In Memory of Lizzy

If you would have asked me today if I would be doing this post right now, I’d have told you fuck no.  No way.  Because I know that I wouldn’t be here when this would be happening.  I’d be out with her and I would know that it was coming.  But an unbelievably selfish individual decided to take it upon themselves to make this decision for me, and now I am here, writing a post that I have been thinking about for weeks.  And I can finally get something out of my head that has been nipping away at me for weeks.  I don’t think I’ll ever forgive the person who decided to make that decision for me.  Ever.  My best and most loyal friend died tonight.  She was kind, sweet, lovable, had four legs and was covered in fur.  It was my cat.  Her name is Lizzy.

19 years ago, I was there when we went to the pet store and picked her out.  They had kittens for sale, and I went with my mother to pick one out.  My parents had a policy about not getting boy cats.  They tended to have bad bathroom habits and are little shits.  The last cat we owned had the moniker “shitty kitty” for the fact that it shit all over the place.  Thank Groj it wasn’t an indoor cat.  It lived in my old man’s garage.  Before you say that’s cruel, he kept it warm in there for the vehicles.  We had a large property, so kitty had never known an indoor life.  Peanut Butter was his name, even though he was orange and white.  Never did ask where the rationale for that name came from.  It was my sister’s cat, in name alone.

When we got to the pet store, there was a cage with all the little kittens inside, and they were all cute as fuck.  But there was one that stuck out above all the rest.  See, it was climbing the cage wall, with a look on its face of – get me out of here!  From that very moment, I knew that this kitty and I were going to be best friends.  As luck would have it, that kitty was a girl.  So we picked her out and headed home.  My kitty has NEVER liked confined spaces, so on the car ride home she was miserable.  But I was eating chicken strips, and gave her some of the chicken.  That made for a happy kitten.  Every time she has been in a vehicle since, she has been a VERY unhappy camper.

From there began a relationship that was the most loyal and true that I have ever had.  See, while she was around everyone, there was no denying that Lizzy was MY cat.  Everywhere I went, she followed.  If she was outside and I tried to go places, back in the first house I lived at in memory, she would try and follow me.  So I’d have to put her inside.  I named her Lizzy, after my grandmother on my old man’s side.  Her first name was Mary, but her middle name was Elizabeth.  So I shortened that down to Lizzy.  But over the years that wasn’t what I would call call her.  Lizzy got shortened to Liz.  Then to Wiz.  Then to Wiz-Biz. Or Wiz Cat.  Or sometimes “you’re being annoying.”  Silly kitty.

After leaving the first house we lived in with her, we moved into my grandparent’s on my mum’s side’s old house.  It was a home that they homesteaded in, ages ago.  There is so much history in this house.  Part of me is glad that it’s still in the family.  At this new house, Lizzy had so much more area to explore.  A huge property, a lakefront, and all the voles a kitty can eat.  Oh yeah, there was a serious vole problem when we first moved in.  Lizzy took it upon herself to help deal with that problem.  Using kitty violence.

During the summer, Lizzy hated to spend time inside.  She would spend hours upon hours on end outside.  Sometimes we would let her out late in the evening, only for her to be out all night and come in the next morning.  Part of me wonders how she was never attacked by an owl.  But she did have the right fur color to blend in with the undergrowth.  So many funny memories.  Like, seeing her shimmy up a wall.  See, my parents had a balcony into their bedroom from the third floor.  On nights where she would be out and want in at 4 in the morning, she would shimmy up the wall and then go onto their balcony and whine until someone let her in.  Or she’d whine outside my window.

But the thing that I loved most was how she would spend her evenings and winters with me.  Since she hates the snow, kitty would spend all of her time in the winter cooped up indoors with me.  I had this amazing blue chair.  It had these really tall arms, and my kitty’s favorite place to rest was there.  See, I moved around too much for her to be comfy on me.  I’m not one of these people who says that if the cat is comfortable I can’t get up.  Pussy can move.  But she knew I gave her tons of love, so she would rest on the arm of my chair, watching movies with me and watching me play games, then judging when I made mistakes harshly.

So many little memories that I can chain together.  Like on Christmas, where she would attack the wrapping paper and get all wrapped up in it.  Or when we put garland on her and had her indignant face.  I would give my last 10 years to be able to go back and get a picture of that.  Alas, when I was a teenager we didn’t have camera phones that took really sweet pictures.  Think that was before my head injury.  She would always watch us set up decorations and judge us harshly, but she loved getting attention.  Wish I had been better about getting her Christmas gifts.

Thing is, she didn’t want lots of toys.  She got to go outside and wander around and have fun.  Plus, something I did that nobody else did – fight with her.  See, sometimes she would want to get into a fight.  I ever had a special glove for it.  It was a work glove with a leather exterior.  She’s wrap around that and claw the living shit out of it for a few minutes when I’d go at her belly when she is in a fighting mood.  My cousin would fight with her too, except he was an idiot who did not wear a glove, and she would fuck up his hand.  He would joke that she loved it, and part of me does wonder if there is some validity to that.

Another adorable thing about her is the fact that she had both of the dogs my parents owned scared to death of her, even though both of them were big enough to bite her in half.  The first was Zoey, then her puppy, Riley.  In both cases, it’s because she was so mean to them as puppies.  Like any puppy, they went over to her and wanted to be best fwiends.  But she wasn’t having that.  They would know who the top dog in the house was, so to speak.  After slashing their puppy faces up, both of them knew that love from her came at her pace, not theirs.  It is so cute having both of these dogs being so much bigger than her yet scared to death of her.  Poor Riley.  As the much more friendly of the two, he kept on trying to get love out of her, but she was always a bitch to him.  But eventually the dogs and her found a happy equilibrium and all was well in the world.

Moving in to the last house I have lived in, my parent’s sunset home, things changed.  See, Lizzy has been getting old.  The years don’t show on her because of how small she is, but for a while she was fine.  But then things started to happen.  See, her hearing was getting worse and worse.  Eventually, she went totally deaf.  It was a bummer.  And for her, I genuinely believe it made her scared to death, all the time.  I also contend that her vision was going too.  At night, she would make this really ugly noise that sounded like she was in pain, but I think it was her being scared and not being able to hear or see where she was or where she was going.  This led the parents to believe that she was losing her mind, and while I joked it off, part of me wondered.

Months went by, and she was sleeping more and more.  Eventually it got to the point where she was sleeping almost every second of the day, only to wake up and cry.  The parents were not enjoying it.  As I was living in a place that didn’t allow pets, I tried to make excuses for it.  Then one day, I get told the my parents are wanting to take her to the vet.  The idea is that we need to get an answer on this, and if there is no cure, and her quality of life is just going to get worse, to put her down.  I made very clear that I was going to be there for that.  We went to the vet and they said that her kidneys are indeed shutting down.  But it can be prolonged.  With some diet change, she can get many more months of life.  Maybe it should have ended there.  I don’t know.  But it didn’t.  Which leads me to the last four days.

