Here we go. This is going to be another tough week for me - as far as writing this blog is concerned. I just got out of the car. My family and I just drove six hours from Oregon. I went to my cousin’s wedding. So, instead of trying to extract some kind of life lesson from my experiences, I’m just going to tell you an unrelated story. Maybe there will be something that can be extracted, I don’t know.
When I was younger, I used to drink a lot, too much. My family's history is littered with alcoholics. I started down that road early. I had my first drink when I was 14, and when I was caught for it, and subsequently grounded, I would drink in the living room once my parents went to sleep. Couple years go by and I’m going to parties as often as I can. At first, when my friends and I were 16, it was friends’ houses; their parents were on vacation, their older brother got a place, whatever. But when we got older, when those friends moved off to college, our parties’ venues took a strange turn. The house would be owned by a shadowy roommate, someone would break into a foreclosed home, we’d find an alley somewhere - stuff like that. One of those places was a house right down the street from my parents’ place. I’d walk there, meet up with my friends, drink until I couldn’t recognize myself in the mirror, then go home. The man who owned the house was about ten years older than us. He’d take us to Safeway. He’d tell us to fill up the cart with whatever alcohol we wanted. He was a military guy, and I knew his behavior was odd, but, hey, free alcohol. He was a big guy, 6’ 4”, 240 lbs. He’d socialize here and there, but, overall, he was pretty soft-spoken.
One day. He was more quiet than usual. He bought us more alcohol than he ever had before, then went straight to his room when we got back from Safeway. His brother was there – and his brother wasn’t ever there. Something felt different. I heard rumors at the party. Someone told me that his ex-wife had coached his daughter to tell the police that he had molested her, so he’d never be able to see her again. There was this feeling I had, like we were in the eye of a hurricane. I was in the living room. Drinking. I hated the taste of alcohol, but I loved how it made me feel. It was a Budweiser, I think. I was wasted. Then I saw the guy’s brother backing out from the hall that lead to the master bedroom. His palms were up. He was smaller. His hair ran to his shoulders. Then the big guy came out. His fists were tight, hunched shoulders. His eyes were dead. His brother was saying something, trying to convince him of something, pleading, I don’t remember exactly what. Then the big guy threw his fist into his brother’s face. Once, then twice. I remember the brother's voice. He was a grown man, but in that moment, he sounded like he was thirteen. His voice cracked; he sounded so desperate, like he had no idea why this was happening. The big guy threw him against the wall. The brother broke through the sheetrock. I remember the sound of the guy’s fist hitting his brother’s face, that wet sound of flesh to flesh, and the blood pouring from his brow, it was so dark, and how, before each punch, the brother would lift his hands to try to stop him, but he just couldn’t. The fists would just slip through his hands. Then the guy, the homeowner, stopped on his own. He started crying. The neighbors had heard the brother screaming, so the cops came. They lined us up out front, on the curb. I remember looking to my friends, and instead of us worrying about the guy, it was more like, “Man, I guess we’ll have to find somewhere else to go. Text some people.” Ugly, I know
Is there something to take from that story? I’m not sure. Maybe not. Like I said, I’m not in a space to comb through it and find something. I have this vision, though, now that I’m at the end of this. People have storms in ‘em. Hurricanes. Maybe that’s the point. I feel like people don’t share their problems until its too late. They’ve got these black clouds in their minds, and they’re hoping someone will hear the thunder, and when no one does, the storm bleeds out in other ways.
I know that was dark, but life can be dark. You can’t ignore that. You’ve got to look at it. You’ve got to face that stuff. Or else it grows, turns into a monster. Don’t let that happen. Talk to someone. Whatever you have in your mind, share it, even if its embarrassing; that's so vital.
Anyway. Listen to people, and find someone you can trust to do the same for you. Goodnight and good luck.
Do you have anything you’d like to share with me? A story you haven’t told many people? Something you saw? Something you’ve felt? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
If you missed last week’s blog, read it here.