For those of you concerned – my Father’s surgery, which was supposed to take place several weeks ago, has been postponed and postponed. Tomorrow morning at 5am I’ll be driving him into Washington D.C., allaying fears if I can.
Heather has volunteered to go with me, and she’s a goddess for doing so. I know I wasn’t so kind to a previous girlfriend – and I should’ve been.
In the meantime, I’m scared I’ll screw someting up (what if I don’t notice there’s something wrong because it’s a colour indication?!), and my Dad’s scared of the doctors screwing something up, and my Mom is sick in bed with some nasty cough thing that I BETTER not have caught – and it’s supposed to precipitate nastily on all of us on Tuesday, which could make the drive even MORE Hellish.
It’s been a good weekend. Perhaps one of the first good ones of the New Year. 2004 has lacked lustre so far, as far as I’m concerned. Lots of things have been quite shit. There has been Amy and good music and stew and shooting at cats with Nerf pistols.
I’m frightened, though, of what the week shall bring.
Of course, things might be looking up. An event of cosmic proportions: I dropped a slice of buttered bread – and it landed butter side…. UP!!!
Long time, no mention – nothing really to mention today, either. I think I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures and narrate a bit to make up for it. We’ve begun to get responses from the summer festivals, and we’re beginning to plan around such things as Pagan festivals in Ohio, and Singer/Songwriter barcrawls in Illinois.
I’ve been really sick for the past couple of days, caught something from Alfred last Tuesday. I helped him carry his drums into the gig that night, and he had something really nasty, and he shared.
So, I brought it home to Mara. And I think we shared it with Janna. The world’s been sick. Mitzi’s had food poisoning, Tyler’s been feeling poorly, Sharif threw up and Jon’s been depressed. Didn’t want to write about THAT… see?
Anywho, many things, including my 29th birthday, which was a whole lot of fun, one of my best ever. A WHOLE lot of Magic – almost nothing better to do when you’re feeling really poorly. Nothing to do but play Diablo and Magic… which, of course, is how Janna probably caught it. Sigh… Pestilence alll over. I sit here writing – Heather’s dad is running around with many a household chore – cleaning and replacing batteries, to the accompaniment of the Beatles. He keeps trying to give me fuzzy hats and camel hair coats – I try to explain…. it’s just not flannel. Sigh.
It turned out the open mic we were playing was actually run by a guy we knew from before – we’d met Rick at the Coffee Club (in Media? I think).
We sold a couple of CDs, and met some cool people – specifically – Dave – the Johnny Cash impersonator. Great Man in Black Covers. Very pleased.
The sound here was gorgeous, but other than that, I was kind of distracted by all the hockey.
Philadelphia didn’t treat us as well this time around, but I think a lot of that was attitude. We, of course, Loved hanging around with Shane, and he hooked me up with a new copy of Diablo II, which made my Life pretty complete, but – we hung around in Maryland because of my father’s cancer surgery, and that was kind of difficult. I’m just so glad that that’s over with. All that’s left is recovery…
“All that’s left” – I know it’s not that simple, but I have to think of it that way lest I just go crazy.
We didn’t get much out of the night – the crowd just couldn’t be distracted from their sporting events, but Soul Plane made up for everything. They were spectacular.
And JUST as both Heather and I were thinking “they could do awwwesome Led Zepplin covers” – they did. Not many bands can pull that off. They’re guitarist, specifically, would be capable of making Jimmy Page look up from his diabolist dabblings and say “whut?”
We came home for my birthday, the night after the gig with Soul Plane… I gloss over the whole me getting the address of the gig wrong, so we advertised the wrong address the whole week we were in Philly – and ended up at the wrong place ourselves… and God – it was a disaster.
But I got the coolest toy that ever existed for my birthday.
A Matrix Sentinal.
Now, the coolest gift EVER was what my Father gave me – successful cancer surgery while at the same time paying off the last of my school debt. It’s taken me 7 years, but it’s finally gone, and it’s an incredible feeling – but it’s harder to photograph.
It has been such a weird month. Back to the Dad in the hospital rambling – I went and visited while he was there, I was lucky enough to have Audrey come with me – and the hospital was dismal.
I don’t expect hospital patients to be cheerful and leaping and throwing back their sheets and jumping from bed to bed or anything – but I expect the damned hospital to be clean, and to be able to really understand the English of the nurses, and for the faucets to work, and for them to clean the spilled Jell-o off the floor. GW Hospital was just a multi-tiered lump of dinge. I was pretty disappointed with its existence in its entirety. Pretty fucking disgusted, to be truthful.
