I’m not talking about my mother


I’m not just talking about her funeral. I’m not talking about the funeral I
held for my father. I’m talking about my real life, everything I really do.
The things I really do, which is, to put it mildly, a mess. No one expects me
to clean up my act when they come calling. Why should they? I’m just a
child who needs more time to understand things.

I’m not supposed to be out here alone, in this park, which I know for the
beautiful, quiet spot in the middle of a bad neighborhood. And I’m not
supposed to be doing this. A woman found me. She told me that she loved me.
She told me that she would have been here sooner, she would have listened to
me sooner, but I had to go and do this. We’ve been getting to know each other,
but in a way I’m not sure any of us realized would ever happen. This is all
I’ve ever done, this is all I’ve ever wanted to do, I’ve just been too self-
centered to notice that I hadn’t yet realized. And now I’ve noticed that I
really haven’t done anything with anyone.

I can feel it in my joints, in my gut, in my head. Everything’s going to be
different, I know that. I’ll have time then to do what I really want to do,
what I’ve always wanted to do. With her, in this park, I’ll find myself.

And it will just be for a minute. Probably only for a minute. I’ll have to give
people credit. They don’t really want me. I don’t blame them. It’s not
possible. This is exactly what I was afraid of, having a woman here, having
this park, having something I’ve always wanted. I can’t even let myself think
about it, about the woman. She’s just the first one to leave.

The park isn’t so quiet now. There’s traffic, cars, motorbikes. There’s a large
busy bar, people on the benches and tables and lawn chairs. There’s one man
singing, his voice echoing so loudly his song has nothing to do with the rest
of the world. It’s just him and his music. I didn’t recognize the song, it’s
really old, a kind of folk ballad, a good song but it’s not the kind of song
one sings anymore. I hadn’t heard it before I met her. I didn’t know I would
like it when I did, when I learned she loved it, and that maybe I’d like her
better than I’ve ever liked anyone, but I like it too much, I have to tell
myself, just like everything else. I am what I am, and I have no idea what I
would be without her.

I’ve spent the whole week thinking about what I would do if I had this life.
I know I could get a place, be a real person in the world, do the things I
want to do, go to school, help out with people’s lives. If only I thought
more, I would. If only I wasn’t so stupid. The woman in the park was right, I
should have listened to her. I should have listened to her and put my
dreams on hold. And I’m not even a stupid man. Not anymore. Not for long.

The problem with listening to someone when what you’re supposed to do is
yourself, is that they always have to be right. You have to always be right,
no matter what. Right about what? Everything. If you’re wrong then what do
you have? Nothing.

There is no way to turn a corner here and not end up seeing something you used
to see. It’s always there. The woman who found me in the park is the same
one who left me. The last woman I saw before she left me was the one who found
me in the park. I think she’s out now somewhere. She’s probably out where
people go when they’re not in love, doing what she can to try to make sure
they’ll make it to the other side. She’s out there somewhere, the one who
found me, the one who loved me, that’s her. The one who will always love me,
always. I can see her, she thinks I’m a loser, a fool, a dead man walking.
I think she’s wrong. She doesn’t know me. I’m a fool, but one with a pretty
good idea how to be a man.

The other woman who I’ve never talked to is the one who always will be. She’s
the one who has a plan for everything. The one who knows that everything is
never as bad as it seems, the one who knows that there’s good in everyone,
that nothing is true. She’s the one who doesn’t care about what I think. She
doesn’t care at all. She can only feel my feelings, I think. And I’m sad.
But I don’t want to look sad, I don’t want to be sad anymore. I don’t want to
be lonely anymore. I guess I’ll have to learn to love someone real, not just
a nice face.

There’s only one person left in the world I will ever love. She’s the only
one left who ever had the real thing. That was when I asked her. She didn’t
say yes. She says it’s too far away, she won’t be able to go. But I know
that’s not the real reason. I don’t want this love to go away.

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