attack of the mountain

The enormity of his loss is softened only by the enormity of his gift. Too many good people died last week, too many good people always do. One of them was a friend and co-worker and fellow card player. I am richer because I knew him. As he was a much better card player, I will also be richer now that he's gone.

We eulogized him at our last game in our way. I think we were kinder to each other. That's enough. I'll take it.

Whenever there is some illicit substance in the house, prescription pills or smokes that someone left, Alex does this thing where she hides them and tells me that she threw them away. Thus begins perhaps my favorite game. I am transported to my youth where every house where we lived was a fortress of hidden chambers and the skin of your neck and the hide of your ass depended on your stealth and memorization of placement. Tonight, I may have broken my personal record. I found them within 2 minutes of her closing the door behind her, laughing her cruel but well-meaning challenge.

I don't think I ever felt I could truly rely on another person until Alex. As a kid, we moved from father to boyfriend to boyfriend to grandmother to our own salt and vinegar to step-father to our own devices. There was no inheritance, no wisdom passed down from the ages, no assumption that a hero would rise. Christ, I think it broke me, I still cannot bear to ask another person for anything. People fear the interview, whereas I am mortified by the recommendation. I had to drink a half bottle of wine today before I could bear ask someone to serve as a reference. And then I got a reply saying, yeah, sure, I mean, maybe, but I can't get to it right away. And then I crumbled into ash. Another didn't reply to my email and I am near suicidal, but am petrified of heaven because maybe I need a witness, and god, I can't imagine the dread of being let down by the dead of all people.

My hands are trembling just typing this, how fresh the panic, and my stomach is a knot. I hate my shortcomings and how I let them disturb my wa.

Elsewhere, I went snowboarding on Sunday and for the first time really fell like spring snowflakes or fall leaves. There was this moment where I collapsed into an icy heap, stood up and thought, that was the last of it. Attack the goddamn mountain. And after that, I was a steel marble cascading down a groove, and every time I felt the urge to slow, I whispered, attack, and by the end I was experiencing runner's high.

And then all of the loneliness of the world joined me in the passenger seat, and I drove through velvet curtains of heavy rain like I have seldom seen out here before. I want to attack the goddamn mountain. I want to find the secret cache. I want to ask and be unafraid of the answer.


Kerri Anne said…
I'm very much looking forward to attacking the mountain (hopefully twice!) with you this summer. Or being attacked by the mountain. I'm good with either scenario, so long as we aren't attacked by mountain goats. That, I think, would just be embarrassing.

(Beautiful, as always, friend. I think being open to being vulnerable is one of the most difficult (and brave and worthwhile) things to learn in this life.)
Brandon said…
we are going to attack the mountain, and if it attacks back, i will have liquid painkiller, goats be damned.
I hate asking for recommendations, too. And the sting of compliments; people chuckle when I tell them this, as if I'm blowing smoke up one of their random homes, but no. Compliments leave me bewildered and uncomfortable. Being a kid was OK and all, but I spend more time being glad I'm not one anymore, given its price. You know.

Lovely, as always. Sad that I spare so little time to write or, God help me, even to read these days. This PhD bullshit better be worth it, e.g. lupus/HIV/herpes cured.
'holes', not 'homes'. Why would I blow smoke up someone's home? Can you imagine how much smoke that would require? And the payoff probably wouldn't be worth it.
Brandon said…
sir, i always ask people not to smoke in my house and that has really cut down the flattery

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