Ride.

Megan is an Extrovert — with introverted tendencies. I am an introvert, which I have written about a few times. This means that we’ve literally had to work with our marriage counselor about talking, and how much of it I can handle.

How to properly express myself when there has been too much talking and I need to take a break from it. Likewise, for Megan to see this as not being a slight against her and to be able to respond calmly with understanding in kind.

True communication. Recognizing, at base, who each other are as people so that the small things that pile up on a day by day basis do not tear us apart from the foundations. True love in that fashion as well. We love each other with such depth that we want to continually work to communicate better, and reduce the daily friction that occurs between people.

One of the ways we do this is by experiencing things together in which we are not allowed, or cannot easily talk.

Something that we can then have an entire conversation about afterwards that I am not only engaged in, but am incredibly excited to jabber in detail. Movies either at home or in the theater, musicals, plays, and I’ve even dragged myself to some ballet with Megan as it was Swan Lake, after all.

We do plenty of experiences with talking as well, usually to a bar or a sporting event. I really like to listen to people talk in public. Some people call it eavesdropping, I call it observation. So when Megan and I are in a place where I feel like people could and would be doing the same to me, I don’t like to talk very much. I’m a fairly private person in public. Loud spaces make me more me — I’m willing to speak my mind more freely when the evidence in front of me tells me I am much harder to be heard.

Funny to write about being a private person in public, considering all this private information I am writing about myself for the world to see. Though, when it comes to representing myself in writing, I’ve pretty much been free with myself online since before my teens. Also at least, when it comes to who I am as a person — I don’t mind people being able to read it. My thoughts can be edited here — I’m bad at editing my spoken word at times.

Back to experiences, though. Ones where Megan and I don’t get to talk much. I’m going to write a sentence now that I think some people have a hard time understanding — or it will offend them.

Every time I get on my motorcycle I am comfortable with the idea that it may be my last time.

Megan and I haven’t spoken about it yet, though I am sure we will before this is posted in the morning. I am fairly positive she is comfortable with this now, too — and I never begrudge anyone who isn’t. You have to be to get on one of the things. If you don’t think about that decision before getting on one, you should.

Recently Megan and I truly started riding together. I have owned my motorcycle for four years and crashed it twice. Once my fault, the other not. It’s been two years since my last accident. I learn more through my accidents than anything else, and I learned a lot from those.

Don’t think I am a newbie, either. I grew up riding dirt bikes with my friend Jake in his back yard. Took the motorcycle class, got my endorsement, and then rode a moped for a significant amount of miles in Hawai’i before I got wasted and it got stolen.

Riding a motorcycle is like the rest of life, you can be cautious, but it is just as unpredictable.

So to have Megan finally comfortable, so comfortable and trusting she closes her eyes on rides, means the world to me. We do not ride dangerously, we ride extremely defensively and can count out by number when we get home how many accidents we avoided — as well as where we could have died had we not been aware.

We go on these rides together, sharing an experience that no one else will ever get. We see the breathtaking Colorado landscape and sunset — carving in the curves along it.

Knowing full well that if this is our last, it’s our last together.

That is one of the very best things about riding my motorcycle with Megan. It is an experience we share together where at any moment, we could both perish. I know that sounds terrifying to people — but I have have found that being scared of death itself is a great way to not actually live. It’s a great way to hold yourself back from things you want.

When Megan and I get on that motorcycle together, we are comfortable with the idea of Death taking us under its cloak and never letting go. We’re not asking for it, we don’t want it. We sure as hell don’t spend the entire ride worrying about it, though.

No, it’s that slight level of fear that is needed to ride and stay safe. The one that can be acknowledged but conquered. With warm air flowing all around, and a rumbling engine beneath. It’s that feeling of taking back some of the choices life makes for us, and making a choice for ourselves. Doing and experiencing what we want, because it makes our daily life more enjoyable and brings us closer together as people and as a couple.

Riding is one of the many things Megan and I do as opposites so that we can communicate better and enjoy each others’ company better. It’s quickly become one of our very favorite things to do now that Megan is so much more comfortable than she used to be.