I went out last weekend because the parents said that her problems are getting worse, it’s clear that her mental state is not well, and it’s time to say our goodbyes and be done.  I was going out more to tell them I had damn well better be there when it ends.  I was there when we picked her out.  I was owed that.  It ties in to that thing I haven’t been able to get out of my mind.  We’ll get there.  However, the mum was unable to bring herself to say that we’re going that far.  So I went home thinking that I this could go on for much longer.

And that brings us to tonight.  I got a call from the mum saying that my kitty had “died in her sleep.”  She could have let it stay there, but she decided complete honesty was a good policy and told me that that was a euphemism for she had indeed been fast asleep, and my old man had put her down himself.  Believe it or not, I do buy that she was asleep.  My girl couldn’t hear.  Sneaking up on her was very easy.  I’d seen first-hand how she can sleep if you are right in front of her.  I don’t doubt that she never woke up before he ended it.  With one bullet.

Before you go saying how disgusting and horrible that is, I’ll head you off.  I don’t hate the method.  It’s quick, and if she’s asleep and doesn’t know what’s coming then it’s painless.  Here’s where I take insane levels of umbrage.  I was there when we picked her out.  I was there when we brought her home.  I was there from the very beginning, and I fucking deserved to be there at the end!  Though, I would have asked to do the more typical euthanizing, because I don’t want to think about the mess.  That’s kind of horrible.  My girl died alone.  She died without me there.  It hurts me more than you can know.  The old man decided that since the mum and I couldn’t bring ourselves to do the deed, he’d do it for us.  I had a right to be there with her at the end, and that selfish person took that right away from me.  When I was rightly upset by this, it is then me who is turned into the villain, as is always the case.  My family has never valued my opinion and is quick to throw any transgressions I have ever committed squarely in my face the moment I am upset with the parental authority figures.  I got a clear lesson in how little they respect me.

My companion, my confidant, my dearest friend.  Someone who stood with me during all the worst parts of my life.  When I lost friendship after friendship because the significant others of those people didn’t like me.  When other “friends” turned their back on me because I’m weird or I have feelings they don’t like.  When my cousin/brother I never had stabbed me in the back.  When I lost relationships, one in a bummer way and one in a way that did irreparable damage to me because of how it ended.  She was there for all of that.  And I wasn’t there with her to say goodbye.  It hurts me more than you can possibly know.  Someone took it upon themselves to do that and I am quite upset with them right now.  Given what happened between us afterwards, I don’t know if our relationship will be able to mend.  We’ll see what happens.

I normally try and close these things out with something that the person I am doing this post for told me, but since this particular friend was a cat, I decided I would close this out another way.  See, I’ve had this song rattling around inside my head for the last few weeks.  At every funeral I’ve been to, there is a hymn that has been sung.  It holds a lot of resonance with me because of how much I have grown up with it.  I’m not a spiritual person.  I think people who believe in the magic sky wizard are childish beyond the capacity for rational thought.  But since there will never be a funeral for my kitty, I thought I’d close out with this lyric.  Those of you who know what the melody to this is without looking it up are pretty alright in my book.

Until next time, a quote,

“I was there to hear your borning cry,
I’ll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.”

Peace out,

Maverick

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Bonds Deeper Than Blood

“Kay, I can’t dodge all of it!  Eyes on the battle!”
“Bite me!” she snarled back.
Her screen was absolutely lit up.  The process of this was so unbelievably taxing.  Every battle left her so mentally and physically drained.  She didn’t like to complain, looking back up and seeing her companion in the seat in front of her, desperately moving to dodge and attack.  For whatever reason, command always saw fit to have them right in the thick of whatever fight.  The assertion was that since this unit had a shield that was nigh-impenetrable with the right crew, why not have them dealing with the worst of every battle.  Enemy armors were everywhere.  Just everywhere.  Bogeys on her screen and energy lances in all directions.  Made sense why her head was killing her.
Quinn was doing everything she could to move and return fire.  A unit decided to try its luck and come in close.  Bad move.  Energy blade sawed it right in half.  An enemy cruiser was coming up.  This was bad.  They could handle enemy fire from units, but beam weapons on these monsters was unstoppable.  They hadn’t gotten the order to retreat yet, so all they could do was avoid fire.
“Command, Protectorate cruiser incoming!  Request permission to withdraw!”
“Negative, Killer Bee.  Keep at it.”
Switching the comms to the ship off.  “These fuckers wanna kill us!”
Hard for Kate to argue, but she couldn’t respond.  Now things just got worse.  Their units were doing the best they could, but already they had lost five.  This was supposed to be an elite squadron, yet so many of their best had already been killed.  It hurt to see all the racks having to get reassigned.
The cruiser was lining up their guns.  It was clear that the Killer Bee was the target.  This unit was giving the Protectorate hell, now they wanted it dead.  Quinn decided on a desperate gambit.  She hit the boosters and flew hard at the cruiser.
“Are you nuts?!” Kate yelled.
“The closer we get the less guns there are shooting as us!  I can’t dodge particle cannons and defense lasers!  The shield can’t take the cannons, and you can’t deflect all the lasers.  I can hear you cracking.”
It was hard to admit, but it was true,  She was getting sloppy.  They hadn’t taken damage yet, but they would be soon.  Her endurance was failing.
“Sorry.”
“We’re not dead yet.  No apologizing.”
“Right.”
Killer Bee swooped in over the gray hull of the enemy ship.  Blue beams came like shafts in the black void.  Meanwhile, yellow particle beams from massive guns were also coming out.  Quinn trained the cannons on the nearest laser emitters and opened up, blowing holes in the hull.  They flew right at the nearest cannon and let loose on that as well.  The gun was blasted full of holes and stopped firing.  This weapon was too big to blow up.  At least not without missiles.  They used those up during the ambush.
A voice suddenly came onto the comm.  “Relax, everybody!  The cavalry has arrived!”
Massive explosions suddenly coated the back of the ship, right at the engines.  Quinn pulled up and started moving away.  The lasers had trained on new targets.  A series of bombers had come from a ship that was hiding behind one of the larger asteroids.  More explosions.  They ignited the drive core!  This ship was as good as dead.
“All fighters and armors, return to the fleet!”
“About fucking time!” Quinn snarled.  They quickly shifted back and she hit the accelerator as fast as it would go.  Just below the speed where their particle field couldn’t keep up.  Kate was breathing heavy as she leaned back in the seat, turning off her console.  The exhaustion was catching up fast.
“Take a look at this,” her pilot said, pulling up an image on the display.  It showed the cruiser they had been fighting.  Shimmering particles were flowing out.  The drive core was leaking.  It was going to blow!  Kate leaned across Quinn’s seat.  In a brilliant shimmer of yellow and green light, the drive went up.  The explosion was massive, sending particles everywhere.
“Beautiful…” she marveled.
“Yeah.  Amazing.”  There was a string of explosions afterwards.  Part of the risk of the Nova Engine is that once the particles are caught up in an explosion, it doesn’t just blow up and then go away.  The particles ignite for a time afterwards.  Hence why the drive is in the center of any ship with extensive shielding over it.  Once a drive goes up, any ship nearby has to flee, fast.
The armors, fighters, and the bombers that joined them headed back towards their ships.  Enemy fighters and armors were headed away, now in a pretty pickle.  If there were no ships within range, they couldn’t make a jump to sub-space on their own.  All they could do is sit and wait.  If your ship was blown up and you had no support craft within distress beacon range, it was typically better to just surrender.  The alternative was either your power running out and you freezing to death, your oxygen running out and you suffocating, or any emergency water supplies being depleted and you dying of thirst.  None of which were good ways to go.  The enemy wasn’t surrendering, so they must have known reinforcements were close enough.  A good sign to vacate the area, with haste.

