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I should close this blog.  I should shut it down and walk away.  Perhaps this place these words my chronicled expectations are the jinx that prevents me from becoming exactly what I want to be.

I’m dangling.  I’m done. I’m done wondering when I get to be a Dad.

Oh yeah sure I know I know how I’m Silas’s Dad and like it’s all okay because you know it’s just fine.  You’re strong, you’re okay you’re going to be okay you’re doing great.  All true, except the Dad part.  Not that.

Got home at 2am tonight.  Got a ton of shit to do tomorrow.  I’ll probably go to bed at midnight tomorrow night after finishing everything I need to do.  Not that it matters;  my schedule is mostly my own.  Lu works hard, too. All the time she’s on the go getting shit done to run her business.

We do it because we can, and because we have to.  There is no Silas to dictate our lives.  In our hearts he’s there of course, but we don’t have to do anything at all to hold him there.  Out here in the apartment it is just cats and work and time together to eat and sleep and garden and read.  It looks placid, but that is because we’re good at this now.

I’ll sleep flipping over and over and over.  I’ll dream and maybe remember snatches.  They’re always the same these days.  They are always about the unattainable.  The dreams are about friends I can’t see at concerts that never happened.  Complex interactions and events cascade through my sleep and I flip and flip and flip over and over and over.

I’ve learned how to not clench my hands when I sleep.  Everyone should try this.  When you sleep, lay your hands flat against the cool sheen of the sheet.  Spread your fingers wide.  Lay your hands between the pillow and the mattress.  Sleep with your hands wide open and flat because it feels good and right and smooth.

I lay flat and I flip from back to front to side to back again.  No Silas.  Not a Dad.  This page is a mockery of everything I want.  It is an affront to reality.  I’ve gone for the hope, for the belief, for the obviously easy because everyone around us is clearly okay to make and have babies.  To be parents.

Elm City Guy.  Elm City Roaster.  Now maybe Elm City Bartender but Not in New Haven so Not Really Elm City Either… Guy Who Does Lots of Things Besides… Well… You Know… Being A Dad.   Elm City Douchebag.  Elm City Fuck You.  Elm City Leave Me The Fuck Alone Because I’ve Got Shit To-Do!

Phew.  I’m glad that’s out there.  I hope that didn’t hurt anyone, but damn that felt good.

Maybe I’ll be a dad someday.  Until then this blog is named as it is as a hope for what could be.  If anyone is listening/reading that can do anything about this, all I have to say is seriously, stop fucking with us.  We’ve had enough.

I’m going to be a dad.  Lu is going to be a mom.  We are taking actions and steps far beyond what most people have to do, but we’re doing it because it feels right and because once it finally happens I’m pretty sure we’ll be pretty good at it.  And that’s not bragging, that’s hope.

They squeeze me.  Thousands of them.  Millions.  Billions.  Tiny, invisible, impossible little clamps on every molecule of my body compress my form making me dense and heavy.

The twists are powered by hopes halfway and memories the other.  The leverage of those screws cannot be denied. They press me into myself and I fall into bed leaden.

“You just moaned,” she said in the darkness.

“I know,” I replied, suddenly wide awake.

“What the hell was that?” she asked me.

“Had a nightmare.  We heard something so I got up to check it out and I went all around the house–it wasn’t this house, though, way more rooms and corridors–but there was nothing there.  I was going back to bed and I then I saw someone standing there and it scared the shit out of me.  I couldn’t see the face, just their slight form and I was so freaked out I actually puked into my hand and then threw it at them and shouted and then I woke up.”

“Well that wasn’t a shout you let out,” Lu replied. “More like a moan.”

“I know.  I woke myself up!”

That was at four thirty in the morning.  I fell back to sleep eventually, but it was a fitful sleep and when I got up for the day I had a crushing, twisting knot between my neck and my shoulder blade.  That particular pain has been with me off and on for many years, and I know that whenever it flares up it means I’m way too stressed out.

I was fine before bed, but after that early morning nightmare the muscles seized up and spasmed.  I could feel them throbbing all day.

It’s never fun to be in pain, but I have less tolerance for it now than ever before.  I use ice and heat, Lu helps with massage and after a few days I’m usually back to normal.  But the normal I go back to is far away from what it used to be.

Every day without Silas is brutal.  Every day I do not get to be a father beats me to a pulp.  Every month when we are again not pregnant what little bits of hope I’ve managed to find are ground further into a fine dust of desolation and fear.  One night of sleep in a weird position or nodding off on the couch, head tucked into my chest, sends my neck into another twisted crimp that drains me of the energy to battle through another day.

Used to be I could deal with it. Sure I got surly and short when the worst of it hit, but most days I could push through and heal fast.  Now I’m knocked flat because I do not have the mental reserves to deal with the physical pain in my neck as well as the emotional pain of every waking moment.

That afternoon I dropped off some beans at my first delivery and then headed south towards the shop.  It was a glorious summer day and I tried to fight through the various bullshit setbacks that popped up here and there, as well as ignore the furious web of muscle across my back.  The first gas station had been closed and then my card declined at the second.  The road to my delivery was clogged with unmoving traffic so I took a long detour, cursing and wincing the entire way.

