From Letters: About That Time

I was thinking about that small place I stayed in. This was a while ago in Fort Lauderdale on the beach. I was not too far away from The Ritz and some of the other glamorous hotels.
In fact, I was only few blocks away. I was down the street from the beach and witness to the morning sunrise.
It was pretty here. Of course it was. I was on the beach seeing beautiful things during an intense time.
But oh, how the ocean does wonderful things. I swear the sound of the waves rushing in was perfect enough to cleanse me the same way the waves cleanse the sands.

Mom was sick. She was in her final year and I was doing my best to keep myself together. This was hard for me. The role reversal was uncomfortable. It was as if I were the parent now. I had to deal with the phone calls from nurses and facility mangers about Mom’s behavior.

The beach though, she was there for me. I walked along in the morning before the day began. I went before people stirred amongst the sand.
I love her best this way. The beach, I mean.
I love her when she is empty because I feel as if she can hear me. The beach, I mean. Mother Nature . . .
I would come here to tell my thoughts and admit my struggles. I would talk and she would listen
The beach, I mean

I was thinking about the crowd that stayed in my little “No-tell” motel. They called this place a motel and luxury apartments. But I swore to disagree.
To me, the rubberized, fake wood, linoleum floors in my small room were far from luxurious. The little air conditioner did its thing but the fan was far from quiet. I had a pink bathroom. That’s right—I had a pink bathroom with pastel shades of coral blue accents.
There was a drunk in the room below me. His name was Tom. I knew all about Tom because he told me all about himself.
He called me Kerouac and said he read some of my stuff.
“It was good,” said Tom.
While he sipped White Label from a dirty paper cup, Tom mentioned, “You should do something with that.”
He said I should look him up if I ever become famous.
Who knows? Maybe I will someday

There was an adult film festival in town. And I know this because some of the presenters and one of the actresses stayed in one of the rooms down the hall. They were older though and from a different generation. They were from the days of the 80’s and still going at it on film.

At nighttime, I walked along the beach near the high-priced places. And meanwhile, farther back where the lights didn’t shine, the South Florida homeless drank and sat in the sands. They fished for their food and talked until the sun came up.

Ever look around at your environment and wonder if this would be the last time you saw places like this?
It was Mom’s birthday; only, she couldn’t really celebrate too much. She had a tough time with food. She hardly ate but we still managed to go out to dinner.
I found a spot near Pompano Beach. The waitress brought out a small piece of cake with a candle in it. Mom was happy about this. She was hunched forward because her spine was curved like an “S.”
Her eyes were somewhat glazed over because of the medications. She was aging. It was hard. But she was Mom. She was always Mom.

I think of all the good things people do in their life. I think of how we age and hope to age gracefully. I think of all we hold onto until one day we come to the understanding that most of what we cling to is unimportant. In the end, all we have is our recollections. Unless we have dementia. In that case, we can just forget about it.
Know what I mean?

Mom had her opinions. She had her opinions about the way I wore my hair. She had an opinion about my tattooed skin.
She laughed about the time I rented the only car left at the airport. It was a little white Fiat, which was pearl white.
I told Mom about the souped up mustang, which was driven by one of two silver foxes.
They were older women—much older in fact, and they pulled up next to me at a light. And there I was, tattooed to the gills, and driving perhaps one of the most feminine automobiles in the world.
They laughed at me. Said, “Nice care,” and then they took off from the traffic light like a race car at the starting line.

Mom just wanted me to be okay. This is what most Moms want for their children. I suppose she was frustrated with the role reversal too.
It will be four years this June.
Four years . . .

Man, that’s a long time without hearing Mom’s voice

But she’s out there, somewhere.
I know she is.
She just speaks differently now is all.
And me, I just need to learn how to listen sometimes.

Sorry Mom. I know it’s been a while since my last letter. Hope all is well with you on the other side. Tell Pop I miss him. Let him know that spring is on its way and if he wants, we can fish at the pond right by my house.

Miss you both

Love always

Your son


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