Thursday, June 16, 2011

Late night, Maudlin street- I Hope Your Singing Now- Adieu




When i was in 3rd grade in had double pneumonia, i can remember laying in a dark bedroom and staring out into the hall, a head full of fever and lungs full of fluid, my mother was in her yellow Big Bird bathrobe and my father was wearing a blue pinstriped suit, getting ready for work, my mother was practically in tears and it was one of the rare times that my father actually looked worried, i felt quite lucid as i lay there and studied them, my parents, the people i loved, i wanted to tell them that i would be okay, that i'd always be okay even when i got older and began to run the streets and take shitloads of drugs and drink myself into near coma's, when i hung out with junkies and whores and dealers and thugs that i was going to be fine, for some reason my 8yr. old self just knew it, there was nothing to be afraid of, and though i couldn't hear them i knew they were worried sick as their tall, skinny boy lay there wheezing with each breath he took... i ended up laying there for another six weeks or so, my mother attending to my every need as i beat back the illness and began getting stronger, i remember her turning me on my sides and beating the shit off my lungs, something the doctors had told her to do two or three times a day, i remember Popsicles and Gatorade and Chef-boy-ardee as i sat in bed and watched cartoons and read history books and sweated out the last of my illness, i remember her laying there with me half the night when i was smack in the middle of it and she was afraid, afraid that her little boy might not make it...

Twelve years later she stood in that same room and asked me not to hate her, at the time i told her i didn't and that it would never happen but before long i had heard to much and seen to much and i became that right bastard who froze her out, wouldn't take her calls, wouldn't talk to her, i went out of my way to hurt her, to cause her pain, cuz i wanted her to feel the same thing i was feeling, it never dawned on me that maybe she was feeling the same way i was feeling cuz i wouldn't listen and would only open my mouth to let fly with some cutting remark, in fact when i left that house i remember loading my stuff in the my father's car and not even saying goodbye to her, just walked by her and her tears as if they weren't there and then came the Wilderness years when no one in my family really knew what i was doing, her least of all, i spent no holidays with her, didn't call on her birthday, no card on Mother's day, nothing...

But as i said things change, i'd like to think that i somehow got smarter with all the books i read and capers i pulled but i highly doubt that, maybe i just learned how to forgive and maybe i even learned how to forgive myself for some of my own fuck-ups and misdeeds, i was no saint, i had done more than my fair share of damage to women and people over the ensuing years and some of those people still talked to me after i acted like an asshole on repeated occasions, it dawned on me that even i, fucking uber-mensch, was not perfect and so began the process of trying to correct some of my errors and with that came an olive branch to my mother, yeah i skipped her wedding to her new husband but i think even now she understands, i believe her husband understands, he knows how loyal i am to my father and in a way attending that wedding i felt would have been an insult, a slap in the face to my old man, even though he told me to go, i just laughed and shook my head, but soon after i accepted an invitation to sit down and have dinner with her, of course i've been over most of this and the fact that in the meantime i had become a parent myself and understood how much you sacrifice and love your kids, even if they are complete bastards helped this idiot get over the hump...

The boyos love Ooma and Papa and Pops. Pops is my what i call my dad, it's what my sons call my dad and when they are in town he goes over to the house that he paid for and hangs out with his grand-sons, he never says a bad word about anything, never says he got fucked on the deal even if he did, it was watching my old man that really drove it home, he once told me that he was proud of the man i had become, oh he didn't want to know what i was up to cuz he had a good idea and preferred not to think about it but he was proud that in an age when kids moved home and borrowed money his son had always somehow made it on his own, never asked for a dime or couch to sleep on, but in truth i was the one who was proud, i was proud that he was my dad and was a no bullshit kind of guy, the divorce may have hurt but in the end he was not bitter or angry, it's just the way shit happens sometimes and you deal with it and get on with your life...

And so it was on a recent trip home that i stood in the kitchen and talked to my mother, it seemed my sister, who had always been pissed at her baby brother, was being a right asshole now, not letting my mom see her other grand-son, bitching and moaning and whining about all kinds of things but often about her baby brother in particular, seems she liked it better when i was on the outs and being a bastard, it was no big deal to me, it's something i've dealt with my whole life but i could see how much it hurt my mom and it suddenly dawned on me that in the last twenty odd years or so it seemed that one or more of her kids had been pissed off at her at any given time, of course to get into the relationship between my mom and sister would be a tome the size of War and Peace and a bit more complicated at that, it would most likely involve shrinks, lawyers and fist-fights but i digress, mainly what i saw was my mom looking old and sad and hurt and for the first time in a long time it hurt me to see her that way...

And so the next day as i loaded the boyos and the girl in the car i stood in the hallway looking at the sadness in my mom's face, i knew she was still thinking about my sister, her husband was outside playing with the boyos and i stopped my mom in the hallway, not 10 feet from the spot where all this shit started some 20 years ago, i looked at her and smiled, my voice cracked and my eyes welled up and i said, "i'm sorry mom", i didn't need to say what for, "I'm sorry for the things i said and the way i acted",  tears rolled down her cheeks, she said "i'm sorry too, son. i should have talked to you more, should have tried to explain things better, i made alot of mistakes", she paused for a second and gave me a hug, "you're my boy and i love you".  "i know mom", i said, "i just wanted you to know... now stop it before you make me cry."  and with that we both laughed, i kissed the top of her head and walked off towards the car...

As i pulled out of the driveway the girl looked at me and my misty eyes, she then looked back at my mom and saw her eyes and as i pulled into the street i grew up on to drive back to my adopted city i waved to my mother standing on the front porch, the front porch of the house i grew up in... and she smiled.  The girl looked back and forth and i as i drove down the street she asked if everything was alright, i took a deep breath, looked in the rear view mirror at my sons in the backseat and as my eyes welled ever so slightly, i said, "yeah, things are alright, maybe for the first time in the last twenty years things are alright."

Press play on the above song.  Roll the credits.

7 comments:

nursemyra said...

oh damn. now you and morrissey have made me cry again

sybil law said...

Awwww, Kono - you made my heart smile.

daisyfae said...

i read this and i know that with the turn of a page, the toss of a comment, i could be in your shoes... either as mother or child. and it makes me cry...

in the end, it's best not to have regrets, or unfinished business, because you never know...

Jayne said...

You're lucky you had the opportunity to let your mom know how you felt, and smart for seizing the moment. It's not easy moving on with things left unsaid.
(Perfect soundtrack for some powerful writing.)

twin said...

tear jerker...

Kono said...

Thanks everyone.

V said...

aww...this is one of the most touching posts I've read in a while. So glad you posted it. And Late night, Maudlin Street is my favourite Moz song. I love the lines "Inspector don't you know? Don't you care? Don't you know about love?" I love the way he sings it :)