Back on the ship, the Killer Bee was docked in its hangar, where the repair technicians looked it over.  Aside from heating of the guns and some minor repairs, they were being kept very bored.  Kate was a master at what she did.
In the dressing room, the two women were stripping down.  Both were utterly exhausted.  After they got out of their g-suits, now they were only wearing flight jumpers.  Once those were off, Kate sat on the floor.  Freezing cold, but she would take it.  Eased the tension on her skin.
Looking over, Quinn cocked an eyebrow.  She was struggling to put on her underwear.
“You okay?”
Shaking her head.  “No, I’m not.  So fucking exhausted.  But my body is so damn tense.  My head is killing me, and my body feels like a spring being pressed on.  It almost hurts how tense I am.  But I don’t even have the energy to get up.  So done with today.”
Walking over, Quinn held out her arm to her compatriot.  “I can help with that.  But first, let’s get that naked butt off the floor.  You’ll catch cold doing that.  Not gonna have you in our bird sneezing.
Taking her hand, Kate smiled.  “Okay, Harley, what do you have in mind?”
“First that you put some clothes on.  I can’t take you where I want to go naked.”
Both of them cracked up.

It was dark inside of the Constellation Chamber.  One of the most underutilized rooms in the entire ship, this was a place where one could have darkness and see the stars.  They could also turn off the gravity inside and just rest.  A projection of the stars would appear overhead, along with all sorts of stellar phenomenon.  You could see the gaseous clouds of a supernova.  It was something they had recorded.  What was on the viewer tonight was a brilliant particle clouds from that night.  Someone one the ship was nice enough to record it and now it was displayed, making the whole room shimmer.
Kate was on her stomach, with Quinn on her lower back, her hands working up and down.  There was soft music playing, with the two just enjoying the silence.  For Kate’s part, she was loving it.  The tension was easing up.  This woman’s hands were magic.  The lights reflecting on the floor from the bench they were on was so soothing.  Part of her was thinking she was going to fall asleep.
“It’s okay, you know,” Quinn said.  “If you start snoring.”
Raising her head up.  “Hey!  It is not cool to be in my head!”  Like she could complain.  After all the time they had spent together in training, the two women might as well have the same mind.  They were so synchronized that you would catch them finishing each other’s sentences.  The two were always together.  Always.  They were virtually never seen apart.  Led a lot of the crew to wonder what their deal was, but no one would say it publicly.  After their victories in battle, both had earned a huge amount of respect.
“Just count yourself lucky.  My first piece of advice was that we should hit the showers and I would have given you a rub there.”
Kate groaned.  “As if we need more rumors about us.”
A chuckle, and she went back to her work.  The quiet classical music continued.  The mood lingered on, with the quiet suddenly becoming more pronounced.
“Hey Quinn?”
“Yeah?”
Another pause.  “Why have you never made a move on me?  I mean, everyone already assumes we’re together.  Why did you never make a move?”
The girl stopped for a moment, resuming.
“Because for the longest time I hated your guts.  The two of us damn-near tried to kill each other for our entire time at boot and then for weeks when we met up here.  There was just so much negativity.  Then things turn around, and we got to know each other.  You were always talking about your boyfriends and how close you were to them, so I just figured that you were straight.  Why do you ask?”
Kate shrugged.  “I don’t know.  Just thinking out loud.”
“Oh.”
The quiet came back, and now both women were awkward, yet the rubbing continued.
“Have you been thinking about it?” Quinn asked, finally.
Looking down for a moment.  “Maybe, a little.  I mean, we’re always together.  You even came to my rack when you had the nightmare.  It was always on my mind why you never expressed any interest.”
She smiled.  “It’s not like I haven’t thought about it.  But you know all the rules about fraternization.”
“Oh please!  As if the rules have ever stopped you from doing something.”
“Fine, you caught me.  Maybe it was me wondering if what we had going was something real or just a battle thing.  You know?  Like we were just bonding over the war and being afraid of dying?”
Wiggling to let her know she wanted up, she looked over at her pilot.  “Do you still think that way now?”
Head down, then back up.  “I don’t know.  Like, it’s always in the back of my mind, but then I think of how we laugh at each other’s jokes and how every time I am away from you I don’t wanna be.  Then I think about what will happen when all this is over, if the two of us are alive, and I feel really scared because I don’t want to imagine you being far away and me not being with you anymore.”
Kate grabbed her hand.  “Hey now!  When we’re done here, I am so taking you back my colony world!  I wouldn’t let you go back to that tiny apartment now.  You’re too important to me to just leave behind once this is done.  And to be honest, I kinda think the same thing.  Like, about how I don’t know what I would do if you weren’t with me.  And yeah, I guess I have been thinking about it.  Before we really started to mesh, after all the negative stuff got out of the way, I never thought about that sort of thing before.  I mean, there’s always that one insanely hot girl that everyone is staring at, but it never really occurred to me before now with myself.  You’re just so…different.
The two women were so close now, looking right into one-another’s eyes.
“You promise?  That you’ll take me back to your home if we survive the war?”
Kate nodded.  “I wouldn’t lie about that!”
“I’m not saying you would.  But you have talked about how your family is very colonial.  Not sure they would dig how I am.”
Shaking her head.  “I don’t care about what they would think.  It’s what you think that matters.”
For a long time they just sat there, staring at each other.  Kate smiled at her companion.  Quinn took her hand and kissed it.  The two were now closer than ever.
Looking at her seriously, Quinn said, “don’t make the move, if you don’t mean it.”
Pulling her close, their lips touched.  After a few moments together, they pulled apart.
“I never knew how much I needed to do that before now,” Kate whispered.  And with that, the song ended.  Quinn hit a switch, and the image changed to a glowing red dust cloud.

