A sort of life

I really don’t know that guy

RICHMOND, Va. — It’s been a year, nearly, since I recommitted to writing here again. And I failed. Yet again.

It’s a tired trope, this. I find my feelings under a well used couch cushion. I find words again. Feelings dissipate. And the words go with them. Thumb through days until right now.

Writing was supposed to be a therapy of sorts. I found drink instead.

I say it this way to elicit feelings in you. Some will go to that dank, smoke-filled bar tightening its grip as the night matures. Scotch and a cigarette pulled to the knuckle. Some will feign sympathy. It’s pathetic, the drinking. Coping. And you judge.

I know you. Yes, while it’s true that I’m frequently out drinking, I’m just a nurse feeding an infant thirst.

So why? With few notable exceptions — and there are very few — the people out there with me are Richmond’s draff. West End draff. Now, I don’t want to convey that things are hard where I drink. They are not. But still, they are what remains of the aborted lives of thirty-somethings. Forty-somethings. And, of course, people passing through town “on business.”

I sit and nurse a warm beer. And scoop. And talk. And watch. Surrounded by blackened lungs. And hurting for my own when I remember that I cut that out a month ago. So I find something else to do with my mouth.

I don’t want to go home.

At home is a dying cat. A cancer in my life for a decade, that cat has been the longest and maybe most meaningful relationship I’ve ever had. And he’s leaving soon.

At home is my kitchen piled in the sink. Empty takeout boxes and cartons stacked high. Well balanced. Some teetering. Above the sink are plants that have been thirsty since 2014.

At home is the vast emptiness of 2,500-square-feet. A space once hoped would be filled with the sound of family. Now filled with the chatter of the dog’s overgrown toenails scratching the floor.

At home are the wallpapered walls of lives long-past. Lives lived into their nineties. Happy, I’m told. And though it was never disclosed, I’m pretty sure they died here too. Both of them. There’s a calming thing that grabs you when you walk through the door. Almost as if they see the chaos, the broken dreams, the rotting expectations, and they say: “It’s OK.” Like the good grandparents I’m sure they were.

But even good grandparents judge. Better ones keep it to themselves. And these ones are dead.

And so I don’t want to go home.

And why I found drink instead.

“I really don’t know that guy” is from Volume Three: Rock and Roll Part Three (2015–).

Follow the river and you will find the sea

Follow the river and you will find the sea

Oscar Facciolo De Soto enjoys a river cruise with his family in Bundesrepublik Deutschland circa 1992.

Above the sink are plants that have been thirsty since 2014.