Archive for the ‘ Family ’ Category

Death, Part II

I remember the day my grandfather died. And I went to the hospital with my mom and my brother. And my dad he was already there. In the hospital. He was… sitting in the waiting room. I came in. he wasn’t crying. He was tearing. He sat there. Alone. Thinking. Thinking of all the memories. All the times his father took him out. showed him how to drive a car. How to ask a girl out. gave him money for the date. Took care of him. Loved him. Disciplined him. Saw him off. Waved goodbye. Now… it was over. He was gone.

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The Parallax View

The Grandmother and The Clock

There’s this clock in my basement. As the hand moves and the seconds tick by, it sounds very reminiscent of the clock that hung on the wall of my grandparents apartment when i was a boy. I never knew my grandfather, even though he died when i was 17. He was… sick and old by the time I grew up. He barely spoke. Barely moved. When he was 82, he had a stroke, paralyzing him on one side of his body. He passed away a few months after. My grandmother is still alive. I won’t say her age because I am superstitious about those kinds of things. She is approaching her late 80s. Anyway back to the apartment and the clock. When I was little, I’d stay with them sometimes when my parents left on vacation. I’d eat these sandwiches my grandma made which basically consisted of challa bread (its jewish), with sour cream on it and sugar sprinkled on top. It was delicious. I’d stay up watching the honeymooners and the wizard of oz on tbs. I once watched Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. I think I was 8. It was the scariest thing ever. It made me cry at the end when Jack died and they zoom in on that photo of him, amongst a large crowd, and the photo dated 1921. He was smiling in the photo. People tend to do that. Pictures can be worth a million words because they are a snapshot. This snapshot is usually of good times. Pictures are evil. Because they remind us of those good times that were, and how they will probably never repeat themselves. Anyway after falling asleep on the couch, my grandmother would place a chair by the couch. She was afraid I’d turn in my sleep and fall. I never did. But maybe because I knew the chair was there. Sometimes I’d have problem sleeping. A problem I had throughout my teens. Sometimes I couldnt fall asleep or wake up in the middle of the night. I’d wake my grandmother and she’d give me a glass of water to drink and would sit by me on the chair, until I fell asleep again. She did this many times when I visited. I remember sometimes hearing nothing but the clock during my sleepless nights. This clock was like a friend . It was always there, always ticking and tocking along. And the clock thats in my basement now reminds me of it. It sounds identical to it. Sometimes I  go down to the basement, and just stand there in the darkness and I listen to the clock tick and I am reminded of my childhood, and my grandparents, and all the great moments that were, and never will be again.

Italy

There’s this story my dad loves to tell every so often. It’s a great story, the problem is, he mentions it almost every few months during some mildly related conversation. Its not that he’s obsessed with telling it, it’s that he forgets that he’s already told it. So each time, he thinks he’s telling this amazing story I never knew, for the first time, when in fact, it’s like the 21st time.

Anyway story goes, my family was in Italy once when I was a baby, about a year old. And we were living there for a few months, and my father was looking for work but it was hard because he spoke no Italian and no English, for that matter. One day my hat flies off in the wind. It blows away and my dad starts to run after it. An elderly Italian man picks up the hat and gives it to my father. Somehow, someway, through universal sign language, this man ends up offering my dad a job. He worked the entire three months we lived there. All because of my hat.

So there it is. The story my father loves to tell, and will continue telling it, for the first time, each time.

Second Chances

It’s funny. When I was a kid, growing up, my parents were never around. They were always dedicated workaholics. I never saw them at dinner, I never saw them on weekends, I never saw them period. They would be away at work for 14 hours a day. When I woke up, they’d be gone. When I got home from school, they were missing. When I sat down to have dinner, they were still at work. Anyway, it pained me not to have my parents around for the better part of my first 18 years. Admittedly, my father now says that he never saw me and and never knew me. That’s the sad part of it all, they don’t know me, and I don’t know them.

I’m an adult now and both of them have tried to connect with me. Particularly my father. He always asks me how my life is going, what I’m doing, sometimes he’ll call me with the most insignificant information, like he’s going out to dinner with friends, he’ll be home at 11, and just wanted to let me know. Like I give a flying fuck what he’s doing with his Friday nights. It’s really kinda funny and cute how they both try to saddle up to me now that they are old and realize that they aren’t getting any younger, and time isn’t slowing down, and that they might only have another 15 or 20 years to live this life, so, might as well get to know their son before it’s too late. It used to hurt when they weren’t around for stuff. Now I don’t think I care anymore. I don’t think I’ve cared in years whether or not they’re around. I simply got used to their absence. And once you get really used to something, it’s incredibly difficult to go back.