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Monday, July 18, 2011

Son

I was having one of those imaginary conversations not long ago, about what an amazing father I once was. That led me to think about how my son interacted to my, uh, other boys, my foster sons. N was cold and aloof with Joe, Joey. Didn't like him at all. Well, Joey was very immature, and needed a lot of handling, and N was used to being an autonomous only-child. A 13 year old need not like an instant 9 year old pseudo brother.

I have no guilt at all about N's displacement as the single sun of a parental solar system. He was given the very most solid of foundations for security, and that he had to learn to cope with a somewhat less ego-stroking adolescence was a long-term benefit. So I maintain.

These ruminations led me to wonder what ever become of my lost boys, nearly 10 years gone now. I don't know. Sometimes I allow myself to approach this subject, and if I come too near, well, reefs and shoals and jagged rocks, and wild wind and seas that remain utterly indifferent to tears. Sometimes I wonder what I would do, if I saw any of them, say, in the mall. But I don't go much to malls. I expect I would just watch for a few moments, then turn away and leave, having said nothing. I might then find my car and sit in it, and weep until I could not breathe.

But maybe I'd feel nothing at all. That's also how I am. Or maybe I'd say hello, although not "hello" -- rather, "Joe." I'd say, "Joe," and smile in a quiet way, still, sociable but barely breathing. The fantasy doesn't go further than this. Small talk, I'd guess. He'd be 23 now. Maybe he has a job. Maybe he finished school. Maybe he's still alive, and prospering -- my love and dedication having taken hold, flourished, undone the evil and corruption of his earliest years. Perhaps the years were redeemed, reclaimed from futility.

Or Jason, the betrayer, 27, father perhaps of 2, perhaps more by now, perhaps none, what with all the choices available to prospective parents. Nothing much to say. Coward, liar, Judas, that I loved.

Then I thought that it would be my son, N, who would see them, one of them, at the mall. Seems more likely. And whatever that exchange would be, if any, my expectation is that N would not tell me about it. "Hey dad, you know who I saw at the mall the other day? Joey." Something I never expect to hear, for all that the encounter might happen.

I don't understand life, its point. I don't understand how people enter into life, our lives, and leave from it, returning or not as chance may have it. I don't understand love, I don't know the purpose of suffering, I don't see how anyone finds the courage to risk the inevitable load of grief that towers over us waiting for some tremor that it may fall. I know that the purpose of life is not to understand it, but to live it, submerged and swept about by the mechanical rhythms of its currents. That's what life is, to me. Submission. It seems pointless.

Oh, pardon me. I got distracted there for a moment. Brooding about disappointments and deceptions and expectations that experience continues to prove unreasonable.

God, who is so great, and has such a small still voice, has patience that surpasses the span of our lives. This is a bad thing. Time runs out for us, and God is still waiting.

It's ironic. We have to be patient with God. Well. Maybe we'll run into him in the mall. Maybe he'll say hello. "Jack."


J

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