5% fictional, 100% emotional.
I stood there and looked at your identity and said, "What did you do to your face? I loved your face."
You looked back, "What did you do with your innocence? What did you do to your hair? I loved your hair."
And we stood and studied each other and our respective metamorphoses as if our brains and emotions became an exoskeleton the other could see through the translucent membrane.
And I wondered if you could notice that my bones are poking through my clothes and I trace my finger along them each night I look into my reflection and still only see the flaws that you longed to make invisible to my eyes.
I will never be perfect. I am striving for so much more.
And I wondered if what your exoskeleton is showing is what you always wanted. You are still trying for so much more.
Some nights I feel heavy and strange with a fogged mind as if there are waves intercepting and interfering with my own personal receiver that I have since shut off. Most nights I forget I have one.
You walked down the street away from your troubles in a fit of chaos and intoxicated tribulation and I heard the voice of your 4 year old son say, "Why is daddy walking away? Where is he going?" And your wife said, "I don't know why he is walking away" And she turned him away to go inside and I stood there with nothing to do but have my hands at my sides and my heart heavy with sadness because the innocence of children questioning the bigger consequence of conflict in the world is a sad thing. The bigger consequence of violence. The consequence of anger. The consequence of fucking addiction.
Do you remember the night the cops got called on you when you were bloodied and dirty without a shirt on and you hugged me with tears streaming down our faces and said, "I love you. It will be okay"? I couldn't stop shaking. I will remember the feel of your skin, hot, against me and your arms hugging me. The first time I felt it. I will tell you I will never feel greater fear than when I heard the sounds of thumps and crashes of bodies clashing and the sound of fists making contact with another body. Of a fist punching a hole clear through a wooden door. We covered up the hole with a board but we all know it is still there. We've all apologized but the holes of anger have not been mended deep rooted in your foundation. When a father and a son have felt each other's fists against their own faces, things do not ever return to the way they were before. Before blame, anger, alcoholism. I cannot be in a room with people screaming at each other without starting to panic a little.
We were nurtured from the same caregivers but you grew crooked and I grew straight. But if I could protect you from the wind that permeates your direction of growth, I would, because our blood are tree roots coming from the same grand forest.
The seed of addiction and alcoholism runs deep in my blood from both sides, don't you know? Mother was born into a family destined from the start to harvest its intensity. We're indians, after all. Half or more of her family are alcoholics. They have sewn the seeds, they're children are following. You were born into it and have experienced its extent to a greater degree. You never had the chance to ask, "Where is daddy going?" Because your father left you without saying goodbye. You said you would never do that to us. No, you wouldn't, but you did other things that still damaged us. We are privileged, but never say to us that we are unmarred from this ordeal. You say, "I had to grow up listening to my parents screaming at each other, shaking in bed at night afraid" And I look at you but never say, "So did I". I will never blame you for anything. You have been so good to us.
I know that if you could sacrifice every fiber of your being to your children, you would in less than a heartbeat. If my heart is the size of a fist, yours is two. You are the best man I will ever know.
I can remember your face the day I drove off on my own for the first time and I imagined the feelings you must be feeling and my chest swelled.
The night I sat in your apartment and asked what you were doing, you smiled and loaded a bowl and took a hit. I said, "Never do anything worse. Never get addicted to drugs. I am scared for you. I am scared of alcoholism because it runs in our blood" and you said, "I will never do drugs, I know my limits. And as for alcoholism, I'm already gone, but you, you have what it takes to break it" And you looked surprised to see the tears streaming down my face. And I was surprised to feel a swell of emotion inside my chest and feel the unfamiliar feel of wetness on my cheeks.
You believe in me and I believe in you to keep your word, and you better fucking do it. The number of things I do not care about in this world outnumber those I do. The intensity I feel when I do care compensates for any apathy for everything else. The night our dad told me what you wanted to do to yourself I felt as if I could feel every emotion hit my body and that the past 6 months of my lack of caring meant nothing to that moment I felt everything.
But we have strong roots in good soil and I know that that night you said, "it will be okay" meant that it will be okay. And that it will always be okay. Me and you, we're the strongest trees in the forest.
It is strange for us two beings to study each other with familiarity of each other's habits and bodies and curvatures with a lack of intimacy and affection. It is strange to think there once existed that affection when now it would be just that, strange. I will remember "landslide" playing on the car ride to the rest of your life and scared for everything that would happen. I cannot hear it without remembering the reflection of your father's face with tears in his eyes. My chest swelled.
There is nothing in this life I would change that has not affected who I am, who I'm going to be, and who I will never be.