I used to use crying as a release of emotion. Lately, it’s been a defense mechanism. Suppressing tears wasn’t always easy, and it still isn’t. I just sorta choke ‘em back down and hiccup like until I can get to a place when I’m all alone to let them flow. Now that I’m not alone anymore, I got a lover that hangs around in my sad times and she sees the tears and the herky jerky body quakes. She can’t help but cry with me, but I’d rather cry alone.
I’ve been sad for most of my life but maintain a demeanor of happy as a facade to everybody else. It’s easier that way. I’m happy half the time too, so I’m not a total phoney. I like life, and I’m not writing about just my own. The world I’ve held and been a manifestation of is a wondrous, whimsical place.
Seventeen years ago, My Uncle Tom died. It was the first time I saw my father cry. He was descending the staircase of my boyhood home. He had just gotten off the phone with his eldest sister and he told me and my sister, watching prime time tee vee, that our uncle had died. It was the summer of the Cicada. Our street gutters were filled with the beasts and every tree had their hollow casings attached. Their songs were enormous echoed chorus to fall asleep to every night.
Yesterday, leaving Chicago, Dawn and I visited my Father’s grave. We know where it is now, and it is spring, so it was easier to find than the first time I brought her there digging snow and trying to find where he lay. But this time we went right to his grave and told the grave about my sister’s kids and we hugged and got back in the car and I had to take a leak, so I went into the little office place. On my way in, I crunched over a bunch of Cicada shells and a shiver of repose shook me.
I looked at an undergrown maple next to the path and it was covered in shells. Some still hatching.
A few weeks after my father died, I was riding the Blue Line el home from the Northside of Chicago to my boyhood home of Oak Park, IL. I was hungover after a night of drinking with anonymous people and just a tattered shell of my own existence. I was so empty on account that a few weeks before I was lounging on a beach in Thailand, stronger than ever. At some point, under the florescent lights I looked down on my shirt and a live Cicada had attached itself to me like a brooch. My totem animals are bugs and I just sat still looking at the beast. When we hit my Austin stop, I got up and walked onto the platform. The beast still clung to me, so I let it. I walked up the steps to the street and gave my shirt a shake and the bug buzzed into the trees.
When I got back out of the cemetery building, Dawn had my little dog Maddux out of the car and he was chasing the plethora of newly hatched buzzing bugs into the trees. I smiled a bit about how I had come so far and got in the car back home.
Sadness manifests and inches through the body. Our loves and losses balanced in a mystery of emotion. How strange to pay attention to such little things and have them encompass a meaning beyond comprehension of others and oneself.
We drove through the rolling hills of Wisconsin and the sky was bright blue and the farms had rows of newly planted beans and corn. The wind blew as usual.
When we arrived home, back to our empty, closed apartment, we unpacked the car and watered the dog and when I went to feed the fish, I noticed little beads of life abundant. One of our guppies had exploded with life. Seventeen little bodies to count and more in the weeds darting back to fro, half a centimeter long and skinny like me. Dawn came over to look at the little babies too.
Life abundant and goes. Continues with tears and happiness and confusing parables about fish and bugs.