The Greeter – Part Two

Armed with my flashlight and protected under the cover of darkness, I made my way uptown.  As soon as I had the clock in sight, out of nowhere it seemed, a police car was slowly driving by.
The officers shined their “perpetrator light” on me as if I was a burglar who was casing a store.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to say if they asked me what I was doing.  Should I lie and say “I’m walking through a dark, deserted town, looking for my lost dog or should I be honest and say “I’m looking for the greeter?”
They must have decided that I had no ill intentions, so they drove away.
Temporarily blinded by the light, it took a few seconds to regain my vision and when I did, I could see that the greeter was not there.

The next day, I decided to walk back uptown and revisit the shop owners.  This time I was going to ask if they knew where the greeter went at night.  I was a little concerned that I might start to annoy them but this is the kind of place where everybody knows everybody and it almost seems to be illegal for anybody to be rude.

I was met with a smile and kind words when they all answered “I really don’t know, dear.”  I didn’t accept that so I asked if they didn’t wonder where “somebody who has always been there” slept at night.  In every store, with perfect timing, as soon as I asked that question, a customer would walk in and the owners would “excuse themselves.”

The fire department was just a block away and feeling that I was an honorary part of the “brotherhood” by default, I walked into the station.  There were four firefighters on duty.  They welcomed me and offered me a cup of coffee.  They introduced themselves as Chip the probie, Danny the engineer, Edward the lieutenant and Bob the paramedic, also known as “the elder.”  Bob was a seasoned firefighter, just months away from retirement.  I smiled as I thought “my grandpa was named Bob.”
I told them that I was interested in information about the greeter.  It was like a broken record.  Almost in unison, they said “he’s been here for as long as anybody can remember.”  I told them I understood that but I was interested in where he slept at night.

Bob locked eyes with me and I felt a strange, almost mystical connection.  He seemed to want to talk to me but as if being “saved by the bell,” the tones sounded.  I called to him as he got on the truck and asked if I could come by tomorrow.  He gave me a nod and looked at me with almost the same kind of sadness you see from somebody you know you are never going to see again.  I’ve seen that look before, especially from older firefighters.  Their job is dangerous and fear is part of that job but when you’re “short” that fear intensifies, I think.
Literally a minute later, a second tone sounded and I could hear another station being dispatched.

In this little town at best, you might hear a fire truck or a lone police siren once a month.  Suddenly, all I could hear were sirens.  I knew something big was happening.  Knowing the EMS system, I also knew that trying to follow them was not the thing to do, although I was tempted.

I left, excited about meeting with Bob again.  I knew that I was going to get answers, enjoyed a moment of near exhilaration and came just shy of patting myself on the back.

I don’t think I realized that this seemingly ordinary, yet mysterious man was going to become an obsession.

I went back into the heart of town, sat down on a park bench and just watched the greeter.  I was being smug when I thought “Ha.  I’m going to know your story tomorrow.”  As soon as I had that thought, a wave of regret suddenly gripped me, as if I had just unintentionally imposed a death sentence on him.  I have to say that it chilled me to the bone.  I got up and walked back to the safety of my house, periodically glancing back, worried that maybe the greeter was following me.
The sirens were still blaring and whatever catastrophe had happened, was close.  I selfishly thought that I hoped all would be silent when it was time to go to bed.

A soon as I got home, the worry eased and maybe as sort of an unspoken apology, I decided I would sketch the greeter.  With charcoal in hand, he was going to come to life on my paper, standing on the mound in his “field of dreams.”  I had always been a pretty fair artist and had sketched everybody from my children to my neighbors so I had no doubt about my abilities.

I had memorized every facet of him so my portrayal was going to be as accurate as any photo I could have taken.  He wore a nondescript baseball cap that shielded his dark and weathered face.  His long-sleeved, green flannel shirt hung loosely over a plain, black t-shirt.  He wore what looked like work pants and his boots were always untied.  When the weather was chilly, he wore a long, brown trench coat with an upturned collar but it was never buttoned.  I wanted every detail to be perfect.

After about an hour, I was ready to admire my work but as I gazed at the paper, I was horrified to see that it was blank.

To be continued………..

 

 

 

 

 

I Am Prepared

 

I did something yesterday that I’m not completely sure I should have done or even really wanted to do.  I have talked to Sam about my oldest daughters.  I told him that our relationship seems to be just “hanging out there.”  There has been no communication with #2 and just a few random emails from #1.  There certainly has been no closure.

I was still reeling from the text that Loser sent to my youngest daughter.  I read it to Sam and he said “what Loser was really saying was…wow, N****.  You really are your moms’ daughter, aren’t you…..the fucking bitch.”  I told him that I had wanted to send it to daughters #1 and #2 but that N**** had asked me not to.
I wanted them to see what a dick Loser was (like they don’t know) but I wasn’t going to betray N****.