Until next time, a quote,

“Every seaman is not only a navigator, but a merchant and also a soldier.” – William Petty

Peace out,

Maverick

My Romantic Movie Night

Just got done watching Garden of Words.  The animation in that film is absolutely stunning.  It is a visual masterpiece.  Thought about doing a review of it, but I figured that I haven’t written anything of substance on this page in a while.  Honestly haven’t had much that inspires me to write about.  I could write about Trump’s latest idiocy, but that’s done by the entire fucking media.  To be fair, he doesn’t make it hard.  How are people saying that America didn’t elect its first female President?  Sure looks that way to me.  We elected an oversized teenage girl into the Presidency.  The glass ceiling has been broken!

But back to the film, it may have been a visual masterpiece, but I kind of hate it.  Hear me out – it all comes down to the ending.  There’s no resolution!  You have this scene where the underage kid reveals to the woman who he has bonded with when he finally figures out who she is that he’s in love with her.  She totally shoots him down.  It’s a harsh scene.  I felt so hard for that kid.  Throwing your heart out and then getting it thrown in your face is hard.  Then the adult woman who he admitted his feelings for realizes that she has feelings for him too and goes after the kid.  It’s a truly fantastic scene when they meet and the kid is all sad and angry and rails on her, only for her to run into his arms.  I love that scene.  It’s some truly amazing payoff and the voice acting is phenomenal.  It’s a testament to the people who made it.

Then she leaves!  The two are apart and that’s it.  Come on!  Now, I get that this would be a little weird, considering the fact that she’s 27 years old and he’s 15.  But better films have made this work.  Why have her leave?  Maybe have the two admitting how they feel but also acknowledging that they can’t be together because of the age gap and have them realizing that they will have to wait a little bit.  That’s an acknowledgement of reality while still having them looking to keep their feelings alive.  It would have been much more fulfilling if the film ended with her finding a life close to the person she loves, and having him giving her the shoes he had been making the whole film to her at the end.  Like a kind of promise.  Wouldn’t that have been more fulfilling?

See, here’s the thing about me – I’m a hardcore closet romantic.  When I watch FLCL, I feel a genuine tinge for the kid when he is falling for an older woman.  It’s funny, American media bitches about how the idea of a younger man dating an older woman is so frowned upon.  Japan certainly doesn’t shy away from an age difference with boys and women.  What’s more, they also make it respectable.  Sure, there is plenty of fan service for busty older women that young horny boys are into, but in both Garden of Words and FLCL, they play it as these women being genuine people with the boys discovering their romantic identity with them.  In both cases, it makes for some great scenes.  But while FLCL played it off that the kid falling for the older girl was a metaphor for him growing up and accepting who he is, Garden of Words played the romantic angle straight.  Which makes it that much more frustrating when the film ends on a sour note for no good fucking reason.

I really am bad about it.  When I watch the scene in Stein’s Gate when Christina and Okarin admit their feelings for each other, I judge that scene harshly as well.  It’s a great scene, but it could have been better.  For starters, the music in there is terrible.  It’s distractingly bad.  The scene would have been better served if there was no music at all.  Would have added to the emotional gravity as well, considering the fact that Okarin was about to let the woman he just admitted that he loves die.  Genuinely would have loved that scene more.  Also, get rid of the narration by Christina.  It added nothing.  Just quiet.  Have the rain be the biggest sound, with a few seconds for the audience to take in the cruel irony of what was happening with these two characters.

Anytime I see romantic scenes in stuff I like, I typically get all butterflies, while secretly seeing ways the scene could be better and really make me all warm and buttery about it.  Am I the only one?  No joke, someone in the comments, tell me if I am fucking crazy here.  So many great romantic scenes in movies are ruined because of bad details.  Used a lot of anime references.  What can I say, they tend to play romance a lot better than sappy love stories in American cinema.  That’s not to say that it isn’t done well in other mediums.  In the French film Blue is the Warmest Color, I feel genuine heartbreak as Adele is first introduced to the truth about her sexuality with a classmate, only for her feelings to be totally crushed when she realizes it was just a one-off thing and not a sign of true attraction.  The tears on her face seemed genuine.

I guess it’s a sign of me getting older.  As the years on my birthday cake grow, and my time having been single grows, I feel more and more of it.  But no one who sees me in person will know that.  My cynicism is well-known to those who speak to me.  Groj knows, I’ve made no secret of it here.  Deep down, though, there is that part of me that secretly longs to have that moment where I meet a girl at a place I regularly go and then strike up a conversation and something grows between us.  A man can dream, right?  Granted, everyone goes to bars to meet people these days.  I go to bookstores and walks around my home.  Not a lot of places for romance.  But hey, it can happen, right?

What about all of you?  What romantic scenes from stuff (I swear, if someone says The Notebook I’m gonna virtually smack you.  That movie is fucking terrible) have made you all warm and buttery inside?  Let me know in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“I love you.  I can’t help it.  Yukino, I think I’ve fallen in love with you.” – Takao Akizuki, The Garden of Words

Peace out,

Maverick

The High Price of Failure

A dear friend of mine recently graduated from basic with the US Navy.  I was proud to see her in dress whites.  Girl’s outfit was crisp, pressed, and the shoes were so shined that you could light a room with them if you had a window available for light refraction.  Now she is off to another base to study.  She’s going into Naval Intelligence.  Listening to her describe training, the dedication and the effort she put in, it’s humbling.  I hate to say it, but more than anything, the biggest emotion I feel about all of this is jealousy.

I haven’t accomplished anything with my life.  Not really.  I got a BA that isn’t even worth the 120 credits it took to get it.  Unless you have a Master’s, nobody even cares.  It just goes on a resume and that’s it.  My resume is absolute shit.  I work for the state I live in, and I am desperately trying to get ahead in my employment.  But it’s a waste of time.  I know what’s holding me back – my shit resume.  I have one job that I’ve held on to for more than a year.  One.  The rest aren’t even past six months.  It makes me look flaky.  It makes me look undependable.  Had a ton of interviews, but I haven’t even had any that have hit up my references.  That is bad.  I work at a fucking call center.  My life is helping people that I want to murder with a hammer out with their fucking problems.  It’s awful.  And at every fucking interview I have to say that it has been a learning experience or an exciting challenge or some other piece of bullshit PR nonsense.  I can’t say that this job is sucking the life out of me.  I can’t say that I am secretly wishing that I had some kind of addiction or other problem, so then at least I could say my life is unique in some way.

