an intro to an ending
“Intro to an Ending”
Now I lay me down to sleep I pray the lord my soul to keep and if I die before I wake I pray the lord my soul to take. I can still here the siren voice of my mother repeating those words over and over as she comforted me when I awoke from the night terrors that haunted my sleep. Now as I lay here on the pissed stained mattress, a silhouette of the chiseled and handsome man I once was, comfort seems of little importance. Experts, (who we know only as the people who say so), say that god created earth in six days and rested on the seventh, but I believe he created hell in five minutes without rest for the visitors.
I once embraced the American dream, family, friends, a career and a charismatic home that any man would be envious of. Thanks to a drunken stooper of stupidity and five minutes of unconsciousness, I realized it was all a wall of illusions, a cheap magician’s trick performed in a dingy nightclub. I was a fool, a court jester if you will, but still a fool. For in a brief moment, my life collapsed like a building imploding into a pile of rubble and life as I once knew disappeared like a falling star that vanishes into the blackness of space: never to be seen again. This is my story.
I grew up in a somewhat normal home, we had our own bedrooms, bikes, two dogs, a cat and a tree fort we built out of wood we scavenged from our neighborhood. The one thing that was missing from my years as a youth was my father. No, he didn’t leave my mother or abandon his kids he was an insurance salesman and seemed to travel six days a week only to rest on the seventh. Poppy, (who most people knew him as because he could make a popping sound with his cheeks), was not a particularly good looking man. He was average height and weight and his nose seemed out of place on his face. What he did have was charm and charisma and that must have been why my mother loved and stayed with him and why he was an outstanding salesman. He was a good provider and we never went without and as I grew older the respect I had for him seemed to be of idol stature. There were many times that Poppy would take me with him if he knew he would return that same day. I would sit out in the car and wait for Poppy to return from his client and sometimes it felt like hours before he would come out. I asked him why I couldn’t go in with him and he told me it in a stern voice, it could jeopardize his sale and the reason we had every thing we wanted was for just that reason. The way he spoke to me I felt was really uncalled for but time went on and I quickly forgot about it.
My mother Salena whose name means protector of life was a tall slender woman with straight jet black hair. She had large dark eyes and when speaking to her you couldn’t help finding yourself gazing into them. She was patient and understanding and never raised her voice and seemed to solve problems with little effort. When I was a child I would wake up with night terrors and it was always about spiders. When this happened she would read to me in her soft sultry voice the bedtime prayer to ward off all predators so I could sleep without fear. I loved Poppy but you know your mother is your mother and without question she’s the one who you turn to for most everything.
Except for the night terrors life was good excluding the summer I turned a teen. My father had promised me that when I turned thirteen I could go with him on an over night trip, I waited for this moment for what seemed to be a life time and my clothes were packed days before we were leaving. Wow I thought me and my father hanging out in a hotel room watching movies, ordering pizza and staying up late, what a night!
We left on Monday 6:00 a.m. sharp one thing Poppy was is punctual. We traveled for what seemed like an eternity and finally arrived at our first big sale. Poppy went to the door and rang the bell, I couldn’t see the person but I could tell it was a woman. They stood in the doorway for a brief moment and after a short discussion and a quick chuckle they went inside. I was thinking about my fathers charm and charisma and hoped that one day I would have those same traits.
Poppy allowed me to play the radio and told me he would be a little while so stay in the car and don’t go anywhere. As timed passed by I could feel the large soda I drank working and stirring inside of me. I could here over and over my father saying, stay in the car but he was near a bathroom so I had to make a break for the house in order to save face as well as a mess. I knocked on the door but there was no answer so I slipped inside and tried to be invisible to avoid any chance of my father jeopardizing his sale. I had done my business and the whole time I had not seen my father or the woman but I did here noise coming out of a room at the end of the hall, so being thirteen I had to investigate but what I found made me regret not staying in the car and pissing myself. Poppy was naked and on top of the woman and I had seen enough movies and looked at enough girlie magazines to know what was going on. My father was having an affair on my mother, how could he do this to Salena the mother of his children and the wife of fifteen years. I slipped back into the car without being seen and the night I had expected was obviously a huge let down. We returned home Tuesday morning and I ran to hug my mother and told her I loved her. I could never tell her what I had seen but I would always be there for her whenever she needed me. As for my father I still loved him but idol stature was no longer in reach.
