Dear Dad,

I can’t believe it’s been five years and three days since you died. Five years. So much has happened that you’ve missed, much of it things you told me you knew you were going to miss. You were like an oracle in that hospital bed, pointing at the television, telling me my name was going to be on that screen with “written by” in front of it, and that you wished you were going to be there to hold a book with my name on the cover. It makes me wish you’d told more about the future lives of all of us instead of that tangent about the girl you took to prom, the one with the bacne.

It’s always painful when the big moments happen and you aren’t here. But those, in some ways, are much easier to get through. Mom, Bosie and I will call each other, or the moment is big enough that there’s a friend around or many friends around, or it’s happy enough that the joy quickly fills up the ache. It’s the little moments that get to me. It’s hard to get through the moments when you are the only person who would have been able to understand. Continue reading

sage.

Sage, the smartest dog in the universe, the one who helped my sister survive high school, nursed my dad through chemo and radiation, and helped my mom with both her empty nest syndrome and finding her footing after Dad died, was put down yesterday after sixteen long, wonderful years of life. Sage understood an incredible amount of conversational English and — somehow — Christmas, always opening her present when it was her turn, parading the new toy in a boastful prance before adding it to her seemingly endless collection.

She made it through yet another move into a new house, the one that’s been in my family for decades, where my father grew up. I think she got there, felt the memory of my dad in the walls and floorboards, and knew she’d finally gotten my family to a safe place. That’s when her legs gave out, legs that have had more torn ACL’s than an athlete.

My mom told me the words she whispered into Sage’s ear as she fell asleep for the last time were, “Go find Daddy.” I really can’t think of that without bursting into tears, every single time.

Goodbye, Sage. Wise old Sage. You were never just a dog.

you know you’re right.

I have a long history with being right. When I was a kid, I was right all the time. Knew the answers, knew why I knew the answers, knew what the next questions would be. Moving all the time meant I was always being given another series of placement tests, and I knew what those would be like, too.

I didn’t know everything, but I found a way to be right about what I did know.

One of the cruelest (and probably best) things about getting older is I find I’m not right as often. In fact, these days I’m usually wrong. I’ve found that my main tool for always being right — my memory — isn’t doing its job as well as it used to. I don’t think I’m getting dumber, I think I’m starting to understand how much more I just don’t know, and because there are all these things I don’t know, I can’t possibly be completely right about what I do know anymore. The bravado I needed to be sure and confident through my teens and twenties isn’t necessary right now. In fact, I seem to need to not know things in order to learn anything anymore. I have to enjoy being wrong.

Because I’m wrong a lot, I now really appreciate when I’m right. When I know I’m right, anyway. I can have a hunch I’m right, but when I’m right with facts and proof, it’s a pretty good feeling, as it doesn’t happen as often as it used to. Probably because I no longer spend much time taking math tests. Continue reading

The Marathon, Part One (Miles 0-12)

“You know, your father was proud of you for more than just that race.”

“I know, Ma.”

“He just didn’t always know how to say it.”

I got up at three in the morning. Sprang from the bed, actually, when the alarms went off. (Two different alarms). I got dressed. Wrote sleeping stee a note. He woke up and took pictures of me applying sunscreen. Took a few bites of apple and made a cup of tea.

I left the iPod, as I don’t like breaking rules, walked to the elevator, decided I definitely needed the iPod and ended up knocking on the wrong door trying to get back in. Panicked, I flattened against the wall and tried not to breathe as whomever I woke up answered to see who the hell was knocking so early in the morning. Continue reading

Maybe I’m Crazy…

“But why do you want to do this?” my mom asked in that tone, the worried whine of motherhood.

“For a lot of reasons,” I answered. “Because I want to, and because I don’t think I can, and… well, probably because Dad and that race when I was in the third grade.”

She sighed. She remembered.

I don’t know if I wrote about this before. Probably. Yep. I totally did. It’s worth reading, because it explains things a little.

“Just be careful out there,” Mom said. “Don’t hurt yourself.”

“Mom, it’s 26.2 miles. It’s going to hurt.”

More sighing. “Good luck.” Continue reading

fantastic.

I didn’t get to see the concert last night. It was sold out. I got home relatively early (we even joked about it when we all went our separate ways, how it was pretty early to be so exhausted), and went to sleep. I have tickets for the opera for today. Robert Wilson’s Madame Butterfly. I’ve been saying I’m the only person who would want to see this, being a fan of both Wilson’s minimalist avant-garde whatever-it-is-he-does, and Madame Butterfly. Stee’s never seen an opera before. He keeps saying he’s going to bring a flask. I’d complain, but I was planning on bringing my notebook and a pen so I could write down pitch ideas. But I really wanted to go because it’s my dad’s birthday today, and I want to listen to Puccini in the dark and be sad for a few hours.

But. Continue reading

Changing of the Guard

About a year ago, if you’d asked me if I’m a guarded person, I’d have told you absolutely not. I write books and scripts that usually come out of some story from my life. I write quite publicly about my life online, for Pete’s sake. Clearly I don’t have a problem talking about myself. But I don’t write about everything here, and in the last month I learned quite a bit about my guard. Mostly I learned what happens when it goes down, even just a little bit. Continue reading