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Jett Superior laid this on you on || October 21, 2008 || 1:22 am

wet blanket right now there are sirens

I took off a couple weeks from voyuernalling in order to tend to some friends who’d lost important people like moms and husbands, remember? And I have been doing what I can, although these types of situations really strip me of my usual sense of being able to do anydamnthing I set my mind to. To my way of thinking, there is no taking-charge-and-fixing-shit-up when somebody is burying their momma, you dig? So I feel useless and helpless in the face of these situations, but the garbage needs to be carried out. And the kitchen needs to be cleaned, and chirrens need to be taken to school and and and. I imagine that were Maxim were to be planted in the ground, I would be hard-pressed to clean the kitchen, which is something I despise anyway.

So, in my awkward, quiet panic and not-knowing-what-to-do-ness, I just hang around on the periphery and wipe counters and take dogs out to pee and administer sleeping pills to affected parties, stuff like that. This is precisely because I don’t have the magic elixir that fixes broken hearts. It’s all I can do to manage my own unwieldy one at times, after all.

Also I took a step away from writing here at that time because I imagine a lot of darkness would have escaped my errant fingertips. Some people like it when I tap into my What If Place, because there lies some of my bloodiest and most profound words. I am always surprised to find them pocketed away there inside of me; there is the same bit of startle each and every time.

There were great and terrible moments over the last two weeks, and there were times of brilliance and beauty and hilarity. I cataloged them, as is my way, delighted that I’d have fresh and funny things to impart when I made a sweeping return. Mama said that flair makes up for many a fallacy and I do not hesitate to tell you here that I am forever possessed of (with? by?) the notion that there’s everything to be gained by letting just enough crazy show as to be thought both foul and charming. The kind of person who hears, “You fucked up little bundle of nonsense.” a time or two in their lifetime.

So yeah, upbeat return. Fresh off of a spirited picnic with several families we love, I had a lightly sunburnt nose and a decent catalog of things to relay to you and was looking pleasantly forward to doing so. This was yesterday afternoon. I took my three kids plus a matched set –both age and gender-wise– of three others belonging to some friends who had to leave early for a great-aunt’s funeral. We drove the looping roads of the state park in the mid-afternoon’s brightly cool weather. One of those utterly perfect days, you know? All six of these people surrounding me had things to add to the conversation, even the littler ones. They have been honed, razor sharp, by the cultural references inherent to having two teenage siblings. Teenagers, I seem to have forgotten, are mostly lightning-fast and devastatingly funny given a relaxed situation: It’s all the hormones, I reckon. Them damned hormones’ll keep you on your fucking toes.

Later, with everyone returned home and our brand of quiet starting to comfort us, I stood with bare feet pressed against cool tile and made a tray of freshly-steamed shrimp and bullshitty fancy crackers and the hoity-toity cheese that people like me have completely lucked into knowing about despite the low-rent status that has kissed us on the forehead at some point along the way. Oh, and blueberries. They sound like an odd choice, maybe, but those blueberries looked some kinda trucked-up awesome sitting there on that platter with the cheese and the shrimp and the bullshitty fancy crackers. If you can’t picture that pretty in your mind’s eye, son, I got no kind of hope for you.

It was then, about six-thirty, that it happened: I got hit with what can best be described as a big bag of grief. Just up and out of nowhere there was an unfamiliar flavor of despair and mourning. It was forty-five minutes later that we got the call saying that the oldest daughter of some of our most prized friends was in bad shape. She was alone in her car and roughly a couple miles from home when something(s) went awry and her car was flipping. Three guys happened by and pulled her out; the car burned straight to the ground thereafter. She’s not regained consciousness since and the doctors are doing (and will continue to do) everything they can, but have been terribly honest. They don’t hold out much hope at all.

Nineteen, my children are all in love with her.

I am trying to convey to you, I guess, that there will likely be some bloodletting here for the next ten minutes or the next ten weeks; I can’t with any honesty say which.

Three of us headed down to Birmingham tonight (Scout had to babysit and Mathias is happily spending the night with Nana) to try and speak things of comfort or distraction into the mother and father and brother and sister of this girl. I’m worried for the kind of brokenness this will impart to her momma. Tonight we held hands and said crazy-honest things into one another’s ready eyes. She even said “DAMNIT. There are some things I HAVE TO GET OUT OF ME, some things I JUST HAVE TO SAY.” and she railed about her fury and her disappointment and that fucking glove-to-the-side-of-the-head confusion for a good five minutes.

That shit is humbling, folks, when a person picks you to be that someone to hear the static of their soul. I find humility in a) dangerous or b)startling ways.

