The Faces In Our Places

Tomorrow will be six months and I don’t know what to say and I know everything to say.

I could tell you about how the world changed forever for me and how the guy missing out on this moment would probably shrug his shoulders and say not to make a big deal out of it.

He trained me well because I can say it and do it just as he could and did. I don’t remember the sick guy, I remember the hardass and a million other things.

The old man knew about us and was cool about it but that is not what I am thinking about now. Nah, now I am thinking about a story I told him and Grandpa Wilner that made them roar with laughter.

A tale from many years ago in which a bully tried to throw his weight around with me. I want to tell you I wasn’t having it and that I kicked his ass up and down the road, but that is not how this one played out.

No, I wasn’t certain if I could handle the guy and his friends so I turned my back on them, stuck my hand in my pants and scooped up a handful of sweat from below the place that would help make me a father.

Took said sweat and rubbed it on the guys cheek and said I was certain he was tougher than me. I might have dragged part of my hand across his lips…maybe.

The Faces In Our Places

That story makes me think about the faces in our places and who gets permission to explore.

I might have hinted that the fellow who wore Essence De Baytzim Shel Josh was granted access to a most exotic flavor. Might have said it was a place only queens and shmatas got to go or maybe not.

Grandpa and dad told me I played with fire with that one and I smiled.

“Wilner men don’t play with fire, we jump in and dance in the thing.”

That made Grandpa remind me that his little brother had serious burns from trying to jump over a fire when he was a kid.

“I am not Uncle George, I am the guy that doesn’t burn…even though I probably should.”

Dad told me to stop being ridiculous and glared because grandpa laughed.

All these years later I think about them both and wonder how they felt when they realized they were the oldest men in our branch of the Wilner line.

Now they are gone and it is just me and I have no recourse or place to go for answers other than within. No one but me can figure some of these things out.

It is funny because when they were here I tended to do my own thing anyway, but I always liked knowing they were still there. Always appreciated the just in case I needed them scenarios.

Now they are faces in the places I visit within, but you will not find them anywhere in which you can ask them for stories, thoughts, ideas or memories of what was.

****

Some of the readers say to go deeper than I have and to write with the sort of reckless abandon that moves reader and writer.

It makes me wonder what they have seen and heard. There are places where I have ripped the scabs off and let the bleeding go without a bandage.

Do they know this and wish for more like that or do they think I am just skimming the surface?

Curiosity drives me forward with some of this and given that I will go as I go and do as I do I can’t say that I won’t try to go deeper or that I will.

One of the guys told me a while back about the first time he said “I love you” after the collapse of his first marriage and how strange it was.

“I bet you could just do it. You’re crazier than I am.”

I smiled and told him I could see myself speaking those words and just as easily remain silent.

“Why? Because you are protecting yourself? How do you know she won’t do the same and no one will say anything?”

“I don’t. But I have learned to pay far more attention to actions than words. People say ‘I love you’ to almost anyone without thought. I have accidentally said it once or twice while I was getting off of the phone in work situations.”

“Really? That is kind of awkward.”

“You think that is awkward, try asking her to make you a sandwich afterwards.”

“Dude! WTF, tell me you didn’t.”

“I might have done it in a joking manner to try and make me seem less stupid. Break the ice a little bit maybe.”

Could Be A Long Day

There is a scene in an episode of Shtisel in which a character wanders through a forest screaming “Abba!”

Every time he yelled it touched a nerve.

Sometimes memory takes me back to the hospice and to standing next to dad’s body.

It is around 4 or 4:30 AM am and I staring at him thinking this is going to be the last time. The mortuary will be here soon and they’ll load him up.

Somewhere during the moments after one of the nurses who had been taking care of dad showed up for her shift. She took one look at my face, said she was sorry and hugged me.

I was lost between trying to figure out how to comfort my mom and middle sister and trying to figure out what the hell I was supposed to do.

Should I go outside and scream “ABBA!”

I thought about it, knew it would irritate some of the neighbors and scare people, but didn’t care.

Chose not to do it because I didn’t think it would make me feel better and figured if anyone confronted me all bets were off as to whether I would apologize or throw them through the closest window.

You should only defenestrate people you know are truly bad, not the person who rightly asks you not to scream before 6 AM.

****

Tomorrow could be a long day, but it might not be.

I can’t say for certain how it will got or how I will feel. I’ll do my best to stay busy and to not get lost in places and spaces best left for moments where I have time to screw around.

The old man would say it is ok to feel sad and tell me to not waste energy on things I have no control over.

That is good advice and I’ll try hard to follow it, but I still might go my own way.

 

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