Tuesday, January 21, 2014

West of Independence Soundtrack Part 3

To Recap:
1. Willy Porter "Unconditional"
2. David Bowie "Heroes"
3. Journey "Don't Stop Believin'"
4. Matt Hires "State Lines"

5. Toad the Wet Sprocket "Windmills"
6. The Damnwells "Texas"
7. Ian Axel "Gone"

8. Greg Holden "The Lost Boy"

The first time I ran away, my mother packed for me. I remember standing on the front walkway, my hand gripping the black metal handle of the red wagon into which she had placed my belongings. I was to start my new life with a bag of Mom's soft and sugary ginger snaps, my favorite blanket, and not much else.

I was four years old.

"You might want a big stick," Mom said, standing in the open doorway of the little white house that I would never call home again.

I looked up at her, seeking one final explanation.

"The neighbor's dog," she said, pointing at the fence up the street.

"Oh," I said to her back. She had already stepped inside and was shutting the door.

In spite of following that one last piece of advice from my mother, I never made it past the dog.

Some sticks just don't seem to carry enough weight.

From West of Independence page 90:

Just as it had to other states, the fight over the definition of marriage soon came to New Hampshire. Before long, the hallways and classrooms at church echoed with fearful comments and excited arguments against gay marriage. I was confused and frustrated; I loved my brothers, and I knew that Jared wanted nothing more in life than to be joined in happiness with someone that would love him without qualifications. That seemed reasonable to me, since it was exactly what Ella and I had been fighting for in our own marriage. The issue for most church members seemed to be the threat posed to the institution of marriage by legally joining two men or women. It was to me a silly notion, the thought that anyone could threaten a marriage other than the two people in it, but I listened earnestly to many of my fellow Mormons as they argued their case. I spent several weeks waiting for a clarity that never came.

I felt like a homeowner standing on his lawn with a dribbling garden hose, watching as a menacing brushfire crept ever closer to everything he owned. I could stand and try to fight back the inevitable, or I could admit defeat and run away. The trouble was that I wasn’t sure which side was the menacing fire.

In an effort to figure it all out and put a permanent end to my wondering, I accepted an invitation by church leaders to carpool up to a public debate on gay marriage at the statehouse in Concord.

We sat in the large auditorium-like chambers of the state legislature and waited for the debate. The government was as slow in action as it had ever been, and we spent a fair amount of time just growing ever more impatient.

I watched as a constant flow of citizens entered the room. The line of demarcation was clear; a long aisle between the many rows of seats separated the opposing points of view. Upon walking through the double doors, people would step almost immediately to the left or the right, heading for the security of their fellows. I found it disheartening that the very room in which people were meant to come together for the good of all had been built as if division were in fact its intended purpose.

Not everyone had clued in on the obvious segregation, however. At one point two men holding hands crossed in front of our group, the limited space between seats causing their legs to brush against the knees of everyone in the row. I was horrified as my father made a show of pulling his legs up into his chest to prevent the gay men’s legs from touching him. As he did so, I heard him half-mutter, “I wouldn’t want it to rub off on me.”

My head was floundering in a pool of disbelief. I knew Dad to be intolerant in private, but had never seen such an outward display of hatred from him in public. I felt a large measure of the respect I had for my father disappear before the two men had reached the end of our row.

9. Rick Springfield "Tear It All Down"

"And all that time, I wished that I could talk to you. I hated myself and all the terrible things I was doing, but I was too afraid, and embarrassed and guilty, and I didn't feel that I could come to you with any of it. I wanted more than anything to talk to you about it and hear you tell me that you knew what I was going through, and that I wasn't going to hell, and that you still loved me. But I was too afraid to tell you, and so I buried it and tried to live with all the guilt and hate that I felt for myself." 

Rain slapped against the windshield of Dad's parked minivan, blurring the world outside.

"I just wish it could have been different between us; I wish I could have talked to you," I added softly as the tears dried up.

Newly married and desperate for aid in overcoming my absolute misery, I had just revealed every one of my darkest secrets to my father. If he had ever wondered as to my carnal desires and what I might have done to either suppress or satisfy them, he wouldn't have to anymore. I felt vulnerable but good, having said things to my father that I had carried around deep within myself for years.

The engine clicked and pinged as it cooled. I sat still and quiet, fighting impatience as I allowed Dad time to process my confession and all that it meant for our relationship.

"I often wondered what I would tell you boys should one of you ever asked me if I had done any of those things," Dad began at last.

I looked at my father. This was our moment; after this evening we would move forward not so much as father and son, but rather as equals on level ground.

"And you know what I decided?"

I looked away and waited for his next words, knowing that after hearing them, things between us would be different.

"It's none of your damn business," he said curtly.

My side of the car seemed to sink as he opened his door and stepped out onto the pavement. He slammed the door behind him, and I wasn't startled by the sound. I turned to watch him cross the driveway, his shoulders hunched against the rain.

By the time he had disappeared into the house, I knew that things would indeed be different between us.

From West of Independence page 122:

But I knew for a fact that Dad had his own share of bad habits and carnal appetites to overcome. I had witnessed his hypocritical self-righteousness first hand. When I had once called him out on one of his own stumbling blocks, he had shared with me the ever popular “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” excuse that gave him and so many others the right to sin and run away from the consequences.

10. Greg Laswell "Sweet Dream"

Since Jared died, we have done a lot together. We have driven across burning deserts, paddled quiet rivers under the northern lights, watched movies in dark and empty theaters, and one night he even taught me to fly.

I love to hate waking up.

From West of Independence page 143:

Since he worked nights, Jared had to sleep at some point during the day. He would often crash on our couch, covering himself from head to toe in a blanket so that he could sleep in relative darkness. Ella would chase the kids outside or upstairs so he would not be disturbed.

While I loved having Jared there to laugh and joke with, it was while he lay sleeping on our couch that I felt the happiest. My little brother was asleep on my couch during daylight hours, and I was okay with it. I felt that I had become the loving brother that Jared had always needed, rather than the self-appointed surrogate father that I had always been.

11. HYUNA "Bubble Pop"

A co-worker once caught me dance-driving back to the office after a lunch meeting. She told the entire company that she had seen me popping my shoulders, bobbing my head, and singing into the steering wheel with an enthusiasm that made Richard Simmons seem comatose in comparison. I think it might have been a Cher song, but I can't won't recall...

The months after Jared's death were without question the darkest of my life, but there were a few sources of light that kept me from living under a total eclipse. One source was most unexpected, arriving in the form of my little brother (Connor). He would sit in our kitchen for hours, strumming his guitar to Korean pop songs that he had found on YouTube. Most of the kids' homework assignments that year were completed to the uplifting beats and cheerful foreign lyrics about bubbles and shy boys.

I have downloaded a number of those songs to my iPod, and they kept my feet on the pedals as I biked from the top of Utah to the bottom last year. I find it impossible to remain sad and still when these songs are sounding against my eardrums.

Plus, the girls are much cuter than Cher.

From West of Independence page 155:

As we passed them by and continued our way through the fallen stone trees, I felt sad for Connor. He knew what he wanted out of life, but for some time he had harbored less than little hope of getting it.
Had he asked me, I would have told Connor that he would know a relationship was worth having if the changes he was willing to initiate within himself to make it last were the most ambitious and difficult of his life. They would not be the juvenile changes that stem from an initial attraction. They would eclipse the willingness to shop for shoes, watch chick flicks, or enjoy the company of her overbearing best friend. The changes would be almost impossible to initiate, painful to follow through on, and would at times test his resolve beyond belief and reason.

Had he asked, I would have also told him that they would be worth it in the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment