. I think I commented on how cool it was. You had two, and you gave me one. I was surprised, people rarely gave me gifts. I thought you were joking.

But you weren’t.

I was concerned, a bit, that it might have been some sort of gesture. In my limited experience, guys give gifts with strings. So I was on guard for the next few days, but nothing changed.

You were silly and charming as always and didn’t give me moon eyes. Thank goodness!

We could be friends.

Thank goodness, it was nothing more than a kindness; not even a motive, just selfless and almost thoughtless giving. The innocence of children.

I wore that necklace for a time. A gray string connected to spikes shaped into a cross. It was the perfect mix of gothy and xian that I could get away with wearing it and it was the perfect example of my style.

Time flew by so fast…

I left.

I barely remembered.

I went to college.

Two years later you were dead.

Like a pebble of ice, I could not define the sense of loss. Unlike the sense of not seeing someone during the day to day, how do you fill that sense with the knowledge that you can’t even remember the last time you saw someone? Someone you will never see again?

The why was a mystery. It was sudden, quick, and hopefully painless.

Rumors -stupid and vicious- were thankfully silenced. A funeral was held. Memorial passed.

But I was over 300 miles away, and completely off the radar. Frozen, I mourned from afar.

A distant sadness. Regret. It was a selfish grief. Resolving the smile of potential with the cold clasp of the grave. Realizing that the ginger peas were now a ginger pea, I would flip back through the fuzzy memories and try to remember.

But it was like grasping space or embracing a galaxy. Futile, impossible, and vaguely insulting.

If I had known how short the time would be…

I found the necklace again. Somehow, it has survived several moves and stayed with me. I took it as a sign.

A way I could remember you.

For over a year, every morning, I’d look in the mirror, see the necklace, and remember. It wasn’t a prominent display, but it was enough.

The only time someone commented on it was during warmer weather when an observant professor noticed. I’d been in his office hours for years, trying to understand some difficult classes that he taught, and during that time, I had never worn jewelry. I explained, haltingly, that I was remembering you.

But I didn’t say that your memory was drifting farther and farther away from me.

Over time, the necklace seemed to get heavier and heavier. I experienced neck pain and migraines, but it was a small price to pay. No longer a memory, the piece had become more like penance.

I could barely remember your smile. I was chasing a phantom and the memories faded like mist in the summer heat.

All I had left was the memory of your smile and that twinkle in your eye.

And then the necklace broke.

I held the broken string in one hand and the cross pendant in the other. It couldn’t be fixed, I didn’t have a chain to put the pendant on.

And I swore I heard the wind whisper that it was time to move on.

Even if my cynical mind denied it; -sign or not- the necklace could no longer be worn.

You were more than a piece of metal and string. I might have forgotten so much, but you never slipped far from my mind.

The irony of memories is that you always remember someone being the same as the last time you saw them. 

You could have finished college and started a career by now. You could have married the girl of your dreams and had your own ginger child.

So much that could have been.

Like a story forever incomplete -or prematurely ended.

If a “being” or “god” is responsible for your demise, I’d like to know why “THEY” thought you needed to go. I’m still angry and sad about that.

I’m sorry.

I miss you.

I still remember…

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Garroting the Echos.

“I just have… so many thoughts!” I said, turning to my unseen confidant.

My confidant and confessor (a she, I sensed) sat silently to my right draped in black veils and dark robes.

My hands smooth up my face and my thumbs slide to my temples as I lightly massage my head with my fingers, combating the tendrils of stress winding through my skull.

And there are so many thoughts… how can I possibly write them all down or track them for posterity.  

My silent companion didn’t move, in a stillness most artificial. I suddenly wondered, a tendril of thought, whether she was the harbinger.

And my dream spiraled away…

It’s those moments. Those small actions that harken back to memories of pain.

Continue reading Garroting the Echos.

When Protection = Hurting yourself

Welcome to one of my disorganized posts…

When protecting yourself is hurting yourself…

That could be the mission statement for my life. Period.

In many ways, pain has been a constant companion in my life. And I’m okay with that. Maybe my mission statement should actually be:

You know you’re alive when you feel pain.

Continue reading When Protection = Hurting yourself

Mother’s Day: Atomic Fallout

Lay on the guilt trip. I can take it. I’m a camel that needs just one more feather -but I ain’t gonna break. Can’t break what’s broken bitch!

Sometimes Gunter remembers the past and it cumulates to one simple truth.

Mother is the giver and taker of all.