But it doesn’t end there.  In fact, that’s just the tip of the iceberg that is my entirely worthless life.  I am a miserable, depressing person who has depression so severe that I don’t remember what feeling joy is like.  It makes NOBODY want to talk to me.  I got one friend who talks to me on the regular.  Well, two, now that my girly-mate is out of basic and at A-School with the Navy.  So, because I am depressing as fuck, my friend life is basically gone.  With fewer and fewer people who can even stomach talking to me, I feel more and more alone in this town.  After all, Eeyore only works as a character in fiction.  Everyone in the 100 Acre Wood wants to be his friend.  Because even though he isn’t always the most cheerful, he still gets in on the fun with everyone else.  Yeah, it works in fiction.  And nowhere else.

Then there is my absolute train-wreck known simply as my love life.  That’s so pathetic that I recently decided to hit up a girl I used to work with at the Library who I had never really liked, but had always found to be appealing on a sexual level.  Because hey, why the fuck not?!  Yeah, I know I’ll never even get a response from that stellar waste of time.  That didn’t at all make me look pathetic.  Nope, not even a little.  Had a friend who said it’s good that I took the initiative.  Not for one second do I buy that.  Haven’t had a relationship in three years.  Haven’t had sex in three years.  Statistically speaking, the longer a person is single, the higher the chance that they will remain that way.  There is no hope for me.

So when my friend, the Seaman Apprentice, tells me about her life down there and all the work she has put in, I am both humbled and unimaginably jealous.  Her life is going places!  She’s married!  She’s got a whole life waiting for her when she gets home!  What do I have?  I got out of college literally on the skin of my teeth.  I got D’s my last semester.  Straight D’s.  But D’s get degrees now.  Gotta love America’s pathetic education system.  I was so burned out that I didn’t even get my degree printed on paper to let my parents hang on their wall.  You gotta pay for that shit now, and I am NOT giving that fucking worthless institution one more fucking dime!  Fuck them!  Fuck all of them!

Where does that leave me?  No-goddamn-where, that’s where.  I am chubby, pathetic failure who currently has a nasty cold in the middle of summer that is fucking pissing me off.  I took today off work, when I don’t even have the time to take off.  You know what my leave time is?!  Not that!  But if I had gone in today I would have felt like shit and been cracking on the phone.  That’s life.  I get to go to a job that I hate in order to help fucking imbeciles get their fucking child support.  That’s right, I work for child support.  The most hated entity in the fucking state, after the cops.

I feel so fucking pathetic.  I have accomplished nothing.  I will continue to accomplish nothing.  I am trying to finish a novel, but I have so many unfinished novels that I know will go absolutely nowhere.  All I have to even be remembered for once I am gone is this website, and after a while that would disappear too.  If I vanished tomorrow, how many fucking people would even notice I’m gone?!  Not many.  All the people who have left me behind.

And it’s too fucking late.  I can’t fix any of the friendships that are gone.  My resume ain’t getting any better.  My love/sex life has a plot at the local cemetery.  The price of failure.  All I am is a failed boyfriend.  A failed fiance.  A failed best friend.  A failed medical records technician.  A failed student.  All I have is failure.  I wish I knew what to do.  I keep trying.  I bust my ass at that worthless fucking job and I have no friends.  Only friends I have had there have left.  I would give anything to have one chance to go back in time and change things.  I’d give anything.  Just once.  But life doesn’t work that way.

Well, that’s enough wallowing in self-pity.  Think I’ll finish this here and cry like a little bitch because I can’t even do the normal thing and suck down a bottle of Jack Daniels to drown away my pain.  I don’t even have the will power for a fucking addiction.

Until next time, a quote,

Maybe I’m too young to know what the world is supposed to be. But it’s not supposed to be this. Can’t be this.” – Huey Freeman

Peace out,

Maverick

Holding Hands

She asked us out for a drink
After work
Long day
Sounded like a great idea

Perfect evening
Restaurant is fun
We only have a couple
Gotta drive home

She gets white girl wasted
So much fun
No fucks to give
All the barriers are down

Decides to stop
Good girl
But what now?
Can’t go home this buzzed

Family there
Doubles as landlords
Asks me to drive around
We can shoot the shit until it wears off

As we drive, she has idea
Takes phone out and starts shooting video
So much fun
Narrating the drive and being ridiculous

Such a fun night
Don’t want it to end
She’s so much fun!
A crazy idea, I have

A dare – livestream this!
She does it!
This night is so insane!
Might be bad, but who cares?

Then, gets more serious
We start talking about other things
And that’s when it happens
She holds my hand

Her fingers lock with mine
It’s a lover’s grip
She leans against my arm
What’s going on here?

Asking more serious questions
Asks if I love her
What can I say?
What can I possibly say?

This is wrong
She’s involved
She’s loyal
What is happening here?

We hold hands, talk into the phone camera
Goes on for hours
Why don’t I want this to end?
Feels so good

It can’t go on
When the buzz wears off, the loyalty returns
She realizes the truth
What’s happening here is wrong

We get to her home
Ask her what it meant
Holds our clutched hand to her face
Says she doesn’t know

Doesn’t know?
We’ve been holding each other like lovers for hours!
Why doesn’t she have some idea?
So damn confused

Next day, tries to avoid it
Don’t want to tell the truth
What happened between us
Who is helped by the truth

Truth comes out
She tells us the truth
Was using us
Used our loneliness to get what she wanted

It hurts, but it doesn’t
In fact, it’s still just confusing
I still loved that night
Would do it all over again in a heartbeat

However, the damage is done
She is ashamed of herself
Become awkward and distant
What has happened to us?

She’s putting distance between us
No!
Not now!
Not after what has just been shared!

That night, and her gentle clutching hand
Will stay with me forever
But here’s the worrying part
Will I stay with her that long?

I held her hand
She held mine
She held it to her face
It was like a kiss

I don’t know what this means
Nor does she
Get the feeling everything hinges on us figuring the answer out
The question she wanted to ask

Was afraid to
Might not like the answer
Wanted to know anyway – do I love her
Answer is, maybe

She held my hand
I held hers
It was enough
For two hours, it was enough

Peace out,

Maverick

2016 Year in Review

Back when I was in college, I used to do Academic Year in Review posts.  It was a nice little way to wrap up the year.  With this year at an end, and me being all high as fuck (it’s legal in my state now, blow me), I thought that I would restart the tradition.  Only this time, it won’t be the Academic Year in Review, it will just be the Year in Review.  This year sure seemed to fly by.  That is, after I found my new job.  Once I was back to work, time has absolutely blazed by.  It’s been a crazy ride, but you know what, a lot has happened.  There’s a ton to talk about, so let’s get down to it.  Consider this my post for New Year’s.  By the time I get finished typing this out, it should be New Year’s Eve, anyway.

