Thursday, June 14, 2018

Back to Where I Was

New life decides to come through the front door
And makes us wish we'd shown respect before
Though I don't have much of a choice
I resolve to regain my voice

If I only just begin to understand it that's because
Everytime I time I start to change my mind again
It gets me back to where I was

I am not good at looking back. It's funny because the reason this entire blog started wasn't for you to read it; it was for me to read it because I met someone who'd had issues in the left temporal lobe and they had a wish absence of almost a year from shortly before their brain issues to not recognizing their wife and child so I thought I'd write down the story, unedited, unfiltered, with typos. If I had to hear this story from someone else, I wanted to hear it from me. While it's nowhere at that level, my memory is damaged and still I've never read this blog at all which makes it a fair question as to why I'm writing it but it's still the same reason. My memory is actually damaged enough to where looking back doesn't flow right, yesterday isn't that much closer than few years ago, some moments both good and bad and insignificant are wholly gone or aren't recalled in correct order.

But long before brain surgery, I wasn't good at looking back. I left Mexico when I was 8 and haven't been ever back to visit the place, only family. I was transported to to a small town in West Texas after coming from Chihuahua (like the dog) to Kermit (like the frog) in a town that had about a thousand people for each of the years I spent in it. I left there shortly after turning 14 and had not returned once in almost 24 years. I'm not sure what prompted it this time around but it was the first time I'd taken my soon to be wife out to Odessa (we'd both been in the area before just independently). Having lived in a big city in Mexico, in a small town in Kermit Texas, on a small town in South Texas, in a small town in Napa Valley, in the city of Los Angeles, London, and in the Marshall Islands before settling in Austin has given me a great perspective in the world. It's helped me understand a range of ideas and I can see why there are good and evil people who both share and disagree with many of my views. But I digress, the main thought I had while being out there was the question of how different I would have been had I stayed there, doing what I thought I would which is work in the oil field like so much of my family including my dad to this day in his 70's? How different would it have been if I'd stayed in Mexico? Which years were the most critical for development and current thought? I'd almost certainly not be marrying an Asian girl. Heck, I can't recall a single Asian person being my friend until my adolescence in high school. Would I save my money for the things I do now or want the big truck like my dad and several of my uncles have? I learned to drive in a stick shift truck and it was powerful. 

I took Kiana and Elaine out there and showed them the house I was. Somehow, illogically, I told her all the less than smart shaninagans I'd gotten into like driving my uncle's car with my cousins a mile or so around the park, or shooting b-b guns in places I shouldn't have and after a quarter of a century I finally confessed to my mom one of the dumbest thing I ever regularly did as a child which was climb a lights tower at a baseball field that swayed with the wind. I've wondered many times how I could have been so stupid because at the bottom you go through the middle but to get all the way to the top required climbing on the outside and a simple slip would have resulted in many broken bones or worse. So I took the girls I loved most and showed the tower to them and told them about the stupidity of it and then climbed it in front of them. Yes, all the way to the top. I took them to all 3 places where I'd lived. Don't know if the houses seemed smaller because I was smaller and they were bigger in memory or just cause I have a little more room in a house now (my house is 1200 square feet but it seems much bigger than my childhood ones). The memories of how much I loved the library, the parks I played in. The entire town is only 2.5 square miles so they got the full tour in a short time and they had patience and smiles which ended with the place I'd get rewarded for good grades and perfect attendance with an ice cream blizzard. A few bad memories came up so I'm not repressing anything as well as silly ones like the first time I saw a girls bra strap at a park at this park. But mostly it was just good friends and family that came up. The first mascot I identified with, the Yellowjacket was in a few places, in the place I first learned to 'bee' myself. There were a few changes with the heartbreakign one was that the first track I ever ran in was no longer there but it felt like it had changed the least out of any place I've ever returned to or currently live in. 

