I can’t quite put my finger on it but I can almost see whatever/whomever it is out of the corner of my eye.
A moment stretches into minutes of stillness and silence as I try to lull it to sleep so that I can turn my head and make eye contact.
Sometimes I come close enough to hear ‘you can’t save me’ fade off into the distance and I wonder what would happen if I flung myself out the window, through the wall or door.
Would I get there in time and what would the impact do to my body are questions I have yet to answer but have often asked.
An Age Of Cruelty
Some say we have reached a point where outrage and disgust prevent honest conversation from taking place but I find it hard to find calm when cruelty is disguised as law.
The older of the children visits the dentist and walks out with a bill that cost hundreds and that with good dental insurance.
It makes me wonder what will happen when the younger takes her turn, let alone when I go back.
Dad has given me many good things but teeth aren’t one of them. He tells me not to worry and says that most of his bad dentist bills came during his forties.
“You’re 49, shouldn’t be much longer.”
I shake my head knowing I have tried to save the mouth and the wallet from the drill.
“You couldn’t save me” echoes in my head and I wonder if I ought to look into driving back to LA instead of flying.
“Just go out and make more money, you can do it.”
I nod my head because I can. I have done it many times and I can do it again, but at this moment I feel like someone has tied an anchor to ankles.”
“You can probably put up around 265. By this time next year you could be well beyond that. There are lots of power lifters in their forties and fifties.”
I nod and smile at the trainer.
The little boy I once was always wanted to know how much he could lift and he still does.
Part of me wonders if at 75 I’ll still be able to throw the iron around like I do now.
That is ‘cuz dad is a couple of months away from hitting the three quarter century mark and his current health has made it a marker for me.
If I can still lift like I do now when I hit 75 I’ll be in pretty good shape. I make a mental note to Google Jack LaLane to see what he could do in his nineties and think about exceeding it.
I look in the mirror and see a giant face looking back at me, when did that happen.
I say this quite often but rarely say it out loud.
There is a level of rage, disdain and disgust floating under the surface that wants to be unleashed. Some of it is utter frustration and disappointment about things I have absolutely no control over and some of it is about things I have no control over.
The repetition is intentional and is part of an internal metronome I set to maintain as close to Zen as I can get.
It doesn’t prevent me from being disgusted by those who make excuses for interning children nor does it make me despair.
I have yelled and shamed people for this knowing that some will never respond but also knowing it is the only way to reach some.
Silence is consent.
Intermixed with the yelling are some quieter conversations with people who are open to such things.
They are all bookended by medical news of and about my father. The longer he stays in the hospital, the more they find.
I realize some of this reminds me of the past.
The call to catch a flight ASAP and the interminable wait in the air not knowing what I would hear when I got off the plane.
I did that twice and got good news both times.
A couple of years later I got the call from my grandfather’s helper.
“Josh, come quick! Sam had a heart attack!”
I can still hear the fear in his voice and remember driving at speeds the LAPD would frown upon. By the time I got to the house grandpa was already at the hospital and by the time I got there he was already gone.
The ER doc said it didn’t matter because he was gone before he hit the floor. I don’t know if that is true or not but I don’t spend time thinking about that particular aspect.
I couldn’t have saved grandpa, it wouldn’t have mattered if I had gotten there any faster.
I have seen the northern lights before in a time long before I became who I am today.
We sat in the woods and looked up at the sky. I remember a group of us half leaning and lying against each other lost in the majesty of the heavens.
There might have been angels serenading us as we watched the greatest light show I have ever seen.
One day I will go to see them again and maybe I’ll find a signpost directing me on my trip past the crossroads.
Maybe my hands will be empty or maybe fingers will be intertwined, can’t say, don’t know.
But there will be magic either way and nature will sing its song for us again.