Now we can go through this year’s catalogue to pick out a better seat and louder pipes for the highway — because the thing is completely paid off! I wrote about catharsis and football, how there are things that give me great release. I just feel better about life after a ride. Not even football compares to how happy and complete I feel as a person — when Megan is on the back of my motorcycle and we are riding through beautiful scenery.

I’m really happy that as the years go on we are still finding new ways to properly enjoy and appreciate each others’ company. I look forward to seeing what rides we map out next in life.

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms
Featured photo by Trevor Elms, Megan Elms Pictured. ©2017

 

Not Enough.

Try as I might, there just wasn’t enough time for me to do everything I wanted this weekend. Including writing a full story like I have been lately. Been wanting to write about time and what it means to me, but haven’t been able to find the words yet.

Since there were strong feelings in me about a lack of time, I wrote another new poem to take care of my inability to write one thousand plus words.

It’s about doing what we can with the time we have.

Not Enough.

Time flies by.

It’s wont to do,
whether we want it to —

or not.

Oftentimes this is the hardest thing for me.

Bought.

Time can’t be.
Fleetingly, flippantly —

frighteningly,

finite.

For what is it?

Fraught but with —
fingerprint.

‘Swhat we leave.

If not,
’tis but breeze in kind.

We know the begin —

but cannot the end.

Sometimes to come,
an effervescent rend.

When time sequentially serenades
a solliloquy somberly —

stop.

Smell sunflower, something —
or other.

Remember your bedrock.

Take support, gain cover.

Time runs out.
Not a wonder.

Enjoying what we have,
while striving for more.

Brings happiness.

Can’t guarantee without a blunder,
but happiness —

happiness that can’t be given a number.

 

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms.
Featured photo by Trevor Elms ©2017

Human Just Like You.

Remembering the prompt for this one is tough. Thinking it was that I had to write a story of someone oppressed with a classmate, senior year in high school. We ended up writing a simple rhyme with a message that I enjoyed, but I just don’t like simple rhymes. They don’t do much for me. Not to say this isn’t simple, just less so.

I wrote this because I got tired of hearing the word “gay” used as a way to describe things people don’t like. I have a number of gay family members who are some of the best people I know on this planet. Not to mention my other friends from all different walks of life. Love and let live.

So this was meant to have an impact and be pretty visceral.

All you have to do is spend a little time on the internet to see how frequent stories like these used to be, and still are. Marginalizing and mistreating people just because they are different from you is not okay. If it is something they have no control over, that isn’t directly negatively affecting anyone else — they deserve to be treated like humans with respect.

I was also just a fairly angry person at this point in my life. Going back and reading a lot of the things I was writing, I can see why my Mother was concerned about me. I have edited this significantly — the original work needed some help.

Human Just Like You.

There was a boy named Beau,
had a habit of wearin’ his mother’s clothes.

High-heels, lipstick, even pantyhose.

In his mind conflict would grow.
Sexual preference society would sew.

Beau’s first love — found in teenage years.

His name — Louis Stears,
Valedictorian senior year.

When Beau looked in those eyes he saw them gleam.
All he wanted to be — Louis’ prom queen.

Beau had a “problem”, one clinically and clergically prescribed,
in his world he was attracted to men’s thighs.

When Beau asked it took Louis by surprise.
He answered simply “No you faggot! You fuckin’ like guys?”

Beau turned around, went home and cried.

Louis rolled in with a forty-five and a shovel,
along with some friends to help move the rubble.

Louis broke in while Beau was in bed,
immediately the forty-five cocked to his head.

Louis stated “Any last words before I make you dead!?”
These are Beau’s last words this is what he said,

“I may be gay and a faggot to you,
but by pulling that trigger you’re killing a human,
just like you.”

Louis pulled the trigger and ended Beau’s life,
a brave boy who only faced strife.

 

 

Thank you for reading.

©2008 Trevor Elms.
Re-worked ©2017, Trevor Elms.
Featured photo by Trevor Elms ©2015, Sculpture by unknown.

Superman.

Haven’t been reading all that many comic books lately. Not sure why. I think a lot of it has to do with my free time. I want to be writing or doing something else. Sure when the winter comes around again and Megan and I aren’t able to go on so many rides — I’ll be reading more regularly again.

