In this installment of our blovel (catch up!!!), Mak calls home. Do any of you know this mom?
From: Webmaster [email@example.com]
Date: Friday, January 12, 2001 12:03 AM
To: Hands_Solo [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: RE: RE: Hi
No worries, it’s only a web address…I’m not an idiot, and I either am or am not from Decatur. lol. But it’s kind of cute that you are protective. Thanx.
PS What is your real name if I may ask? Or is it too soon for that??
PPS What happened in the end with that article you were writing?
From: Hands_Solo [email@example.com]
Date: Friday, January 12, 2001 12:39 AM
To: Webmaster [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: RE: Drunken Ramblings
Thanks for your mail.
I’m kind of drunk right now so I decided, best talk it out with the ability to sensor myself. I haven’t been this buzzed in a while…I think it’s because I didn’t really eat today.
So you came to mind. Funny, being that there is no way to represent you in my mind other than by your screen name…
Hell knows why I am about to tell you all this. But what else is there to do when you are drunk, other than fuck, dance, vomit, or reveal intimate secrets? Everything washed upwards and out by the little alcohol molecules…Soul laxatives, an old girlfriend used to call them. lol. Funny, she was just here.
In a nutshell: I’m supposed to be getting married to the love of my life (I think?) in a little over two months. I was engaged and now I’m not. Like that. She did it over the phone three months ago. She returned the fucking ring under my door.
I’m wondering now to what extent “I chose my circumstance” – Thanks to you! – if I actually proposed because I knew she’d leave. This thought keeps buzzing in and out of my head. It’s actually driving me nuts, more than the actual “loss”. Loss. What is it exactly that I lost? I keep thinking that it was something else, not the woman (Natalie’s her name) that is the worst part of it, but the feeling like I have some goddamn control somewhere, that I know what the hell is going on.
Maybe she just bruised my ego and I can’t believe someone rejected me. Me the human magnet, someone finally unstuck themselves, unwilling to be material…Could that be it?
Does it even matter? Somehow I think it’s at the edge of something bigger but God knows what that is. I hope I don’t care but I know that I do and it’s a huger change than I can wrap myself around. God, I am really drunk.
Anyway, thanks for listening, as it were…I’ll go to bed now before I fall asleep online, which I have done before, or before I ask you to marry me, now that you’ve seen the open door to Bluebeard’s chamber. lol.
P.S. I got the essay out on time. Thanks.
I called my mother that week from California. I had forgotten to call her before I left. Besides, it was on Ollopa’s tab. He can afford it, even now…:
“Hi! Michael? Or Donnie?”
“It’s Michael, Mom. I sound like Donnie? Since when?”
“Since your voice changed, baby. It’s funny you don’t hear it.”
“Yeah, I’m a funny guy…How are you, Mom?”
“Where are you calling from? You sound far away.”
“Yeah. I’m in California, at my friend Spencer’s house.”
“Spencer? The Internet guy?”
“That’s the one.”
“Wow! How is he doing?”
“He’s doing great…despite everything that’s going on. He looks great, for one…It’s a really interesting thing with him…He’s very different…”
“People change, Michael.”
“Yeah. So…What are you guys up to down in Houston?”
“I’m OK…Your father and I are very busy… I’d love for you to meet some of our new friends and the folks we work with. I’ve been having lots of people over, on weekends, for our special barbecues. Southern hospitality, you know? We have a great deck for that here. There’s this one guy you’d really like. He reminds me of you.”
“It is fun. Life doesn’t end when you pass 50, you know.”
“So I’ve heard from friends of mine. How’s Dad doing at his job?”
“They’re really glad they thought to transfer him. He’s made a huge difference in the department. They needed a doctor with managerial skills. And people skills.”
“So they found their man, huh?”
“Yes. They did. I’m very proud of your father. So… when are you coming down, Michael?”
“Actually, I hope to be able to come down there in the spring sometime. But I can’t make plans this far in advance.”
“It’s not that far in advance when you think about it…It’s just over two months until April. You need that long for a reservation.”
“Mom, two/three months can mean a lot of different things. It’s a long time. I think I can get a reservation a few days in advance…I travel easy.”
“I’m not going to argue with you, Michael, but I think you are making a mistake. I understand that you’re hesitant to commit to anything now, but…”
“It has nothing to do with commitment. It’s a matter of the unknown. I don’t know what assignments I’ll be working on, exactly, or how things will be, and I don’t want to say that I know for sure where I’ll be in three months time. I think that’s presumptuous.”
“Presumptuous? It’s called being in control of your life, Michael. We all know plans can change, but not to make them at all? I think you’ve gone a bit far with this one, my dear…”
“Control is a funny thing, Mom. I’m willing to admit I don’t have it.”
“I think your tendency to go to extremes is going to hurt you here. But you’re a big boy. Do what you want.”
“By the way, Donnie and Elaine are coming down with the kids for Easter.”
“Whatever. She’s not religious at all, Michael. It’s OK if I call it Easter. She’d probably prefer that to Passover.”
