Brother Pablo asks what did Facebook do to you and I provide a flurry of unedited answers:
- I saw how life had aged friends and family even when they tried to hide it.
- Some exes got involved with crazy men, or at least they look crazy to me. It is in the eyes.
- Other friends showed they haven’t any ability to discern between fake news. Not the valid criticism the fool in the WH hates, but other stuff. They spread that poison and pretend the fear and hate isn’t something they help promote.
Brother Pablo asks me if I know what I say and whether I am prepared for the consequences. I raise my glass and share the finest Irish saying, move to the wise words of Yiddish proverbs and follow up with a ‘to our health’ in a language long thought dead but not quite gone.
“My friend, what is it we say?”
“If you ask the wise sword master from Game of Thrones you look at death and say ‘not today.’ If you ask it in a different way we say we’re the baddest motherfucker in the valley. Or if you want to dance upon the razor’s edge you say one kiss would prove some fires never die.”
“Brother Josh, you may or may not be the baddest motherfucker in the valley but you are certainly among the craziest. They shall love you for it and hate you just the same.”
Right after dad’s diagnosis with Pancreatic Cancer I dared the cancer to step outside of his body and take me on in a fair fight. Hell, I offered to fight it and three of its toughest friends but that coward didn’t dare.
It knew that in single combat it could never defeat me or with friends because it couldn’t match my crazy but that didn’t stop it from taking a cheap shot at me this weekend.
That almost 15 year-old of mine asked today why it seems like if I get sick it is never for more than a day or two. I told her that her old man is virtually bulletproof and admitted that it is harder than it once was.
“Don’t know why, but it is much harder. Takes a little more out of me than it used to.”
“That is cuz you are old now dad.”
Can’t help but smile because that tone and delivery belongs to me, or at least it used to. This kid is so much her own person, but at times she flashes proof of sharing some of my DNA.
“Brother Pablo, do you know why I cut ties with another and another? It is because I can carry great weights for years if necessary but I am too tired to do so alone. Better to be alone and honest with myself than to carry the lies of the past.”
Brother Pablo waves his hand at me, telling me to be silent for he is composing a sonnet or maybe a ballad that will serve as a great masterpiece or his latest disappointment. We won’t know until he finishes and even then it is uncertain what the outcome shall be.
Sometimes I still see glimpses of a baby boy and a baby girl in their faces but not very often anymore.
They’re adult size now and their language reflects it oftentimes surprising me at how sophisticated it is and how insightful their comments and questions can be.
There are still numerous moments in which their lack of life experience is exhibited none of it unexpected either. It is age appropriate and for this one moment in time I am happy with life taking a breath.
Because in a moment it will exhale and I will discover I am not a 50 year-old father of an 18 year-old son but instead I’ll be pushing 60 and wondering how my kids could possibly be closer to 30 than 20.
I tell them about how I could hold my arms wide and grab the universe and hold as much as I could grasp.
Sometimes I remind them about how I loved to listen to them softly snore with their head upon my shoulder and how soothing that was to me.
They aren’t impressed but I don’t expect them to appreciate it.
I could tell them about the time their aunt once asked for a hand with her daughter and how we moved her from her mom’s arms to mine.
My niece put her head on my shoulder, slept for a short time, opened her eyes and said ‘you don’t smell like daddy’ and immediately went back to sleep.
I pass along odds and ends to the kids as best I can, trying to give them practical advice and things that will help make life easier knowing so much of what we learn is from personal experience.
Doesn’t matter what mom and dad say because until you do it yourself it is just not the same.
Today my niece and nephews learned about the mythical rainbow bridge we talk about when our pets leave our families for their next stop wherever that may be.
When I heard the news I wonder if maybe the old man and one of his favorite furry friends were reunited.
I wondered if maybe they are seated on a couch somewhere watching the people and the day go by, lost in thoughts they only share with a few.
I look at Brother Pablo and ask him if it is so bad to be hated and if it is not better than being ignored.
“Hate is the other side of love or so some say.”
“Who are those people, the ones you refer to as being the ‘some’ who say?”
Brother Pablo refuses to answer and all I am left with is silence and whatever thoughts I may or may not have.