Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Parrish Faces a Challenge


I’m cold.  The thermometer reads 58º but I feel colder than that.  A few minutes ago, I preheated my mattress pad and climbed into bed to get warm and begin to write.  Honey promptly jumped up here with me and is snuggled at my feet.  The TV is dark and quiet, the only sound in the house coming from the copper fountain in the foyer.  It’s babble is soothing to me.  

My legs have been hurting for days.  The wind and rain that I love so much make me stiff and sore, and now it’s winter outside.  There’s a nasty cold bug going around the island, but I don’t feel as though I’m getting sick.  I’m just cold and still a little depressed.

There are those who believe that things happen for a reason, that we are thrust into situations and events by some grand design.  I don’t believe that.  I think life gives us what it does and we make of if what we can.  I can’t see a giant hand moving us around like pieces on a chess board, repositioning us so as to bring some sort of synchronicity to our lives.

I’m thinking about the idea that things happen for a reason because of an event that occurred last night.  Parrish told me about it when I picked him up today to go grocery shopping.

Parrish was returning to Concorde Suites after a late afternoon walk, and when he approached the Baymont Inn, which is across the street, he witnessed a man in the front parking lot screaming at a woman in a car.  The language was vulgar and abusive.  The man shouted the name “Diane” a number of times.

As the woman drove away, Parrish could see the man clearly.  He recognized The Famous Writer from my  description of him.  

“Are you The Famous Writer?”

Parrish offered his hand, which The Famous Writer refused.

“Who wants to know?”

“I’m Parrish Gray, Claudia Schlottman’s son.  You spent a few weeks at her house.”

“So, you’re the ruffian jailbird.”

“I suppose you could say that.  I understand that things got unpleasant while you were at Mama’s house.”

“Your mother is a shallow cunt!”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me.  She’s a cunt and you’re a ruffian and a jailbird.”

“And you are a fucking ass-hole.  That’s my mother you’re talking about!”

Parrish described The Famous Writer as disheveled with his gray hair in disarray.  He was wearing jeans and a pajama top that was only partially buttoned, and he was carrying a bottle of Pinot Grigio.  His round red eyeglasses had slipped down to the tip of his nose, and he kept pushing them up. 

“Mama, he looked like a maniac!  He looked just like a crazy person.”

“That’s because he’s a madman, P.  Please don’t take anything he said to heart.  He’s a mean old man, a hopeless alcoholic, and there is no dealing with him.”

“He asked me if I were going to hit him.  The old me, drunk and unmedicated, would have decked him and ended up on jail for assault.  I might have killed him.”

“Punishing yourself because The Famous Writer is unacceptable is punishing the wrong person.  We have no control over him or his speech, and as much satisfaction as I would get out of knowing he will somehow suffer for his bad acts, that is out of our hands.”

“Mama!  He said you don’t know anything about music and that you listen to shit and call it music.”

“I don’t care what he said.”

“But it’s just so wrong!”

“I don’t care and neither should you.”

I tried to reassure him, to make him see that what The Famous Writer says should be ignored, dismissed as the rantings of an unbalanced soul.  

“But he called my mother a cunt - to my face!”

“I understand that, son, but it’s not important what he says or what he calls me or anyone else for that matter.  He’s angry and bitter and has been drunk for weeks, maybe months.”

“I really wanted to hit him.”

“But you didn’t!  There’s a victory here for you.  Don’t you see?  You walked away.  I don’t think I have ever been more proud of you than I am right now.”

I am particularly impressed that P didn’t call me last night and rant about his experience.  The drunk and unmedicated Parrish would have been taken a swing The Famous Writer, and there is no telling how seriously he could  have injured the diminutive man.  It is like a gift to me that he didn’t call me five or six times to tell the story.  He knew I was in a funk yesterday and needed some down time and some rest, so he saved the story for today. 

Instead of burdening me with the events of his evening, he opened his journal and wrote about them.  Yes, cj, there is a Santa Claus.  I have been trying for years to convince my son to write down his feelings. 

This is no small victory.  That Parrish could refrain from beating the shit out of The Famous Writer is nothing short of a miracle.  That he would write about it rather than call me to tell on The Famous Writer is a side of him I don’t know.  I am encouraged, very encouraged.  And, to add to my feelings of being blessed, he called about an hour ago and told me he had an emergency ride to AA.

There is hope.  There is always hope.

Those who believe in the idea of things happening for a reason would say that P running into The Famous Writer was some sort of test, that he was led there in order to be able to prove to himself and to me that he is growing and healing, that he can problem-solve without violence.  

I’m just glad he handled it the way he did.  I am so very glad.

© 2013 cjschlottman
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