Even though I’m not reading them much at the moment, comic books and their characters are very much a part of who I am. My pantheon, if you will. I’ve written more subtlety at times, and others not; I’m not a believer. So when it comes to symbols and moral compasses that I like to identify with and have a sense of “faith” with,

comic book super heroes fill that space.

One of them above all I really see as the manifestation of being a good person, symbol of positivity, and hope. Superman. If I am ever having a moment where I don’t know what to do, or feel like my issues with my emotions might get the better of me. I just think of Clark Kent.

I wasn’t always this way. For the longest time Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern was my favorite super hero. He still is, to an extent. Originally I loved him because that was the longest and coolest comic book I had growing up. It was a collection of the original Hal Jordan origin, a few other issues, an Alan Scott issue, and then a Kyle Rayner issue or two. If you don’t understand these names, that’s okay. I love Hal Jordan because he is a brash ladies’ man with a cool ring that can do anything with imagination.

That was my kinda gig growing up. I wanted to be and was that guy, with a really powerful imagination and some major reckless abandon. Come twenty-thirteen and Man of Steel, though, everything changed.

At this time I was not much of a Superman person, and I hadn’t read all that many comic books either. Just the stack of thirty or forty I had growing up, none of them being about him. Plus all the New 52 and Post Crisis Green Lantern I had read at the time. I subscribed to the general idea that Superman was a boring character and was overpowered, and I really only read comics for GL.

Man of Steel was on my radar purely because it is a Zack Snyder film.

Zack is the director that really took hold of me with his visuals and unabashed style in my teenage years. My brother Alan introduced me to his first movie Dawn of the Dead not long after it came out on DVD. By the time 300 came around I was able to see ‘R’ rated movies in theaters, and did so for the first time when it released.

Watchmen got me particularly interested in actually heavily reading comic books beyond the ones I grew up with — not long after my mental break with reality. It kind of reawakened that spark.

So when I discovered Zack was working on a Superman movie, I was all in. Didn’t have to watch any trailers and didn’t even want to. Since I had some negative preconceptions about Superman I felt like this was the only way to go in — completely blind. Used to do it less, but I am doing it more and more these days. I honestly think it makes films better — to go in blind.

Know the genre, director, actors, screenwriter, studio — what have you, ignore the trailers. In my experience anyways. If you’re on the fence, by all means. If you already know you are going to go? Why bother spoiling any aspect of it for yourself?

I think this is the best thing I did. Not only that, I went to see Man of Steel completely alone, weeks after release, in a nearly empty theater. That may sound super lonely to some people, and if it does — you can’t imagine how stoked I was.

man_of_steel_poster_3_-625393010135

I’m quite the introvert. Alone time doesn’t make me feel alone, it makes me feel complete. I like to spend time with people but it really drains my energy more than anything else.

That’s why I love Megan so much, she’s one of the few people who wears down my energy incredibly slowly. I still need time away even from her and the pets to center myself, but not anywhere near as often as I do from people. The dreaded people.

Because of this — a nearly empty theater with no one’s crinkling, crying, coughing, or chattering, was great. It also meant that when the movie was loud enough I could do what I like to do in intense moments at home — exclaim. Not loudly of course, certainly not loudly enough to be heard from the single couple more than ten rows ahead of me.

Enough that in moments of great triumph I can feel it even more, though. Even just to myself. I love that feeling. Despite a lot of popular opinion that I have found online, I feel like Man of Steel is filled with many moments of triumph and hope. It’s what really turned me on to Superman as a character. The pragmatism of Jonathan teaching Clark how to be a good person, because he should be. Not for any other reason. Because it is the right thing to do. There was also the realism and fear of what this dark and judgmental world, prone to anger of things they don’t understand — would do.

It all felt so real to me. Hope, intertwined within this constant barrage of life trying to make it all hopeless.

There really wasn’t anything that made me feel like he was overpowered, too. The thing about Superman that “holds him back” is his humanity. He was also just a kid starting out in Man of Steel, so he was super green and didn’t know what he was doing. His humanity would get in the way during the fights though. Either from when he lost his cool for his mother being attacked — causing him to bring the fight into Smallville which gets laid waste. To in the same fight saving a helicopter pilot from a death plunge, leaving him open for attack.

There was just such practical good person and hopefulness throughout the whole movie for me. The real life kind. Which is hilarious considering the subject matter of a man flying around in tights and a cape.