Growing up I was your classic high school student, good and bad grades, fights, dates and break ups, drinking and parties and the occasional experiment with drugs. My grades were average so I applied to a community college and was accepted into N.Y.S.I.T. the New York State Institute for Technology and after four short years I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Engineering which is the creating of programs for technological businesses to improve their computer operations. I went to work for a company out of N.Y. City and moved there shortly there after. Life was good I was making big money and could afford what ever I wanted. I had a penthouse downtown and was able to take advantage of a stock tip I was given from a coworker which I reaped great dividends. I was enjoying life but something was missing, like my childhood years with my father on the road, I realized there was a void I was missing a good woman to enjoy the pleasures of life with and to stand by me and help raise a family. I had met a woman during college; we dated for most of our junior year and drifted apart after she had to drop out due to a financial crisis. We would call each other now and then but as time passed that seem to end to.
I found her number in an old wallet I had put in the dresser Karen 555-2231. Karen was tall and slender like my mother but she had blue eyes and blonde hair and as she walked (the earth itself had to catch its breath). She was funny, intelligent, and creative and the sex we had was quite explosive. Why I let her slip through my fingers I cannot answer. I could only hope that the phone call I was going to make was not too late. I could hardly dial the phone my hands were shaking, my heart was racing and I thought of one thing, would she be happy to here from me. She answered the phone and to my surprise she was excited to here my voice. We talked for hours and I told her where I was living and she dropped the phone in shock, she told me she had just moved downtown and was only 8 city blocks from me. We made arrangements to meet that night at a restaurant we both knew called Rudy’s. When I saw her she smiled she was more beautiful than I remember. We had a few drinks while waiting for our table and read the menu to each other which was really quite fun, I felt like we were two little kids playing in a pool and I was getting silly and love struck. She obviously felt the same way because after dinner we returned to my place and we made love for hours, I mean it wasn’t like the first time we had met but I had forgotten how good she felt and this felt right.
Karen was the woman I would marry, she would bear my children and we would grow old together. I proposed to her exactly one year after our first date at Rudy’s
We were walking down Main Street and I had arranged for twenty seven people to
Hold up letters in sequence that said, Karen I love you will you marry me. She started laughing and said I love you and I never thought you would ask. Yes was the answer and we set the date for one year to date. Karen said she always wanted a beautiful wedding with all the trimmings. I spared no expense for anything if she wanted flowers she got them, ice sculptures she got it what ever she wanted. I used the money that I had made on the stock tip and it was more than enough to cover the whole event. We were married in a goliath church located on first and Fifth Street. I was surprised at the turn out, I mean you know how most people show up for the free food and drinks at the reception and only family and close friends care for the wedding. I asked myself why we invited these people in the first place and the answer was clear, the money and the gifts. We went on a cruise to the Bahamas for our honey moon and only heaven could have been more romantic. I could only dream and hope that this was the way it was meant to be.
Two weeks after the honey moon Karen and I moved into our house in the suburbs, we felt this would be a better place to raise our family. There was a fenced in back yard, a large porch with a swing and a mailbox shaped like a cat, I hated it but Karen loved it so of course it stayed up. For six months every thing was going great and then I received a phone call from my mother. She told me that my father had a heart attack and that I should get over to St. Agatha’s Memorial as soon as possible because they did not know how long it would be. I took a taxi over I figured I would get there quicker and I really shouldn’t have been driving in my state of mind. When I arrived at the hospital my mother came up to me, tears were streaming down her face and I could only hug her, I felt useless she was in pain and there was nothing I could do. I thought of what I had said when I was thirteen and that I would always be there for her. I was wrong. Before I could get into Poppy’s room he had passed away. I had no time to say good bye or see him one last time. The funeral was two days later and as I sat there waiting for the preacher to speak the eulogy I was thinking to myself how much I loved him but what a bastard he was. Cheating on my mother and forcing me to bear the lie for the rest of my life. My mother loved him and she was trusting and never doubted him. St. Salina should have been enshrined on her headstone. As I cried I thought, you bastard.
Poppy was gone and my mother was alone in the big old house, I convinced her to sell the house and move in with us. Karen was now pregnant with our first child and she could really use a hand raising our Michael and helping with the house. My mothers spirit was never really the same after my father died but she coped the best that she could and as time passed and our second child Karena( I thought I would combine Karen and Salina) was born she seemed to be better. I on the other hand felt Karen and me slipping into the hum drum life of every day marriage. Our sex life had just about vanished and I found myself working longer and longer hours and sometimes not getting home until early morning only to go back early morning. I would sit there and think about Poppy and wonder if the reason their marriage worked was because he was never home, but this was known from the beginning unlike ours we fell into this marital state. I really shouldn’t have been so bitter over my situation; I mean I had a beautiful wife, two great children, a terrific home and a mother who I loved dearly. This sounds great but enough is never enough and you always think there is more.