Later that night, we went back to Amy’s house and watched zombie movies and ate ravioli. It was probably my best birthday ever.
I don’t care WHAT Heather says – I’m exhausted. Tonight we played the Thai Gour Cafe for the first time in months, and played the past we’ve played in a long, long time. Just, such good energy on stage – I have so much fun with my band!!!
Whee!Anywho – we’re playing Takoma Park tomorrow morning, which means we’ve got to be out of the house by 9am…. which means waking up five hours earlier than we did today. And the gig was long and fierce – and I’m going to take a shower before bed… and collapse. In the words of C-3PO – “Oooh this oil bath is going to feel SOO good.” Except… not oil. And not a bath, really. Hrm.
Oh my God – it’s 8am. Heather’s not happy. Rowan’s not happy. I’m not happy. This is the day we really need someone driving the tourbus or something, so I can sleep in the car. My stomach is reeling from the hour, feeling a little like I’m in a rapidly decending elevator – getting worse as my body realizes I’m not ABOUT to abandon it back to unconsciousness. Oh, it’s ALL bad news.
The Takoma Park Street Festival was a lot of fun – I’m beginning to grow a little more confident in big crowd situations, where I see that people are coming from the periphery to see what the commotion is about. The double djembe thing that Rowan and Heather do is far more effective at getting attention than maybe even Heather going topless.
Anywho – great gig, gonna be on tv. Gonna get the DVD. Gonna be a big star… off to the next gig.
It’s such a beautiful day – it’s a shame about the greyness of yesterday, the New Deal Cafe Autumn Harvest Festival got greyed out – rather stupidly I felt. I don’t think Richard (McMullin) even did it voluntarily: apparently a lot the day’s artists had called him worried about the weather and cancelled on him. Pansies.
Such amazing light – the intensity of oranges and reds bright enough for even ME to see. The birds have been criss-crossing the sky with crazed migrations, and we’ve seen butterflies flitting and my parents caught a skink. I’m exhausted, ready for the drive and finally the couch collapse. A little rob oozing into the couch crevices. Yes – complete and flaccid relaxation. If I was saying this on stage, it would be about now that Heather would be telling me to stop talking. Sigh.
The Takoma Park show was excellent – it made us feel like a big band, dragging heads around, and amazing the soundman, as well as the local television crews. Unfortunately, exhaustion was somewhat setting in by the time we got to the crab feast. My finger tips feel like hamburger, and my voice is coarse and tired. We’ve never played this much in one weekend. Especially the Thai Gour show – three hour gigs can be killers. — Damn – Heather’s so hot. I don’t want to go on about this – but she’s singing along with the radio – and when she vamps it up … oh God. Laptop… hurts…
What I was SAYING, however – was that I’m really tired. And now in need of a cold shower. Sheesh. Any other train of thought – completely gone.
The time is slipping swiftly, and inevitably, as the days pass by, more and more of you complain about the lack of Journal entries. The ilyAIMY Journal seems to be a popular item to do for the Bored-At-Work crowd, and this… this I understand. Afterall, I would become truly frustrated with web comics that petered off – Sinfest? You know who you are. You got less funny. And I got tired. Sexy Losers? Oh your perversity has always been grand – to the point that I was somewhat afraid of viewing you at work… but then updates were only once a month, and then rarer and rarer – and eventually I stopped checking. Maybe I’ll check today.
In any case – let me upDate you, dear reader…
now, again – a lot of what’s been going on in my world has been family-oriented. I can’t really go on about it here. Those of you who know, already know, and for those of you who don’t, let’s just say me and my family are grateful for any positive energy you choose to send us. In any case, because I tend to just type whatever’s on my mind, and my family has been occupying my brain to my brainhilt recently, that’s why I’ve been bad about writing.
Last Saturday was PLOJ XXXII. That means the next one gets to be three x’s and three I’s, and that’s appealing to me. Numbers have a lot of power in my head, and I’m always a bit overjoyed when they add up just right. The beauty of rounded figures in Life and arithmitic is something programmed into me at a visceral level. It explains a lot, really.
PLOJ XXXII was one of the best, I think. I’m afraid I might say that about ever PLOJ, but this one especially just fit my head well. There’s a wonder to things that happen at just the right time. This PLOJ brought together a lot of old friends, and a lot of people that I hadn’t seen in a long time – I was overjoyed to have a night so full of flirtation and music. It could have been perfected by old-school presences like Syl and Audrey and maybe even Little Michael, but it wasn’t destined to be.
