A failed musician tells the story of he and his wife to his son. Chapter One.
My Dearest Brendan.
I hope you will understand.
I hope you don't and will not hate me.
I hope you'll accept.
I was never there for you anyway so is this really that big of a change for you?
I'm sorry I wasn't a better father.
I'm sorry I wasn't a better friend.
I'm sorry I always let you down.
I want you to understand though.
So I will tell you the story you always asked to hear.
The story I would never tell.
The story of your mother and I.
I love you.
Has anyone ever asked you where you’ll be in ten years?
I hate that question.
There are two types of people who answer that.
First there is Group A who see themselves as the future doctors and lawyers and perfect citizens who make our society function, well, perfectly. Reflections on mirrors and words from their fathers tell them what they will be, so why not?
Then there’s the rest of the world. They work and learn and exist, and that’s all I can say for them. And all they can say for themselves is, "I don’t know. I guess I’ll be surviving." Ten years of looking up.
I’m in a third group.
See, when I was in high school, a teacher had me do a report on where I would be in ten years. The whole class had the assignment and I really took it seriously. So, for a few days I got to listen to the monotonous drabble of a teenagers looking ahead. At college and success. At marriage and a white picket fence. 2 kids and their dog who’ll they probably end up naming Fido.
They look ahead at never questioning anything. And after each speech, I got to listen to the teacher say "And I’m sure you’ll get whatever you work for."
Then the class applauds.
And one day they'll learn the hard way that dreams are something you have to let go off.
Anyway. Me though …
I spoke truth.
I didn’t want that life.
I didn’t need that life.
I needed more.
Or less. Depends on how you look at it.
I needed to feel like I’m feeling something, anything. Even if it’s pain.
Scraping my knuckles on the ground just to bleed. Better than being made of wax.
So, here I am.
This is my ten years later.
I walk down the street everyday and I see starving artists.
You know the one’s.
The ones that are young and still have that bounce of independence.
Proud of their self-made dungeon.
The cold biting at their noses. We all feel that bite, yet it’s different for them.
That frost and fog that forms on their windows at night. They need that to prove that they’re still living, still breathing.
I was once there, with them. The faces were different but the souls were the same.
I really believed in it to. I thought if I tried hard all my dreams would come true. The delusions you’re raised with.
Mommy and Daddy say to you "anything you want you can have" or "whatever you put your mind to you will achieve."
And you don’t say it, but you think from your cradle, your car seat, your kitchen table…
But you go along with it. You follow their advice and this is where you end up. The only love you ever felt is dead. You can’t pay rent. Your child is starving.
You blame your parents for convincing you of lies, but that doesn’t work.
You blame the god that you don’t believe in but that also doesn’t work.
The only one you can blame is yourself.
Now on the fringes of death you start to regret.
All your life you were saying 'No Regrets.'
But now you’re saying "I regret giving up my old high school job.”
I could have gone up the ranks at grocery store until I was the boss. I could have a $45,000 salary.
I regret not realizing that I could have had the same lover. I could have had the same child.
Fuck, I could have even had the same Seconal addiction.
My lover could have been my wife and stayed married to me. My child could have food in his stomach and an education in his head. A mother who loved him. A father who was around.
But no, instead I assumed the world cared about what my heart was feeling.
Me. But who was I?
Just a kid with a guitar and words about nothing.
I wrote those words that I felt.
About this life I mistakenly chose. About this love I found and lost. This love I found again and then lost again, this time for good.
I lovingly praised her ways.
I drunkenly slandered her name.
I honestly revealed her faults.
I'll start 32 years ago at a party.
I remember her kissing Mark and I remember I got so angry about it.
I didn’t even know her but looking at her I knew she was better than Mark was.
Mark did drugs. Mark stole money from eighth graders, fifth graders. Mark carried a pocket knife with him wherever he went.
Anne never touched drugs.
She never smoked. She never drank. She was an angel. A beautiful brown haired angel.
If I hadn't been so selfish she would still be that way.
She would still be alive.
I remember I got to the party to at about 10:45.
It wasn't much of a party as much of a get together.
Katie, Steve, Mark, Anne, and Me.