On my Own

The human tendency to ruminate on the past without consideration for the future. A bad joke played on us because all we have in the end is the now. The past doesn’t define you and at times it feels like you’re a prisoner to it, but it’s gone never to return.

When I got to Fort Knox, KY in the winter of ’88 I was full of wonder and excited for my future. I had enlisted in the United States Army.  I was 18 years old and had joined the Army on a whim. You know those advertisements that the Army would send in the mail? The ones saying “We do more before 5am, than most people do all day”? yeah, that’s the one. Don’t ask me what I thought was so appealing about being up at 5am. I guess I wanted to belong to something & maybe learn some sort of skill on the way.  I didn’t score very high on the Army aptitude test. There was no one to tell me that I should study. I just went in and took it.

When I got to Fort Knox it was late at night and it was cold and windy. I had a thin wind breaker on and I was cold as shit. What was I thinking coming from Los Angeles on a Greyhound bus across the country and didn’t even have a proper jacket. This would be the first lesson of many. Always be prepared and have with you what you will need. We didn’t sleep that night as they prodded us into WWII barracks, I was scared. I knew no one there, but I knew that I would be ok. I was waiting for the fun to start.

Leaf

I’ve always liked books. The first books that I read with frequency were Dick & Jane, Encyclopedia Brown, and the Holy Bible. When I was young my parents would visit garage sales quite often. I found out early on that I could get my hands on some very good books. Some of the books probably didn’t have a kid of my age in mind as a reader.

What I’m trying to stress is that reading allowed me to enter worlds and experience events like I’d never experienced them before. I especially liked horror and the feeling of being scared. My father hated the genre and my mother loved it.

One of the books I picked up in a garage sale was The Demonologist a book about Ed & Lorraine Warren. I remember reading this book from cover to cover in 1 day. I couldn’t sleep all night because of the stories I read in there. I was terrified and looking back at it now I think it’s funny.

I was transported by the books that I read and I learned about other worlds, sometimes they were fantasy and other times they weren’t.

 

Things left unsaid

I went to live with my aunt in Queens, New York to finish out my senior year in high school. A hot New York summer was coming to an end as I made my way out of the plane at Kennedy airport. I called my aunt on the phone first speaking with my cousin Mario. “Is your mom home” I asked. My aunt and her husband Mario arrived to pick me up. I remember driving through the streets and the NY neighborhoods so strange and new to me.

I slept that first night in NY and in my dreams, my mother came to me. I felt her and could smell her…and her voice. She called out to me and I was happy. Life was good. I woke up then in a strange bed and a strange house. Wait I heard my mother call me downstairs and I knew it couldn’t really be her. For a millisecond I remembered what she sounded like because I heard her voice once again. It hit me then like a punch to the head, it was my aunt, she sounded exactly like my mom.  I never noticed until then that their voices were identical and for a moment I paused.