The year started on a terrible note.  I had just gone through the worst experience of my professional life.  I have already told the story of the crazy bitch and the PR company she worked for.  I haven’t heard a single thing from that company, so I guess they forgot about me.  Maybe that, or me pwning her into oblivion in her unfathomably immature texting flame war was enough so she didn’t want to deal with me again.  The way she copped out was just pathetic.  Coming off the heels of that, I was in a desperate financial situation.  I had no money.  My parents were basically having to pay my rent.  A fact that hurt me to no end.  Now back to the job market.  I was not doing well, mentally.

Months dragged by.  However, hope arrived!  I got an interview at a real estate company.  I was literally hired on the spot.  The power of my damn snappy suit, I tell you what.  For the first time in a long time, I felt pretty good.  Sure, the job had no benefits, and the pay wasn’t great, but it was work.  And I could look for a better job while there.  It’s always easier to find work when already employed.  It just looks better on a resume.  Anyway, two days in, and I saw something that immediately made my blood run cold.  It was a box at the office with the name of the PR company that I had just been through that fiasco with.  Immediately, I knew that this was bad.  I asked, and it seems they rented some office space there.  This was bad.  Say that crazy bitch dropped in?  Say she talk to them about me?  She’s as vindictive as Hillary Clinton, and will abuse her power whenever possible.

Sure enough, my worries were confirmed.  I get told by the same woman that hired me, at the end of my second day, that I am “not the right fit for the position.”  I was pissed.  No wonder this job had such a high turnover rate.  Did I not mention that?  Seems that the job did.  I was told as much.  Given the absurd things I had to do every fucking day there, I genuinely am not surprised.  Oh well.  To be honest, given where I am now, I don’t see losing that job as a huge loss.  Though it will be weird giving a W-2 to my aunt, who does the family taxes, for a job that I only held for two days.

More months passed.  I was so miserable.  The worst thing about not working, that they don’t tell you, is how you lose track of what day is what.  See, something else happened.  My special lawyer girly-mate left.  She and I had been thick as thieves.  I knew that it was coming, but still, driving her to the airport was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  The last time I did it, we shared an amazing kiss.  That girl’s lips were among the softest I have ever gotten the chance to kiss.  This time, it was just heart-breaking.  Last time, I had some reassurance that she would be back.  This time, there was none.  This time, she was leaving with a person that she had been dating to come back to.  This time, I could feel that she wasn’t going to be coming back.  Something inside just told me it was so.  That fact, more than any other, hurt me.  How many people have I watched walk away from me, knowing that I will likely never see them again?  I don’t know.  I doubt I ever will.

The next major event came up.  A neurology clinic that I had applied to got back to me!  It was an interview, and I kicked ass!  Hell, I impressed the person I was interviewing with so much, that they wanted me to meet with the manager of the office too.  I took them up on that, and it was a damn good call.  Two interviews for the price of one.  By the time I got back to my place, I could tell that good things were coming.  Sure enough, about a week later, I got a call asking if I would come back in, this time for something call a “working interview.”  A totally new concept to me, it’s when you come in and basically sit in and do parts of the job for a day, to show what you are made of and how quickly you can adapt.  I don’t deny, walking in to that office, looking ready to work, I felt so good.  It was a little nerve-wracking, but I very quickly got the hang of stuff.  Plus, the women in the office were great.  I was the only guy.  The only one.  They were all fun people, and I felt like I was fitting in just nicely.  By the end of the day, walking out, I felt on top of the world.  Got paid for my work (they have to pay you for a working interview), and they told me that they would be in touch within a week or so.  I decided to wait a few days, and then “check in.”  Show how eager I am to get to work for them.  It seemed smart.  Was told that the woman who was doing the hiring was out.  Okay.  That’s cool.  I’ll call back on Friday.  End of the week, exactly a week from the working interview.  Will find out then.  Had good feelings.

I call back, told that she is busy, but would call me back.  They took down my name and number.  I figured that they were people of their word, so nothing to worry about, right?  I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  In a way, I’m still waiting.  In what was one of the most unprofessional displays I have ever seen, they never got back to me.  To this day, I still haven’t heard a thing.  How unprofessional is that?  If you put in a day with a company, and really try your best, don’t you at least deserve to hear back from them?  I was so pissed.  What’s more, it was such a good opportunity.  A job I can walk to!  That’s what it was.  I could commute to work in five minutes, on foot.  Ten minutes in winter.  They didn’t even have the guts to tell me that I didn’t get the job.  So pissed, I was.

After that failure, my depression was doing a real number on me.  It had been getting steadily worse, but this was almost past the tipping point.  It was past a year since I had started working at the neurology clinic I was at.  A year since the best opportunity I had had slipped through my fingers, all because I was sick and angry.  What an idiot, I was.  But the real blow was coming.  My parents could no longer keep helping me with my rent.  The old man wanted to retire, so they couldn’t handle the lacking income.  By this point, I was beyond desperate.  However, hope came!  In my darkest hour, hope came.  I got an interview for a state job.  It was the ugliest state job one can ask for.  The most thankless state job one could ask for.  A job that involves money and children.  You can probably extrapolate from there.  Just the day before, I had had a golden idea to hit up an old boss of mine on Facebook and ask if I could use her for a reference.  She was more than happy to oblige.  And it was just in time, as this place called me back and asked me for some references.  My old boss told me she gave me the best reference ever when they called.  I was so happy.  Two days later, I got the call.  I was hired.  In that instant, relief flooded into my veins.

My new job starts, and it was in the first day where I met someone who has become so important to my life in such a short amount of time.  We were hired at the same time, and both of us were there at the same orientation.  It was all awkward and quiet, so I decided to break the ice.  What an awesome decision, that was.  We got each other’s name, and thus began a friendship that is giving me so much to look forward to.

The job is so fucking complicated.  Even now, I feel so stupid when I look at things and I don’t know what any of it means.  Plus, our office is so underfunded that we use fucking DOS.  I shit you not.  We use DOS to run our entire agency.  The level of unreal in that blows my fucking mind.  So much to learn, and I am in the Customer Service section of our Division.  Meaning that I get to deal with people’s hate directly.  Groj, so unpleasant.  But more than that, I was having a bit of an identity crisis for a while.  Being called by my given name, it felt so surreal.  Like someone else was in that office.  For a brief while, I couldn’t tell who was who.  Then, one day, I saw some stupid SJW shit posted online, and I reconnected with Lucien all over again.

