I Gave Back My Membership

It was the longest shortest 30 days I think I have ever been a part of.

It’s impossible to believe that 30 days ago you were still here and now you are not. I gave back my membership, told the people at the front desk I wouldn’t be a part of any club that would have me and they just laughed.

I told them I am no good and that it would be bad for them to keep me around. I offered solid reasons why they ought to kick me out and they said it was like the worst gang I could imagine, that once you get jumped in you can’t get out.

Well old man, you know I know better than to just accept a no. People don’t say no because they really mean it, they say it because of inertia. They say it because they fear change.

When they said I couldn’t get out without you, I laughed and said my daddy would come for me.

But you didn’t.

So I figured you got stuck in traffic, that your old Dodge Dart had broken down and that if I climbed up on the kitchen sink I would see you park and walk up our driveway.

But you didn’t.

Dancing In The Fire

When you didn’t show I remembered that I am not that little boy who had to climb on the sink or stand on a chair to look for you.

I threw on a shirt, shorts and shoes and went out looking for you.

The Master of Arms said that I couldn’t cross the line and you know I didn’t listen. When I couldn’t fool him into looking the other direction I did as your dad taught me to do and I punched that fucker in the nose, kicked him in the kneecap and then hit him again the throat.

Made my way past him and wandered up the path a bit and saw a burning building. There was nothing else around so I figured that was where you were and why you hadn’t come.

I did as you taught me, took a moment to get my bearings, grabbed a few tools and went in certain that I’d find you somewhere.

Danced my way through the flames, knocked down some doors but I couldn’t find you.

After I was certain I had looked in every room I left and repeated the search in numerous places.

Dad, I walked all night and all day. I didn’t give up. I didn’t stop.

I was relentless.

****

Grandpa sat in one of the rooms.

It was 2004 and you were in a hospital in New Jersey, but grandpa and I were back in LA.

He was 90 and I was a young 35.

“Book a flight. I am going to New Jersey to get my son.”

That was what he said to me. It was right before he yelled at me for saying we couldn’t do it. You do remember grandpa never yelled at me.

I could do no wrong in his eyes, but when he thought I was getting in the way of his going to get you he got angry.

That was when I saw a different side of grandpa. That was when I saw him act the way fathers act when they are worried about their children.

But this time I wasn’t 35 and trying to explain that you weren’t in any shape to fly and that medically you needed to be there a while longer.

This time I was so much older in every way. I knew it not just because of the reflection but because I felt it.

Grandpa told me you weren’t going to come back with me. It wasn’t fair because he knew I would back down, that I might yell but I would never use physical force to get my way.

You weren’t coming back.

Thirty Days of Quiet, Thirty Days of Storms

The day we buried you is a blur in many ways but I can see it in slow motion. I could and would tell you about it.

There were things that happened that only could happen to us.

When we dropped that last shovel onto your casket and smoothed the dirt I looked down and whispered a few things.

I told you that if you could figure out how to read the blog you might get some insight into this and that.

Reminded you that missing a post wouldn’t mean much and that it would also keep you from following all sorts of stuff that you wished you’d know about.

Said that life was ridiculous, silly and serious.

I said I love you, wondered if you could somehow hear me or if all that was done forever.

Walked away hoping I had done enough to feel comfortable with it all knowing I absolutely had said what I had to say and knew that it was never going to be enough.

You’d tell me to just accept my membership card and roll with it. You’d say not to waste energy trying to change what I can’t.

I know all this and sometimes I am as ok with it as I can be and sometimes I go looking for the trustees knowing that if I ever catch them out in the open I will pound them with everything I have got.

I am not a kid anymore, can’t give that kind of effort every day, but as the cliche goes I am as good once as I ever was.

Except that I am not. I am better and I am less.

I am the oldest of the line and forced to assume whatever mantle and responsibilities come with that. So I am the man you saw but sometimes I am just the boy you used to play catch with decades ago.

Is it really just 30 days…

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