In the process of setting up the Exclusive ilyANGEL stuff, I’ve been sorting through old, old recordings. Things made in dorm rooms, and even recordings made from the first rwo Pot Lucks. I worry about the NSA as I’ve been playing SOME of these songs for a long, long, looong time.
In any case, I’m truly amazed that Chuck (Chelsea’s Dad) came all the way up from Richmond. He’s made us a regular stop now – he doesn’t miss the PLOJes, and I think that that’s awesome. JR even stopped in – he’s visiting breifly, back from Sedona. Arizona has really agreed with him. He’s vibrant and frenetic and his fingers (if possible) are even FASTER. We played an awesome, jaw-dropping version of LooseN.
In any case, the PLOJ went on till around 3am, and then we hung out (actual friends!!! ACTUALLY hanging out!! – when did I get so old that things like THAT didn’t happen anymore?!!?). (that’s the wrong question, as I think it’s now that most of my friends have day jobs, and THEY can’t do it anymore…). It was a good feeling, collapsing on couches and wishing the mess away.
In the far, dim, back of some of these pictures you can see Rachel. Oh Rachel of the fanciful dreadlocked hair… we met her in a bar in Fell’s Point, I think. She was there to see another band, and worked at a Starbucks. Now she tours the country further than we do, supporting another acoustic act. She Lives at a farm and radiates freedom and carefree – beyond that that I can even aspire too. I just get too uptight.
And yet she’s melancholy, sometimes. She watches from the back. Always so quiet. She’s a Lovely presence, and falls into the category of People That I Never Expect to See.
I’ve often been of the opinion that people are little more than the sum of their thoughts, their sparkling personalities, their souls. They are not encapsulated by their bodies, and the names are just tags for their fleshy shells. The entity that actually exists – that is actually referenced when speaking of and to a person – THAT is defined by their opinions and emotions.
And yet those things are so malleable. In my more cynical moments, I view a human as little more than a strange collection of chemicals and drugs – and the alteration of out SELF through external mixtures of sugars and more complex molecules are therefore more than just a mere “mood-altering”, but more essentially “self-altering”. The person under the influence of a drug is perhaps not the same as the person sober… I think I might (un/justifiably?) use this as a mental justification for writing some people off.
Not that I know where to draw that line. The rob who’s eaten too many Kit Kats in one day and is forcing his friends to suffer his swooping sugar high is very different from the rob who is stoned out of his mind on fatigue toxins who is very different from the rob who is focused and thinking clearly.
The decisions that we make, though – they’re supposed to be made with a clear head, stone-cold sober, while in the grip of our own tenuous box called “sanity”. We make out our wills and swear up and down that it is US making the decisions… we make all sorts of decisions, and perhaps don’t agree with those decisions when in a different frame of mind, and what then?
My separation of people’s … moods? personas? into separate entities breaks down then. It seems like then there has to be some outside decider… rob has perked up and is excited about going out (thanks to Kit Kats) or… rob is too tired to go out (thanks to staying up all night) or maybe he’s wired and jittery and rear-ends a Lexus on the Dulles Toll Road (thanks to the questionable alertness of a second-wind). Accountability needs to go that extra step, and assume that the sane rob (?!) at the Whether it’s the designated driver who holds the car keys, or the girl who’s staying over who you swear you’re not going to cross any lines with, or the friend who’s holding your wallet and is under no circumstances to allow you to buy a guitar, or the Living will you’ve put in place and asked family to carry out… no matter who the deal is with, there comes a moment when the mind changes, and whoever is “holding the keys” has to make the call if that aforementioned person has actually changed their mind, or if Y has simply occured, and that there key master is truly that person’s left-over preemptive self-control…
I’m not expressing this well.
But when the person is asking for something different, and they seem so very earnest… what do you do? You can tell them that they don’t really mean it… that the “sane” facet of them knew better, told you better… told you what they REALLY wanted…
has the mind changed? Or merely the mind-set? It’s a moot point, I know – a rhetorical question, I suppose. I wonder if a stalwart cynic can come to pray at the end, and if so, he should truly be punished for his prior persona’s lack of faith.
My father died in the sunshine at 4.35pm today. Thank you to all the friends and family who’s been propping us up for the past several months, and through his fight with cancer over the past five years. I’d prefer not to be called or emailed right now.