Growing up, he struggled to understand that the nice mother and the…not so nice Mother were in fact one and the same. Mother giveth and taketh away. Mother loveth and hateth. Mother builds and destroys. Mother hugs and hits. Mother veers from extreme to extreme.

And then, was nice mother actually being nice? Or cunningly manipulative?

He tried to forget, he tries to forget. Because he is a person of tally and numbers. And with surprisingly good memory despite himself and his attempts to forget.

If he truly remembers everything he forcefully buried, it would cause a volcanic eruption of epic proportion.

It’s not just words, it’s not just actions, it’s not just force and intent. If it were but one, he’d be fine. He can take beatings, he can take mean words, he can survive lack of freedom. But put them all together and his tolerance burns to ashes.

So, with all the history between them, they -really he- is one uneasy truce away from severing their relationship permanently and finally.

Know what Gunter used to dream about as a kid? Changing his identity and disappearing for good. Changing his name and reinventing himself in another place and time, untouchable and free for once. Deep down, he’s still that kid with a dream and a fistful of coins in his piggy bank standing outside the house at 2 am searching for a reason to go back inside and stick around.

And he’s running dangerously low on reasons.

What really blows his mind, is that she doesn’t appreciate what she has. Instead, she focuses on what she didn’t get.

Mother’s Day 2016 is a prime example of this fact.

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“On Mother’s Day, which is today I listened all day for a call from all my children. Guess What?

Nothing!

At 4pm I received a phone call from you and after talking for 45 minutes I received a “Enjoy your Mother’s Day” at the end of our conversation. I quickly responded with a “Thank you” because I was in shock. There was no “Happy Mother’s Day”. No -love you mother you’re an awesome mother. I guess I’m dreaming with the thought that I am a good mother. Guess what? I am now awakened out of my dream and its reality.

At 6:30pm, I went on the computer, do you know why? To see if there was a card; handcrafted that you wanted me to guess was there. Guess what? There was nothing. I have got it!!! While at college, you would buy me gifts that I pay for. I asked you to delay that till you’re working. Now you’re working, I’m totally forgotten. I’ll cherish the thought.

Just telling you how I feel.

Not upset anymore since I’m giving you this card on Mother’s Day.

So Happy Mothers Day!!!

Even so…Love always, Mother.

 

Yeah… she’s lucky he calls at all (doesn’t bode well for her birthday). Better save his money and intent and just don’t bother.

Because she is his mother, Gunter won’t get up and retort in kind. He’ll just say that he doesn’t care, that she’s lucky he attempted. And he’ll save the energy next year.

Happy butt-hurt Mother’s day. Mother should go adopt some kids who will do everything she says. Go buy some robots that will obey her commands. Go find a puppet she can manipulate.

Cuz he doesn’t give a shit.

Gunter can never win. And this is not a game he even want to play.

Being his mother doesn’t mean he owes an immeasurable debt. He’s done his time, she’s gotten all she can get from him. He has nothing left for her here. Just a hollow ear and an empty mouth.

A mannequin head immune to her call. Happy chatting.

“You don’t have to like me, go love someone else.”
The Truth by Kevin Gates

A Dream from Yesterday

“A valet, of stealthy step, thence conducted me, in silence, through many dark and intricate passages in my progress to the studio of his master.”

– Edgar Allen Poe  “The Fall of the House of Usher”

I was back again.

Summer wind breathes warmth and welcome around the hustle and bustle of college students at the bus stop. I am in undergrad again and the campus remains familiar but warped. The essence remains accurate even though the layout and buildings are inaccurate/distorted, as dreams tend to do.

But I don’t care about any of that. My favorite band is playing in a matter of minutes, and I don’t want to be late.

Continue reading A Dream from Yesterday

Am I dead?

In 12th grade, I was invited to my friend, “Lian’s” birthday party. It was scheduled for the weekend, started in the afternoon, and ran on into the evening.

His house sits in the midst of the woods. It reminds me of home.

I enjoy the fun and activities, exploring a new house. I remember my friend’s smiling face. He has the cutest smile. Dark bangs hanging into his mirthful brown eyes. Dimples. Beauty mark on his face. Voice not so much smooth as easy, caramel with coconut shavings.

Continue reading Am I dead?

My father….complications may vary

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Ghosts of the Past, Path to the Future

DAY 1: Bitter Nostalgia

My father.

