Thursday, December 06, 2007

Builder Of Boys, Makers Of Men

Here's the second installment. Tomorrow will be the end of the novella. Thanks so much for sticking with it all this time. You guys are the best!

I’m still alive, if not entirely well, which is more than I can say for my father. Liver cancer, no real surprise, but excruciating. He looked like the pictures that health teachers show you to counteract all those sexy ads that conspire to sell you the demon rum. What I’m saying is that he looked bad, then worse, then worse still, and then he was gone, a closed casket. At my grandfather’s funeral, my mother had put a lock of her hair in his coffin, telling us that she wanted part of her to be buried with him, she loved him that much. But isn’t that always true, whether we want it to be or not?

Josh and I flew to Atlanta for the funeral, and I fretted over the extra post 9/11 airport security, my illegally procured Vicodan stored in an Altoid box. That and Father’s leftovers got me through the worst of it before Roman got busted and I had to lay off, waiting for the rare dental procedure to provide access. Perhaps this is for the best -- I no longer have the physical tolerance for the abuse I once visited upon my body.

Josh and I no longer live together, that’s another thing. When Father died, Josh got better, stopped mutilating himself, and stayed on medication most of the time. His prep school did a round of lay-offs because of the flagging Detroit economy and Josh found himself back at Notre Dame, Builders of Boys, Makers of Men, or so says their sign outside the school. So back where he started and said he’d never return. Like the Fathers, his life is one devoid of women and the pleasures of the flesh, which, for him, have never been entirely pleasures.

At any rate, my main reason for living with him evaporated, and I could not come to terms with all that had happened to me there, and I got sick of living in Josh’s perpetual mess so I found a small townhouse by Lake St. Clair, a body of water that is beautiful in all seasons, but as polluted as a septic tank and unfit for swimming. Not that it’s warm enough to swim in and even with global warming, one is seldom tempted. I did see Coley and a little girl in a park near it once, and I waved at them. She did not seem happy to see me so I walked back to my place and never returned. I suppose she is afraid that I will tell Josh and that maybe he would want to be part of his child’s life. Or maybe, more accurately, she is afraid that he wouldn’t. Either way, it’s in her interest to maintain whatever illusion suits her at the moment, just like all the rest of us. She looked so much older that day in the park, and I wonder if I did too. It’s hard to know that about yourself since you age so subtly, day by day, year by year. What can I say? I look like myself, only a little worse for the wear.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"To destroy is always the first step in any creation." e. e. cummings

Cocktail Hour
Drinking snack suggestion: Pigs in a Blanket -- live with it people; I am, sad as it is, from the south!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Many happy birthday wishes and much love to my dear friend Shawn!


GWB said...

I was just kidding about Iran!!!

Chef Tell said...

I used to work with a guy that carried a recipe for pigs in a blanket in his wallet, so attached to them was he. This particular recipe has rice as a main element and it was delicious, with both green bell peppers and/or cabbage leaves.

Brian in Mpls said...

"a body of water that is beautiful in all seasons, but as polluted as a septic tank and unfit for swimming"

For some reason I love this line the illusion of something so perfect but unfit for consumption.

Charles Gramlich said...

I particularly like the section about illusions, and it occurs to me that this seems to be one of your themes. Your characters often live illusions, until they become real to them.

Inspector Clueso said...

Zee Altoids have zee good millage, eh?

Fr. Ronald DesRosiers, S.M. said...

Alas, Notre Dame High School(as I knew it) is no more. I've often felt that one of the best things about N.D. was its proximity to Eastland Mall. I yearn for the old days of buttery mashed potatoes in Sanders' basement cafeteria. Those were the days!

Whitenoise said...

Lake St. Clair is too cold for swimming? Geesh, we swim in Georgian Bay... ;-)

(Yeah, I know. It's only a story...)

eric1313 said...

Warm or cold, e coli and motor oil make for a beautiful sunrise. We are truly blessed with the scenery in this state--just don't touch the scenery, and everyone's fine.

Illusions and delusions are something we all can relate to, I suspect. And the truth that they cover can be quite overwhelming.

Looking forward to your words.

Evel Kneivel said...

You can't ask a guy like me why. I wanted to fly through the air. I was a daredevil, a performer. I loved the thrill, the money, the whole macho thing. All those things made me Evel Knievel. Sure, I was scared. You gotta be an asshole not to be scared. But I beat the hell out of death. It would all go by so fast. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi. You're in the air for four seconds, you're part of the machine, and then if you make a mistake midair, you say to yourself, "Oh, boy, I'm gonna crash," and there's nothing you can do to stop it.

Paul said...