Tuesday, January 19, 2016

7709. BELOW THE WATER LINE (pt. 137)

(pt. 137)
Leaving the seminary, for me, was another ordeal.
The night my father picked me up to drive me home, 
I don't remember , it was mid-week, cold and dark.
He had been notified, I suppose, somehow, my family
had, that I'd be returning home. Nothing else was said.
It was in the same way I'd left Avenel to go there that
I left there to go back to Avenel. Never said good-bye to
anyone, never was seen gathering up my things, or
none of that. I'm not sure how it occurred. Everything
was always weirdly secretive and disciplined there.
There were no official papers of termination or any of
that stuff given over. I wasn't walked out with one of the
priests, or anything like that. It was more like, in the
dark, my father pulled up, we slithered the car on up 
the grass to the doorways, piled in my stuff, and left.
I don't really think we said anything much to each other
the entire way, just the usual niceties and some stuff about
what I had to do upon arriving back home with school.
It was a fairly pathetic ride, worth about ten cents.
My whole life's been like that  -  all these dumb-ass
tough things, just done quickly and almost 
surreptitiously, as I always walk away sad at what's 
transpired. Bad, like flies around a too-sweet mouth.
Just the half-year before this I had been the toast of the
place. My role as Judas in the last Passion Play I was in,
was pretty quickly called stand-out. Lots of applause and
comment, busloads of kids from schools around the state,
people gawking, cheering. Then, just after that, before 
leaving, I'd won what was called the 'Oratorical Contest'
for South Jersey, all the high schools and stuff had entered
someone. I read two separate pieces to get through the
semi and final wins, and then I won the contest itself.
It got written up in the Jersey papers, I was rewarded 
with a nice, gold, medallion type thing with a tri-colored
ribbon attached. I still have it here somewhere, Engraved
on the back, name and date and all that. I practiced my 
speaking skills endlessly for that : I used to walk off into
the woods, like that Demosthenes guy from ancient Greece,
with a mouthful of small pebbles (cleaned). That was his 
technique, way, way back when, for improving diction
and clarity  -  which is odd because when you have a 
mouth with ten or so pebbles in it, trying to speak is damn 
difficult. All you get is 'Hrmmmphhhgh Hettrtdf, Gmmms',
like that. Jumbled sounds. But if you play it really hard, 
and pay attention, and memorize pretty good too, what 
you're saying, when said without the pebbles in your 
mouth, sounds really crisp and clear. Overcompensation
or something. I would do that, a long afternoon. I read,
for the first, a long Robert Frost dramatic poem called
'The Fear', about a New England couple and some 
imagined episode at their vacant home. And then, what
really got me over the top, I read Martin Luther's 'Address
Before the Diet of Worms.' It's not about eating worms, 
and it's not a diet either, and the place is really called 
'Wurms' a town in Germany where he caused a stir by
nailing up his theses to challenge church and Pope. This
was his address before being convicted or whatever, and
a Diet, over there at that time, was like a 'Congress'. As the
Japanese 'Diet' is today  -  the ruling legislative body. So,
I did good, my minds were elsewhere (yes, plural), and
before too long I'd established still another identity. Again, 
not that priestly, which probably irked everyone. Dramatic 
reading is pretty cool, because it's all balderdash, and just 
emotion for effect and with absolutely no meaningfulness 
at all. So you can stretch it and reach, and bring it just
to the edge of over-doing. I was pretty good at 
recognizing limits. I don't know why people lap this
stuff up so much, but they do  -  acting precisely is a
pretty easy thing to do. What you don't know, you can
just wing. That Governor guy, Richard J. Hughes, he
came too, right there, and gave me my medal. Who 
knows why, but that's the kind of crud stuff Governors 
and things like that have to do. Pandering and begging 
for votes it is, too. All those parents and things, they love
 it. And then, not really too long after that, my long slide
upward towards whatever, was over. Not a crash land, just
more of a soft land on a cushioned, noiseless carpet. Poof!
And I was gone. I can't say I cared, but who knows.
My problem is, always has been, being too sensitive. I let
every little thing hurt me. The seminary was like that, 
my whole life had been like that, and to this day it's all the
same. Always getting scrunched up and hurt -   just like the
stupid train wreck, I wind up all shattered underneath the
dashboard. I get started with something, or grow real fond 
of something or someone, get things going to a nice comfort
level, and then, bam! I get blasted right out of the water, and
hurt again, when they decide to no longer want to do it. Left
high and dry and sorrowful. I never learn -  places like the
seminary, they're all shifting alliances anyway, people 
coming and people going. You think solid, real life would
 be different, but it's not. I guess it can't be  -  people 
already have all their connections and alliances, and 
you're just then in the way. It was like that in grade school
too. I can remember being shattered when someone would 
just drop me. All that swagger and bravado junk, it was 
all a front. I've always been a weakling.
Remember that tree house I wrote about, in Avenel? The
one up in the oak tree behind my house, at the tracks? I'd go
up there for hours, just to sulk sometimes. Stare out at those
distant NYC buildings, and let my mind do the rest. Hurt was
hurt, and all that mattered, but in actuality nothing mattered
at all. I was far away  -  my path had already been cut for me
through the woods I had to cross. That was all out before me, 
and I knew it; I'd just sit there staring out and wondering how in
the crazy world I was going to manage to do all the things that
had been presented to me as a Mission.  I had already acquiesced,
and said yes, by coming back into Life. To finish the go-round 
now, alone or not, was all I could ever do. I sure did hate the 
loneliness. I would have carried anyone along with me, just to
ease the burden. Everything else paled. This was it.
One of the most beautiful things to me ever was the cold, and
the Wintry weather   -   not for any of the reasons you'd think,
 but actually just because of girls. I'd love to see girls, all wrapped
up in their big Winter coats, with scarves and hats and all those
things they have to keep them warm  -  all you'd see was the 
small bits of their faces and their nose. And their eyes. The
most beautiful thing in the world  -  a girl's eyes. Especially
when you see them all swaddled and bundled, in the cold. It's all
mystery and it's all communication  -  Spirit to Spirit and heart to 
soul. The bundling and the covering, that just all adds to it. Hard
 for me to say what I mean. It's human love, and it's an artistic 
sensibility too, and a message forever and ever and for and 
through the ages. Like there really is no time, when you view  
things with your Spirit. There never was a need for the 'spoken' 
word; everything was communicated voicelessly, and the use of 
words, in my estimation anyone, was through silence, through 
reading and writing, certainly not through talk or verbalizing, 
which was always ending up as meager time-fill, pleasantries 
and stupidities. no value at all. I wanted distance from things,
 and I wanted silence.
Arriving back in Avenel, it was a bit of decompression for a
few days, but I immediately knew it too wouldn't work. I always
thought there should someplace for kids who won't make it, to
go to, some halfway house someplace between running away and
suicide. I found out later there was, it's called drugs. New York City,
in the next few years, was to be full of that, though not for me. But
the walking awareness of death and destruction  -  the mental 
dismemberment of which I was not part of and was actually polar
opposite from  -  haunted me. I had nothing now. Everything still
ringing in my ears was just fucked-up sound memory of a late 16-year
old mind; like last year's outdated and already badly-viewed car design.

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