Friday, February 10, 2012

Friendship, Love and Grief

I wish I'd known him when I was young. But he would have been a baby. That's the problem with time travel -- everyone else still has to be on their own timeline. We did a workout last night -- I did 8 rounds +6, he did 8 rounds +10, and I said, "Oh, so that's how it is." A joke. I'm very funny. Truth is, while I am reasonably competitive, yet I take pleasure in the excellence of the people I care about. I'm proud of E, and want him to be my equal, better at some things, not, at others. Parity. Friends compete. But one of the ways my love expresses itself to me is through the pride I take in him. Just cuz.

If I had known the people I know now, only when I was young, I would be much healthier. The example of normality is a revelation to me. I observe people, like an alien, like an angel, studious, and sometimes I think, "Ah, so that's how it's done." You know, being friendly, sociable. We learn by example, positive or negative, and by imitation. I am so tightly wound, so guarded, by aloofness and humor and information, that I am beyond being influenced. Almost.

I have opened a window on my heart, in these pages. I am honest as far as I go -- certainly keeping my own council here, as everywhere. I've never told E that I love him, somewhere between a brother and a son. I know what loving a son is like, and it's like that. Must be what loving a brother is. I don't invent reasons to give gifts, but a perceived need occurred to me a while back, and I wanted to fill it, but by coincidence it was being taken care of. Good, but how do we show our love, but by being a blessing? Kind wishes are easy, if not meaningless. They have meaning. But actions matter, the way food matters -- beyond wishes and hope and prayer and faith. We look for ways to help, and sometimes we find them.

There was some good personal news he told me about. And I was pleased for him, and the broken part of my soul was dismayed that people could actually be healthy and loving. I wish I'd had these examples when I was young. I did not adequately convey the tenderness I felt for him at that moment -- mustn't be maudlin -- but I would have hugged him longer. Believe it or not, I'm a hugger, with people I love.

I take pleasure in the observation that E is smart enough, and wise enough and good enough to cherish his family, jealously guard his wife's happiness, diligent over his sons' characters. Maybe this is not a rare thing. Mostly what I notice on the subject is just a lot of talk.

My father is in the hospital having his gall bladder removed. He thought it was food poisoning for 4 days, then finally called the ambulance. He lives in a castle with 72 steps to the front door. He's almost 80 now, and steps are a problem. It was great when he was a Hollywood playboy, big seductive letch, but what now? My mother, who has not seen him for 34 years, is going to visit him at the hospital now. Must be done by now. I haven't gotten a hysterical phone call, so it may have gone well. They have grown old, one and a half generations beyond the couple they had been. A sort of time travel.

This is the place to which always being alone has brought me. My unforgivness amounts to hatred. I have been given the blessing of a good friend, the curse of a crazy family, and it may not be in me to nurture the blessing into a sort of redemption. But how else? If there are angels, they go unrecognized. We ourselves have to take others by the hand.

I've never talked about the culmination of my great and ruinous calamity, all those years ago, because I am ashamed. Of my stupidity, and my victimization, and my stupidity. I made lots of mistakes, of calculation and of character. Much of my stupidity is that I expected the world to be like me -- concerned for justice, even at personal cost. As I say, I am stupid.

Maybe I'll tell that story. But I do have pride, and there is a difference between my affirming that I am a fool, and your knowing the details.

How fortunate, to live beyond the fear, the awareness that love makes us hostage to fate. To love is to grieve. But everything in its time, and love lasts, where grief must be only an interlude.

My father may die soon. My step father, whom I dearly love, is on a feeding tube in an institution -- his brain is degenerating. Well, actually, just 10 minutes ago I got the voice mail ... he's been taken to the hospital with pneumonia. I may feel nothing, when they go. That's how I am -- monstrous. It would be better to grieve, as an interlude.



bob k. mando said...

i am glad for you, that you have found at least one good friend.

chuck e. boy said...

I can really relate to that second paragraph.

brent said...

Presence. It conveys more than words. Hugs are good too.