An exhausting week. I swear, there’s got to be a better way. During the death of a family member, the actual death should be the most stressful event. Everything else should be smooth, should be taken care of. The paperwork should be straight-forward, designed to be comprehensible to someone who’s in the midst of dealing with the loss of a Loved one.
So, very tired. The beginning of allergy season. The end of so many things.
I had a dream the other night with the full awareness that my Father had died. Previous dreams involved just having him in the background, like he always was… then progressed to dreams where the cancer was some sort of mistake, and he was going to be fine, and then dreams where he was still alive, but sick again, and the whole process was just about to begin again, but this time we knew the hopelessness, the helplessness, and the inevitable outcome..
The other night in Disputanta, VA, staying with Chelsea and Beau, I dreamt that I was standing in the hallway at my mom’s house, and that I glimpsed my dad sitting in a chair in the Living room (a chair, bright yellow and long since disposed of in the real world). He was almost solid, and though he motioned me closer, I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I don’t remember being shocked in the dream, and I remember telling other people about the vision, and them telling me that it was a good thing. I think my brother could see him too. I woke up confused and feeling comforted that this was confirmation of the existance of some sort of afterlife, a promise of continuation – until I remembered that we’d thrown at the chair and realized that it was a dream. That sort of threw me. I’ve been feeling a little off ever since, I suppose.
Friday morning we got up and drove from Disputanta to Carrboro, North Carolina where they were in the midst of an Art Walk. Open shops and open doors. Carrboro is a strange little college town with poorly defined boundaries and murals on every available flat surface. Heather, of course, had nothing to worry about, but I had the fear that if i stood still for any length of time, someone would come out of the woodwork and art me up.
All of our Northern North Carolina friends came out and represented at the Open Eye (Cafe of the Dark Lord), and in honour of Sauron (the logo for the Open Eye looks very much like the Eye), I even sang a special version of “the Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton”. Hail Sauron. A special thank you to Russ and his wife (the nail queen!) for coming out, and on top of everything else, mentioning us in a drum circle to a local duo, Alison and Darren. On Russ’ advice, they looked me up, and Darren is slowly working his way through learning Deep in the AM. He seemed thrilled to actually watch us play – their enthusiasm just lit up the room.
Then our host for the night, Jamie, also brought out a bunch of friends. All in all, we had a pretty decent crowd. Jonathan Byrd (who’d we met at the Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival a couple days previous) even walked in. Go fig. Oh he of the beautiful CD designs.
After the gig, we went back to Jamie’s and just shot the shit with her and her friends till about 3am. I like the feeling that we restore a little youth to everyone we visit – allowing them to relive the college days of late night roommate conversations. It’s something that we all seem to miss, that sense of comeraderie. Apparently, having roommates just isn’t adult anymore, but it’s something we all regret losing, to some extent at least. I think the ideal marriage would have a lot of roommatish traits… 2am hour-long conversations held sitting in a doorjam because you’ve passed on the way to the bathroom.
Hehe – we just passed “The Lost Sock” laundromat…. and a “waterfowl impoundment area”. Don’t know about all that.
We’re travelling slowly down route 1 near the southern edge of North Carolina. Construction and detours have us lead astray, but not for long. We found my father along the road along the way.
Our time in Belleville has been somewhat up and down, and I’m afraid that our host, Susan (coincidentally our very first ilyANGEL) has gotten a pretty heavy dose of a very moody ilyAIMY. I mean, we’ve been very well-behaved, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t been as charming as I should be.
At least part of that has to do with the day we’re supposed to be celebrating today. I mean, the blame can be spread: I am tired. We’ve been playing a LOT over the past couple of weeks, few breaks in between, and in general, home is close temporally if not linearly and I’m very, very ready to be on my own and free to wander a little bit.
But, I’ve got to finally admit, a lot of it has to do with Father’s Day.
I don’t think I was aware of how it was bothering me at first. The constant advertisements have been constant reminders, and with his heightened awareness of pop-culture and the frequency with which he watches television or listens to the radio, I know my brother was being bothered by this for a while… but I think it’s finally sinking in for me – this is the first Father’s Day where I haven’t had to have my mom’s constant reminders to remember that it’s here. Today, Father’s Day falls just eight weeks after my own Dad has died.
It doesn’t really seem fair. I’m always so bad with dates, and it seems that the first time that all the banners and big posters reminding me of Father’s Day gifts and Father’s Day BBQs and proclaiming that this gift or that gift would be best for Dad on Sunday… this is the first time that all those advertisements have been completely unavoidable.