I told him that I thought I would email my daughters and say something like “this is my one and only attempt to reach out” but he said that was a threat.  He suggested some “warm and fuzzy” introduction in a way that would be completely alien to not only me but to my daughters.  I told him that if they received an email like that from me, they would either think that I was drunk or had completely lost what was left of my mind.
I have always been straight-forward with them and everybody else so it would be totally out of character for me.
He said “the longer you hold it in, the more it will fester.”   Shit.

I told him that I wanted to do it and I didn’t want to do it because I was pissed off!  He reminded me that anger was a secondary emotion and asked what was prompting the anger.  I went into defensive mode and said “if you’re trying to get me to say it’s a deep-seeded, inherent love, I’m not sure I can say that.  There has been so much damage done.”  He said “it doesn’t have to be that but try to come up with an emotion.”
I said “disappointment.” 
I continued to whine as I pleaded my case.  “I gave birth to those girls.  I raised them.  I took care of them.  I protected them and the only person they care about is that Goddamn Loser.  HE wasn’t the one who was always there for them.  HE wasn’t the one who stood in front of them to keep ME from hitting them.  HE’S the one who is an adulterous, disease-giving piece of pig-shit!

I chewed on it for a few days, trying to figure out what to do.  I talked to my friend, C**** and her daughter about it.  Her daughter is a lovely, head-turning girl, who gets so frustrated with me, she almost starts shaking.  She and her mama have a good relationship, although as with every mother/daughter relationship, there have been a few rocky times.  It is unfathomable to her that I would essentially “cut off” my daughters but she doesn’t understand the things that have been said and done.  It’s hard for her to grasp the reasoning behind my having suddenly left to escape the emotional torment and abuse (as well as the prospect of Loser thinking that he and his WTC were going to play husband and wife in my house.)
It’s hard for me to grasp the fact that my daughters read my departure as having “deserted them” but that’s exactly what they think.

The few emails I have gotten from daughter #1, said when I asked her if she wanted to see the pictures and messages that I had gotten from “somebody” she said “no” but NOW, she wants to see them.
My reaction is WHY NOW?  Why didn’t she want to see them when I started getting them?  What has changed?  She and her sister (according to pig-shit Loser) declared me to be “clinically insane.”  Have I suddenly gotten better?
My answer is NO.  You’re not going to see them.  You had your chance but as I have said a million times….Loser and his WTC were more important than MOM.

I talked to my youngest daughter and told her I thought I would go ahead and do the “reach out” thing.  She said “I think that’s fine mom but you have to be prepared to not get a response.”
I question if deep down in the recesses of my mind, I really don’t want a response.  Do I really want to open a can of worms?  There will be expectations of obeying rules and boundaries for them…but not for me.  There will be the demand of wanting to have their “old mom” back.
They will not be able to accept the fact that they are never going to get the old mom back, nor are they going to get the mom they want me to be or think I should beI’m not sure I can stand the toll it will take on me mentally, emotionally and physically but I typed a simple email, opening the door to communication.

I am prepared to get no response.  I am prepared to close the door.  I am prepared to embrace the idea of freedom from my suffering, if that is the result.

I was completely emotionless when I hit “send.”  It was as if I had just paid a bill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Greeter

A huge, pedestal clock stands in the center of our small town.  It is surrounded by a wrought iron fence and flanked on either side by the split street.  It was placed there when the town was first established and has been untouched as a memorial to days gone by.  Even though hair salons and specialized craft stores inhabit the buildings along Main Street, thankfully the wonderful, decorative store fronts have been preserved.
If you move to our little town or just simply visit, you will see a man standing by the clock.

He is known as “the greeter.”

The first time I saw him from across the street, he gave me a polite nod and a timid, brief glance from his downcast eyes.  I didn’t give him a second thought.  It wasn’t until a few months later that I actually took notice.

When a young man walked out of a restaurant to smoke a cigarette, I asked him if he knew who the man was.  I jokingly asked him if he was the “clock guardian” because he was always there.

The young man said “all I know is that he has been there for as long as anybody can remember.”  He put out his cigarette, told me to have a “good one” and walked away.

I started walking uptown for the sole purpose of finding out about this man.  I thought “he might make a good story.”  I watched him while making mental notes that I filed away in what I hoped would be my massive collection of information.

Now and then, he takes the almost perfect pose of a baseball pitcher.  He looks left, right and straight ahead, with the intensity of a professional.  He approves or rejects imaginary signs from a non-existent catcher.  When he sees the sign he wants, he swings his arms back and forth but then pauses as if a time out has been called.
I have never seen him actually throw a pitch.

Who is this mystery man?  Is he perhaps a veteran or maybe a wall-street tycoon who abandoned the rat race for the simple life in a sleepy little town?  Could he have at one time, long ago, actually been a professional baseball player?  Is he a store owner?  Is he homeless?