As is want to happen, whenever I make a friend of the opposite sex, and things are going splendidly, something goes wrong.  It is my life, after all.  Her significant other has jealousy issues.  Those of you who have followed me for many years can maybe see where this is going.  The jealousy issues peaked when she hung out at my place and we had some drinks and were just chilling.  It was awesome.  It was everything I could have asked for.  For so long, all I have wanted is to have friends over to my place.  We could watch movies, make good food, play games.  It’s all I have wanted for years.  That night will go down in history as one of the best nights of my life, which then translated into one of the worst the next day, when our friendship was falling apart due to the love of her life taking umbrage with me.  I’ll give this guy some credit, he’s actually met me.  I could tell when we did meet that he was sizing me up.  And I don’t know if he liked what he saw or not.  I outsmarted him and his friends in a game that we were playing.  Felt good.  My poker face destroyed him.  I then decided to just fuck with all of them in the next round because I could.  We learned something about each other that night.  I learned that he wanted to stake his claim to his girl in front of me.  He learned that I am hard to read when I want to be.  I thought that the guy doesn’t like me.  At the very least he sees me as something of a threat.  But the way I see it, any beliefs about me being a threat should go due to recent events.  If there is anything that has cemented me as nothing approaching a threat ever, it’s what’s happened.

When things fell apart after the night at my place, I basically had to concede everything that I have ever wanted in a friendship for so long.  She listened to my heartfelt and nearly tearful statement about how much this hurt, and there was nothing.  Not a single emotion that registered.  She said that she can’t please everyone, and has to do what’s best for her relationship.  I get that.  I know that I will always come in second place.  Hell, I don’t even rank third.  I’m a new friend.  I rank in fifth or sixth place on the totem pole.  That’s how it goes.  I have no illusions about where I am on the pecking order.

For those who think that this is following the Emily path, that’s my biggest fear.  However, I will say this much – I don’t think so.  For starters, Emily and I were infinitely closer than Kathryn and I are.  Maybe that’s a point in this situation’s favor.  Plus, there is the reality that I don’t know what this significant other who at least has seen me as something of a threat thinks.  I’ve gotten conflicting pieces of information.  I may eventually choose to see this person again, see if there is something more to be achieved from interaction.  Who knows, right?  However, all the signs are there that this story will follow the track that Emily and I’s did.  If so, it will break my heart in ways you couldn’t begin to imagine.

However, there is peace on the land of our new friendship, for now.  We hang out as often as we can, but the understanding is that she will never be able to chill at my place again.  Ever.  That means that movie nights are out.  Making good food is out.  I’ve already talk about how much I wanted that.  It’s a huge sacrifice, and part of me still wonders what she gave up in return, but I’m done fighting a battle that I know I can’t win.  I’ve done enough negotiations in these situations to know when I have no bargaining position.  And it’s not to say that we haven’t had fun since then.

Just recently, however, things took another turn.  Her and I have been carpooling to work together.  There is a lot of ugly history with her sister, her sister’s husband, and the nieces that she now has no ability to see.  Some truly horrible things.  But one day, the sister puts out an olive branch.  Because I have this belief that a person should strike while the iron’s hot, when the sister invited her down to the states as a way to make amends and bring the family back together again, I told her to take the risk.  It’s a gamble, but how often does good fortune come a person’s way?  So she did it.  Used up all her leave time at work, spending almost everything she will have saved, all to go down to North Carolina to see her family.  Maybe she’s spending too much time with me.  Lady Luck saw fit to strike.

The same day, she is sent a message from her sister basically taking that olive branch she put out and burning it down in front of her.  The girl was in pain.  Horrible, aching pain.  Years of unaddressed agony bubbling up and exploding.  In the hall at work, she fell to the floor and sobbed.  All I could do is sit next to her and hold her.  I had no words, nothing to say.  All I could do is hold her and listen to her cry.  I felt next to useless in that moment.  Like I was the person putting a band-aid on an ax wound.  The boss came over, and in an amazing moment, she became a complete mom and was able to remedy the situation.  Had her go home.  Since we carpooled together, I took her home.  That was such a hard day, for me.

Ever since then, things have been weird.  She denies it, but I’m smart enough to see that something has changed.  I can’t put my finger on it, but things have gotten awkward between us.  I am sensing a growing distance.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Wouldn’t be the first time.  However, there has been a real change in things between us after that day, and not for the better.  Maybe that’s how it separates from the Emily story.  After I wiped the tears off Emily’s face in the Periodicals Room, the two of us were closer than ever.  Now I feel like I have lost a TON of ground.  Not a fan of that.  Wondering what I did wrong.  Probably overthinking this.  Unsure.

So that’s where we are now.  My job is sucking the life out of me.  The reality is that once Kathryn leaves to go to basic for the Navy (proud of her for that.  Was pushing her to reapply to get back in to the Navy), I am out of there.  It’s nothing against the department.  I just can’t do a job where I am getting treated like shit by people that I am having less and less sympathy for every day.  There’s no way I can do this long term.  Planning on staying with the state for at least five years.  Then I’m vested and have guarantee retirement.  Since state jobs like to hire with people already in the state, I feel comfortable when I go looking for a new port to call my own.

Looking ahead, I have been given hints that my lawyer girl may be coming back, if only for a little bit.  That gives me hope.  A brief glimmer of hope to latch on to.  It hasn’t been the hardest year, but a decent amount of stuff has happened.  Leading up to when I found this new job, it was months of time where, if I didn’t have this watch, I couldn’t tell one day from the next.  I have a job, already one review that looks good, and will have another come February.  A new friendship that, while it is currently on not the most stable ground, has a ton of potential.  Guess we’ll see what happens.

Until next time, a quote,

This may not make much sense to you now, a young man at the beginning of his career, but one of the things you learn as you move up the ranks and get a little older is that you wish you had more time in your youth to really absorb the things that happened to you. It goes by so fast. It’s so easy to become jaded. To treat the extraordinary like just another day at the office. But sometimes, there are experiences that transcend all that.” -Capt. Katherine Janeway, Star Trek: Voyager

Peace out,

Maverick

A Hard Question

Another long day comes to an end.  I put Ellie to bed and now was settling in to watch some news before going to bed.  My days of being a journalism student in college still catch up to me.  The urge to keep informed about what is happening in the world.  Another Presidential election over.  The infotainment that is cable news has to find some new thing to milk into the ground with the fact-free reporting that they do.  The modern Fourth Estate is a joke.  I truly do believe in what it was supposed to represent, but now it is just a shadow of what the great journalists fought for.  When Edward R. Murrow took on Joseph McCarthy, when Walter Cronkite took on the government over the Vietnam War, when Ted Koppel took on the government over the Iran hostage crisis, they fought for what the news was supposed to mean.  But they were gone.  Sorry if I preached, but I still think about things like that, even now.
They said that becoming a dad would totally change me.  Sure, it changed my routine and how I look at the choices I make, but it didn’t magically turn me into a curmudgeon who is uber-conservative and believes that liberals are stupid.  I still believe the things that I believed then.  Only difference is that now I get to try and be the best dad that I can be while believing what I do.  I have taken a hard stance that I want to impart my values in a way where I give all sides their due.  I wasn’t going to teach my little girl what to think, but rather how to think, and let her come to her own conclusions.  Sure, it meant that for a while there, she believed that her deity was Santa Claus, but now she is at the top of her class and is the smartest child I have ever met.  Makes me wish she could see her.  I look at the pics on the wall, and my mind goes back.

