Tag Archives: story

Brave

What makes someone brave?

This question has been bouncing around my brain this week.

I looked it up:

brave /brāv/ adjective
ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
Hmm.
The toughest thing I have ever faced has been myself. Objectively. Honestly.
It’s not easy asking yourself tough questions. Is that what really happened? 
It’s even harder answering those tough question. Maybe. But maybe theres’s more to it. 
Knowing is easy.
Not knowing requires one to be brave.  

 

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Song

I listen to a song. It’s from a different time. When I was younger

I time travel on its melody. I slip back there. Return to happiness.

I fall back into my mind. Consider all the choices  that were made. Hers. Mine. Ours.

I know everything is exactly as it’s supposed to be.

I smile. Tears find ducts. They build. Fall. Roll down the crease between my nose and cheek. I laugh. Sing the chorus.

I hear words I never heard before. All these years I had it wrong. But the words don’t matter. Only the memories matter now.

And the memories are good. Better than the song.

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Television

Growing up, the T.V. helped me understand my role. It taught me how to act. Showed me how to behave in a particular situation. Made me understand what kind of things I was supposed to laugh at, when to cry, how to fit in, and what a perfect life looked like.

On any given day, I would spend hours in front of the television. Watching. Learning. Studying. Mimicking.

Mostly my teachers were comedians, usually of the sitcom variety, and dramatic actresses. I’ve always preferred actresses to actors, especially in dramatic roles.

My family possessed a taste for the dramatic. Especially Mama. Her entire life seemed to be one continuous act. She seemed to be living inside this single woman show that was part drama, part comedy, always authentically raw.

I never saw the camera crews that followed us around, but I would keep my eyes open for them. Mama must have known where they were positioned at all times because she was always playing up to them. Especially in public places. I felt bad for the bystanders who thought she was causing a scene. Their confusion kept them from witnessing the role of a lifetime.

She was better than good. I had to stay on my toes. Be ready to morph in and out of supporting characters on a moments notice. I got pretty decent at acting, never as good as Mama though. She was committed to her role. She always gave it her all. She lived and breathed her character.

My senior year of high school, I earned the award for best supporting actor for my part as Big Jule in the spring musical. Even though she wasn’t able to attend, I silently dedicated it to Mama. She taught me everything I knew about acting.

The television taught me everything else.

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Hashtag

Mostly I’d lie there. Pretending to be asleep. But sometimes, I opened my eyes. I’d focus on the ceiling tiles. I’d trace the cracks with my eyes as I made choo-choo train sounds in my mind. Thought about being on a locomotive headed for anywhere but there.

But mostly, I’d lie there pretending to be asleep.

He knew I was awake. He felt every muscle in my body tighten. Felt me wince. He heard my occasional whimper. It never stopped him from proceeding.

I never fought back. Never defended myself. I never called out for help. I kept my mouth shut. Never told a soul.

Why would I?

I enjoyed the grilled ham and cheese sandwiches we made in the convection oven. I liked sleeping over at his place. Loved listening to his Beatles albums over and over again. Looked forward to getting Burger King French Toast sticks with him before school.

Besides, he was more than the man who touched me in the middle of the night – He was my math teacher. My father figure. The guy who took me to church. The only adult male who paid any sort of attention to me. So my lips were sealed.

To my eleven-year-old mind, it felt like a fair trade.

To my thirty-nine-year-old mind, it feels too complicated to reduce to a simple hashtag.

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Voice

Voice /vois/ noun – Inner utterance of a guiding spirit.

 

There is a voice that calls to me.

It exist within me so I lend it my name, Billy.

But it is mostly beyond me so it has no name.

Me and beyond me, the two traits all things seem to share.

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