Brother Pablo asks me what I am listening to and I say two different songs play inside my head and a different in my heart.
“Will you share them with me?”
“My friend, isn’t that a repeat or something similar to something you shared before?”
“Aye, but it is played a bit differently and it makes me see and hear differently than before. It is like your quote below, it reads differently to me based upon mood and experience.”
My 18-year-old and I are driving under endless blue skies towards Dallas while talking about the lives we left behind in California.
I tell him about how many places I once roamed are gone and how many people I once knew are gone too, some because their threads were cut and some because of life choices.
“So much of what Los Angeles is to me comes in memories about what was. I am forever an Angeleno but what I knew is mostly gone and who I was is not who I am now.
Grandma set the unveiling for grandpa. We’ll go home and I’ll see his name in stone and one more piece of what was and who I was will be different.”
He nods his head at me and I take the moment to continue.
“You know the moment that fight started before grandpa’s funeral I thought about showing a very dark side of myself so that I could properly express my rage at circumstances.
It was only for a split second, one in which I glanced at your grandfather’s casket and waited for it to come flying open, for surely my father wouldn’t let that sort of nonsense go unanswered.
But there was silence and I knew there was no hiding from reality, just as there is no hiding from what comes in July.
If my only choice was to walk there, well I would start walking now.”
I throw on more music because I want him to be well acquainted with a wide variety of artists and styles.
I don’t tell him why I am pushing certain ideas or volunteer every time I think we have stumbled upon a teaching moment because I recognize the space he is in as I once worse those same shoes.
Subtlety is required and it doesn’t guarantee the message will be accepted, acknowledged or confirmed.
Don’t mention that certain moments online have provided pictures of other things that could have been or that they are painful.
Those snapshots provide hints at parenting missteps and mistakes but they are also matched by the certain knowledge that time is a better arbiter of whether those mistakes and missteps actually took place or had lasting issues.
Who we are today doesn’t have to be who we are tomorrow.
Brother Pablo asks me if I believe in monarchy and I say no, but follow up with a story about declaring someone queen.
“Could I make you royalty? Nope, but that doesn’t prevent nor preclude such things with others.”
“No sir, there is no kissing, telling or two hands wrapped in hair, all I have for you is this.”
For a moment he looks as if he is going to push and pursue, but he sees the look on my face and recognizes there is no point nor purpose is pushing for things I will never release nor acknowledge…here.
Instead he asks if I am still…driven.
“We’re pushing midnight and I am fighting the urge to start lifting or running. Fighting the urge because I have that ‘run with the moon’ feeling and if I let it out now I won’t bother sleeping and I can’t have that on this Sunday night.
I am not doing a good job of accepting my age. I keep pushing as if I am 25 and my body refuses to behave as I wish. So I wind up with a series of ongoing aches and pains.
Sometimes I push through it, because the pain has never stopped me from doing so, but every time I don’t listen it lasts far too long.”
Brother Pablo asks if this means I am going to quit doing as I do.
“No, I’ll adapt. It is what I have been working upon and thus far it seems to be helping, but it is slow and I am impatient.”
Brother Pablo smiles and I tip my hat and tell him I know the hypnotized never lie and we both laugh and get lost in our particular moments of reflection.