Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Friday the 13th

OK... it's been a year since I wrote anything for this book.

Truth is I got stuck.

I've been writing the chapter that most defined my early adulthood, and I just couldn't seem to get it right.

But that's OK. I probably never will. There just aren't the right words... at least not right now.

It's also OK that this happened. I started writing my first songs after this event in my life, and credit can be given for any success I've had in that arena to this part of my life.

And OK, it was my brother who found the blog today, called me up to tell me how moved he was to both laughter and tears, and how dissapointed he was when he came to the end and found there was no more chapters.

You see, I never told him about it... or anybody else in my family. Nevertheless, he didn't hold that against me, he called to ask me to finish it, and I am loathed to dissapoint him.

So... OK... In the interest of moving on I will post what I have written, but I will admit not being happy with it.

Having said that, I will do something that borders on cheesy... I will begin this chapter with the song I wrote about that day, a song entitled "Away".


Have you ever wondered, have you ever cried
Have you ever wanted to but instead just sighed
Cast within the shadow, that’s getting hard to take
Gets tougher every day for me to breathe, to sleep, to wake

What if I called upon the wind, offered my soul from deep within
Would it pick me up and carry me away?

What am I to do when I’m feeling so unsure?
When I have the realization that my mother isn’t pure
Who do I turn to, and who will understand
When the father I’m looking at is now a strange man

What if I called upon the sea, offered the life inside of me
Would it sweep me under and wash away the pain?

The past is all too clear, the future yet unknown
When old scars reappear why can’t I let them go
How about all these choices, decisions I must make
What are the implications if I make the same mistakes?

What if I called upon the earth, yield my last breath to the dirt
Would it cover me and shelter me from the rain?

I believe that I could fly, beyond the earth, the sea, the sky

Away... what will carry me away from all this pain?

The room began to spin ever so slightly, and my stomach felt a little off as I tried to absorb what had just been said. Like trying to catch your balance while grasping at thin air, I could not seem to wrap my mind around her words. I was also having trouble understanding how they could sit there so calmly while proceeding to run me over with this Mac truck they had been hiding in their secret closet… no… secret garage, all these years.

My mother must have noticed because she asked me if I had any questions. Questions? I was in no shape to formulate any intelligent comments much less questions. In a lame attempt to come up with something, I ended up looking at my dad and asking him if he has always had a mustache. I really couldn’t have cared less if he had always had one or not… I just couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to say at that moment.

Truth be told, I’d been looking forward to this particular birthday for a long time. From the moment I turned twelve I had my sights set on the day I would be officially a teenager. I would no longer be a child anymore, and I would be one step closer to sixteen, seventeen and then freedom.

I had been joking with my friends and brothers for months about my upcoming birthday. Imagine, turning thirteen on Friday the 13th. It was downright creepy but I liked the extra attention it seemed to be bringing me, and I relished the opportunity to be special in some small, additional way, even if it was due to a spooky coincidence. While I had quipped that something big was going to happen that day, I wasn’t even remotely prepared for what did transpire.

1981 was a rough year all over. Forget about the fact that before the year even began, John Lennon was shot and killed during the Christmas season, but then less than 4 months later President Reagan was shot by Hinckley. It was one of those moments where you can remember exactly where you were at when you heard the news. I was on the school bus headed home.

Two months later the Pope was shot. I wasn’t particularly a huge fan of the Pope but I couldn’t comprehend why of all people somebody would want to shoot him. He seemed perfectly old and harmless to me, plus, he supposedly talked to God all the time. Shooting him seemed a little too much like thumbing your nose at God. What a crazy world.

The following fall, Egypt’s president Anwar Sadat was assassinated. I didn’t know much about him, but I knew he had done some good stuff in the Middle East in regards to Israel, so I was sad to hear he had been killed.

In retrospect, none of those events impacted me the way my thirteenth birthday did.

There were always two days out of the year that I felt safe from reprisal. Those days were Christmas, and my birthday. Being free to be a child was like being weightless, hanging on the edge of happiness and hovering on the brink of what it must feel like to be normal. I cherished those days above all others, and relished the chance to speak, act and behave with relative impunity.

When I was called downstairs from my room, shortly before bedtime, it didn’t dawn on me to be worried. It was still the 13th and I still had some birthday currency left before it invariably lost its value come morning light.

Dad was sitting in his easy chair, and Mom perched on the arm. There was an expectation written on Mom’s face, whereas I noticed my dad was sitting very still and strangely quiet.

The whole scene felt anomalous.

Clearing her throat, my Mom began to speak. She informed me that I had been adopted. Not by her but by my Dad. As I tried to figure out how that worked, she started to explained to me in short, crisp details.

She had met my real father when she was 19. She had become pregnant shortly thereafter and her father, my grandfather, insisted that they get married. It was a true “shot gun” wedding.

When it inevitably didn’t work out, she was left holding the bag, (me), and the man I knew as my father came into her life a short time later.


It’s rare that a person can pick an instant in their life and know that it was a defining moment. Sure, there is graduation, and marriage, children being born and those kinds of milestones, but for all intents and purposes a person sees those moments coming. These kinds of defining moment are not seen until they are upon you… and from then on there is nothing you can do except to be defined.

My mind was racing, and I could taste a bit of bile in the back of my throat. It felt like somebody had punched me in the stomach and I was having difficulty catching my breath. What was she saying? She had been with another man? My Mother had been with another man? The thought made me a little sick. She was my mom, my touchstone, and my angel. She couldn’t be one of those… people. I couldn’t bare the thought.

I’m ashamed to say that at that very moment my perception of my mother changed forever.

Then gradually, unexpectedly, a different kind of feeling began to take over. Again, I was not at all prepared for it, but there it was all the same.


I actually felt liberated. I had abruptly been handed a reason for why my dad treated me the way he did. The anger, the hostility, the abuse, everything, it was all because I wasn’t his, and he resented me for it. I was an every day living testament to the fact that he was not the first man in her life, and it must have eaten him up.

I was beginning to realize that I wasn’t the problem… he was.

Somewhere deep inside I was freed.

After asking the mustache question, I noticed the frustration on their faces at my lack of succinct inquiry. They no doubt had expected a stream of questioning, but instead they got a silly question. I really didn’t care; I left the room in a bit of a fog and headed upstairs.

As I got ready for bed with my newly anointed half-brothers, I tried to figure out what it all meant.

Had I known then what I know now I would not have slept very well.

Friday the 13th was definitely not my lucky day.