This is something I wrote a while back. About a week before my mom died, in fact. I always toyed with putting it out somewhere. I never knew where or why, but I think it’s a good fit here. It is in fact, all about the crazy random happenstances that roll around in my brain. Which, honestly sometimes scare the crap out of me. But more than the crazy randomness of my thinking, it’s also frighteningly accurate to how I feel right now. My brain is still rolling around with a lot of these thoughts. I could update it now, but I don’t want to distort the words. This was my life then. My life now might follow in a couple days.
But this goes back to early October 2008. I had just fallen deeper for Team Paul. I had begun the obsession with gluten free baking. And I was beginning to become frighteningly aware of how crazy my thought processes could be. A friend read this back then and called it somewhat prophetic. I don’t like such words. I don’t know if I quite believe in the idea of “prophetic.” It’s too mystical for me. I think it’s predictable. I also sort of think that when I write without paying attention to form or matter, I tend to write pretty damn good. It’s when I overthink the words that I kill it. And no one wants to read dead words. (Um, pun is totally intended.)
I hugged my childhood crush this week. We even shared a quick kiss. It happened at his father’s wake. And it was probably inappropriate to get a thrill over this at that time, but I did.
I’ve had a crush on Anthony since I was ten. Or since I was old enough to realize what crushes were. He never really saw me as more than just that lil’ girl across the street that obnoxiously jumped in the pile of leaves he just spent all morning raking. I’m assuming that of course. I never actually asked him what he thought of me as a ten year old.
He is the same as my brothers. I am sure I was nothing more than an annoying little sister like person to him. He too has a story about being my babysitter once. I remember looking for pictures of Anthony in my brother’s high school yearbook and not my brother. I was sad when he moved away for college. I was jealous that he married.
I had my first real conversation with him on August 23, 1992. Earlier that Sunday morning, my mother had collapsed while making coffee and was rushed to the hospital. I had been driven home from the hospital and Anthony was in his drive way. He walked over to ask me what happened.
I remember, even then, being amazed at how calm I was. I didn’t giggle. I didn’t find myself twirling my hair. I didn’t step from foot to foot. And I definitely did not stammer. I clearly told him my mother was in a coma and no one knew what was wrong. He said, “Wow.” I remember writing about that day in my diary that night and that I included that conversation. It marked in many ways a loss of innocence and a loss of childhood. Carrying on an adult conversation with an adult male that I had a crush on was a big moment for my fourteen year old brain. But this is just my overly analytical brain overly thinking getting carried away looking back at the one moment in my life.
This week, standing in that funeral home saying goodbye to his father I thought about my past feelings. The feelings stayed in the fore of my thoughts as I approached the family line and offered my condolences. As I stood across from Anthony, we hugged. The hug lingered a bit. But maybe that was all in my head.
My father frustratingly moved away from the line much too quick and called me over to introduce me to an old friend. Anthony said goodbye. And I walked away upset at not sharing a longer conversation with this man who grew more attractive every year and looked amazing in a suit. But, again, not an appropriate place or time for these thoughts. Especially as his wife and child came to stand by him.
I sat in my chair on the other side of the room pondering my life. This entire week had been a fascinating study in how my brain functions. I’d spent the week ogling the new boss of my boss. And by ogling, I mean, complete and utter adoration of the man as a public speaker that I could not stop referring to as my candidate for hope and change.
If you can’t control thinking about that childhood crush at inappropriate times, you can’t really control developing a crush on a super suave political operative that happens to fall on the other side of the political spectrum? After hearing him speak a week ago, I have wanted to make up Team Paul t-shirts and wear one proudly. I told my boss I was ready to quit my job as an attorney and be his personal assistant. I would be sure to get his coffee order correct.
And now when I have to talk to him, I get a case of the giggles. Or the stammering. Or the hair twirling. Or the complete incoherence. I become my ten year old self talking to Anthony across the street.
I snap out of this strange circle of thought when my dad begins telling our other neighbor about his bypass. I correct him. Angioplasty. Not a bypass.
It’s almost as if he’d rather it be the more serious condition. He gets glory in talking about it. When I diminish it and say it was nothing more than an angioplasty, his face falls. I’m not quite sure what that is about. It’s almost like he wants it to be a bigger deal. It’s not like an angioplasty is not a big deal. But, bypass sounds way more important and impressive to him. Or he just can’t remember the word “angioplasty.” Whichever it is, I feel the need to correct him because I don’t want our neighbors reporting to other neighbors that my dad had a quadruple bypass and is in dire straits and might die tomorrow. When, in reality, he had an angioplasty with a stent put in to address an artery that was 90% blocked. He was in the hospital for 30 hours. And four of those were spent waiting for the nurse to complete the discharge papers.
Serious? Yes. Grave? No. But maybe grave isn’t the word to use while at a funeral.
I get choked up at funerals. It happens. I know why. I can pin point the exact reasons why I start fighting the urge to shed tears and fall apart even when I barely know the guy. The psycho analysis for this is not that difficult. The thought in my head is always “we’re next.” But I really shouldn’t dwell on that. So I won’t. But I do take notes. To prepare. Like the music. I wonder what music funeral homes allow you to pick from. Could I get some Dean Martin playing for my mom? I think on Six Feet Under the Fishers let you play whatever music you wanted. But Peter Krause would also greet me at the door.
It’s all too much sometimes. My dad wanting a bigger injury. My mom being sick all the time. Me crushing on a gay Republican who is indirectly my boss and I accidentally called a girl that one time. It’s a lot, you know. And I’m amazed my brain doesn’t explode. But we are a resilient species. Truly. It’s amazing. We’re designed to withstand so much – both physically and internally.
My dad tapped me on the shoulder and I remembered I was still at Luigi’s wake. He motions to leave and my thoughts close down temporarily as I begin my goodbyes. I play with my cellphone as I walk to my car as I chauffer this week while my dad recovers from his non-bypass procedure.
I’m sure the bizarre train of thoughts that has marked this week of emotional ups and downs and possibly hormonal rages will spark back up later this night. Perhaps I’ll plan my future as a gluten free baker extraordinaire. Perhaps Team Paul can help that dream happen. Maybe I just need to get him some of my gluten f
ree chocolate chip hazelnut cookies. Maybe I need to focus on my rock star dreams and work on that strumming pattern I stubbornly refused to practice in my lesson this week. I think Anthony played guitar once up on a time. Maybe Team Paul plays as well. Could you imagine?