What Is Real & What Is Hope?

If certain songs don’t make you feel something I might question your humanity.

Maybe it is because certain experiences have me thinking, questioning and wondering about life or maybe it is for other reasons altogether.

At the moment the reasons why don’t matter as much to me as other things do.

I didn’t think the previous post was a particularly good one but I keep getting texts and emails saying otherwise.

Granted the subject matter lends itself to engendering a response, but I still was/am surprised and appreciative.

****

Five hours ago I was back in LA taking care of family business and now I am back in Texas.

Sitting here thinking about a million things and remembering promises made and sort of fulfilled.

Something about it has me thinking about Hawkeye running and fighting whomever he came across and yet the more I see the truth of it the more I question.

A certain teenage boy and I wrestled again last night and while I won he laughed and told me he wasn’t trying as hard as he could.

I smiled because I knew it to be truth but I also knew that he doesn’t quite have enough to win…yet.

The day is coming closer and the only reason it hasn’t arrived yet is because I push myself harder than he does.

But the thing is, he doesn’t have to work as hard as I do.

He is just beginning to come into his strength and hasn’t the foggiest idea of how fast he could accelerate things by working out just a little harder.

I do.

I know.

I remember.

For brief moments in the gym I feel the guy I used to be come out and I celebrate those minutes because they don’t last as they once did.

But they aren’t quite gone forever and they aren’t relegated to just memories.

If I push a little bit I can string a bunch of them together and make something out of them/it.  The trick is to not let myself miss the current moments while searching for the future.

An Outstretched Hand

I look at my dad and tell him to take my hand.

He stares at it, shakes off the sign and gets up on his own.

I tell him that I am getting tired of Virgos ignoring my outstretched hand and say that one day it might not be there.

He smiles and shares a one fingered salute.

I smile back, but I don’t salute him back, he is still dad.

We make a few stops and I tell him he is responsible for many things, including making me exceptionally blunt.

“Dad, one of my clients told me I am too nice. I told him people who know me well might say otherwise.”

Dad nods his head and I continue.

“We don’t know how this is going to go but you have to play the hand out. You have to do this a few times and if it doesn’t work, we can go a different way.”

There is a little more back and forth and then he looks at me and asks if I think he is going to die today or tomorrow.

“Nah. Do you think you are going to?”

He shakes his head and says no.

“That is good, we need you for a while longer. We’re not ready yet.”

He nods his head and silence fills the car again.

It is comfortable and there is no need to fill it with noise so we get lost in our own thoughts.

Most of mine are centered around how much I don’t know about this situation and what to do.

We’re playing a game where we don’t know all of the rules and that makes it hard to figure out the best moves to make, let alone the right ones.

Not Quite Phantom Tollbooths

I grab my daughter and tell her we need to talk.

She gives me a perfect 13.5 year-old eye roll and says I have more gray in my beard.

“I know this is hard and that you’re not sure what to do about grandpa.”

She tells me I am wrong and offers examples that prove her point.

I nod my head because I agree with everything she is saying but I want her to know I don’t always  know what to do or how to act.

She needs to know I am here and available.

Later on she yells at me about a picture and jumps on my back.

I pretend to struggle just a bit but I let her hold on and a moment later I feel her place her cheek against my back.

For a moment I am reminded of when she was a much younger girl and how she would climb into my lap to go to sleep.

I don’t know if she needs the extra comfort or is just screwing around and I don’t ask. Teens are sometimes too cool to hang on dad’s back so I just sit there and wonder what I smell like to her.

Cuz the night before when I hugged my dad goodbye something about his particular scent took me back in time.

I remembered when I was small enough to ride his shoulders and thought about how happy I was when I finally grew taller than him.

*****

After his initial diagnosis we had a long conversation about what it meant.

He told me we all come with expiration dates and that life is terminal.  I told him he was right and asked if he knew he sounded just like my grandfather.

That conversation took place during a drive during my work day that took my by tollbooths that are no longer staffed by people.

We hung up before I thought to tell him about the not quite phantom tollbooths.

A short time later as I rolled up 360 towards 114 I thought about whether I would get anything at Costco besides gas.

Thought again about whether anything comes after this time on earth and wondered if there is a tollbooth that you pass to get into wherever it is we go.

I don’t have any need or desire to find out what comes next until I turn in my keys.

But that doesn’t stop me from wondering or thinking about what it might look like and whether you have to pay to put air in your tires at that next stop.

That would kind of suck wouldn’t it.

I might have to be the guy who hoofs or sneaks his way in, but that is a different story for a different day.

What is real and what is hope?

Hell if I know, I am like Ralph from the Greatest American Hero. I am wearing the suit but I lost the instructions, assuming I ever had them.

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