Letter to My Father

Dear Dad,

I’m sorry I can’t talk to you about this in person yet.  I’m still extremely upset about the situation and I don’t know how to talk to you about this.

It’s not that I’m afraid you’ll be angry, because I don’t believe you will.  You were the one that always told me to never own anything you’re afraid to lose.  I can’t remember how many times you have imparted that piece of wisdom and I’ve always tried to take it to heart.

I do believe you will be disappointed, though, and maybe a little sad.  I think I would deal with the anger better than disappointment.  I let you down.  Again.  I’m so sorry.

So, I’ll just spit it out right here, right now.  The 1970’s Colnago that you rode in the 1980 Ironman has been sold in a yardsale.

I was storing it at a friend’s house.  My apartment got too small after our daughter was born, and so he was keeping it for me in the garage.  This seemed the best place for it because when I moved to a bigger apartment, its not the greatest place in the world and I was afraid it would be stolen.

It was stolen anyway.  His mom had a garage sale and decided to sale the bike.  She may not have remembered it was mine specifically (although I’m 99.9% sure she knew it was mine), or maybe she did and didn’t care, who knows with that woman.  If she didn’t remember whose it was, she didn’t ask anyone if they knew whose it was.  She needed money and she sold it.  Probably got $10 bucks for it.

I should have known better than to trust them dad, but they seemed like good people.  I ignored the history of gambling with the mom, and the brothers drug addiction since all he has ever done in the 9 years I’ve known is sit in the den and watch tv all day.  I never should have agreed to have the bike stored there.

My friend had no idea the bike had been sold.  Not until I went to pick it up after our daughter’s birthday party, anyway.  He went to look for it and when he couldn’t find it he called his mom and she told him.

I’m sorry she sold your bike, dad.  I will do everything I can to find it.  I’ve already posted “In Search Of…” posts on craigslist and fb swap and sale sites.  even the Crimewatch page, but maybe a picture will help.  I’ll take a photo of one of your Ironman pictures and crop your face out and I’ll make flyers.  I’m going to post flyers on every lamp post, repost in fb pages and on craiglist with a picture of the bike.  Worse case scenario, maybe I can find a replica.  If I can find the frame with the same colors as your bike, then I can buy it and then give it to you and you’d never know it wasn’t yours.  You can’t ride it anymore anyway.

Maybe the person who bought the bike doesn’t know it’s value and will give it back to me when he sees the flyers.  I’d prefer that of course, especially since the average 1970’s Colnago sales anywhere from $2500 – $5000.  It would be extremely difficult for me to swing that kind of money, especially since I’m only working one job right now.

I can’t tell you how sorry I am.  This bike is priceless in terms of sentimental value, not only for you but for me, too.  I remember watching the 1980 Ironman on tv, hoping for a glimpse of my daddy.  I was only six, but I still remember sitting in front of the tv in our living room.  I also remember the guy that got stung by the jellyfish in the beginning of the triathalon.  the cameraman showed him riding his bike with a patch over his eye held in place with gauze.  But I digress.

That bike symbolizes one of your greatest achievements and now its gone.  I just hope the person that bought it knows it’s value and takes care of it, that maybe they NEED it because they can’t afford a car.  Maybe it’s their primary transportation so they can get to and from work so they can make sure their kids have food, clothes, and shelter.  If they bring me back the bicycle, I will happily replace it with a new one.

While I do hope that the bike is serving some purpose, this doesn’t stop me from crying everyday.  I cry because I know you’re going to be disappointed, I cry that I was so stupid in keeping the bike there, I cry because I trusted the wrong people, and I cry because I lost your bike.

I cannot tell you how upset I am.  I’ve been sick and depressed ever since The Event.  But I promise I’ll do this as long as it takes until I get your bike back.  I wont stop trying, I promise, and maybe someday, even if it’s ten years from now, someone will call me and let me know they have the bike and they want to give it back.

I just want to give your bike back to you,  that’s all.

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Anxiety

My anxiety is rising over lots of things I cannot control.  I’m dealing with it as best I can but I’m thinking I may need to see a therapist.

I’m going to say that the root of my anxiety comes from my loss of faith.  Before, I took comfort in knowing that there was some sort of afterlife.  That maybe my spirit would float over the world and I would observe the lives of the ones I love and when they died we would be rejoined.

I don’t believe that anymore.  I fear death.  Not dying, I honestly believe that will be one of the most peaceful things I ever experience….assuming it’s not some sort of slow, tortuous, traumatic death.  When one dies the brain releases chemicals to ease one into death.  The chemicals bring calm and peace.  How do I know that?  My Grandpa Coleman told my mom.

