This weirdness is from the Summer of 2015.
Some of this story is coincidence, some of it can be explained away as an inevitability. I don’t claim that all parts of this story are related. You know there is a great big “but” somewhere along this pathway. All I can tell you is that you’ll know it when you see it.
Also… no, let me get to that later.
Late August, 2015. Lisa, Brooke, the two dogs and I are at the beach house. Brookie has been working at the campsite down the road as she has been preparing herself for an Internship at Disneyworld. One that starts about a week after this story started.
Brooke had said her good byes, and her second good byes and had packed up her car in anticipation of the 6 hour drive back home so that she could make her goodbyes to her friends down there. We were planning to leave a couple of days later and meet her in Newburgh and then the two of us would (Brooke and I) would drive to FL and I would fly back to Portland.
I watched, as a loving father would, as my little daughter went nearly to the end of our driveway. I expected her to turn right at the end. But (not the one you’re looking for) she turned left and drove over the grass as she sped up to beat a car that was traveling in the same direction. I watched, annoyed as the exuberance of her youth and of her freedom took over her common sense and she risked it all in an effort to say her third round of good byes.
Of course, she had forgotten a crucial piece of paper that she was going to need for her registration at Disney World. So I took the paper and I marched down to the campgrounds and made a small scene. “Do you need this paper?”
“And you left without it.” I didn’t quite sound like a question but it wasn’t quite a statement of fact either. Even though it was one so there is no real reason for it to sound like a question. but it would have if I hadn’t this other piece of business to attend to.
“What the hell was that? Way to make a father comfortable with letting his 19 year old daughter drive 6 hours by herself after he saw that stupidity!”
“Ummmm errrm yeah…”
“Be careful, Brookie. The most dangerous part of achieving any goal is the last few steps, when the goal is most attainable.
I love you, I’ll see you on Saturday.”
About 6 hours later, Lisa and I were in the supermarket when my cell phone rang. It was Arianna.
“Dad… (sobbing)… Brookie’s been in an accident… she thinks she killed somebody.”
The conversation from there doesn’t really matter. The good news is that she didn’t kill anybody. Nobody was even really that hurt. 4 cars involved. Brookie was on her way to say goodbye to a friend “on the way home.”
There’s coincidence there, and there’s inevitability there. I can’t claim any amount of reality doing anything except slapping us all top side of the head. Semi shortly before he died, my father thought that the funniest joke he had ever heard was, “You know how you make God laugh? Tell Him your plan.” He would say that over and again as if he had never told you that joke before. He thought it was doggone funny. Peculiar, I say.
Of course Lisa, the dogs and I were down home by later that very next.
That’s pretty much the end of that story. Here comes the other part of the story. Not the butt end.
Lisa is the youngest of three. She’s a “Gift from Heaven” several years after Marna and Frank were fairly certain they had enough children. The eldest was Frank Jr.(Frankie). Then came Debbie. So Frankie and Debbie were tighter than Frankie and Lisa. Over the Summer of 2015 Frank was very heavy with Debbie.
I don’t make light of it when I say that depression does not run in Lisa’s family. He just stands there and waits for the members to come to him. Both sides, Marna’s and Frank’s (who from here out I’ll refer to as “Pop”) families both have incidences of depression and alcoholism. Frankie had every reason not to be depressed. Handsome as all get out, smart as he needed to be and then some, great self discipline.
Depression, however, is a chemical imbalance, and nothing else really matters in terms of when you are going to meet that man standing in your pathway.
For a long time, Frankie was able to wrestle the man to the ground and force feed him the meds that repressed depression. Like everyone that takes those meds, Frank wanted to be free of the chemical dependency. And that is fine for a while too. But eventually, the man stands up in the path and he sneaks back up on you.
In 2015, that bastard climbed up on Frankie’s back and held on like he was covered in Monkey Grip Glue.
We were home a day and into the second night, when Debbie called Lisa, concerned that she couldn’t raise Frankie on the phone. Over we dashed. His son got there first and he found that Frankie had succumbed to the nasty whisperings.
That’s pretty much the end of this part of the story. It was “fortunate” that we were there when we were “supposed to be” in Maine. I don’t claim coincidence on that. But I’m not discounting entirely either.
So I told you those two stories so that I can tell you this one! Before I do, though. Remember up there where I said “Also…” Well we’ve come to the part of the show where I explain that I know that this story I’m about to tell you won’t convince you of anything.
There are thousands upon thousands of stories along these lines that we have all heard, and after the cold chill runs down our spine, we set the whole thing aside and pretend it is an aberration. It is the whole “duality” sort of thing where you know for a fact this one thing, and you know for a fact this other thing and you know for a fact that the one thing cannot be in a world where this other thing is. So you choose to ignore the one that doesn’t conform with “reality,” and you go on with your life.
Even if you are one of those people who believe in “church,” still, on Monday, you put that stuff behind you and you do the work of reality.
I don’t know that I have explained that well enough for a person with no knowledge of it to understand. But, if you have read this far, chances are that you are not one of those people in the first place.
Pop lives alone. Marna has been dead since 1999. At the time of this story Pop was 88. He’s practically deaf and functionally blind from Macular degeneration. At night he sits in his chair and blares the TV he is scant inches from. Then he goes to bed.
We needed to be there first thing in the morning, to let him know that his eldest child, his only son, had killed himself.
Debbie, Lisa and I stood at his bed and when he opened his eyes, this was the very first thing out of his mouth the second his eyes opened. It might not be exact, but I’ll use quotation marks anyway.
“I had the strangest thing happen last night. While I was watching TV, and a bat flew right into the room! It kept flying around and around in the room and so I got a flyswatter and I swung it and I swung it and I kept missing him. Finally I got him and I knocked him down on the floor and I stepped on him and killed it…”
The rest of the story doesn’t much matter. The point is that bats do not get into pop’s house, and even if they do, the chances that a blind man could hit a bat with a flyswatter are next to nil. And even then, that the bat arrived in Pop’s TV room within hours of when his only son was succumbing to the murmurs of self murder. Maybe it never happened. Maybe it was a dream. It was a dream that pop couldn’t tell was a dream.
I knew you would know where the but was. That’s not a coincidence.