Backtracking a week....St Patrick's Day.... it was a good night... Love them Irish.... finished about 4 Imperial pints of Stout (that 19.21 fluid ounces! each) plus a goodly amount of corned beef and cabbage... topped it off with a shot of Jameson. AND... found my own way home, thank you very much!
It was a good respite from all the politics ..... and I have pages and pages and bookmarks and notes.... but I just had to quit... for awhile. Still making some phone calls....and such.
But what I got today is something I didn't expect. I mean, I have evolved lately to a point where nothing unexpected surprises me, but once in a while there is the unexpected occurrence that just knocks you outa your socks. See, there are bunches of things that happen everyday that we do not expect, but when then happen, you know that they could have happened at any time so they really do not set your mind reeling. You slip on an icy step and sprain your ankle badly.... or you get your hand deep into the dish water and cut your hand on a sharp knife lying there under the soap suds, deep enough to require a few stitches. Maybe a phone call from some one you had not heard from in a long while. They just aren't such unusual events that, when they come your way, you just deal with them and move on. They just are what they are
Then there are the rare scary events that grab your attention and hold them for hours or days. You don't
expect to wake in the middle of the night with an electric shock, a jolt, and have a clear memory of Sharon sitting naked atop you on the wistful hot July night,so long ago, naked as the moon shone across that little breakwater island and how she purred, " I'll love you forever...forever...forever." When something like that happens, truly unexpectedly, you are surprised and need to get out of bed, light a cigarette and muse how it was those thirty years ago, how it was that when you went to her apartment just weeks later... how it was bare and cleaned out.... no note. You did expect a note, at least.
But what happened the other morning was even beyond that.... I saw eyes in the mirror ... that were not mine.
Nor were they eyes of his that would wait up for me after football when he would want to know all about the game from my perspective. What happened then? On third down in the third quarter and "I saw you just level that guy.." or " "gees, you coulda had that interception, how come you dropped it?" Those eyes sparkled, like a clear creek running over rocks. I always remember those nights. No matter how late I came home, he would be waiting, the glow of the TV in the dark living room, the glow of his smoke as he waited. And we would go to the kitchen and he would fry me a venison steak and some potatoes. Truth be told.... I hated venison then because he would always over cook them and I would have to make excuses for not eating the whole thing. And, truth be told... I had already forgotten most of the game because I had just spent the intervening time holding hands with Nancy and trying to fumble around with her softer body parts, with little success, so mostly, truth be told, I just made up stuff to tell him that would make his eyes sparkle and smile until finally he would say, "you must be tired," and himself shuffle off to bed. I see those eyes often... and I still like them.
I remember the eyes that looked at me that time my friends and I rolled a car off a bluff Thanksgiving night in 1969 and how they sparked with anger that I had fucked up and almost got killed, how they had a depth behind that anger so filled with relief that I hadn't died, how there was also a bit of sorrow for the pain I was in as they stitched my face back together. When he left the hospital that night both his eyes and his deep bottom gravely voice growled, "and you are grounded for the rest of your live." which really only lasted three days..... there just was too much relief and love in those eyes to stay mad.
I knew the old man's stories...... most he told over and over and by now I can recall them and hear them, in his voice, just as if he were standing next to me. But it is his eyes that told more stories than whatever came out of his mouth. And those were long road stories in those eyes.. The sorrow of where he had been and the promises he didn't keep ... and the ones he did. I could look into them and see his regrets, his joys, days, echoes, ..... I can look into them, even now, and smell the sweet rolls he would make on Sunday mornings. Seeing his eyes are never totally unexpected. Not totally. They are the unexpected that I expect.
The other day, though, I looked into the mirror as I was about to shave....and I wiped the shower steam off ..... and as I concentrated for the first stroke of the razor.... I saw myself looking straight into my son's eyes........... I did not expect that, at all....... and as I looked at his eyes in the mirror I could only hope that he would see.... in mine... the love I see in my father's