Every year, twice a year, spring and mid-September, everything goes pear-shaped. It’s hard and fast and brutal and right now everywhere, and somehow, year after year, twice a year, it’s a surprise. A blind-side cross-check jawplant into the cornerboards. A helpless victim to the cruel whims of a capricious providence, I.
Maybe I’ll act badly. [Edit: I will most definitely act badly. How distinguishable from my workaday bad acting, I’m not in position to articulate with clarity. But my rough-n-ready sense is that there’s a general uptick in the egregiousness and density of bad acts per hour from February to May and the last half of September.] Maybe I’ll get loser-pissed in public, and I’ll wake up on a Sunday morning with my body whimpering and my mind begging to die and somewhere, a woman will be mad at me, for reasons that are vague in my recollection. A career first.
Maybe I’ll get sick for no reason, maybe I’ll fall short on my duties. Maybe I’ll just plain fuck up everything I touch. But however I should choose to make a bollocks of it, for sure and for certain, the wheels are coming off. At speed. Twice a year.
Spring. Dad diagnosed with lung cancer, fades and dies.
Mid-September. Dad’s birthday.
As reliable as the Southeast Asian monsoons used to be.
Weird that I don’t calendarize it, somehow. Give myself a little heads-up. All units BOLF grief-crippled, trauma-fucked trainwreck. Big fucker. Socially awkward. Not the coldest beer in the fridge. Board shorts, black guido tanktop. Big, dead-squirrel eyebrows.
I haven’t marked any of these days. I’ve done nothing to acknowledge them. I haven’t even chosen consciousness of them. I’ve just cowered in some dark little hole in a brain full of dark little holes. Maybe if I didn’t do that, the wheels wouldn’t come off so hard and fast.
I haven’t picked up my guitar much lately (a love he taught me). I should. I get rusty. My fingertips get tender, unrugged, unwieldly. I’ve forgotten more songs than I know.
My voice is fucked; I’m sick again. I just did another visa run hacking up great bloody garden slugs in every toilet I passed through three Southeast Asian airport terminals, trying to hold it together past quarantine inspections stations, head up, shoulders back, there’s a good lad. Piece of piss. Done it in worse shape than that.
The perfect conditions for this offering. For what it may be worth, to me, and thus, to mine.
Happy belated, Dad.