Man of Steel was the movie that got me to start reading Superman comics, which then blew open the doors of the rest of the DC Universe for me, which then blew open the doors of Marvel Universe (616), the Mignolaverse, The Walking Dead, etc. etc.

Superman, though. Superman is my symbol.

I am a person that does not believe in any established higher being, I am one of a very populated species on a rock floating in space that circles around a star. In a universe riddled with billions of floating rocks following this same pattern. It’s hard for me to believe there isn’t other life out there — just based on the pure mathematics of it.

So when I am feeling overwhelmed, enraged, or plain depressed. I can think about the guy in blue tights and a red cape with a giant “S” on his chest. Typically he’s smiling and telling me to pick my head up, ’cause he’s got my back.

He’s a good person, like me, just trying to get through life day by day. He just happens to have more power than you and I. So he chooses to make a difference.

I think whoever your Superman is, if they’re doing the same for you as he is for me, then they’ve got to be a pretty good person. Just follow their lead.

Superman-2
Art by Tim Sale & Bjarne Hansen ©1998

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms
Featured image by Frank Quitely & Jamie Grant. ©2005

Stubborn Heart Part One.

Previously posted part two first. Didn’t know if this one could be found or if I wanted to. This is one of the angrier things I have written. From my angsty teenage self with unrequited love that I felt I deserved.

Times change.

I don’t believe the person who I wrote this about has read it, and we aren’t in touch so I’m not sure if she ever will. I certainly don’t hold on to these things anymore.

Stubborn Heart Part One.

Fuck me?
Fuck me?

No. Fuck you, Kei.

I was always there for you! Day in, day out!
Waiting for you to come through my door and tell me you needed me.

You never called me! You always had bullshit to do, I had to put forth the effort.
I wanted to see you, I never gave you any reason to be mad at me before!

Then, this one friggin’ time I blow up at all the shit you throw in my way…

you never wanna speak to me again?
Well fuck you too!

I’m sorry I got tired of hearing about your sexcapades.
I am in love with you ya know,
that shit hurts.

It hurts to think about you sleeping with some guy,
seconds before I pass out.

It sucks that your face clutters my fuckin’ head!

So filled with emotions revolved around you!

No, fuck you!

How many times did I tell you how I feel, huh?
You just brushed it off like I was some stranger!
I wasn’t the only one to confess my love for the other in a drunken phone call.

But you never wanted to talk about it.

So as I lift these chains off my demolished, debilitated, destroyed heart.

Fuck you.

I gave everything.
I lost everything.
Fuck you.

Used to think I was empty without you,
you know what I realized?

My life is full.
I have family, friends, and myself.
I don’t need you, guess I never did.

So you know what?

When you want a real man in your life, call me, I might know someone.
But not me, that train left today.

So fuck me Kei, that solved everything.

 

Thank you for reading.

©2008 Trevor Elms
Featured photo by Trevor Elms ©2015

Gun.

Recently I wrote in my story Grocery about my fears of losing my mind and potentially going to jail for it. This is going to be the story of how I kept my cool as best I have since my legal troubles — and how I nearly went to prison for it anyways.

I was on probation for felonies, aware that this meant I was unable to own a gun. My awareness however seemed to skip over the fact that I could not even handle a gun. For months I’d been going up to the mountains shooting with a friend.

I am comfortable with and know how to properly handle a firearm.

At this time I was working for Hustle Paintball — and if I wasn’t the Operations Manager yet, was very close to it. Small place, I got in at the basement. I was “important”. Because of this I knew the combination to the gun safe as well as the fact that it already had a handgun with a round in the chamber — and a full magazine to go in case of emergency. I want to say it was a glock.

I look forward to when I do, because I can — I have not held a gun since last holding that one.

I was working late in our first retail location. We had extended some hours of the week to around eight at night and took shifts taking care of it. This was paintball, and I love the sport — but we had plenty of bad customers like any industry.

The particular type of customer I am talking about is the kind that likes to talk really big, buy really small, and then return something after it has been used for a full day. That type of customer.

We as a respectable establishment had allowed it to go on long enough, and stopped allowing it. Then the customer stooped to sending his kid in alone, trying to guilt us into giving the refund.