I do well at keeping my mind off of whatever it is that I don’t want to think about. Yesterday, not only did we play the gig at the Ground Floor, but we’d also picked one up from the owner of the local Irish bar, the Castletown Geoghegan. He had seen us last year and remembered us well enough that when he spotted us on the street, he walked over, introduced us and offered us money to play his bar.
Before that, we’d gone and seen Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which was truly awesome in a way that only Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt can be. Brad Pitt rocks my world, and completely keeps me from thinking of Father’s Day…
In general, Belleville has been very, very welcoming. So many familiar faces, and it doesn’t seem that we were here so very long ago. It’s been like some sort of homecoming – a much-needed recharge on the last leg of this Trip.
Last night at the Ground Floor, walking in and seeing Dan and Amy smiling in recognition, knowing that they had ASKED for us to come back… that’s a really good feeling. It gave us some fierce aura of energy to push through the night with. We played with everything we had left and we had dancers up front, something we haven’t had in weeks.
I’ve been talking to the local bar owners, and I even think that there could be money scraped together to get the full band out here! Now if we can just scrape the TIME together to get the full band out here… preferably long before next-year’s festival!
Today, Heather and I got up and shook off our sleep and headed out to a cook-out/pool party that “the Ducks” (the Duck Tape Duo) were throwing. I think it was
a lot of fun, meeting them outside of a bar, meeting their family and their kids, until it sort of clicked in my head that it was a FATHER’S DAY party. Then it sort of paled. I couldn’t sustain the energy, and I couldn’t sustain the mood. I knew I had to call my mom and night was coming on and it was time to head out. I’m not even sure that I recognized it for what it was at the time, but lying in bed upon our return, staring at the ceiling and letting my mind wander, I suddenly realized what I didn’t like about the day… I didn’t have anything to celebrate any more.
I liked watching the kids, and I liked watching the Ducks and their dogs and their rabbits and miscellaneous creatures… but I’m very far away from home, and I miss my friends and family and their creatures.
Today would have been my Dad’s 61st birthday – and as such, I knew I was going to be spending the day with my mom. It’s also just really convenient to be staying down here right now, and though sometimes she drives me crazy, there IS a sense of home here that I don’t neccessarily get other places… so it’s good to pull into Seabrook and round the corner and see the big old blue van.
There’s usually space for my weathered Saturn in the driveway, and I used to really enjoy pulling onto Wellington Street at a pretty good clip and letting my momentum carry me right up the driveway. I’d learned to be a little more cautious over the last year – once my Father could no longer drive, my mom took advantage of the situation by parking casually (and diagonally) across the whole driveway.
This time, as I rounded the corner, the parking hazard wasn’t in the form of my mom’s Saturn, but in the form of the kitchen. It was in the driveway. All over the driveway.
Apparently my Mom had gotten sick of the kitchen last Saturday. She’d called her brother and her father. They came over with some beer, some Chinese food, and apparently some crowbars. The kitchen was in the front yard by 9pm that night. Barring the kitchen sink, which was (of course!) in the dining room.
And so, when my mother asked what I wanted to do for Dad’s birthday, I figured there was nothing he’d like better than to know we were finally getting the house into shape.
I think this house was the bane of his existance for the past 35 years, and that if I DID have any belief in the idea of his haunting anything, it sure as Hell wouldn’t be this house, cause I’m sure all he ever wanted to do was escape it.
In any case, I woke up this morning to pounding, scraping, drilling. My Uncle Marty was already busily scraping the Hell out of the remnants of the kitchen, and within an hour of consciousness I was priming walls and pulling trim. Oh, and then I learned about “cutting in”. Heather was over pretty early in the day and then things went into full swing.
The daughter of DIYers, Heather’s a monster with a paint brush.
It’s been a long day. Tomorrow we paint the whole thing blue. If I’m up for it. There’s other important things that happen on Fridays after all – Battlestar Galactica for one.
It started off with Star Trek. Heather and I have been getting up later and later, and now grip consciousness at just about the time that Spike TV starts showing its daily regimen of Star Trek. Two episodes of Deep Space 9, three episodes of the Next Generation. I agonize at their inattention to TOS.
I find it important to stress that Heather usually flips the switch here.
In any case, we tune in to find Major Kira (?) describing a death scene, lamenting that she hadn’t been there for her father. She is very detailed, describing how the breathing slowed,, was more agonized every moment, how every time he exhaled they were SURE it was the last breath, and then he fought for another ragged inhalation. It was nasty to wake up to someone practically describing my own father’s death. Family, gathered on the bed and waiting.