Apparently my grandfather choked on his dinner.  I think he was out with people when it happened, and apparently he died….or came so close that he may as well have died.  Obviously he was revived in some way because he was able to speak of the incident afterwards, but my mom told me that he told her that it was the most peaceful thing he had ever experienced and that he never feared death again.

I fear death. I cannot imagine not existing in some way.  Billions have died before me, billions will die after me, it is something we all do, but the thought of that light turning out into nothingness boggles my mind.  I cannot comprehend.  I fear death.

I fear earthquakes and tsunamis.  Why?  Well, for one I live in California.  I’ve grown up with the threat of the “Big One,” and I swore I would never move to Southern California.  Here I am!!!  Right smack in the middle of Southern California less than 10 miles from the beach.  Good thing I moved inland…if I still lived a few blocks from the beach I don’t know if I’d be able to sleep!

Earthquakes:  We’re due for two.  The first one, the one I think would be the bigger of the two, is to happen in northern California and will radiate down the coast.  While the majority of the damage would be in the northern area, there is the expectation that this particular event would cause tsunamis that would destroy the coastal towns.

Remember the 2011 tsunami in Japan.  Think that, all the way down.

As soon as I feel the shaking I’m picking up my daughter and high-tailing it AZ for a week.  Assuming, that is, it’s not the San Andreas earthquake that is expected.  Also expected to be a MAJOR earthquake, this one would be more damaging to Southern California.  It could potentially destroy all roads leading out of state.

While I was always concerned about the earthquakes, I wasn’t afraid of them until I had my child.  I fear being away from her if this event occurs.  How would I be able to get to her?  How can I keep her safe if I am not by her side?  How can I keep her safe if I AM by her side?  The thought of her being afraid and me not being there for her hurts my heart.  The thought of me being by her side and her being afraid because I CAN’T protect her in the event of a catastrophe hurts my heart too.

I’m so screwed.  Seriously starting to think that I might need some medication.  This isn’t healthy.

Today we went to the Aquarium and the whole time I kept waiting to be trapped inside because either the building came down or we got hit by a tsunami.   I know I would feel shaking first, but my car was parked on the third floor of the parking structure and even if I was able to grab my daughter and run to the car, get in, and get going, I’d be behind everyone else trying to escape as well.  I can’t outrun a tsunami.  My daughter would be ripped from my hands and she wouldn’t understand what was happening and she would die scared and alone.

See? I need help.

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Silver

Silver walkway

Silver Halls

Silver shadows

on Silver walls

Silver dreams

Silver kisses

Silver sighs

Silver wishes

Silver memories

Silver pictures

Silver brothers

Silver sisters

Silver clouds

Silver light

Silver bridges

to Silver heights

Silver goodbyes

on Silver wind

Silver souls

with Silver wings

 

 

 

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Anger and Fear

I am an angry person.  I was not always this way….maybe a small part but nothing like I am now.  I was always told I was patient and easy going.  Not mellow, there’s a little something too chaotic about me at any given time to be considered mellow, but not one prone to tantrums or outbursts.

Something changed.  I could never quite put my finger on what happened, but I know it happened while I was pregnant.  I know, hormones, but my even-tempered personality never really evened out.  It became harder to control my anger, which I always have to do: at home and in the office.  I could never figure out why I was so angry all the time.  I do not believe it is just one thing, but many:

I’m angry that I got pregnant,

I’m angry about who got me pregnant.

I’m angry that I got pregnant so late in life.

I’m angry that I’m a single mother.

I’m angry that I can’t give my child everything she wants.

I’m angry that I don’t have a better paying job to give her a house and a dog.

I’m angry that I cannot give her a younger sister or brother, which she so wants.

I’m angry that I cannot give her a family that lives in one house together.

I’m angry that she’ll be too young to lose her mother when I go.

I’m angry that I wont be able to protect her when I’m gone.

I’m angry that I won’t be there when she needs me, after I’m gone.

I’m angry that I get migraines which means that on days we should be laughing and having fun I’m too sick from either the pain or the medicine to enjoy spending time with her.

I’m angry.

I’m angry at everything that I cannot control.

No, I’m not dying, but I know it will happen before I’m ready to leave her.

No child is ever ready to lose a parent, I think.  I know when my parents go, I won’t be ready.  They have lived good lives and are in their 70’s, and they are healthy, but time will take them eventually and I can’t imagine the hole in my heart that will be there when they go.

It sucks.

I do what I can, and she has everything she needs: shelter, clothes, food.  I spend as much time with her that I can.  We color, play games, go out and do things when I have the money.  She gets more kisses than she can bear, and on the weekends we snuggle on the couch, usually watching Scooby doo, until it’s time for breakfast.

