Four years ago; a writing challenge to write for 26 minutes without stopping.
I was born in the Bronx, in the early sixties, before as my father would say, the Puerto Ricans burned it down, to a father who fought the law, and a mother who served the Lord. Doing his best to keep his four daughters off the pole, and his son out of the gangs of NY, my father moved us upstate when I was a little kid. I spent my childhood riding horses – well mostly getting bucked off, since the horse my father bought me had never been trained, and climbing the mountain behind our house with my dog Foxy. My brother chopped the wood, and I carried it in, to the wood stove that heated our house.
When I was fourteen years old, we moved out to Chicago, a city that thirty-five years later, has found a place in my heart. When I was seventeen years old, I thought I found love. What I really found was an asshole, who would send my fragile life careening into a ditch, where it could be argued that I spent the rest it. After a seven year relationship that in hindsight had no resemblance of this thing called love, and my being physically and emotionally scarred for life by said asshole, I swore off of intimate relationships, and spent the next twenty-six years in celibacy and solitude.
I spent years working as a bartender, and years working at an advertising agency, while I went to school at night, and earned a Master’s Degree and a license to be a counselor. We counselors are all on a mission to heal ourselves, and finding myself forever in search of the elusive holy grail of hope, I wanted to go where there was none, hoping to plant a seed. So I found my home in prisons, helping inmates, through counseling and teaching. I now manage the unit of an inpatient psychiatric hospital where I do my best to help kids with mental disorders and legal problems (and by mental disorders, most of the time I mean fucked up parents, although certainly not all of the time, so save the letters), to find their way in life, and to find some hope.
I used to be very close to my brother, and I still love him very much, but we went our separate ways, as sometimes happens with siblings, and when we met again, he was not him, and I was not me, and the friendship they once had, stays locked in the era of nevermore. My three sisters are sisters, not really friends, and like both of my parents, one has moved on, to where our souls go, when our bodies are used up. I long to go there too, but I know there must be more work here for me to do.
I’ve never married or had children. I’ve never bought a house, or travelled to distant lands. I’ve never been in love, or had anyone in love with me. I mostly live in solitude, although I am a very outgoing and friendly person, so my solitude often confuses and surprises people.
I hope I am serving my purpose. I hope I matter to someone. I hope I made the trip a little easier for someone along the way. Maybe an inmate. Maybe a kid in a psychiatric hospital. Maybe someone. Somewhere. Maybe. I hope.