I had finally had it that day. I wasn’t going to give him the refund no matter what. I explained to the kid exactly what his dad was doing and how it wasn’t cool. That no person with respect would be doing that.

I don’t think dad liked that very much. After the kid left the store, most likely to relay everything just said — he came in with a very large huff.

Now I am not a large man, but I am not small either. I’m more of an actual man now, physically than I was then — and it seems I have gotten slightly taller as well. I was at this time a good 5′ 11″ (and some change), 195 lbs., though.

This chucklehead about my height, maybe a little shorter — looked like his upper half was just sweating with the steroids in his blood stream. Certainly seemed to enjoy his tanning beds, too.

Hey, you do you, I got no problems with it — just don’t be this guy aside from that. I’m only describing him.

With this wild character established, I can continue about how he charged in across an overly large, open, and empty retail area. He had such purpose and anger in his strides. It was really a sight to behold — how confident he was that his money was going to be returned to him and that he would be allowed to continue shopping at the establishment. Like a retail location can’t handle losing a single unreasonable customer.

The veins in his neck were already popping when he addressed me as “kid” — I believe I was twenty-one at this time. Definitely a kid in many ways, definitely didn’t like being called that. It’s been long now and I tuned him out enough during — so I can’t remember minute details of the dialogue.

I just remember a lot of flapping arms and pointing, with threats of friends and loss of money.

I remember telling him politely over and over that his business was no longer allowed at the establishment. That we would not be accepting his return or his refund, as our legal return policy stated we did not have to — and that I would like him to leave the premises as soon as possible. That he was now trespassing.

I knew there were cameras watching, which was a good thing. I however did not think about the fact that they did not record audio. A big mistake I made in being able to press charges or not at the end of this whole ordeal was the fact that I did not point to the exit. I don’t think this is an experience I will go through again as I do not ever intend to work in retail again, but I will never forget that mistake — nor will I repeat it.

Angry-Chicken-Leg-Muscle-Man, didn’t want to hear any of it and refused to go anywhere.

So I did the next best thing, I pretended to give him what he wanted. I told him that if he walked calmly to the superfluous foyer we had, that I would go into the office and process his refund (as I needed to use “managerial computer powers” to do so). I would then walk out of the office, cash in hand and give it to him. The caveat being he had to wait patiently and quietly.

This is when I made a decision for my and others’ safety that could have changed my life forever.

I was not at the store by myself, though I was the only one at the store running it. A couple of friends and one of their girlfriends were there. One of them was at the time the resident part-time paintball marker tech and he was doing maintenance on a bunch of them.

When I walked into the office, which Mr. Aggressive could see through a window from the foyer; I went directly to the gun safe. Made another mistake here — know the gun was a glock now. Did just about everything correctly, I pulled it out of the safe, barrel down towards the ground. Proper finger discipline straight out along grip, above the trigger, not touching it. Then I slipped this loaded and ready firearm with no standard safety — into my waistband.

Mr. Aggressive did not take kindly to this action and left the premises immediately. He then called the cops from his truck. I’m very happy he called the police officers, I just wish they could have arrested him for falsifying a report. This man had already showed his true colors earlier trying to use his kid as a guilt chip on adults for a whack refund request. He took it a step further though when he told the police that I pointed the gun at him, cocked to the side like some wannabe gangster and said:

“You scared, bitch? You want some?”

I get if you’re going to try and embellish to make a point, but at least make it somewhat believable. Thank goodness for those cameras. The police officers honestly seemed inclined to believe him until I showed them the footage. That was only the beginning of my concern, though.

I remember them asking me if there was anything I needed to tell them for the report. Couldn’t tell at that time if they had already run my details and were probing — or if they actually didn’t know. So I told them all about my probation and what I was going through. I told them my concern and that I really didn’t want this to negatively affect my recovery and rehabilitation as a citizen.

I was honest.

If they hadn’t before, I know they did after this because things took an even more serious turn. It went from them asking me questions like I was a victim — to treating me like a criminal. They told me to sit tight and that they needed to get in touch with their superior. I got to sit for a good long while.