It’s scary, having a child.  I want to keep her safe and warm and watch her have a perfectly happy life.  Even if she has a perfectly happy life I know I’ll ruin it by dying, and her heart will break.

Its funny how the one thing that has given me the most joy can at the same time instill such fear for the future.

My father always said to never own anything that you’re afraid of losing.  While I don’t own her, I do fear losing her.

I never had anxiety before, but I’m pretty sure I have it now.

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Ruled by Fear

Today I had the opportunity to spend some time with my beautiful little girl, so after work  I picked her up from daycare and we went straight to Knott’s Berry Farm to get a few hours in of rides, fun, and some dinner before they closed for the day.

It was the perfect day for some outdoor fun: cool but not too cold, sunny but without the heat beating down on you, and clouds in the sky that kept it from being too bright, which was good for me because I had left my sunglasses at home.

Parking was quick and painless, and since it was about 4:30 when we got there, most everyone was leaving for the day.  We filled up our refillable glass with boysenberry punch and were on our way to ride all the rides we could get on in the time we had available.

Rides were not a problem since there were practically no kids there.  Our first ride was the school bus, and there was an adorable little girl who looked to be about 2 years of age with her mother.  The mother looked kind of young, definitely younger than me, but I couldn’t tell if she was in her 20’s or early 30’s.  By her husband, I was guessing mid to late 20’s.  Like us, it seemed they were going one-by-one down the row of kiddie rides as they also sat with us on the tug boat ride, and were in the car next to us for Pig Pens Bouncing Buggy ride.

The girl was friendly like my daughter, and they were so cute together.  I heard the mother call out the girl’s name a couple times so, I don’t know, I guess from that I knew the girl’s name.  My daughter went to grab the girls hand to hold it and walk together, and I reminded her that she doesn’t touch a baby without the mother’s permission.  The mother smiled and laughed, saying it was ok.  She had a friendly face, and seemed nice, and so I introduced myself as we followed the girls to the next ride down the row.

The seemed like a nice young family out to spend a day with their child, much like I was doing.  I asked her name and she told me what it was, and I immediately replied that there was no way I was ever going to be able to pronounce it.  She knew, and she laughed.  She was not offended and I was glad that I was right in thinking she wouldn’t be.  I have learned most people like it when you’re up front about things… that it makes for less awkward future situations.

See, they were not from here and, from the way she was speaking of it later on in the day, I think the family is from Qatar….or someplace that sounds similar in that part of the world.  She wore a hijab.  Yes, I was uncomfortable.

The world has become a scary place, and 20 years ago I never would have thought twice about the family other than to think of how nice they were, and how well our daughters got along.  I probably would have asked for their phone number, suggested that we meet here again, I don’t know, maybe I would have made a friend, but the whole time were together there was doubt and fear in my mind.

When she suggested that we go ride something I wondered if they were going to lead us to some part of the park where they were going to set off a bomb, and when they took pictures of the kids on the rides and saw my daughter was in one, or two, I wondered if he was going to try to kidnap her for human trafficking purposes.  I mean oh my GOD.  What the hell?  This is so not right!  I pushed these thoughts to the back of my mind and yes, I was on guard the whole time, but I spoke with them while our girls played together, laughed, and held hands.  Yes, they did show me the pictures and ask if it was ok that she was in there, I said yes.

Why did I say yes?  Because they asked.  Also, because they trusted me to ride on a ride with THEIR precious little girl.  I said yes because even though I had these dark thoughts in my head, I cannot assume EVERYONE is a terrorist.  In fact, I’m pretty sure if you did the calculations, maybe .002% of the muslim world (and I’m doubling what I think the actual number may really be) participates in terrorist activities. I said yes because if she was brown haired, brown eyed, wearing every day american clothes I would NOT have thought twice about anything.

So yes, I had these suspicious thoughts but I did not act on them until the very end.  During the time, I debated whether or not I should give her my number and request that they send me copies of the pictures of which my daughter was in….but at the end of the day I didn’t.  When my daughter was getting tired and it was nearing time to go, they asked if we wanted to get dinner and I said no, that we had to go when I had brought my daughter there with the intention of eating at the restaurant right outside the gates.  We left the park early (well, not seriously early, by about half an hour than I had intended) just so we didn’t have to eat dinner with them.

I gave in to the fear.  Of this, I am ashamed.

