Wednesday, January 14, 2015

one story in three parts on king's day and professor longhair too

PROLOGUE

and there i was wasting time trying to figure out what the purpose of this blog should be. then the girl walked up.  we had met a few years earlier when she was running her first marathon.  and she was blogging about it. at the time i was blogging about what not's and why not's as i worked to discover who i am as a writer.

she asked how the novel was going and several other questions that told me she had really listened to the things i said to her when we talked.  i couldn't remember her name but my picture had ended up in her book.  now she was training to climb Kilimanjaro.

her thing is all about her bucket list as she approaches thirty.  thirty.  what a ridiculous age.  who has a bucket list at thirty.  i'm almost fifty and i don't have a bucket list.

that's mostly because operate on the assumption that there is nothing i haven't done that other people have just read about.  i certainly don't want to climb Kilimanjaro unless there is a luxury tram that takes you to the top with a lovely little wet bar to enjoy.

but this time i listened to her and i agreed it would be fun to find things to experience in this final year before fifty.  (she did ask if i wanted to come along and cook for her so there's still a chance you may read about me flipping rice cakes in a fire pit somewhere on the savannah later this year).


INTERLUDE

it's king's day.  do you know what that means?  it's one of the few things you can count on in life.  the start of carnival season.

my friend holli has been posting these pictures of her and this little boy on her facebook page.  as i recently admitted i am awful at keeping up with the meaningful relationships in my life so i decided to give her a call and catch up and i thought the topic of the little boy in the pictures would be a good ice breaker since we hadn't spoken in awhile.

i'll spare the details but it turns out that the little boy died of a blood disease this past thanksgiving.  he must have been eleven or maybe twelve?  and that's where things started to fuck with me today.

i like to talk about confronting my survivors guilt but i avoid it as often as possible.  but here was this child who had his whole life ahead of him, gone.  did he have a bucket list?  had he done the things he wanted to?

i drive in my car and bitch about how trapped i feel in the routines that I built.  MY choices.  but i'm still alive and that's not fair.

i look at the picture and see it in his eyes.  i've looked into the face of death enough to know when it's in the room.  but there's life there too.  LOOK at HIM!

Aw because it's Carnival Time (if you don't know the song just you tube Professor Longhair and that's the soundtrack to all of this).  That little boy was out there living.



EPILOGUE

i was sitting in the office today and a song came on.  it enveloped me.  i could remember laying on a fringed persian rug staring up at the cracked ceiling of a french quarter apartment.  we dropped acid and lay on the floor listening to the album and crawled out of the third floor window and watched the people walking on the street below and eventually the sun rising over the city.

there are two things about surviving that i want to share with you.  surviving is not living, though you will be alive if you survive, but it's not enough.

the other thing is that you have fewer and fewer people to share your memories with.  who was that person i lay there tripping with on that rug?  i don't remember.



is a bucket list so bad?  a list of things to do?  wasn't it enough to just stay alive?

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