This year at the office Christmas party one of the employees came up with the crazy idea of booze and women, I knew that this was wrong and dangerous but I didn’t find myself objecting. The more I drank the more I loosened up and the more the women looked inviting especially the petite red head with large breast. I found myself in a trance staring at her and soon found us in my personal office; it had been a long time since I had sex with Karen so this seemed right and besides I have needs. The party was over and the red head was gone, I cleaned up and thought I should call Karen and tell her I had been drinking and that I should spend the night in my office. She was a lot like my mother, very trusting and didn’t ask questions. As I lay there I thought of Poppy and how he burdened me with the secret of deceit and now I have my own burden to carry. I thought what a bastard Poppy was and now I’m one.
One year had passed since the party every thing was going fine except for the sex situation, I was still quite content and Christmas was just around the corner. I always loved Christmas, I felt it was a great time for family and this year I avoided the office party. Christmas eve I fell ill to pneumonia and spent three nights in the hospital, they stuck me with more needles than acupuncture. Two weeks later I received a call from the hospital and they asked me to come in and see the doctor and that they found something abnormal in my blood test. I was really nervous and I couldn’t help think about the night of the Christmas party and wonder. When I saw the doctor I knew immediately something was wrong and I almost ran out but I regained my composure and took the news. He asked me if I did drugs or if I have had unprotected sex with more than one partner. He even asked me if I was sexually anal active, I bit his head off over that one and he just said he was doing his job.
Thank god Karen was turned off from sex after Karena was born and that we had not had sex in a year. How will I tell her about this? What Poppy did was a throwing error in baseball compared to this. I was thankful Michael wasn’t old enough to know what would be happening and not have to bear the burden of this horrible situation. I thought again of Poppy and how he kept his secrets away from my mother only mine had to be revealed. I walked in to the living room and Karen and my mother were sitting and watching television. They could tell something was wrong and soon looked in fear. I saw tears streaming down my mothers cheeks like at the hospital and Karen though not sexually attracted to me still loved me and started to cry. I told them my situation and the tears quickly dried and turned to rage. I now thought how good it was that Poppy’s secret was kept away from my mother for this one was catastrophic compared too it. I loved my family and my mother but when Karen told me to leave and never return and that she wouldn’t have her family subjected to my horrible condition I was devastated and once again thought of the secret and I now understood why I kept it from my mother all these years. So I left without question and even my mother turned her back on me and I wondered would that have been the same reaction with Poppy. Karen took every thing and said she would ruin me if I objected, turns out it didn’t matter word quickly spread and I was abandoned like a stray cat, my job, my wife and kids and even my mother, St. Salena my ass were all gone. I was alone.
All this I know is true, but how I am living now I would prefer death. I find myself continuously staring at the light. The radiance of light cast spiral shadows across the water stained ceiling and seems to magnetize my vision. I lie in my urine stench room with no television or radio, (which were sold in order to prolong my bed ridden existence) looking forward to the surrounding sounds of the jungle infested neighborhood blaring through the cracks in the walls and windows. The children crying in the next room, who undoubtedly are starving while their mother serves up needles and the bums in the alley fighting over their own personal cubicle of life, claiming squatter’s rights and insure a place to sleep for one more night,. I ask myself, were they like me? Did they once have everything? Did they to risk everything for five minutes of pleasure? I wonder. Sirens and gunshots were also common sounds in the darkness of hell I had created for myself. The floor alone had three body outlines and the holes in the walls, well they weren’t décor. This is what you get for not following your ten laws. Enough is never enough and there is always something better, so you think, she seemed alright.
I now lay here on the verge of extinction and unable to relieve myself with movement .I am the Greek god Prometheus who was put on the mountain to have his liver pecked out by a vulture, only to have it grow back and done all over again. I have but one friend which is the charred remains of a chicken carcass that I picked clean over the past few weeks. Bone to bone we lay, caring and comforting one another. I no longer here the surreal voice of my mother and the prayer that many times protected me. I will shut the light off and sleep until morning, for tomorrow can only be better. I still see light.