If I remember correctly it was about forty five minutes later one of the officers came back with more warmth again. He reminded me that I am on probation for some serious felonies and that I cannot handle a gun. He asked me if I understood that. I told him I understood that I could not be in possession of one by law, but I took that to mean I could not own one. Not that I could not touch one. I was educated this is not the case.

Some may call it luck, I call it being a responsible adult. I was let off with a warning.

I know they talked to my P.O. for a time, I think a lot of me getting let off and not being charged with breaking my probation — is how responsible I was about it.

I did not miss an appointment. I was not ever late. I was always in touch and kept them up to date. I took my probation extremely seriously from day one because I had friends growing up that got on probation for the smallest thing and were still on it ten years later because they couldn’t make smart decisions. Probation gave me the discipline I didn’t manage to learn growing up.

To this day, though. As a normal functioning citizen that is not seeking trouble, this is the most I had feared for my safety and others — from another human being. I feel pretty proud of myself for keeping my calm and for taking care of the situation in a really logical fashion. Especially because at this time I was not taking medication or admitting to my mental illness.

I’m not exactly sure what the deeper meaning is in this one other than keep your cool, be smart, and learn from your mistakes.

It’s not the easiest thing to do all these things, all the time. Though I do think striving to can help us through a lot.

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms.
Featured photo by Douglas Montgomery ©2011, Trevor Elms pictured.

 

 

Last Time.

Normally I will start with a little explanation about my poems. This is a new one that I recently wrote while thinking about past choices. I will be going into more detail at the bottom, because I think explaining the poem at the start could potentially hurt my desired readings of it.

Last Time.

It’s funny,

for the longest time I wanted to remember you.

Give you a ritual,
a grand finale,
one for the ages!

A beautiful view,
alone and introspective,
with the wind blowing across my face…

us two.

But it never was you, was it?

A facade,
fake,
false.

No, no, the forgotten one.
You’re it.
Not a memory to go with you.

Never will I ever remember you.

I think I should thank you for that,

my lack of ‘membrance.

There’s nothing now to tie me to you,
make me think about you.

Nothing about me misses you,

my last cigarette.

 

I’d noticed that I have written about cigarettes multiple times in my work now. It made me want to write about the fact that I have quit them. I am not yet ready to write the story about that journey, but this poem will suffice for now.

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms.
Featured photo by Trevor Elms ©2016

 

 

Belt.

Belts are great. They hold up your pants. Especially for men like me who have nothing to hold up their pants without one. There is a particular belt I own that means the world to me, twice over. It’s the twice over part that gets me.

You see, when I took this belt that I am talking about; from my grandfather’s corpse. I expected to hold on to it for the rest of my life. It’s a symbol to me, at that very moment it became one. The Model-T on that belt buckle is like my “S” insignia, it became hope.

If you have been following my writing for some time I am sure you have read about my cousin, Paul. Paul was the little brother I never had. He looked up to me with these eyes. Eyes I have only been able to enjoy again since my nieces and nephews began to use them. He was also my best friend at the same time — because we were exactly two years apart. So it flipped between the two, but more often than not he would look at me with such admiration. He did it more as I got older, and I still miss it dearly.

It’s this reason why no matter what anyone tells me, I feel a particular guilt about his loss.

I know he had plenty other influences around him, and I saw him but maybe twice a year for most of our lives after our early childhood — but damn do so many of those times define me. I want to think they did him too.

I remember before he was even smoking cigarettes — riding bicycles to town so I could go buy some. He would ask to have one and I would oblige, knowing full well if he wanted to no one was going to stop him anyways. It’s not the sharing that sticks out to me, it’s the bicycle ride.

Just like my friend Alex, so much of the time I spent with Paul was purely with him. Just him. We didn’t need or want anything else, and so many memories I have of him are like titanium encrusted across my brain. So a lot of the things I said and did, I feel like they stuck with him.

Like I wrote, I know there were a multitude of other influences and I was far from the largest. But I still did then and now feel a modicum guilt for the path he went down and ended at. Paul made his own choices, but I think with any loss we feel like there is more we could have done.

This is going to be about what I did do, though. I gave him the belt.

It’s funny, thinking on it — I didn’t even physically hand it to him. I believe I gave it to my Mom and she gave it to my Aunt Mary to give to him. That titanium memory though is from Megan and I’s wedding. May 4th, 2013. Just over four years ago now.