“I was just raising awareness.”
“I’m very aware, my dear. My God Michael, what’s going on with you? You don’t have to jump on every word I say. You really have to let a person talk.”
“OK, OK. Mom, forget it. I’ll start thinking about joining all ye non-faithful for that Judeo-Christian mid-April series of festivals that none of us celebrate. It would be fun to be lapsed all together….”
“Speak for yourself. Your father and I plan on joining the local church this week…”
“Church? Mom? Is that like a rule in Texas?”
“It has nothing to do with Texas, my dear. And it’s not like we’re Born Again, or anything…It’s just a nice, normal, non-denominational, community church…We’re beginning to realize, your father and I, that we’ve missed out on a lot by being so…uncommitted to anything all these years…I feel badly that we raised you not believing in anything….”
“Now that you see how we turned out, you mean?”
“Now why would you twist it like that? I don’t want to have this conversation anymore, Michael…It was supposed to be a friendly chat and you’ve turned it into another one of your hunting expeditions…”
“There was no ‘expedition’, Mom. I was simply wondering why all of a sudden two atheists with a young family from Baltimore move away to Texas when their kids are grown and suddenly find God…”
“We were never atheists…Why do I need to justify myself to you, anyway? You have a lot of nerve, Michael…”
“Mom. I was asking you a question. I am interested. Would you rather I not ask? Stay unconcerned and …what do you call it? Passive aggressive? Aloof? I can do that too…”
“Thank you. Wow. Thanks, Mom. I’m so glad we finally agree on something………It’s just that…Last time we had this type of discussion, you were upset with me for not sharing with you…for being closed and detached…When you moved down there, and I was in the middle of the whole thing with Natalie at the time….”
“Are you angry that we didn’t stay with you then? Is that it?”
“No! No! Not at all…God. No. Mom, I’m just saying that at that time, when we spoke, you were upset that I was too aloof and not sharing anything and closed and ‘seething underground’ was I think how you put it – I remember because I really liked that phrase…”
“You’re not a writer from nowhere, you know…”
“Yes…. I do know…So anyway, here I am, trying to be more present and interested and involved and ask questions and show emotion and wonderment – yes – wonderment – at the fact that Joe and Lily Kohl, of all people, are joining a church, a Southern church…and I am suddenly compared to Torquemada…”
“I did not compare you to Torquemada. Really, now. Don’t be ugly.”
“Right. You did say expedition, not inquisition…It wasn’t either one, Mom.”
“Well I felt that way. You know? I did. Sometimes it’s not the question, but the tone…You know, Michael, we’ve been through this for more than twenty years now…I’m so tired of it…”
“Me, too, Mom….”
“Then why do you do it?”
“Why do you go on with that – attitude – - that snotty teenage thing you should have outgrown years and years ago, like I owe you an explanation for everything I do? Like you’re sitting in judgment of me, waiting for me to do something wrong?”
“I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think that’s true…anymore. Not at all. I think you’re interpreting backwards, hearing my words now in my voice then. God…It was just a question. I did not expect it to turn into this at all! For you to get…so sensitive…”
“Do not accuse me again of that thing you always say.”
“So I won’t say it. But what am I supposed to do here? Talk to you naturally, not talk to you naturally? Watch what I say? Not watch what I say? Who I am, is, by nature…How do I say this? OK…Being not detached, for me, being involved, will intrinsically entail some non-soft stepping humor…Some cynicism. You call it mockery…but…it’s just a wry way of looking at things…a lens I see things through…What am I supposed to do about that? Change my personality?”
“The part of it that can’t muster any loving, yeah. I think it would feel different if there was any love there at all…”
“If you had asked me about the church without the ridicule…with any love there…I think I would have answered you…Your need to protect yourself through this lens of yours is costing you in the personal relationship department, my dear.”
“I would prefer it if you wouldn’t go there, Mom.”
“Of course you would. When it’s about you, you’re allowed to be sensitive.”
“I think you’re painting a picture of me that is really…I don’t know…It’s awful. You really are reading too much into this. I’m sorry, but I do feel that I need to be very careful…That I can’t say anything to you….”
“So do I. Feel that way about you…Sheesh, Michael, nothing’s easy with you, is it? That much hasn’t changed in almost thirty years…
“I guess you’re right about that….”
“OK…Michael….I’m going to have to go now. I have a brunch for the Children’s Hospital. I’m chairing it…I’ve done a lot of work for them lately. I’ll tell you about it sometime if you’re interested. So…. you let me know if you want to come down for whatever it is that you want to call it in April, OK?”
“Whatever you say, Michael. I can’t believe we’re still having these exhausting conversations. Why? Why?”
“Who among us knows why we do anything? Why we become who we most fear…”
“I worry about you and this…writing… thing. It makes you so… antisocial.”
Untitled, For My Mother:
Ashen hush – -
when dust unfolds off silenced fields;
Stones don’t burn,
but grass can learn
to stop growing there.
Life goes on, they say.
Is never-green to high a price
- MAK, January 2001
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