I finally made it there, did the drop and then drove on.  As I steered with my right hand, I used my left hand to locate the nexus of the pain on my right shoulder blade, and I went to work.  I pressed in and around, easing the muscles open and releasing the stored stress that gathered on my back.

Missed the Boat, by Modest Mouse came on and I kept pressing even as I sang along.  I felt the pressure build behind my nose and eyes and mouth, and then from the speakers and me shouting along: “Well we knew we had the good things / But those never seemed to last / Oh please just last” and my throat closed, my tearducts opened and I spilled out raging hot tears as my breath caught in my larynx and a guttural groan escaped my clenched teeth.

I pressed against the muscle with two fingers and steered with five and neither the salted liquid in my eyes nor the blasting music around me ever obscured my vision.  A hot stream of rage and pain cascaded down my cheeks and I flew down the road trailing thundering riffs and defiant lyrics.

I thought of the dream from the morning and how the fright finally pushed my stress into that tangled knot of muscle.  From the moment I woke up, all I could think about was Silas:  The day of his birth that still makes me flinch and squirm;  every day since that I cannot believe I’ve survived.

I want to reject this entire option, this whole way of living and yet it lays on me and penetrates my soul so that I can be nothing else than the sum of everything I’ve done, and everything that has happened to me.

I didn’t sob or keen.  I just puked tears out of my eyes and vomited groans and drove down the highway, on my way to work.  And I was better by the time I got there.  My neck and back still hurt, but I could clearly feel that I had released some of the emotion that had been building for many days.

The stress of my emotional pain makes my muscles tense.  When that finally snaps into spasm, the pain pushes me over the edge to where it feels like my whole life is a jagged, broken mess.  My physical body is my last refuge from the World at Large.  When I feel physically good I am better at handling the episodes of sadness and grief.  But when that is compromised by pain or sickness I have no place left to go, and I am left exposed to the raw truth of our loss, both within and without.

The rest of the day went smoothly, and at home that night I sat with Lu as we ate dinner.

“That dream has been with me all day,” I told her.

“It is so freaky,” she replied.

“Yeah, it scared the shit out of me.  And so gross, I can’t believe I puked and caught it and threw it at the Intruder.”

“That’s one way to scare someone off.”

“I guess so,” I replied and then shuddered, remembering.  “And then I shouted!”

“Well, it wasn’t much of a shout.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah,” she replied, half-laughing.  “It was more of a ‘Eeeee oooohhh aaaahh'”

“Eeeeooohhhaaaaah…” I imitated her imitating me and she started laughing so hard.  Then I tried to do it again but I was laughing so hard I couldn’t get the shout-from-the-bottom-of-a-nightmare-well out without bursting into guffaws.

Now all I have to do is go “eeeeoooahhh!” and we both crack up, and that is far better than either of us cracking up for real.

Does everyone’s internal dialogue contain so many voices and perspectives? Is everyone awash in conflicting thoughts and impulses?  Or is it just us, the Utterly Fucked?  It’s that feeling where I want to go and do something, a hike, a few hours at the bookstore, a nice walk around the ‘hood, something I know will be good and right, and instead I can make myself do… nothing.  Sit.  Read the paper.  Nap. Have another beer.

Sometimes I decide today is going to be a good day and then slam the door on the way out and cry in the car, pounding on the steering wheel all the way to work.

Other times I realize I can’t take any of it anymore and then I don’t have to.  I end up blithely drifting through the day, smiling at the elusive sun and puddled earth.  We are getting so much rain these days I’m afraid Silas’ tree is going to need swimming lessons.

Most days the cascading terror of my-life-gone-horribly-wrong churns me awake before the dawn, but often by nightfall I’m laughing with Lu or friends, surrounded by so much love I almost start to feel lucky.

I used to feel lucky all the time.  I used to think I was one of the happiest people out there, despite the often intense sense of anger I have always felt at the occasional injustices of the World.

My World is entirely Unjust these days.  Happiness is elusive, too.

I used to sleep well.  I can still fall asleep in fifteen seconds flat and I nap as though I have a special super power for napping.  But I cannot remember a time when I have had a full night of sleep.  Pre-dawn is the worst.  There’s no refuge there besides more sleep, and there’s just way too much to think about.

The Path of Worry is a deep groove.  I slip in before I know it, and finding my way out is an ordeal.  Sometimes it’s easier to just lay down amid the worn rocks and sharp pebbles and watch the vultures circle above.  I try to pick out the silhouette of hawks amid the scavengers.  I’m amazed by the endless sky and steep sides to this gully and I wonder, every morning I wonder, how the fuck are we going to get out of here?

Can’t climb the walls.  Can’t disintegrate into the Earth.  Backwards is disaster and so that only leaves forward.  But sometimes I cannot move one single step.  Then, sleep is the only refuge, but always I wake up wide and worn out and can’t believe it’s another day without Silas.