Determined to put my best, self-taught investigative reporting skills to work, I made it my mission to find out more.

I started with the basics.  I visited every store and started asking questions.  The answers were unanimous from both shop owners and patrons.  Nobody knew anything about him except that “he has been there for as long as anybody can remember.”

There seems to be an unwritten rule that he is never to be approached but I would not be deterred by rules, whether written or unwritten.

I put on my big girl panties and decided to walk up to him and start a conversation.  If nothing else I thought, I’ll try to get a picture but I was stopped cold by a sudden, uneasy feeling.  Even from a distance, it was almost as if I was about to violate something sacred.
I backed off and I could hear him mumbling something incoherently and he immediately went into his “pitching” stance.  He was so believable, I was momentarily afraid of actually getting hit with an invisible ball.

With some distance between us, the uneasiness subsided.  I didn’t get a picture but I was even more determined to get answers.

I had been unsuccessful with the shop-owners and their patrons so my next step was the library.  I combed through all the records that were available.  There was absolutely no mention of this man in any newspaper article or any other public record.
I couldn’t make sense of there being no evidence of somebody who had been around “for as long as anybody could remember.”

I went to the police station and talked to a very nice officer.  When I started quizzing him, he said “oh, yes…the greeter” but he offered no information.  His official statement, like all the others was “he’s been here for as long as anybody can remember.”
Was this a stock answer?  It was the same answer from everybody I questioned.

That answer was not good enough.  I wanted to go back uptown when it got dark.  I wanted to know where this man slept.  This little town proverbially “rolls up the sidewalks” at night.  I couldn’t imagine that he slept next to the clock.  He had to sleep somewhere and I was going to find out where.

To be continued……………

 

 

 

 

 

I Remember When…

I REMEMBER WHEN…

 

A gallon of gas cost 25¢

You could buy a brand new car for $1,200.00

A radio was not standard equipment

There were no car seats for children

You took your car to a fillin’ station

At the fillin’ station, they pumped your gas, washed your windshield and checked your oil

Your car keys were always in the ignition

A car with an out of state tag caught everybodys’ attention

No bank would finance a used car

A new car loan was limited to three years

Exxon was Esso

Nissan was Datsun

A piece of candy cost a penny

A fountain coke cost a dime

You could go to a Saturday “matinee” for a nickel

A bag was called a poke

Dollars were called foldin’ money

Minimum wage was 85¢ an hour

You had to manually change the channel on your television

There were only three stations

All the programs were in black and white

You got a signal with rabbit ears wrapped with tin foil

Policemen would give you a ride home

There were no female police officers or firefighters

There were no ambulances

You went to bed with your windows open and your front door unlocked

The doors to churches were never locked

There were mock air raids every Tuesday

Your answer to a question from an adult was always followed with ma’am or sir

All school work except math had to be written with a fountain pen

Your source of information came from the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Dictionary or the local newspaper

Teachers drank on break

All Christmas trees were real

A handshake was as good as a contract

The commode was an outhouse

The shower was an aluminum tub and a garden hose

Fresh water came from the well

You dug your dinner out of the ground

Letters were hand written

Postage stamps were 4¢

You paid your bills with cash

You had one special “Sunday go to meetin’ outfit.”

Having only one pair of shoes was normal

Pantyhose hadn’t been invented

There was no fast food joint on the corner

Houses were heated by a lone fireplace

You could leave your children in the toy department while you did your shopping

Water fountains were marked “Black” and “White”

Signs in buses said “Blacks to the rear”

Signs in movie theaters said “Blacks to the balcony”

People kept bowls full of cigarettes on their coffee tables because everybody smoked

There were smoking sections in school

Doctors and nurses smoked while you were having a check-up

You could buy a pack of cigarettes when you were six years old

Pregnancy was a dirty word

Girls weren’t allowed to wear pants to school and their dresses had to hit mid-knee

Boys had to wear a tucked-in, button-down shirt and pants with a belt

No facial hair on boys was allowed and their hair couldn’t touch the top of their ears

Tennis shoes were only allowed in the gymnasium

A sofa was called a lounge

The living room was called the front room

The must have toys for girls were Barbie, Miss Revlon, Sleepy Baby and Dam dolls

The must have toys for boys were sling-shots, coon-skinned caps, the latest Matchbox car and a cap-gun

There was a mailbox and a telephone booth on every corner

It cost a dime to make a call from a phone booth

There were two-party lines in houses and you could listen to the other persons’ conversation

Your phone number was only five numbers

People with mental disorders were sent to the “nervous hospital”

 

What do you remember?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update On Son

I finally heard from young son and just as I predicted, he acted like the last conversation never happened.  He said he had just been “hanging out…trying to get over it” (the court date.)