Why had I not just gone down a few miles from my mom's house? I don't know. I've never felt the need to, it's like I've never gone back to high school reunions. I made a small appearance on my 10th one but no matter how good the bad or past is, I'm always about what's next. Why did I go now? I think it was more than anything to show the two ladies I love a little bit of my childhood, on the edge of town. 

It just rhymed with where we had been recently. Just a few days before, a week ago today, they had come with me to my MRI. I've ran and biked to and from MRI's and medical appointments many times in the 4 years since they let me start driving again but I'd never once had company in either one of those. This time they both biked to and from with me. Then they were both then the results. The night before I'd only asked one of them, Kiana, what she hoped would be the results. She said, "I always hope they they tell you its smaller or it's gone." I told her that was all but impossible and the best hope was that it was stable and she retorted without hesitation, "You can't tell me what to hope for!" I love that kid so much.

This was on the way home from the Moonlight Margarita Run with her. It's a race that I've done several years consecutively. Without exception I had finished in the top 10 every year but I knew this streak was going to end because for the 1st time ever Kiana was going to get to be part of it and she's still being kind enough to let me keep her company. It was the hottest one in its 15 year history. Kiana looked miserable early on and I confused my roles of dad/coach and asked her if she wanted to slow down. I got a loud no in return. About halfway she asked why I was slowing down and I said I'm just running next to you, I'm not pacing you and she reprimanded me with then you need speed up. With about a half mile to go, at the point where I know, I know you're supposed to be miserable if you're doing a 5k right, she looked so rough and I again asked if she wanted to slow down. She glared and again shouted no and then started picking off people and would get her fastest 5k ever, 21:33. Elaine was there waiting for us with the news that she too had her fastest 5k ever (a little under a minute faster than Kiana). My streak was over, just like my Austin marathon streak ended with running Kiana's first 5k next to her. Both of those streaks ended gloriously behind beautiful family. My concern for Kiana overruled the logic of that she was pushing her body the way she should be during a 5k. Her concern for me is that she was pushing her hope beyond what I saw as logical. Neither my guidance nor hope came true but I think we both netted great results. 

The next morning I got up and ran before they were awake because I don't sleep so well between the MRI and it's results but they came with me and the doctor immediately told me that everything was stable and we looked at it. The last (and only other) time I'd ever taken Elaine to a medical appointment my nervousness about medical results had interrupted me introducing her but this time the doctor knew who she was and carried himself with the same great demeanor he always does. He is the last wedding invite and I delivered it in person, unsure of how
proper protocol is in the patient/doctor relationship but decided ultimately it was his call. Kiana was holding the invitation and I'd joked with her that he was only invited if he gave me good results, something she pointed out was not okay and that she'd give it either way. I wonder who feels more awkward between the 3 of us, me, Elaine or Kiana as I'm sitting there sharing medical details including ones that I promise you I'd not want to hear about either of my parents at 11. Still, Kiana enjoyed the imagery of the brain though it was the first time she at least audibly noticed that its clearly my profile on the skull. It had no growth and it didn't show my hair so there wasn't anything scary showing on it. 

I slept really well last night even if there's been some stressors. We're working on wedding details, some of which are overwhelming to crunch numbers or with puzzles or logistics. Still I ordered our wedding bands yesterday, mine is super and hers is hopeful. I also ordered the bowtie I'm wearing (cause bowties are cool). Tomorrow there's a meeting with the caterer and other details with our great wedding coordinator. People keep asking if I'm stressed but I'm not because I take it in stride because I know it's just going to be a good party with good friends. I've never been to a party with good friends that the details were more important than the friendship. 

And I know that when I get home after it's all done and people have gone to their own homes, I get to go back to mine where there is a woman I get to call wife and a little girl who is growing wiser. I wouldn't have dreamed up this life in Kermit or in California or in the middle of some of the messes with brain cancer. It would have been beyond anything I'd hoped for so maybe I'll take that lesson from Kiana and rather than just focus on getting back to where I was that no one can tell me how much I can hope for. 

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