All of them are.  From That Day until the end of my forever, it is all without my son.  I feel my bones getting wobbly and sick at the thought of that.  I feel my soul shrivel and hide.  My mind sends me images of bright, shiny objects to distract me from the catastrophic disgustingness of a thought like that.  It used to shatter me, now I just sigh and rub my eyes and wonder what I’ll do next to get by, hang on, let go or act out, depending on what I can muster for the moment.

You’d be fooled, though, just reading this.  These words are the gymnastics I do in my mind day after day, moment after moment.  In person I’m nothing like this.  Most of the time I’m calm and pleasant.  If you just met me today you might never know my son died in September and that I am still in the very taloned grasp of crushing grief.

That’s why I’ve been thinking about changing my name.  “Imissilas” has a great ring to it, and that way whenever I met someone new they would know what I was all about.  And that way, when my friends called out to me, they would know what I was thinking about anyway.  With that name I could unify myself.  Instead of being my name and missing my son, I could just be both all the time.

I don’t know how to do this.  I don’t know how to live this life, to experience this pain, to heal, to hang on.  So I’m just making it up as I go and letting the confusing contradictions of every single day and moment, of my soul and heart, of my fear and love and confusion, all of it, I’m allowing it to wake me up when it must and lay me flat when I can’t stand and crush the tears out of me when the pressure grows too strong.

Drained I find a way to pick myself up again and trudge forward, head tucked against the torrent, slowly winding my way through this shadowed, vultured valley.  Silas’ heart beats in my chest.  His soul fills everything within my skin.

I had a dream this morning that I was holding Silas. That I didn’t want to put him down, that I couldn’t put him down because if I did, he would disappear. I fed him real food and then he started choking and I had to save him with the Heimlich maneuver. I said to my sister in law Melissa “I guess I shouldn’t have fed him real food.”  Then I put him down to sleep and I woke up with my arms empty.

Had a dream last night and I think it was the first one I’ve ever had with Silas in it.  Certainly it is the first I remember with any clarity.

We were in a big complex, some sort of large multi-use space and I was with him, but I was more following him around than taking care of him. He was tiny, a toddler, but he was very agile and competent.  We went swimming in this big pool and then he showed me some of the other places in the complex.  I remember walking with him down hallways and then stepping into large, open rooms. It was all very nice, but I wasn’t sure what we were doing there, and I was very surprised at how able he was at everything.

When he first jumped in the pool I was like oh shit!  What are you doing?  But he knew how to swim.  I think he even got out and jumped back in a few times and I did, too.  That’s how I swim, though.  I get in the water for a little while and then get out and do a cannonball in and then float, then sink to the bottom, then bob, then get in a splashfight with someone, then get out and do a cannonball again.

Always before I get out for good I like to float on my back for a little while with my ears underwater and my eyes closed and feel the silence of the World.

We didn’t talk while we walked and swam, Silas and I.  He just showed me around.  I was glad that he was safe, but I wasn’t thrilled that he was there.

It wasn’t easy to get up today.  Obviously.

Feels like I didn’t even sleep last night, but I did, straight through and riddled with dreams.  It went from night to day but I barely even touched the sheets.  It wasn’t cause I was up with a kid or anything.  I was busy last night in my dreams.  There were so many things to do.  I almost feel closer to Silas when asleep than awake.  I guess I just believe my dreams are probably the best shot I’ve got at somehow encountering his presence.

I yearn for that, especially on a day like this.

Silas would have been 5 months old today.  And I don’t even have any fucking clue what to do with that.  Do parents have little month parties?  I feel like we would.  Or maybe we’d talk about it but then decide to save it for his 6 month bday.  But all day we’d both be secretly celebrating with him in our own little ways.

The Path of What Should Have Been is still there, daily, but I make a conscious choice not to tread upon it.  On days like this, though, I find myself wandering the woods around that path inadvertently, almost obsessively.  But I cannot stroll too long because the scenery is catastrophic.

Lu off to class.  Me taking Silas to deliver coffee and check out some shops.  The MMW kid’s album I’d play for him as we drove.  Seeing grandmom in our travels this afternoon.  Tonight we’d meet up with Mom and maybe make a first attempt at a restaurant meal.  Not because it’s his 5 monther, no, not that.  Just because maybe we could and that would be awesome.

Ahem.  Yeah.  Cannot go there all the time.  It is unspeakably painful.  So then, on this World I must focus.  The problem is, it also feels mentally unhealthy to keep not-thinking-about something.  But what I am doing is the opposite of denial.  I’m trying to accept the World as it is and yet, on a day like this, that feels totally and completely wrong.

So here’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to deliver that coffee, I’m going to play music of an utterly different variety (dark, edgy & loud), I’m going to check out some coffeehops, I’m going to stop by and see my Mom, I’m going to stop at a local pub and have a beer and read the paper.  Later on, Lu and I will meet up with friends and we’ll have a delicious dinner in a nice restaurant with loud jazz and then when we get home tonight we’ll light a candle for Silas and then I’ll tear the house down with my bare hands.  Ahem!  No, not that.  We will cry and then we will sleep and then I will dream and then maybe somewhere in those depths I will find my missing son.

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