The meat and cheese girl tells me she is disappointed I never cooked dinner for her and I try to come up with some sort of silly line as an appropriate response but fall short of the mark.
‘C’mere meat and cheese girl and get lost in my arms’ works for a brief moment because when people fit like puzzle pieces it is easy to forget for a moment about other stuff.
But my memory mirrors the myth of the elephant and I remember…things.
Promises made, promises broken and promises that could be filled or may never be.
It is the blessing and the curse of the writer’s mind.
I see things.
I know things.
And none of it matters because I cannot control nor predict the future with the sort of control that we all wish we had.
Sometimes it disappoints me and sometimes it excites me.
Opportunity and possibility walk through a garden and I run after them trying to get them to hold hands.
In a different place I set the treadmill to a speed that surprises the kid next to me and he says he didn’t think an old guy like me could move like that.
Are They Joining Hands Or Letting Go?
I tell the kid not to underestimate the old guys and then I hurry off to catch my breath and not huff-and-puff in front of him.
Spent too much time lately talking about what I used to be able to do or how things used to be and it’s chafing my hide. Spent too much time hammering the opposition about their unwillingness or inability to deal with fact and I have to hold myself accountable.
I tell the reflection in the lake that you need to spend time with people who are important to you. I tell him to make sure he tells those people even if they don’t want to hear it.
“Dude, don’t worry about scaring people. Don’t worry about being too intense. Those that are supposed to be there for the journey won’t break or collapse under the weight and those that can’t, well be prepared to catch yourself before you go nose first into the water.”
Back at the gym I run into the kid again but this time we are at the free weights. He asks a few questions and I cut to the chase or at least where I think he is going.
“Yeah, if I dropped a few more pounds the old guy wouldn’t look so old. Muscle memory works, look at these arms. Call me old again and let’s see what happens.”
It is ridiculous, but I in a funny place where focus is hard to come by and I look for the edges I can grab on and pull myself up upon.
This is grief.
I recognize it.
The familiarity of loss offers the same empty chill as always and the little boy who tried to get out of being grounded at five years-old by offering to fight his father rises to the surface.
“You’re a coward cancer. I would have fought you. All you had to do was step out of dad’s body for a moment and I would kicked your ass and sent you home.”
It is ridiculous but five-year-old boys don’t let reality get in the way of vision. Dreams are possible and what is possible can be achieved.
The kid at the gym and I banter back and forth. He tells me about how he believes life is and I show him the picture.
“Are the people in this picture about to let go of each others hands or did they just clasp them?”
He shakes his head and tells me he can’t figure it out without more details. I tell him that life doesn’t give more details and that sometimes you have to just go for it.
The kid says it is simple for a guy that has lived a little bit. “You don’t understand how hard it is to meet people and to find a girl that is worth holding onto.”
I shake my head and tell him it is much easier at twenty something.
“It might not feel like it, but when you have no responsibility other than yourself those decisions really are simpler. You don’t have to consider kids, property and the investment in time with someone else in the same way. But when you haven’t had that sort of life experience it is harder to understand.”
He scrunches up his face and asks me a few more questions.
I tell him a bit about the meat and cheese girl and he asks if I know what happened to her.
“Me, I happened to her and she happened to me.”
“I don’t understand.”
“That is ok, I don’t understand either. I might not ever understand and I might always understand.”
“Dude, you speak in riddles.”
“No, I speak in puzzle pieces and you don’t have the cover of the box so you don’t know what it is supposed to look like.”
He tells me I must be a real prize to live with and I say “Once you go Wilner you never do go back.”
“What is a Wilner?”
I smile and say I have to go and walk away.
Less Is More
Conversations and thoughts are starting to flow about what to write on the stone for Dad which I expect is part of why I am a little wired.
Part of me is disappointed with myself and the lack of focus/discipline in some areas. There is no sense in wasting energy on things I cannot control nor change.
No sense in letting those take me off course or have a negative influence but some of it is easier said than done.
It isn’t a secret that I am my own worst critic and that you couldn’t get away with speaking to me the way I sometimes speak to myself.
Sometimes that is how life goes and you just have to roll with it.
I looked at a spreadsheet earlier today and searched for my name and double checked some numbers.
What I saw made me grit my teeth but not necessarily in a bad way.
I have put myself in position and now I have to hold on and then find a way to take two more steps forward.
Forward is the only option, because there is no support for falling 0r failing.
The time of faith has arrived.