...A TALE OF BABIES, BOOBS AND BROOKE...
When I think of my life, I picture my head. Pretty average... hard, a little bumpy, though also soft in certain areas that I can never seem to find until I'm bleeding... proportionate to the rest of me, but perhaps slightly too large for my own good...most importantly, however, it is attached to a face. My face. The face everybody around me sees and defines as being me. But it's not me, is it? It's my representative, and representatives are good at lying to protect their employer. The most recent job that I gave to my face was to convince the people that can see me that I was good, honest and pure...a good father, an honest man, a pure soul. I thought I had instructed my face to lie again. The truth came at me like a well written twist and I was very rapidly thrust into a third act that I never saw coming.
When Beauty and I decided to move the family back to Buffalo, NY, we had a grand list of really good reasons. There was the big one, Beauty going back to school to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. There was also the lack of support for the kids when we needed it. A notable entry was the dead end street that my job had become, though for both of us, I think, the most realistic listed reason was money. We had none. I say it now as if we eventually got some, which makes me laugh and cry simultaneously. The breaking point that really lifted pen to paper was the second time since the ball dropped that I had to ask my Father for money to pay rent. For me, that is one of the worst feelings in the world. It sounds like failure and it smells like weakness. It even looks stupid...I get all shaky and my eyes dart around like a twelve year old farting during morning circle time. The point is, it wasn't a particularly hard decision and so we quit our jobs, packed up our apartment and left. It sounds so simple, though the reality of the ordeal also makes me laugh and cry simultaneously...
Queen B is three and a half as well as sixteen, drunk and on steroids. She's like the Tasmanian Devil in a Quentin Tarantino movie...SPOILER ALERT: Everyone dies.
She wants to do everything you don't want her to do with such furious aggression and to such a degree that when she actually wants to do something you DO want her to do, your brain can't comprehend it and suddenly you're cowering in a corner tossing Hershey kisses at her and sobbing prayers you don't know the words to.
As I am dragged through the valley of the shadow of the she-devil, I fear everything...
This was reason #1 for my disappearance. This was one of the jobs asked of my face. "Tell the world I can handle this. Tell them I am there." It was easier done than said, because I worked a lot. However when I didn't work, I took up video games again. Or I walked the dog. I spent the minimal amount of time dealing with it as possible and so my face was able to lie fairly effectively for everyone but Beauty. She doesn't listen to my face. She knows my heart and she knows I was actually gone. The only obstacle stopping her from finding me herself was my sweet, handsome and completely relaxed son who also happens to be a severe boob addict.
This child quite literally transforms into a milk thirsting creature of the deep any time Beauty walks into the room. He makes these crazy repetitive sounds like the young Forest Gump when his teacher tells him about how much his Mother cares about his education. His eyes bulge out of his head and his fingers actually believe they are accomplishing something. Everybody always laughs about it. I tell them I know how he feels. They laugh.
That was reason #2.
The point of this is all about the picture. A painting, really. We can look at something and see it, but the beauty isn't really there unless we know how it was made. Every stroke, every piece of the vision. These were my kids BEFORE we took away their home, drove to Buffalo, drove to Connecticut, drove to Vermont, drove to Maine, drove to Vermont, drove back to Buffalo. What they became during that journey is a part of the twist. Be patient, mother fucker.
The third key element to this story is a wonderful human being that both my Wife and I cherish in so many ways. Her name is Brooke Lindsley, and she is only one of the two people that I have named authentically on this Blog. Everybody knows who I am talking about when I mention Beauty. Everybody knows who I am talking about when I mention Queen B, Ham or Fatpug. Others that I mention might be a bit more vague to you, so if I called her T-Swift or Ski Bum, most of you would be lost. Brooke Lindsley deserves that clarity. She is my best friend, and has been one of the few people in our lives aside from Rhoadie (Andrea Rhoads) and certain family members that has proven how much she loves us over and over again.
Brooke and I have a connection so strong that we've been commonly mistaken as more than friends. Even Beauty has glanced a curious eye to a random butt slap or a bizarre conversation that was probably centered around flatulence or worse. The truth is, she is my bro and I am her gal. It's weird, I know. The beauty is in the Beauty, though. Not many men can say their wives are not only one hundred percent cool with their husband having that kind of relationship with another women, but that she is actually really close with her as well. It works.
Rather, it worked. We had to say goodbye to Brooke, not once, not twice, but three times along our Journey and every single time was just as hard as the latter. Another one of those moments when my face was a great liar. I smiled, said see you later and walked away. My head felt it, though.
For those of you following along to the gimmick thus far, Brooke is the Neil Patrick Harris of this story. Take that as you will. However she does not have a penis...that I know of.
As I said, after we left we didn't stay grounded. We zigzagged across the Northeast like a fucking paddle-ball. It wore down the kids and exemplified their temperaments. Queen B grew from a velociraptor with rabies into that terrifying hybrid beast from Jurassic World that can camouflage itself and rip off your torso without warning. Ham went from boob addict to Jared Leto in Requiem for a Dream. His arm could be falling off and he'd still be drooling down his face and moaning at the site of cleavage. These accelerated troubles made the driving and the sitting and the walking and the breathing really really difficult for all of us. I shrunk even deeper into my disappearance, showing anger over understanding, exhaustion over integrity, grievance over strength.
I had spent a very long time fighting myself. It was a very long battle in a very long War and it was never going to end. I wanted to be good, honest and pure. I really did. But my actions proved otherwise. I did things, said things to those I am supposed to care about, reacted in certain ways that made my own persona a lie. So once I realized that my head was lying to myself, I obviously could not continue. But my face could. It held it's ground and I disappeared. I retreated deep into my own personal version of self depreciation Hell. Finally, after all of this unorthodox living, after leaving Neil Patrick Harris/Brooke behind, after being accused of being drug addicts (different, shorter story), after wading through the darkness of insecurity....we arrived to a more grounded way of life in Buffalo. Except this time, I didn't have a job. I didn't have a hobby, I didn't have a better place to be or an escape or a reason to leave. That was when it happened.
Here it is...the entire purpose of this story - the reason you are still reading - the transition into the third act. I woke up the day after finally arriving back in Buffalo for good and looked over at the voice that woke me. It was Queen B, and she was smiling and so fucking beautiful. She took my hand and we went downstairs to start the day. When I arrived, my son was in Beauty's arms and he smiled so wide when he saw me that I had to double check whether or not he was looking at me or something completely useless behind me. He reached out for me and grabbed me by the face, still smiling. It was very similar to when Queen B grabbed my finger after she was born and I instantly fell in love, though this wasn't love. I already had that. I already knew I loved him. This was acceptance. He looked me in the eye and said, "Get the fuck over yourself, Dad. I like you."
I spent the entire day outside with both of my kids, sliding down the slip n slide, pushing them on the swings, rolling around in the grass and laughing until my sides hurt. I couldn't remember the last time that happened...my kids actually wanted to be with me. Queen B won't leave my side. Ham falls asleep in my arms WITHOUT THE BOOB. They enjoy who I am and I them. That is the twist. That is the point. I told my face to lie. I told my face to tell the world I was a good father, an honest man and a pure soul. My face obliged. But it did not lie.
I was alive the entire time...I just needed to believe it. It's good to be home.
Hopefully Ben Affleck will forgive me.