Bent Words

Bent Words

April 25, 2014

I lost my little Lesley.

Sometimes it helps to have someone in your life a little more fíed up than you are. Really puts things into perspective. Makes you feel a little less sorry for yourself or a little less sad for the time being. But thatís not why we were friends. We were friends because she got it. She knew what it was like to be where I was, where I sometimes still am, where I know I donít ever want to truly be. We were also friends, most especially, because I thought I could make a difference.

Iíve always been that way.

Thinking I know something someone else doesnít, thinking I can do something someone else cannot.

Look at my history with men and youíll see the fact of that plain as Rodman chilliní in Korea.

I always had that little spark of something special that I could never define. Itís a spark I think we all possess, perhaps most when weíre young and naive and still seemingly believing in magic or fairytales or pots of gold. We cannot dismiss the possibility so we seek it out to define definitively. And when we finally grow up and get a clue, we realize, at last, that we wonít always garner the answers as easily as we once thought. If at all. People leave you hanging, loved ones leave you puzzled, passion doesnít always move mountains or charge a river to turn direction. Rarely does it, in fact. Harsh imposition, maybe, but not passion.

We are not the moving phrases we see in movies. We are not the happy endings we see in books. We do not win acclaim just because weíre different and, if we did, none of us would be so scared to be just a little different, would we? Nope. We are selfish and so we see things a little bit tunneled. We see what we have and what we have held. What we know and what weíve been told. And rarely does it expand very far beyond that.

That little something I thought I had, that I thought was special, really only makes me, as far as I have seen, indecisive. At least to others. But to me, itís special and a little magical and a bit thrilling. Humbling, too.

When everyone else saw the crumbling crack-head that couldnít find his way out of a jail cell if it were unlocked, I saw my cousin. The kid who played Blind Manís Bluff with me in parentís bedroom at parties that went out a bit too late for those rated PG. His mother was all but lost, too, and still I thought I could make the difference, despite her influential ways. Like mother, like son. The sweet boy who couldnít speak up so the world thought him clueless, when in reality he was the most bright star in the sky with a sharper tongue than most. The fumbling geek looking for his keys so he can drive someone home and, to me, he was a knight in shining armor. The married man was all you could see but I could see the death and decay in his eyes and all I knew is that I could make a difference.

Was it right or was it wrong?

Of course it was wrong but can you see the right?

You cannot see both sides, can you?

A person whoís only been skinny canít have the compassion for someone who once was and now isnít. Men, and only men, picketing at an abortion clinic cannot know what turmoil rests in anotherís soul as they stand outside, screaming, without an ounce of ďwhat if?Ē How can you know? How can a person who claims to never want children possibly understand that absolute perfection of having a child if she never does? You may empathize, you may get close, you might even see the spark that no one else can quite see but you wonít know it until you just do.

Can you judge welfare before youíve been on it? But can you really? Based off of the cases you know firsthand, you think you do, but you do not. Do you know welfare? Do you live it? Do you know unemployment or treason? Do you know? Poverty. Homelessness. Disaster. Destruction. Hate. Love. Belief and disbelief based off of what we have or have not read. Tranquility based off of where we have or have not been. Do you know what itís like to lose a child?

Yes and no. Not everyone knows and unfortunately and fortunately some do. But we cannot truly judge this or that if we have not lived it. We cannot take such firm stands until we have SEEN someone for who they are, for what they have done or for where they have been because itís only then that the story changes. Itís hardly black and white. Sometimes itís not even a color that is definable.

And thatís what I saw in Lesley.

She was fíed up. But I could see just how beautiful she truly was, how caring she could be, how ordered things could have been and how trusting she might have been if only things had turned out slightly different. If only she let people in. And I know what it is because I have kept people at armís length as well as I have let people in. Both are scary as all get out. Both can be amazing and horrible. But nothing is as easily defined as weíd like it to be.

Itís not so easy to stand on one side of the fence. No matter how much we should or someone else should. And I know that. Sometimes, five years down the road, you find yourself on the other side of the fence in disbelief. Itís not who you were, itís not who you are, it justÖ is. This new thing.

You cannot know what it is to be a Grinch if youíve never despised Christmas music and now, somehow, you truly love it. You cannot know what it is to be homeless until youíre genuinely without a home. You cannot know how much the job meant to you until, after fifteen years, youíve been told not to come back. If someone told you you couldnít, youíd want toÖ

So itís hard to see the good side of Lesley right now because sheís working overtime to show off her dark side but, I also know, thatís what sorrow does to you. Thatís what out of control does to you. It can swallow you whole. It can cause irrationality to take over. Desperation, desire, hope, fear Ė they can turn you into something youíre not.

Itís not because youíre weak. Itís because youíre human

Written at 4:15 p.m.