Friday, April 29, 2005

Stacy Cubed

Dialysis sapped enough strength out of me tonight that I fell asleep and woke up in the presence of my younger self.

I would guess I was about eight years old. Kidney failure had not yet begun to rob me of my youth.

I don't remember being such a cute little guy, but I guess I was. Apparently Sophie from third grade, who adored every step I took, was right.

Anyway, he looked scared as he slowly crept toward my dialysis chair. You could tell my Mom had laid out my clothes that morning because I was wearing plaid pants with a striped shirt.

One of the many sins of the 1970's.

He probably wouldn't have approached me at all, but I could tell in his eyes that he recognized me.

"Hello," I offered as an olive branch.

He looked down and then slowly up, his eyes following the stream of blood back from the machine to my arm.

"That looks painful," he whispered.

"It really is," I whispered back.

He paused, but then you could see an idea flicker into his mind.

"Can you come out and play later?" Like a tidal wave, all my memories of playing in our big backyard came back to me. Some days I was Superman and nothing could hurt me. Others, I was a mad scientist, mixing together whatever I could from the shelves of the garage.

That reminds me, don't mix bleach and ammonia. Thank you.

"I wish I could, but I have to go back to work after I'm done here."

You could just see his face fall at the mention of work. I was never afraid of it, in fact, I took to it like water when I was younger. But every time I would ask my Mom where Dad was, she would always respond, "He's at work."

"Do you listen to the radio?" I asked, knowing full well the answer.

"Yes," he shyly responded.

"I'm one of those guys. I talk on the radio."

His eyes started to brighten a little when I finished my sentence.

"What do you talk about?"

I didn't want to lie to my younger self, but I thought I'd better. If younger me doesn't look to radio for his future, he may end up a drug addict. As my mind was trying to decipher the time paradox brought up in numerous hours of Star Trek, he took my hand.

"Make sure to come out and play later, ok?"

I could feel a tear coming to my eye, so I just nodded and grasped his hand tight.

Before I could say anything more, I could hear my Mom calling younger me.

And then younger me was gone. In his place stood a much dorkier version of present me. I would guess he was about twenty-two, timid and shy, but loaded to the hilt with sarcasm and creativity.

"I know you," was all he could muster in our initial meeting.

Boy did I miss college age me. My hair was thick and sticking out in eighteen different directions. I really miss my old hair, even though it was always dry and never quite went where I instructed it to. I was even gawkier, and I had that look in my eye that told me I hadn't been naked with a woman for at least six months.

"Listen to me very carefully. Come closer."

College me's breath wreaked of pomodoro pasta. And my complexion hadn't yet been introduced to ProActiv. No wonder I had trouble getting laid.

"In about a year, you're going to have a chance to work at Universal Studios because you're too fucking dumb to know any better. When college ends, find a really small radio station and work on your craft, ok?"

You could see that college me was quite shocked by this level of honesty.

"I don't understand."

My past came flooding back, polluted and rank.

"Oh, wait a minute. Before the end of the year, you're going to come home to your dorm and Emilie will be stretched out on your bed."

"Really? Cool!"

My god I was so clueless.

"Shut up. She will be wearing nothing but a tank top and shorts. Whatever you do, don't open your mouth, ok? Don't fucking say a word."

College me was stymied.

"But...ugh...wha," was all my limited college brain could muster.

"Just trust me. And clean yourself up, you're disgusting."

College me got really angry at this point and knocked the medical clipboard off my dialysis machine.

"I know what I need to do. You're just like my father, ordering me around."

"You should listen to Dad, he knows what the fuck he's talking about."

My dialysis machine's alarm went off and startled college me. He turned around and sped for the exit. He gave me one last look.

That must have been the same look I gave my Dad when he was trying to tell me something important.

Everything suddenly became foggy, and then I realized I was still in dialysis. And that my dream was over.

As I was gathering my things, my thoughts swept back to my preceding dream. What if I could have offered myself advice at different stages of my life? Would my life truly be any better?

And than I realized, if I had guided myself through my entire life, I never truly would have learned anything. And I wouldn't be able to become the wise man my father seemed to be.

As I sat down in my truck I noticed it was a little more crowded than usual. For a moment, and only a moment, I saw my college age self with my younger self sitting on his lap.

They were smiling, and ready to continue the journey.

2 comments:

  1. I spent the entire day today trying to locate "College You" to find out exactly what the whole intriguing Emilie story was about. I finally found him and he claimed to know absolutely nothing so I employed my highly-refined torture skills and it was only after 5 hours did I remember that you were warning him of an event that had not yet surpassed.

    I apologize if this somehow will have affected you.

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  2. I miss your posts!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete