This isn’t something I was intending to write yet. I’m going to be honest though, I was drinking and I got to thinking about him so couldn’t help myself. Don’t worry. I don’t write inebriated for the most part — I will start a draft, close it, and finish it another time as I am now.
My Pops, my Dad, my Father, my Hero, my Man, my Idol, my Map; has saved my life.
Probably more than I can recall. I’m sure he knows more than I do. This is about the one time, though. The one time he had a conversation with me that I know he remembers maybe more than any other.
I’ve heard it a lot of times from his perspective, but I’m not sure yet I’ve shared it from mine. This will be the closest in the timeline yet that I have written about — to when I lost my mind.
I was still in the mental hospital at this point, Kahi Mohala. It is a facility that I volunteered (was deftly convinced) to put myself in after being bailed out of jail, in tow of my Mother. I remember trying to hide from the “Yakuza” in the car seat — backed all the way down so nobody could see me, on the way there. It wasn’t even just on the way there. We stopped at another facility beforehand that didn’t have the capacity? Or something. Before that we went to the Punchbowl memorial. That is when I remember realizing I was being “followed”, though it wasn’t even the tenth time I’d made that realization in the preceding few days.
If you go to the memorial today, I remember signing the guest book. It was 2008. If the page is still there I may have signed it Trevor, Trayber, Travor, Trebor, or otherwise. It would have been December 24th.
That and my soap totem are a story for another day, though.
I remember my Pops and I sitting in some furniture. It was on the other side of some glass, with an enclosed garden beyond it. There was a, if I remember, budless tree surrounded by rocks within the garden.
I sat in the chair, facing parallel with the glass on its right side. I cannot remember the color — but the pattern was raised, and consistent. It created a sense of comfort.
Pops sat nearest to me in the corner of a sofa. The sofa was placed in a ninety-degree rotation of the chair, facing to view out the glass. It was of the same fabric. I need to place the scene very deliberately because that is the last I can remember of it.
Everything else I can remember is the pure intensity in his eyes.
I wrote earlier that I was deftly convinced to volunteer myself unto this place. It couldn’t have been seventy-two hours after that — I decided I was perfectly sane and should be released. Pops’ entire mission was to convince me not only to stay, but that I wanted to stay, and he succeeded.
He remembers the exact words he used with much more lucidity than I. What is in my memory though is that he made me feel like I needed the people in that place. Not only for my future as a functioning adult in society, but as a person.
Pops remembers convincing me to stay because I needed the doctors to tell the lawyers and the judge that I was just some kid that made a mistake and needed to learn from it. I remember him convincing me that those doctors, and those nurses, actually had my best interests in heart.
That I was safe. That I was where I should be and that I wasn’t okay.
It was like a pinhole camera. My Dad was the light and he found his focus, holding on for dear life — my dear life. I was not at this time capable of looking outside my insanity. I was still bopping to random Beyonce songs on the radio and drawing really uninteresting tribal shapes thinking I was some sort of messiah.
He broke through, though. I can only explain how by the intensity of the love that he had within his eyes when he spoke to me. I’m not sure I have ever seen so much concern and care in a man’s eyes before. It makes me feel like a better person just thinking about it now. The connection he made with me, and with his eyes in that time — legitimately brought me into a moment of true, realistic, clarity.
I don’t remember what it looked like, but I know he does. He’s told me about it. That he could see my body language, facial expression, and own eye contact — return to normal for just the slightest of moments. Enough for it to register.
It wasn’t shortly after I went into an existential conversation about how the Devil & Angels live among us and I am a combination of them both realized — or some such nonsense of the like.
I stayed, though. Without much more complaint or argument.
Details of my time in there are still rather fuzzy for me, but I did stay, and did behave; as well as have a number of the patients enjoy spending time with me. I did the activities and talked about my feelings and must have balanced out a bit — because I was out a week or so later.
Another powerful memory I have about that place was leaving it. I can remember how satisfying it was to finally smoke a cigarette again. To smoke it just outside the premises before getting in the car with my Mom to a hotel room. It gave the experience such finality to me, at least the Kahi Mohala portion of it.
I still wasn’t right for a long time, and I’m not sure if I ever will be. There’s definitely a lot less wrong with me today maybe than ever before in my life. I owe a lot of that to all the support I got from everyone throughout the ordeal.
In this piece though, in this moment in time, I owe it all to Pops.
Thanks for being there for me, Dad. Thank you for finding a way to get through to me that day. I’m not sure anyone else could have.
Thank you for reading.