Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday night in Alpena, Michigan

Kids settling in their rooms. S.B. gone to a meeting. So it is just me. The dog. The cat. Winter out there somewhere. Pushing its way toward this old house. And as the dog sleeps at my feet. The cat sits next to me and purrs. I finally come down from another day of doing what needs to be done so my brain can stretch its legs. Warm up. Then run. Take me down the road. To the time when winter comes for good. The warmth and light are gone and I’m left standing in an empty room. Just me. The Unknown. And the highlight reel. One last chance for me to revel in moments I missed while I was busying being alive. My childhood on The Ridge. Running the woods and fields with my best friends, my brothers, Kevin and Keith. The three of us a team and together no matter what. The shitty years of school. Elementary through high school. Being teased. Picked on. Shoved aside. Fully of worry and a great lack of self confidence because nobody could have ever known what was going on inside. Moving out on my own. The apartments. Jobs. Friends, parties, and girls. Coming alive and recognizing my strengths at CMU. Then Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Where everything rose up like a great wave then came crashing down. Because I had not yet learned the art of moderation. And then back to town. To find love through fearless loving. And follow it. Meet my boy. Marry my girl. Discover my daughter. And begin putting together the bits and pieces I’d gathered over the span of 33 years so I could make good choices. Be the best husband and daddy I could be. And somehow get here. Wednesday night in Alpena, Michigan. Kids safe and sound. Slipping slowly into dream. My wife out there, putting her goodness into the world. So it is just me. The dog. The cat. And winter whirling around in the trees. Forcing autumn to move along. Get on with the change, so it can come and stay for good. Threaten us with darkness. Cold. That subtle emptiness that fills quickly with regret and worry when we’re alone. But that’s why it means so much that we have this. This old house. Dog sleeping at my feet. Cat purring. And time—finally—to come down. Do what really needs doing. So the brain can stretch. Warm. And run me away from the Unknown. So I can revel in the highlights and remember that this is IT. My last chance to live the moments that are sometimes missed when I’m so busy being alive. ~ K.J. Copyright © KJ Stevens 2012

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