I asked him if he had gotten a job yet but he said he needed a few more days before he started “pounding the pavement.”  (There was no mention of law school.)  He said he met with his probation officer and it is going to cost him $50 a month.

I asked son to send his pictures to me so I could mat and frame them.  Of course, he has no funds to do that and I can’t send him the money.  I don’t know if I’m up to another trip down there yet.
I told him that I would do that for him and try to sell them but I would be in charge and it was non-negotiable.  I told him I would set up an account in my name but I would pay his bills from the account, if he managed to sell any.
He didn’t respond very well and reminded me that he was a grown man.  He just doesn’t seem to understand that he’s a grown man who has the emotional maturity of a child.

I wanted to ask him if he remembered the way he had talked to me but I didn’t.  That’s one of Losers’ traits that I wish son didn’t have.  It’s almost like talking about the abuse they inflict is an invasion of privacy or something…or if you don’t talk about it, it didn’t happen and will be forgotten.

I don’t know how long it will be until I hear from him again.  It annoys him when the conversation isn’t sterile and one thing I despise is a sterile conversation with somebody who could care less about how they treated me.

I miss my little boy.  I vividly recall him crawling onto my lap and sitting there for hours, while I played with his hair.  I remember him leaving me notes saying “mom, I sweeped the floor for you” before he went out to play.  Sometimes when I wanted to soak in the bathtub, he would call through the door “do you want me to bring you a toy?”

Thinking about him just makes me so sad.  It breaks my heart when I remember him running to me shaking, with tears running down his little face after Loser had reduced him to a worthless piece of shit.
Maybe if I had gotten rid of Loser after he hit me the first time, son would have had a chance.

I remember when just saying his name, brought a smile to my face.

Last night I dreamed that I got up and decided to go out and look at the snow.  When I opened my door, son was laying there all curled up in a ball.  He had frozen to death.  I had it in mind that if I could just hold him a while, I could warm him up enough to bring him back to life.  I remember thinking that I should call 911 but my phone was in the house and I didn’t want to let go of him to go get the phone.

 

Time

Time can be measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades and centuries.
Time steals youth, while simultaneously granting entry into the golden years.

Everybody has a “time card.”  When it’s punched, your time is up.

There are the familiar phrases such as “I don’t have time…if only I had time…give me time” as if it’s something tangible but you can’t touch time.

Losers’ explanation (in the after time) for not stopping at Krispy Kreme was “I never felt like I had time.
When I asked my daddy if he would come to see me, he always said “one of these first few days, when I have time.
Do those statements actually mean “you weren’t/aren’t worth the time?

We can’t travel backward or forward in time, except in dreams.  We can’t buy time on the corner.  We can’t order time on Ebay.
Time can’t be awarded in divorce decrees.  Time can’t be wrapped up as a gift and put under the Christmas tree.  Time can’t be a birthday present.  Time can’t be won in a weekly drawing.

Loved ones can be denied time due to selfish behavior.

Time that has passed can never be retrieved.

Timeout is used as punishment.

Time can be your friend and it can be your enemy.

Time reflects its ravages on a face in a mirror.

Time can be taken for granted.

Time can be apportioned and spent wisely.  Time can be unforgivably wasted.

Time spent with somebody you love can be exhilarating.  Time spent alone can be excruciatingly painful.

Time can seem like an eternity while waiting.

Time is supposed to heal all wounds but often, it only serves to prolong the agony.

Time is fickle.  It can grant a long life or it can grant but a brief stay.

Time.  Technically, it’s just another four letter word.

The Mighty Warriors Club

I had an idea, inspired by two bloggers…Sam (samlobos) and S**** (survivednarc.)  Sam adopted an animal as her alter-ego…the Wolf.  S**** adopted the Lynx.  I decided on the Lioness.

I propose an unofficial club composed of just that…the mighty warriors.  Choose an animal and post it.

I want Sam to howl at the moon and let it be known that she is now the Alpha.  I want S**** to hide in plain sight and let her light shine so bright that it illuminates the darkness that surrounds so many of us.

I have always divided my life into two parts…the “before time” and the “after time.”  The after time was when I realized that because of a life-altering event, life as I knew it was never again going to be the same.

In the before time, I was a warrior, especially when it came to my children.  I let them handle their own problems (and they did it great aplomb) until it became clear that they no longer could.  Then, I stepped in.

There was a common phrase in our house…“obviously they don’t know your mom.”  Everybody knew that you didn’t fuck with my children or you would hear the mighty roar of their protector.

My mighty roar turned into a whimper and then was silenced.  Depression almost caused my extinction.  I had lost my sword.  I had lost my shield.  Betrayal had taken the form of a dagger and had pierced my heart.

I wish the lioness in me could roar once again.