The Lostness – Jed

I haven’t talked a lot about my mom. Mama said when we were kids that, well, when I was a kid, Albert wasn’t around then, that I would grow up to be a big strong man like my father. Only trouble was that my father died when I was ten. Did I mention a man took a gun to my dad because my dad didn’t like people picking on women. So my dad was a big strong man, but he got killed for it. I didn’t know what to do about some guy picking on my dad, killing him. When Albert was born just before my dad died I promised nobody would ever hurt that kid. And I promised that nobody would ever hurt my mama and I promised that nobody would ever hurt me. Turns out I hurt all of them myself eventually. That’s what growing up means, learning that you’re often times your own worst enemy.

But this philosophy of being the man in the house only made me mean. It also made me pick up my father’s guitar so I’d have some sort of peace in my head. Then it made me start drinking booze with the other junior high kids, then weed, then speed, then coke, then heroin. Then something like fifteen years went by and it all just became a matter of picking up the pieces.
I don’t know where to go when I talk about that period, the heroin years. I don’t feel like using metaphors for something so real. My mind goes back to Teardrop trying to make it up the mountain. Teardrop knew. It’s like looking at the place where you know isn’t there anymore, like a house that you grew up in that burned down. It’s like being non-existent to yourself. It’s like slowed time. It’s like using your nerve-endings as soul when all you’ve got is heart left anymore. It’s the look in my mule’s eye when he turns around and questions whether or not there is a God at all, but he knows that he’s got to keep moving forward. It’s like a single teardrop falling into the sea.

But this same philosophy made me a tiger, too. It gave me something that I still wouldn’t trade away for anything in the world except for pure unadulterated love. It made me what I am today, a man who survived. The same thing that almost killed me, the same trick of fate which seemingly was put forth by the very hand of God, the killing of my father, was the thing that I took with me so that I would survive the killing hand of fate. To blame me for running scared my whole life is unfair. Show me a man who doesn’t and isn’t running scared in some way as we speak and I’ll show you a man who isn’t a whit afraid of death and dying. That’s a hard man, but it’s a true man if he’s still got the skin on his face. He’s lying, of course. We’re all afraid of the big black hole where God may or may not be living. We’re afraid because we’re afraid of the unknown. So it’s true what Minnie says about hamster cages. I just wish I’d been able to come up with that one myself. You got to make due with what you got. If you live in a hamster cage, you gotta make it the most comfortable hamster cage you can or else you’ll go down like I went down, alone and afraid, into the bottom of the cage under all that straw and never come up again like I didn’t think I ever would. I was even burrowing away from Moxy after awhile, but then Minnie came on the scene and I just felt stupid, felt like a hamster, like a ratty old hamster with a baby and Moxy all clean cause she’s licked herself every day knowing why she was put on the earth and Minnie all red and meowie and meepie like a baby is and then Moxy coming over to me and helping me to stand up so I could help her care for the baby, then Albert coming along like God sent him, literally like God sent him, which might just be the case, I don’t know, and me coming home with my baby and giving her over to mama like it was the only thing I knew I could hand to her that would allow her to forgive me for shooting up in front of her when I was seventeen and dead on my feet and hating the sight of anything that reminded me of the fact that some bastard killed my dad and left me to be the man, a job I just wasn’t cut out for and I proved it. Minnie did all that for me and now I’m just proud and humble at the same time working on Albert’s rock opera like I wish I was writer enough to have written but aren’t.

Published in: on September 19, 2009 at 7:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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