Archive for September, 2013


September 25, 2013

You always hear people say, “I never saw it coming.” But I remember thinking, months ago, “I hope Les never kills himself.”

Les is my writing teacher. Was. At the beginning, I was a little uncomfortable being in the same room with him. Such visible signs of suffering.

He was on the cusp of old age, too poor for a car or a smartphone. Wifeless, childless, alcoholic, only one good eye. When I met him he had about three teeth but over the last year he’d gotten good replacement teeth, which I took as an optimistic sign.

The only time I heard him complain was when a bed bug infestation sent him to the ER.

Les was generous.

Every week he brought us candy. That’s what gets me: Imagining him going to the CVS on Rose, buying bags of Hershey’s Kisses and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, putting them in his backpack alongside our carefully corrected homework, hopping on his bike. He had a beautiful deep voice, and told us to not to focus on what was wrong with our writing, but what was working. He made it so easy for his students to ignore his troubles.

Oh, Les. Fuck.

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September 11, 2013

I woke up suddenly this morning at 3:37. Partly because I was hungry, but mainly because I just realized I’ve met a lovely man who is going to cause me pain.

I don’t know how much — it could be anything from band-aid level to losing a limb — and I don’t know when, but it’s coming.

Then I got to thinking how that’s all love is. Loving someone is like putting part of you under the guillotine and letting them be in charge of the rope. If you are tremendously lucky, you get a few decades before you realize this. Then your dog dies, or your father, or your lover, and the curtain lifts.

Then I started wondering whether love and God are the exact same thing.

Because watching all of us, and I mean all of us, trying to take care of each other, wiping each other’s noses and sharing our last sandwiches — even when we suck at it, even in actual war zones — watching all these hearts doing their stupid blossoming, again and again, under the dead certainty of pain, I’m telling you, it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.