Belt 2
From left to right: Paul Perkins, Mary Pillivant Perkins, Kevin Perkins at the Elms/Taft wedding. Photo by unknown. ©2013

The wedding was over. The reception was over. It was the after party. I can’t remember which relative’s room we were in, but it was facing on the starboard side of the hotel. There were two beds, most likely queen — it was in the Boulderado in Boulder, CO, which is a historic and old place. You know the deal, shiny whites and golds, filigree, encrusted and rimmed mirrors, don’t forget the pretty chandeliers. This room wasn’t filled with all those things, but there were two windows on the far side facing as you walked in.

Paul and I stood amongst the room that was so loud we got called in on a few times. We were center, in front of the beds. Center again, in the gap between the door and the windows. Center. In a world of our own. We just stood there and talked. It’s one of those conversations I only got to have with him once and I was looking forward to checking in on it a few years later to see how things progressed.

It started with him telling me he did not like my now wife until that very day.

Something he saw in her, in me, in us that day. It made him realize something about growing up. How he didn’t exactly know everything. He apologized for it and we had a great heart to heart about him getting to know Megan better.

There was alcohol involved, but I know we both remembered this whole conversation clear as day. Since he had already broached serious subjects I decided that it was the perfect time for me to have yet another talk about his health, and making the right decisions — not putting his body in danger by making bad ones. I was well within my recovery at this time. I was not off probation, but I was on emails only at that point.

I said to him, after probing questions about what his plans were over the next couple years,

“Paul, I’m going to give you Grandpa’s belt. Understand something. If you fuck up again I am going to take it back. I don’t want it back, you don’t want to give it back. It’s Grandpa’s belt.”

He was over the moon about it. I remember him calling me after he got it and being concerned about needing to put a hole in it.

“Paul, Grandpa had a fatter waist than me, I put a hole in it. No worries, wear the thing.”

I really, truly, never wanted that belt back. I am not going to lie, I missed it sometimes. When I would see him and he wasn’t wearing it, I got bummed out — but I know he wore it. From my own recollection, family’s… and how worn that new hole is.

This is why I say the belt means the world twice over to me. I took it off my Grandfather, I hoped to inspire my cousin, and now I keep them alive inside and on me with that belt. I think about them both every day. I have them with me every day.

What I wouldn’t give, though. To be bummed about him not wearing that belt when he could be.

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms.
Featured photo by Trevor Elms ©2017

Grandpa.

March of 2008, my Grandfather died. This is the first loss I truly felt of someone who I had known throughout my entire life, extremely closely. I had lost others but this was the most impactful for me, expected or otherwise in my life — at that time.

Not the least of which because I was at a “job fair” with some friends and got the phone call while there. I raced home to see my grandfather lying face-up, dead, on the kitchen floor. All the same things he was usually wearing. Glasses, pocket protector, plaid shirt, jeans, velcro shoes, and his belt.

There’s a story that is going to be written about that belt. Suffice it to say I took it off his still warm corpse and I am wearing it as I type this out. There’s a lot more to it than that, though. Unfortunately. That, however, is for another day.

This poem is what I wrote about my Grandfather and shared at his wake. It still makes me emotional.

Grandpa.

Power Wheels,
the History Channel,
denchers,

and a three hour conversation that came from saying you wanted cheese on your burger.

Some of the best memories in my life involve that man.

He will be held in my hand,
heard in my voice,
worn on my waist,
and seen in my pupils.

When I look at that pink building, Gramps.
I’ll hear you, just like I can hear you hollerin’ as I open some pudding.

And I’ll remember,
one of the best men I knew, was proud of me.

I love you Grandpa.

Thank you for reading.

©2008 Trevor Elms
Featured photo taken by unknown, from left to right: Gary Pillivant, Alice Pillivant

 

Grocery.

Feeling a little drained of my writing juice again. One must push on, though. We don’t get better or accomplish anything by sitting on our laurels. Now I am at the point of writing in multiple drafts before I hit my groove and finish one. Maybe I finish this on this sentence, or maybe I go to another draft and keep writing. One will be finished.

I’ve felt I was beginning to ramble a bit there but I think that is a good thing. Sometimes I still ramble, and sometimes I am still really uncomfortable and just don’t feel mentally healthy. A thing that I no longer feel uncomfortable about is going into grocery stores.