I practically don’t need him. And that’s a bad thing for me to say, I know. I know. Judge me, I’m okay with that. Most likely, when he dies, I’ll regret it all; my attitude, my uncaring disposition, the brush offs. But in this moment, in the now, I am over it. I don’t really need him and he missed that point when I did need him.

Perspective: my father was always too busy saving everyone else, so he never had time for me. Save the souls of sinners, ignore your family, and say you’re doing the right thing.

My father, was a minister. A minister, rejoicing in persecution and the acknowledgement of salvation. One who would ignore my need for a father figure at the time of my life when he necessary. My memories of my father are of him walking out the door again and again.

Yes, I know, at least I had one, right? What is she bitching about? She had a dad in her life, of course she’d bitch about that.

I have no words and no justification. So you win, little critical voice in my head, you win.

As I get older, it’s like these little things in the past are resurrected with significance and impact to me now. Like the emotions I smothered are expanding and exploding with vehemence and violence like purging a time capsule.

It is. It just is.

I don’t need my father right now, and now he has the time for me. Wants to interrupt my life and pretend the years haven’t gone by. But it’s just too late.

Timely incompatible.

The worst is remembering pour love out into what I thought was a basin but turned out to be a sieve. Pointless.

DAY 15: Apples fall from Trees

I called my father. Not on purpose, but he picked up the phone, We proceeded to have an actual conversation for the first time in a while.

We talked about cars. His project focused on rebuilding a car with a bad motor, he’d swapped in 2 but each seemed to have the same problem. I asked questions about the inner makings of the car and how it runs, where the engine comes in, what everything does. I shared my dream of buying a car in pieces and putting it together myself, impractical I know, but still a way for me to understand everything inside and not just enjoy driving the outside.

And for a moment I was 8 years old again, crouching beneath the belly of the family car, handing my father wrenches and tools and holding the light just so… I remember crouching there in the cool of the early morning, wearing a lumberjack yellow plaid shirt made of soft fleece, with a neon green hat on my head and sniffling nose, holding the lantern with chilled fingers. Asking a thousand questions about how cars work, and what the engine sound meant, and why loud mufflers was a bad thing.

I miss those days. Dad was home more, or maybe it’s my selective memory of the past. I remember thinking that I liked Dad more than Mom, and that I wanted to do everything he did. I wanted to learn how to wire electricity, how to ticker with electric currents and connect solar panels to batteries to run outlets in the house. I wanted to learn how to fix a roof, and change a tire, and tune up cars. I wanted to drive fast down the highway too.

Maybe I also wanted to drive away from home for awhile and not come back for a month or two.

Maybe that’s why I keep trying to leave my family in the dust and get as far away as possible.

Shit.

I am my father’s child.

DAY 17: Reality of the Moment

“I hate him, I hate Dad.”

“You don’t hate him, you both are exactly alike. You are just like him.”

“No! I’m NOTHING like him!!”

I remember arguing with mom in the kitchen 8 years ago. I was feral, angry, and had no explanation for any of my tempers. And nearly all of my rage was towards my father. Mom thought that we should kiss and make up, I wanted my first grudge to last much longer than that. I hadn’t spoken to him in 1 year, quite an achievement when I lived in the same house with him. Despite my mother’s proddings, threats, and tantrums, I hadn’t said one word to him.

It took years before I spoke to him again. Time and distance helped, I moved 6 hours away, I didn’t go back unless I wanted to- and that more for my sibling’s sake than for my parents. My sibling took over where I left off, replacing me as my father’s favorite child. They bonded, now that I was out of the way, and I found it inherently absurd that it bothered me. I wasn’t his child anymore, that’s what I wanted, wasn’t it?

Over time, I let the grudge go. After deep examination of my life, I decided that I didn’t want that negativity tainting my time and energy. So I cut it loose. Rage transitions into indifference.

Today, I don’t hate my father. The obligation is that I love him. But he’s just another person to me. Maybe we’ll reconnect and be friends again. I’m not holding my breath either way.

I don’t hate my father, but I practically don’t need him much, anymore.

But if I do, maybe this time, he’ll be there.

Compassion

I remember a warm day in Pennsylvania. The temperature had increased dramatically after the cold snap of winter finally cracked beneath the pressure of spring. The sun shone bright and bold, the birds frantically chattered their glee while aggressively staking their nesting and mating territory. Fluffy white clouds sailed through the sky like proud matrons, gliding down the windswept, celestial aisle. The sun played peak-a-boo through their crocheted skirts.

Continue reading Compassion