Enduring on the Lake

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chapter 28


Sensing I wasn’t going to get away with blowing him off in any way, shape, or form I sighed and gave him a very, very brief and edited version of the last two years of my life. 

“So there you have it.  The whooooole flustercluck.” 

His eyebrows shot up into his messy hair and I turned away, embarrassed at the expression I had chosen to use. 

“You are a lot angrier than you let on.” 

I sighed.  “If I constantly dwell on it, yeah.  That’s why I don’t like to discuss it.  But I suppose … for whatever reason you want to know … it’s not exactly like you were trying to get me angry.  But seriously, I don’t like to talk about it.  It makes me feel like a fool.  A big one.  And though I may let people think I’m a little silly or childish sometimes, I don’t ever want to be taken for a fool.” 

He was quiet for a moment then he said, “I was driving.  We went over an IED.  We weren’t even on duty, just heading for some R-n-R to a safe haven kinda place.  It was a charity thing.  We used to play soccer with the kids and let ‘em see we weren’t monsters like some folks were telling them.  Apparently someone didn’t like that.”  He shook his head.  “Somehow the explosion blew me out … most of the rest of the guys in the truck weren’t so lucky.  I only lost my foot … most of them lost their lives.” 

I sighed.  I’d heard similar stories before.  Mom used to do a lot of volunteering with the VA services until it became too much for her.  “People can be such crapheads.  Not that what happened to me is the same as what happened to you.  Just the craphead factor stands out as a personality issue for some people.” 

He leaned forward and said, “I still get angry.  Not as much and not the same kind of angry … but I miss … well dammit I miss my foot.  I miss being tickled.  I miss it itching.  I miss the retarded way my toes would look when my foot would be wet for too long.  I miss feeling cold, hot … I miss every feeling you can think of.  I even miss stepping on Max’s damn Legos and having it hurt like a sumbitch.  But there’s nothing I can do to change the way things are.  Had a doctor tell me it was a grieving process.  It took me a long time to understand that particular concept I tell you.  It sounded crazy to be grieving for my own foot … but then I realized that’s exactly what I was doing, missing all the things that are gone and not coming back.” 

“I … well I guess I never thought of it like that.” 

“Maybe it is time you did.” 

“Huh?” 

“You’re grieving.  You lost something or … or had it taken from you.  Like my foot.  This guy … Dan … he stole something, broke something, took it away.  Maybe other people don’t want to see it that way.  They think you’re young, that there is no way it could have been that much of a big deal … that you’ll get over it.  But I understand.  It was real and alive and now it isn’t.  You’re grieving … for something that is gone and not coming back.   And because I understand I’m asking you to listen to me even if you don’t understand what I’m saying right now.  Can you do that?  Just listen … and think about it?” 

“Sure, I guess.” 

He nodded like he knew that was about as good as I was going to give him.  “One of the steps of grieving is being angry.   But you can’t get stuck in that step or you’ll never progress.  On the other hand you can’t hide from it or ignore it and hope it eventually goes away either.  Right now you have that all shoved in a box and think if you never take the lid off you don’t have to worry about it.  The problem with that kind of thinking is whether you know it or not what’s inside that nice neat little box is growing.  Pretty soon you are going to have to tie the box shut, tape it shut, whatever way you want to look at it … maybe even have to shove it in the back of the closet and put other stuff on top of it hoping that will keep it in.  Eventually though the lid is going to come off that box.  Either it will explode … and you might lose something vital along with it.  Or it will be some kind of monster like the blob and ooze out and eat everything else up inside you.” 

I barked a laugh without meaning to.  “The Blob?  That old movie?” 

“Laugh if you want to Syd but I’m telling you that’s what is going to happen.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.” 

“OK, so you tell me how I’m not supposed to be angry?  Because I’ve thought about it six ways from Sunday and I just can’t figure it out.” 

“No one said you aren’t supposed to be angry.  Stop trying not to be angry.  Start trying to deal with why you’re angry.” 

I opened my mouth and then closed it as I realized there was a difference and I couldn’t deny it. 

“If you were anyone else Zane I’d say you were making this sound a lot easier than it is and that …” 

“That I was trying to make your feelings smaller than they are?” 

I nodded.  “Yeah.” 

“But I am who I am.  And I’ve been where you are sitting right now.  So worried about hurting other people that I only wound up hurting myself.  And as for this thing with your parents?” 

“What thing?” 

“Don’t Syd.  I finally started putting two and two together when you said I lectured you more than your dad.”  He shook his head.  “I know they care.  I don’t know why they are doing … whatever it is they are doing.  And there is probably more I don’t know.  I know I’m surprised your dad didn’t tear off up here when he heard what had happened.  Instead he just … I’m not sure exactly what it was but I saw you get all closed off.  Even Red and Lawrence were surprised at how he reacted.  Especially considering how protective he used to be.  It must be quite a change for you.”  He looked at my expression and said, “And you can get that thought out of your head.  This is not some test your old man set up.  And I’m not going running to him telling stories either.” 

I shrugged.  “It is what it is.  I guess they’ve got their reasons.” 

“Reasons that include keeping you away from the family?” 

“Or keeping them away from me,” I said.  “I’ll admit that I can sense that something is going on.  I’ve got lots of theories but not a lot of reason to think any of them are more likely than the other.  And since I can’t do anything about it I’m just going to focus on what my job is … and while you’re here let me show you that I got my hunter’s license.” 

“Syd …” 

I stopped getting up and sat back down.  “Zane, I listened.  I will think about it.  But right now I’m topped off.  I … I just need to do something that moves me forward.  Whatever this is, however I handle it, it isn’t going to suddenly just up and get fixed or change or whatever.  I will think about it and that’s all I can say right now.” 

“That’s all I’m asking.” 

“You’re asking a lot.” 

“That’s because I think you’re worth a lot.” 

I shook my head.  “Don’t …” 

“Too bad … and too late for whatever it is that is running around in your head.  If nothing happens then it wasn’t meant to happen.  But nothing can happen until we’re both in a place that we can handle what might happen.” 

I shook my head.  “Did that even make sense?” 

He grinned slowly.  “You tell me.” 

I rolled my eyes and stood back up to get the paperwork that I had pulled out of the post box earlier in the day.

4 comments:

  1. Oh my, lovely new chapters.......
    Thanks a bunch.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fantastic story Kathy thanks
    Wayne

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  3. yay! Thankyou so much for the chapters!!

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  4. Interested to know what's happening back home. Auntie and cousin. Wow.

    ReplyDelete