Something happened after I lost my marbles. I was terrified of grocery stores. I think the most interesting thing about it is I have always been able to explain it — I even owned it when it was happening. I would refuse to go to grocery stores alone and be very uncomfortable in them. I’m pretty sure when Alex visited me in Hawai’i we only went to ABCs and the like. Mom did the grocery shopping.

I have not been able to explain completely why, but the repetition of all the items made me feel really uncomfortable.

I’d hazard to say it was almost like a form of claustrophobia? There’s plenty of room in grocery stores so that is the worst way to explain it. I felt like all the products on the shelves and produce in the baskets were aggressive. Like they were an army encroaching with knives lodged in their teeth to pounce on me. That was a terribly oppressive feeling to be getting from Aunt Jemima, Mr. Peanut, & the Green Giant.

I felt like shopping carts were warthogs snorting and charging at me. When a squeaky wheel went by it would summon a twitch.

I would still at times have thoughts that the people handing out food samples might want to poison me.

This was after getting out of Kahi Mohala, this was after starting therapy, this was just an every day thing that I had to deal with and fight against. It lasted up until around five or six years ago as well. I have Megan to thank for helping me through it because those feelings don’t come up any more. I used to have even more that I can’t even remember and am happy to be so far removed from the ordeal now that I don’t.

Megan accomplished this feat in the sweetest of ways, too. She would just softly nudge me to go to the grocery store for one thing. In and out. Just continually dip my feet in. I think there was one day where Megan was out of town and I needed to get more than one thing. If I remember correctly she stayed with me on the phone and walked me through the aisles so that I didn’t lose myself in there.

That’s certainly a laughable matter, a grown man getting lost in a grocery store — but I wasn’t laughing at the time. It was a matter that needed to be taken seriously and I needed to keep myself grounded and focused. Otherwise I very well could have just lost myself in an abyss of madness again. Who knows what I could have done the second time, and I surely would have broken my probation, therefore giving me a cool one-hundred-twenty years.

I can’t remember exactly how the DA came up with that one, but I think I remember it having to do with my plea deal then being broken at that point, so the assault would revert to being on a police officer — and they would have the ability to double the max sentence of all crimes committed. That would be a really hairy situation to put myself in over beef jerky looking at me the wrong way.

It’s my awareness about these feelings and the fact that they were unhealthy that differentiated me from the person who makes an irreversible scene. That’s it.

I think that’s something that some people don’t realize about mental illness. I am much more balanced now that I’m far removed from my substance abuse and mental break with reality. For the longest time, though,  I was just on the verge of cracking again.

This was before I got on medication, I was still refusing my diagnosis of being bi-polar. Let’s be honest here too — these things I  was dealing with go a bit beyond bi-polar anyways.

Megan’s small pushes in the direction of getting myself acclimated with them was perfect, though. She wouldn’t ever belittle me or make fun of me for it, but she would totally call out my nonsense and say that it was something I needed to work on to function. That I would need to go to the grocery store at times because she wouldn’t be able to go for me.

When I write it out like that I feel like it may make her sound a bit motherly. She definitely wasn’t motherly. At that time it was more like an embarrassed girlfriend wondering what cuckoo she had gotten herself stuck with. I needed every bit of that.

Megan would often make me laugh at all the ridiculous stuff that coming out of my insanity would cause me to do. The fear of grocery stores sticks out to me most of all — and the others were so minute that I would have to ask her, I have forgotten.

This is another time where I am not sure what the meaning is, but damnit I am going to try and find one, and it’s going to be about conquering your fears. I picked this draft because I just needed to pick something. I had a fear that I wasn’t going to be able to write a full article because I haven’t in a couple days and lost a bit of my spark for it.

Here I am nine-hundred-ninety-five words in. Just a few more to go and I have a full piece to edit and post in the morning. Just like my fear of grocery stores. Conquering it started small but then it grew into something more and more. Until the journey to the end becomes so overbearing compared to the fear of the beginning that you end up seeing the end much sooner than you may have thought.

It’s really nice to set the mind to conquering a fear, and then doing it.

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms.
Featured Photo by Trevor Elms ©2016