I met her when I was in college.  The two of us immediately clicked.  Our weirdness meshed so well, and we were fast friends.  For a few years, life was good.  We would go out, have dinner, go to movies, see random things that happened in town that got both of our attention.  Was even dragged to a couple cultural festivals by the girl.  I was always a little apprehensive about going to things like that.  So different and random.  Really was my father’s son.  He hated new things, and would complain up to the point that he actually was there.  After that, once he was in the middle of whatever it was, he was enjoying himself.  Made for vacations where my mother would have to put up with him complaining all the way there, but I could tell that she knew that it would be worth it once he was there, just as excited as the rest of us.
One night, at a Japanese culture festival, the two of us were sitting and eating some noodles.  It was fantastic.  There was music playing and I didn’t want to be anywhere else.  That’s when I look over, wanting to say something to her, but she is already looking at me.  A look in her eyes, telling me that she had been looking at me for a while.  We just look into one-another’s eyes, and I don’t need to say anything else.  Her hand goes to my cheek, and I move in closer.  Each movement brings new rounds of butterflies inside that are driving me crazy, but I don’t stop.  Then our faces are so close.  When did this person who was nothing but a friend to me become something more?  I didn’t know, and I didn’t care.  Everything about this moment felt right.  Our lips met, in a soft embrace that I never wanted to end.  It was the first night that I felt like I was living since high school, where my last relationship ended.
It’s five years later.  We’re at the church that she grew up in.  I’m not a religious person, but she is.  I can put aside how I feel about it all, because this makes her and her family happy.  I’m saying “I do,” and tears are going down her face.  We embrace again, and everything is wonderful.
Two more years later, and we are pregnant.  She is so excited.  I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared out of my wits.  We both have good jobs.  Money isn’t something to be afraid of.  We made sure that we were ready before taking this step.  But even with all of that, I’m still scared to death.  What does it mean to be a dad?  Both of my parents have advice for me.  Hell, everyone has advice for me.  The entire fucking world is suddenly an expert on having children.  Not helping.  Not one bit.
We are sitting in a room, listening to a doctor.  She is telling us that my wife has cancer.  Due to the pregnancy, it is making her immune system weakened.  It just happened to come in at the right time.  My wife is scared for the baby, but the doctor said that it hasn’t gone to her reproductive system.  Facing her own mortality, the first thing she thinks about is the baby.  Admirable.  I wonder why.  I just want to save her.  The options we have are limited.  We can’t do chemo with the baby in there.  We’d kill it.  By the time the baby is done, it might be too late for more radical treatments.  It’s already in the second stage.  My wife is crying.  I think I am too.  Hard to tell.  My whole body feels numb.
It’s just after dawn when she goes into labor.  I get her to the car and drive like a bat out of hell to the hospital.  It’s not close.  She looks terrible.  The treatments for cancer that are safe, along with the progression are making her so sick.  So scared that delivering the baby will be dangerous.  Told her to do a c-section.  It’s safe, easy, and then it’s over.  She says no.  Wants to deliver this thing the normal way.  Stubborn woman.  Stupidly stubborn.  What’s the point of doing things that way if it’s an unnecessary risk?!
Being right never feels like a victory, for me.  I am watching as my baby is being wheeled away, while they get the crash cart.  Over and over, they attempt to restart her heart.  It doesn’t work.  Holding my newborn daughter in my arms, I watch my wife die.  What should be the most wonderful night of my life is when my heart is breaking.  I have so much that I have to do, only difference is that now I have to do it all on my own.  Never have I felt more alone.

My eyes open, as I see a light at the top of the stairs.  Down the stairs she comes.  Sitting up, I see that the TV had turned itself off due to inactivity.
“Dad, you up?” a voice calls.
“Yeah, in the living room.”
In her flannel pjs, I see the girl coming over.
“What’s wrong, sweetie?”
The look on her face, it’s concern, but awkward.  “I heard a noise, from down here.  I think you were talking in your sleep.  Heard you calling out to mom.”
A feeling of shame.  “Oh.  Sorry if I woke you.”
She sits down in a chair across from me on the couch.
“It’s okay.”  There is something more there.  “Can I, ask you something?”
Parent moment – she’s just shy of middle school.  The talk is coming.  Anytime I hear that question, I know that the big one is coming.
“Sure, kiddo.”
Looks down at the floor, then back up at me.  “Do you blame me, for happened to mom?”
It hurts.  I am physically hurting because of that question.  Not because it offends me or something, but because I have to wonder how long she has been carrying that question around in her head.  The girl was always eager to please, her whole life.  Anytime that I wasn’t at work, she would be where I am, doing whatever I do.  To this day, she still is like that.  Part of me thought that it was just a kid bonding with their parent, but maybe it was her trying to atone for what she feels like is her fault.  Maybe this is a talk I should have had with her a long time ago.
“Never!  What happened to your mother was not your fault.  Cancer can happen to anyone, at anytime.  Lady Luck just didn’t shine on her, is all.  It happens to all of us.”  Was that the right way to say it?
Tears started flowing down her face.  “I hear you, but you kept calling out to her, over and over.  You said, ‘don’t leave me.’  How can I not think that you don’t at least blame me a little for what happened to her?”
I motioned for her to sit down next to me.  “Now, don’t you go thinking that way!”  She got over and I put my arm around her.  “You coming into my life was the greatest day of my life.  Your mom was willing to risk getting sicker just so she wouldn’t have to put you in danger.  She told me that if the worst should happen, to promise that I would take care of you.  And I did.  With all my heart, I said that I would be the best dad that I could possibly be.  Not a day has gone by that I regret it.  Not one.  It was the hardest few months of my life, adjusting to taking care of you without her with me.  I needed a lot of help from grandma and grandpa.  But you are the greatest thing to ever come into my life.”  A gripping at my heart.  “And with you here, in a way, it’s like she never left us.  She’s with us both, right now, because you survived and are still here.  Never have I blamed you for what happened to her.  Not one time.  I miss her every day, but it’s not your fault.  Okay?”
All she could do is cry and burrow into me.  I held her close for a long time.  Then, I picked her up and carried her like a big cat upstairs.  Thank Groj I am such a big guy and have worked to take care of my body.  Hefted the big kid like she was nothing.  Laid her down on the bed and pulled the covers over her.
“Good night, baby-girl.”
“I love you, daddy.”
“I love you too.”
I don’t think there is a harder question in the world I could have been asked.  Suddenly, that other talk seems a hell of a lot easier.

Until next time, a quote,

“Grief is like an ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing.  Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming.  All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison

Peace out,

Maverick