Checked Off

Trapped in a stiff idle; not the boy of days past, not the man I long to be. One step at a time, the future reveals itself. Step forward, son. The path we tread is ours to choose, or ours to create.

She says “Goodnight” and the music fades in. The voice of an angel and the stark contrast of high-octane euro-rock. Black. White. Short seconds can change everything. Weeks can change even more. Where we are now is eternities away from where we’ve been.

This place, of infinite possibilities, is unknown because it cannot be known. We don’t know the future, friend. All we have is the past to gauge some semblance of foresight and wisdom. It’s just a crap shoot, boy. The game may be rigged, but I will choose to play it anyway.

Inner integrity comes at a cost no man can gauge. How does one put the price on a life, a lie, or a lay? One does not cost more than another; the cost of integrity is costly.

Inner memories revive themselves late at night. Like a small child excusing himself to the restroom, these memories creep up during the hours when most are asleep. Should I happen to be awake during these times, the memories provide a pleasant stroll down their lane. Friends, family, and pure love. The love — I can barely fathom it. Moments of laughter so intense tears flowed freely. The sadness, where tears simply were not sufficient. Being held in the arms of my Father — walking to the canopy where his casket lay.

And yet — the laughter of that day. I have not seen laughter like it for years. On a hot day in August, 2007, at a small restaurant in Ohio, one family showed the strength of love.

The past — a large “?” as a path to tread, where I beat my fists against brick walls, screaming “I want out!” has been changed into an “!” that I now eagerly run to, wondering “Can it be?”

Years of being told “No” have suddenly been converted into “When?” and “Welcome”.

One more day lies ahead, full of infinite opportunity, the allure of risk, and the chance to beat failure, once again, into submission.


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