I tried not to let it get to me, and indeed, after five OTHER hours of Star Trek and work on the computer and chatting with friends and fiddling with chords, it was pretty well forgotten.
Heather spent time in the kitchen being strangely domestic. She created mushrooms and potatoes and lemon flavoured lunch. Out of character, but I wasn’t complaining.
Somehow time always creeps up on you, though – and before we knew it, it was time to pack up and get our Lovely little tushes out to Caffe Driade to play a gig in the warm North Carolina night. Fiddly set up, moving iron chairs and finding cables, avoiding spiders and giant millipedes. I finally got my amplifier reset they way it’s SUPPOSED to be (after the beating it took during the Firedean gig) and was ready to play a show through it. We got through a song before it started to sprinkle. We got to the first chorus of “Old Love” before it started to out and out rain. At first I tried to keep the solo going while strolling out to the merch table and flipping the mailing list closed with my guitar’s headstock… but soon it became obvious that we needed to get stuff under cover.
People came out of the woodwork to help us move shit, and but there was still an agonizing slowness as all the wired-together fragments of our cobbled together sound system had to be detached before they could move. The whole time I was just waiting for the shock or the sudden lock of muscle that would tell me that water had gotten into the amplifier or connected me to a power strip.
Of course, at this point, mere wall current isn’t something that I really fear, but it would’ve
been a sign of probable damage to the equipment that was our Life’s blood. But we had to sort cables before I could get the amp moved, and we couldn’t just unplug everything, cause it would’ve all taken a LOT longer in the dark…
We sat on their porch under the overhang for a while, sorting chords and practicing some songs, but eventually we just cleaned up and moved out and came back to Jamie’s apartment in Cary.
We settled down to music and Scrabble with Jamie – Heather hastily scrounged together a mix of music that led me through all sorts of moods and made everything okay. It made me feel inspired and good and ready to take on the world again. Music has that power, still, somedays. It might have helped that I did a lot of name-taking and ass-reaming in the Scrabble games (Jamie won the first one, but only by a couple of points).
I’m not going to say it to her face (in our tradition of not giving too many compliments and keeping one another balanced on a fine knife-edge of agony about one another’s musical tastes) but she’ll read the Journal eventually and discover that I think that… THAT MIX at least, if not her overall taste in music, was exquisite. Moments of sweet agony wracked me in conjunction with Richard Shindell’s Dar Williams cover of “Calling the Moon”, “Architect” by the Decemberists, “Speed of Trees” by Ellis Paul and that train song by Elliot Bronson. We know so many amazing people, and they make amazing noise.
It wasn’t till we ended the games at 2am that I realized how my day had come full circle. My father raised my brother and I on Scrabble, using it to expand our vocabulary. My Dad’s mastery of two letter words was complete, and when I play Scrabble, I run my memories through a flipcard of past games with him, looking for words that I can use. My brother’s speciality was throwing down letters and letting my Dad challenge them, and together they’d discover such unlikely words as “eft”, but my Dad always won, for years. It was a big deal when I surpassed him.
In any case, my father’s two last Scrabble games marked his decline. One, I think against Del and George and I (?) he reamed us. He couldn’t sit up for very long, but he did some substantial Scrabble ass-kicking. The last game though, I remember coming home and finding my Dad sleeping on the couch, and my Uncle and my brother talking quietly. Scrabble has a spread to it, and you can see the words scattering over time in the game – and I could see my father’s words getting less and less coherent. He’d taken the lead in the game, but only because my brother hadn’t been pointing out that he’d been confidently laying down nonsense. I’d like to think that it was my Dad’s private little joke, that he was purposefully doing it and knowing he could get away with it, but it made me cry a LOT.
Last night, after we turned out the lights, that flipcard memory of Scrabble games turned into other remembrances. How my father used to “paint on my face” with his fingertips (my mom would scratch my back to put me to sleep when I was young). I remembered being small. I always had trouble sleeping and I’d pester him with questions about planets and stars… and death, I remembered that I’d never ask my mom questions about death, but I would always ask my Dad questions about how things died – my grandfather (who I can’t remember anymore), my hamster, stars and galaxies. The stories of how things ended kept me up for hours, lying awake in the darkness, staring at glow in the dark stars on the ceiling slowly losing their radiance.
Sigh. It was a long night. I fell asleep around when Jamie went to work in the morning.