The woman, I got a little of her story.  She is from “her country”, she never actually told me where they are from, but she had gone to doctors in her country, and in Thailand, before coming to America to be treated for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.  She has CANCER!  She has been receiving treatment in America for ONE YEAR and has come to the point where she can now spend a day with her daughter at Knott’s.  A year ago she couldn’t even hardly walk.  Yes I looked to see if she had any hair sticking out from under her Hijab and I did see some long,  dark hair….but I don’t know if that means she was lying.  Maybe that is why I was unable to get her contact information? Because she has been receiving chemo for a year and has hair?  She did have some sort of badge on, and I assumed it was something in case of an emergency that indicated what her condition is and what treatment she is receiving, something given to her from the hospital.

I’m not going to try to psychoanalyze this, but it makes me sad that this is the kind of world I live in now.  I say ‘I’ and not “we” because these were MY fears, MY suspicions on which I based MY decisions.  I cannot say anyone else that had been in this situation would have done the same.  I hope to think that most people would NOT have gone the route I did, and would have made a new friend. Not me, I sit here kicking myself knowing that I am going to regret the decision I made in walking away and hearing the little girl cry because she didn’t want us to leave.

I wish we could all be like children and just accept each other while running off holding hands, instead of having to deal with all this doubt, this suspicion, this fear.  I cannot explain how much this has hurt my heart.  I cannot explain how ashamed of myself I am.

 

 

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She walked down the path along the bluffs.  On her right was a fence that protected her from falling down the face of the steep bluffs, and on her right was green grass, some palm trees, and the smattering of benches that allowed people to stop and rest while taking in the sight of the land along the bluffs.

She stopped in the path and looked around.  She was all alone at the moment, it being mid morning people were going about their busy lives, but in a few hours the path would be full of people taking a walk and enjoying the view…..maybe not.

The wind picked up and she had to put her hand on her sunhat in order to keep it on her head.  She looked up and saw dark clouds in the distance, and they were moving her way.  She wasn’t worried as there was still plenty of time before the storm hit, and still plenty of sunshine to warm her bones while she meandered down the path.

She continued her walk.  She admired the beauty of the mountains and then snorted.  Mountains.  These weren’t mountains, they were neither tall nor majestic in any sense of the word, but they were too big to be called hills. They rose from the ground covered in the grass of the area that was not green, but gold.  Most people thought the mountains were dirt, or covered in dead shrubbery, but she knew that grass was alive and she loved it.

Between her and the mountains was a river, and she could hear the neighing of the horses below.  The houses were beautiful and she envied them as they were not anything she could, or would ever be, able to afford.  The sun glinted off the roofs and windows of cars the moved slowly along the winding highway below, and the branches swayed in the wind and the leaves danced.

The wind was stronger than she thought, and she misjudged the distance of the storm.  She realized this as it moved towards her and unleashed its holdings upon the land.  She walked into the storm, grateful for the water.  She took off her hat and let the rain water soak her through to the bone.  She jumped in the puddles and caught raindrops on her tongue.

Yes she was wet, and she knew that it would get cold, but she didn’t mind.  She knew at home she could get into some dry clothes and sit on the couch wrapped in a warm blanket, drink of hot cup of tea, and read a book.  It would be hard to not fall asleep with the sound of the rain against her windows and on her rooftops, as to her they would be a lullaby.

Looking forward to making the image in her mind a reality, she picked up her pace and headed on home making sure she jumped in all the puddles along the way.

 

 

 

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Across the Room

I stand in the doorway and look into the room and I sense, more than see, the  crowd of people.  I feel the air being pushed around while people walk from one group to another.  I feel the heat from the people amassed in the room sweep across my face.  I hear the ice clinking against the sides of glasses and the warm, amber liquid sloshing around, every once in a while I hear the sound of a drop hitting the floor.  A  soothing, gentle hum is created from the multiple conversations about absolutely nothing.

I sense the people, but I do not see them.  My eyes sweep over the room and see one person who stands still amidst the madness of movement around him.  He wears a black leather trench coat that only goes to his mid-thigh.  Yes, he is taller than the average man, less then half a foot between him and being seven feet.  His blonde hair has recently been cut, worn short and edges straight just above his collar.

I can’t see them, but i know he wears black ankle boots underneath his pressed jeans, polished so they have a respectable shine.  His jacket is unzipped showing the collared, plaid shirt he wears underneath it.  He is unadorned with jewelry other than a single brass ring worn on his hand.  I wonder if he wears it on his wedding-ring finger, or if it is on his right hand.

My heart starts pounding in my chest and my breath comes short.  I start to sweat and tremble just a little.  I panic.  People are waiting to see me in there, people that I’m looking forward to seeing and so I must go in….but I don’t want to.  I don’t want to see him, not because I’m afraid I’m not over him.  I don’t want to see him because I’m afraid he’s been long over me.

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