We drove home after a few hours, and the generous car trip afforded me the ability to satisfy a two-weeks-long craving for some microwave popcorn (oh thaaaank you, Helpful Convenience Store Laydeh; is my face a sweet hot mess, or what?) and the chance opportunity to notice that the stars strangely resemble disconnected spiders creeping across the blueblack sky. And there was a lemon-wedge moon. I remarked on this to the two men nestled down in the car with me.

“Hey. In all the moons that I’ve ever seen, I’ve never seen one that looked like a lemon wedge tacked up there in the sky.” They agreed with me: It was a lemon-wedge moon. The fearful part of me noted that should I ever behold one again, it certainly begged for a better occasion.

It was about then that the music started to grate at me.

You, Neil Young, with your Hey, hey, my myyyys and you, Bruce Springsteen, with your Promise, please step out of the speakers. Exit them with your hands up, you crafty bastards. Don’t. Touch. The. Guitars. Rage is a secondary emotion, and right now I choose it over The Sad.

And you, Suzanne Vega, you with your small blue thing, I ought to scrap every last song I’ve ever thought would say something worth a damn at my funeral in favor of you pulling the words

“I am lost inside your pocket

I am lost against

Your fingers”

down out of the ether and into everyone there.

Just a little bit ago, right before I sat down to pound all this out, I heard the echo of notes bouncing off of the atrium and rolling haphazardly down the stairs. My face pointing upward out of my tragically ugly fuzzy green robe (Maple ate my favorite cushy white one. She left the belt, though, in apology. Ohhhh, I console myself with the notion that she is saving up all her clever for the day that she has to tell someone that Timmy fell in the fucking well, selah and amen), my slightly chilly hand pushing wet hair back away from my face, I said, “Son. It’s near two in the mornin’. Get to sleep.” I noted at the time that I sounded somewhat like a fishwife, flat-voiced and nagging. I am not a woman who ever intends for that to be a permanent affect.

All of this is my wordybastard way of telling you that I don’t mean to bring you down*, but when I started this writing thing all those years ago I wasn’t necessarily promised (or promising) that all the letters would add up to equal something zen and uplifting. It’s also my way of making you aware that the words oftentimes make up what I consider my bootstraps.

And fool that I am, I will honor them and most of what they are singing about by repeatedly hauling myself up by them.

You be well today, knuckleheads. I’m busy dancing across bridges that for once in my life don’t feel like they need to be torched. I think this is what they call being a grownup. I’ll keep you posted.

*God, I love me some ELO. Make fun if you must, but I shan’t shy away from that.

9 worked it out »

  1. chris robinson 10.21.2008

    I wish I could find that combination of words to bring you comfort. Grief is an amazing force that demands respect. All that is left for friends to do is stand by ready to anything to help. You enjoy your ELO fix and may it bring you a little peace to build upon.

     
  2. churchpunkmom 10.21.2008

    an amazing force, indeed, chris.

    i hope that you have such a God-send in your life to wipe your counters just as you did for your grieving friends.. if I were closer, i’d gladly be the one to do it for you.

    life, it just hurts sometimes.

     
  3. Coelecanth 10.21.2008

    Bring on the blood, hell, bring on the thunder and the stuff and the nonsense if that’s what it takes. We’s tough and we owe you for all the beauty, eloquence and bridge smoke we’ve been huffing here for free.

    Said it before: shared pain is lessened and shared joy is increased. Just being there to share is all you can do when the world puts the big hurt on those you love. It’s enough.

    Oh, and dispatches from the land o’ grown-ups are most welcome. Been planning on taking a trip there someday, it’d be nice to have a little local knowledge before I don my raincoat and wellies and head out there.

     
  4. cIII 10.21.2008

    Because it sounds like you Need it, I’m pulling out the Big Guns.

    *Double Headhugs*

     
  5. Laggin 10.21.2008

    What happend to the girl I used to know,

    You left your mind out somewhere down the road,

    Dont bring me down ….

    Ah, to hell with ELO. You can bring us down when you do it so beautifully.

    Wishing you had no reason to bring us down…..

     
  6. Jettomatika 10.21.2008

    *high fives all around*

     
  7. maggie, dammit 10.21.2008

    Sweet fucking hell.

    I am so, so, so sorry.

     
  8. redclay 10.21.2008

    i figured something bad.

    but people dying right and left was a couple blocks past that stop.

     
  9. that girl 10.22.2008

    I”m so sorry Jett, ..for what it’s worth, I think we all share that crippling fear.

     

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