Underthecurrent


a good choice
May 25, 2017, 11:15 pm
Filed under: when I grow up

As though the universe wanted to assure that this was a Good Choice, the last few weeks have illustrated all the frustrations:  unreasonable demands, incompetent support, rudeness and a touch of condescending commentary.

Majestic, really.

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Goals
May 15, 2017, 11:55 pm
Filed under: when I grow up

Sometime a few months ago, a target was picked based on some calculations.  The whole genesis of this number is not memorable, just that it was round and it made sense.  Today, two weeks ahead of schedule, the needle ticked over.  Achieved. Done.

It’s mostly a secret.  Some people know parts but it’s unclear if anyone knows everything, other than the two of us.  It’s better that way.  It also wasn’t a grand plan, just a series of decisions, piece by piece.  The first steps were the hardest but maybe also the most satisfying.  Now it’s just a bunch of numbers, moving up and down.

The future? Wide open.



apple juice in the hall
May 8, 2017, 11:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The call three days ago.

A few days before that, he clicks on a picture.  A few months before, he writes “I love you, I miss you” but he never calls the number in the last message. The last conversation, probably five years ago, no recall of those last words or days.

It’s impossible not to run over the path.

We’re twelve or thirteen and he’s somehow drunk, stupid drunk.  It’s dawn, outside the sun rises and the dew is cold and settled down.  Things are not good, this was out of control.  Sleep gets lost, wrapped in a blanket, waiting for the bad night to end.

Fifteen or so – this one is just a flash.  We’re in a car dropping off bags of fake money.  At the time, it’s not obvious this is what is going on, but later he tells the truth.  He’s getting in deeper.  For fun, for extra cash, it’s not even clear.

Sixteen or so.  A wedding where we steal drinks.  It’s miserable for him, that day.  That’s the story behind those beautiful pictures.  He whispers that he’s taken a pill, the kind that makes you happy and warm when all you want is to drop down, down, down.  He looks happy in the pictures.

Maybe we’re out of our teens now, it’s not clear, this one’s just a flash too.  His parents are gone, maybe they trust I’m around.  The good one.  He’s mad about blood in the sink at this low key gathering of friends, someone’s sneaking off for lines of coke.  At some point, a pill is passed around, little halves of oxy.  It will be years before what this is and how bad this is fully clicks.

Another flash.  It’s a bar and for two minutes, away waiting for the bathroom, then there’s a fight.  He’s thrown out, the police come by.  We go to the hospital for stitches, at some point he cries like a child, when he’s falling asleep or passing out.  Waiting, waiting in the hallway, hearing him cry for his mother, she’s nowhere near in any way.

We’re definitely older now, twenties.  He lies that he’s working at a club, that’s how he’s paying for the apartment, well he’s lying to the rest of the family but the hockey bags going in and out make it obvious.  Don’t ask, don’t tell.  We spend a bunch of time together.  This is the last time he’s at all in control, the last time we feel close, listening to music, watching movies.

It’s two years later.  We meet for breakfast in a strange city, he has a beer.  Things are not okay.  He’s rude somehow, lost to time, the friend with me recognizes it.  This is how my family sometimes is.  We leave the city, leave him behind.

*

The last few days snap all of this in a line, points.  The worst is that he never really made it to this age, this look-back-on-it age where you grant yourself amnesty for the decade before and everyone can be a little more real.  All lined up, the anxiety and sadness is more obvious.  He distracted from it all the time, when he was younger with overconfidence and charm, when he got older with anger.

He wasn’t treated well.  As an adult, looking back, it’s horrible to think about how other adults behaved towards someone who had limited control over the situation he was in.  He was just a kid.  Right to the end, decisions that must be, should be, in retrospect, painful to the people that made them.

This is not to say he should not have been responsible.  So many times there was a right track and a wrong track and he purposefully turned into the wrong road, and sped up.



white wine and cookies
May 2, 2017, 8:40 pm
Filed under: work work work work work

Cheeseburger.  Foggy headed and late to start the day.  Last night was a flashback, a wine and whirling room flashback.  Now, the kind of post-dawn bleakness where all the neurotransmitters have spilled out and the one true solution above all feels like: cheeseburger.

Although at the time there wasn’t the old anxiety, the internal fluttering, thinking now something feels off.  Who was in that room last night?  A ghost from ten years past?  Hasn’t all of this been dealt with?

Maybe it just needs a cheeseburger.

This is the last month, four weeks, twenty days.  Every day is still a grind.  The pinging emails, expectations, timelines, demands.  This is why it must end.  Drive is zero.  The money is almost there.



I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner
April 26, 2017, 1:06 am
Filed under: insight, nostalgia

On the street, passing by, is it?  This is about to get Alanis Morisette 1995.

It’s easy to put a lot of the pieces together.  She’s still around, years later.  Did she know, then, who the clothes in the closet belonged to?  Did she know anything?  Since me, it seems, only her.  Almost satisfying.

They’re not married, not engaged, she puts up a picture of a faux rock, makes a joke.  In that way, you know.  The picture stream is:  disposable beverage cups, gym selfies, a Vegas trip or two, some generic warm holidays (but not so many, and nothing too exotic).  Collects stuffed animals.  Posts average plates of food, variable lighting, enthusiastic captions.  Makes fun of his outdated wardrobe, comments he hardly cooks.

This is what’s so strange.

He always cooked for me, sometimes we’d cook together.  Have dinner parties for friends. He was particular about his clothes and holidays, expensive taste.

She’s not much like me.

Everything is as it should be, nothing seems dark, nothing seems private.  No wit, no mess.  She gave up her career, or what seems like a career, to muddle along out here in a hard stream that doesn’t seem to be paying off.  The ultimate supporter.

All this time, I had imagined this fabulous life after me.  Someone perfect, more challenging, funnier.  Someone with her life together, who could carry the conversation at the party that much better.  They’d spend holidays on the ski hills and at expensive island resorts.  He’d buy her romantic gifts and cards, the kind I can’t remember getting, make time to visit her.  They would live somewhere amazing, a perfect house, this remarkable life.  Effortlessly successful and happy.  Everything we never were but should have been on paper.

And there wasn’t much regret, because it went on too long and was often so tepid (why are all the memories this white noise fuzz? Where there should be bright flashes?), but don’t you wonder if sometimes his mind wanders all the way back through those years, to the last wild thing, the crazy one.

 

 



fine.
April 18, 2017, 12:11 am
Filed under: when I grow up, work work work work work

In ten days, finally, finally, everyone can know and the end can begin.

Presently, trying to muster up enough to keep working.  Keep working for three, four, five more days.  The only thing that sounds like a good idea are carbohydrates.  Caffeine does nothing.  Naps are a panacea.

A lot of things are on track.  There’s a spreadsheet with running totals and projections, it says everything is fine.

Everything is fine.



working for the weekend
April 15, 2017, 3:53 am
Filed under: work work work work work

Up in the mountains, beside the fire, on a sort of involuntary holiday, that isn’t really a holiday because there is a seemingly endless stack of work.  There’s still snow this year, making shoulder season into peak season.  Trying to block out the thoughts of what would be happening now but for the looming deadlines next week.

More than ten years ago, different mountains, around this time of year.  There was no snow then.  Cleaning rooms like this, the thousand point checklist, hospital corners.

Everyone looks exhausted leaving for the weekend, strangers in the lift.  For almost all of us, if we are here, this time of day, it’s because the weekend is just a number of days where work will be done somewhere else.