Living and Dying and Stuff

I’m a 58 year-old man who currently lives in the same house he grew up in with his 93 year-old father.

I have been a hotshot, hotshit advertising executive with a wife and family of my own ensconced in an exclusive Connecticut suburb while I chewed voraciously on the streets of Manhattan. Before that I was a fairly talented if somewhat self-destructive punk-rockstar wannabe. Before that a mediocre high school student who came in 2nd for “Most Tardy Days” (1st place went to the kid who drove me to school, my boy Mark, with whom, all these decades later, I remain fast friends).

But I digress. I do that a lot. I also type all submissions with one thumb on my phone so if you have any issues with my primitive formatting etc you can fuck right off because, among other things, I’m dying.


Of course you are dying too, I only, probably, have a head start.

My dad, previously mentioned, is also dying. He’s 93 remember? Yet I sometimes feel like he and I are in a silent race to the finish line but we shall see. We shall see.

He lost his wife of 60 years — my mom — just over one year ago. He now has all the symptoms of what you and I and the whole college of physicians would call “depression” but he himself simply describes it as “lonely”.

Imagine that.

Two divorces litter my personal timeline. Woven around and between and — I’m not proud to say — within those doomed marriages were relationships that ranged from the most emotionally ambitious to the most sexually obsessive. Always, naturally, with a mix of both. A cocktail. Only humans instead of booze. And a fair amount of that, too.

“We’re born alone and we die alone”.

Or so we’re told. My mother died, at the tender age of 92, with her husband, only child and three grandchildren surrounding her hospital bed, holding her hand, telling her it was “ok” and that we were all there and she could let go. Let go mom.

It’s like anything else, really. All well and good to be brave, as long as it’s somebody else.

The day before my mother died I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I kept this a secret during the whole process leading to her internment, which any Roman Catholic knows involves two weeks of rather gruesome pomp and circumstance. She was nothing if not a Prima Donna for the star-turn and far be it from her son to steal the family spotlight. So I ate it. And I still keep my personal challenges largely on the QT.

I’ve got my boys, who for all appearances still love the terribly flawed father who was gone from their daily routines before he could teach them to drive. I’ve got a few friends, all who have suffered greatly in their lifelong labor to keep loving me. But I have no woman. No mate. No one to suffer as my father does for his lost love.

Love.

How does it work? Why don’t I give a shit?

I’ve felt it, romantic love, plenty of times over the years. More recently it feels like a knot I can’t untie.

There are hugs that squeeze so deep they reach our bones, I’ve felt that. There are longings and latitudes of loneliness that darken the blackest shadows of the soul and I’ve felt that, too. That’s love. I don’t seem to feel that anymore.

I’m not asking for much, just Clémence Poésy at my deathbed, clutching at my hand and autistically stammering her affections. Because where there is life there is hope.

And where there is hope there’s some damn fool sitting at home, alone, tapping his thumb against a phone and trying, mostly, not to be a bother to anyone.

This rocket tore up the stratosphere and came full circle, and what’s not attractive about that?

I’m a 58 year-old man who currently lives in the same house he grew up in with his 93 year-old father.

Love me.

I dare ya.

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