First comes pain.

Again, grief. Slowly, almost unnoticed, comes the uncontrollable desire to fold time and space. Desire to go back, back to the way it was before.

All these words came to my mind yesterday.
I could not handle any of them.
The hurt I suffered cannot be described in any language.

All those visualised thoughts of our relationship, built up in these 19 years of my life, turned red as the blood on my face.
Thinking about them hurt me more than all the physical pain I suffered in my entire life, more than that moment itself.
Then black. Black as the night without its stars. Black as the non-color behind your closed eyelids. And no matter how hard I try, I cannot enlighten these moments anymore...
This has to be one of the scariest and most enlighening experiences of growing up.. one of the things that just swirls around in your head. For me it wasnt such a negative experience.. just strange. It happened in the San Bernadino Mountains, on a ridge just north of the crest, the place where the mountains fall off into the Mojave Desert, stretching to the horizon... You know in your mind that the desert ends.. that if you could see around the curvature of the earth you could see the snow-covered Sierras rising wet and cold out of the desert. But this is hidden behind piles of sand and somewhere deep inside you you think.. or maybe know.. that the desert doesnt end.

We were sitting on a granite rock and talking. For whatever reason, he started talking about a girlfriend he had before he met my mother... about how he had made her walk 3 miles because he didn't want his friends to think he was whipped. Something silly, something dumb.. something unintentionally mean... something me or one of my friends might have done at one point. But it wasnt something i'd think HE would have done. At that second, it seemed like he was the same as me... only with all my mistakes behind me. It made me dizzy and seemed to make the desert stretch out even further.

There's something very strange about realizing that your father, and everyone else in the world, is just as confused and scared as you are. Really, the world isn't a bad place... the mountain air was fresh, the Jeffrey Pine trees waved in the wind. But at the same time, I get this feeling that I'm stumbling in the dark, alone. And I feel like I'm the only one who feels this way.. but I'm not... I dont know if that makes it less scary... or more scary.

Unfortunately, my father was dead and buried before I realized either one of us was human. As a kid, he was just an enigma, not that I knew what an enigma was, but he was quite a puzzle. He worked hard from 5 to 3, drank hard from 3 to 7, and slept hard from 7 to 4. Didn't leave much time for us to get to know one another.

He was also in very poor health, mostly from drinking and smoking and he was 50 years older than me. And me, as an only child without any fatherly advice, didn't have a clue. I just stumbled along, mostly did what he asked of me, watched him get older, and sicker, and I went off to Vietnam. Shortly after I returned, he died.

It was only years later, when I would suffer frustrations as a father myself, or as an alcoholic just like he was, or as a man who hated his job , but kept on doing it anyway, that I finally began to understand that my dad was just as human as I was. And like me, most of his life, he didn't have a clue. He just did the best he could and got very little respect or understanding. It happens to the best of us.

He's been gone about 30 years now and I get to know him and respect him a little more as time keeps on slipping by, and my life experiences ring true of's crazy, but trust me, what goes around, comes around. Goodnight Dad.

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