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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Empty

I know people like to think that the reason I was crying at the wedding was because I was so happy and so emotional, and just couldn't contain myself, and that the happiness of the occasion is what made me cry tears of joy. And that's what I let them think. Just like Santa Claus, you let people believe what they want to make them feel better. But that's not the case. I know that. I mean don't get me wrong, it was the incredible emotion of the people gathered and the gravity of the situation that made the tears fall, but that wasn't the main reason. The main reason was when I looked out amongst those gathered for me and my new wife, those people all facing forward and hanging on every word, or just sitting politely until the food was served, there were two empty chairs. Two places where there was nobody sitting, nobody was present. There were two empty spots that were never going to be filled in the brief ceremony. Not then or ever. It wasn't just that the seats were empty, it's that at least one of them should have been filled with someone, anyone dammit. I mean shit, everyone else can have both if not several, and here I am over 30 and I can't even fill one chair anymore. You want to talk fair? How exactly does fairness come into play? I'm jealous of my own step-children. You're mad because they meddle too much in your life? Fuck you. At least you have the luxury of being mad at them. Yes, I said luxury. You can talk or not talk at will, any time you want. Those two empty chairs have been there at pretty much every occasion that's important to me. Graduation, boot camp, marriages one and two, meeting new family, funerals that had two empty spots. It's like I'm starring in a play, and I look out at the audience and every spot is filled, or at least reserved, except for two empty chairs. Two places that are reserved but will never be filled. I keep a smile for those present, but inside, it's a gut check. And everything important, every event, every occasion, every trial and accomplishment, every time I am surrounded by the things that make my life worthwhile, I have to look back, and see two empty chairs. And I know, they will always be empty, until that day that I am one of those chairs, for someone else...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The next step

Dear all three of you who have looked at this blog, this is the swan song. The next logical step in my creative evolution is uopn us. I will be taking down this blog in favor of an actual website that contains both the funny and serious, in order to further my machinations. I apreciate the views, and the comments, anynomous or not, and hope you will continue to support me in the future.




www.whoismattjanak.com



This is what I have been striving towards without even knowing it all these years. This website is my baby, I created it, made it, whatever you want to say. And, as with all babies, it's not perfect, but it is to me. I again thank you for considering even the thought of any of my ideas.




Thank you again,

Matt

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The beginning

Okay, so this is the beginning of a story. It's a dream I had last night, and it has no ending or middle or whatever. I was actually one of the three men I describe in the story, but I leave that part out.  I feels like the beginning of a novel or book or political thriller or some shit, but since I've never tried to write that much before, it may never get done or go any further than what you read here. I apologize in advance if that angers you at it's incompleteness, but here goes.



The three men wearing military uniforms walked silently into the lobby of the large office building. Anyone who knows about such things would be able to recognize the uniforms as being out of date, from earlier in the decade, but no one made any such observations audible. The men looked stern and unwavering, the type of look that screams "don't even ask what we're doing here" even though the nearest military base was 200 miles away. The men made their next appearance on the 30th floor of the office building, walking from the elevator down the hall as if they had done so for years and without hesitation. They arrived at the desk of a petite young woman with red hair and business suit, not quite a receptionist but not quite a supervisor either. She looked up at the men surrounding her desk and was immediately crestfallen at the sight of them. She knew what they were here for. They didn't have to say a word as she slowly walked from around her desk and down the hallway to a storage room, her head down in sorrow and shame at the tears starting to show. The men remained at her desk while she was gone, not moving, not looking around, not even making eye contact with each other. She returned with a plain brown packing envelope, it's bulge obvious, and handed it to the older of the three men, without looking up to see his expressionless face. He opened the package, glanced inside, and walked out with a purpose as the other two men followed without hesitation, none of the three having said a word to the young woman, now sobbing with her head in her hands at her desk. The men walked out of the building with the same          
earnestness, and didn't stop until the alley not far from the entrance to the building, yet out of sight from general passers by. The oldest man opened the package and distributed it's contents to the other two, now animated at the sight of what they were being handed. As they looked through the slips of colored paper and polaroids, the younger looking of the three spoke up, "Why didn't he just spend his share and be done with it?" The older man responded, "I don't know, but we're going to find out."       

Sunday, May 15, 2011

get out

Maybe by putting these thoughts down they will get out of my head finally.

In no particular order:

The las ttime I saw my mother she was laying in a bed with tubes up her nose. She looked up at me and looked back down. Never to lay eyes on me again. The next time I saw her it was laying in a coffin, knowing her hair was a wig and her eyes were sewn shut from previous conversations we had. She had too much blush on and _____ asked if they could wipe it off a little. The guy did, much like you would wipe off a previously unnoticed smudge from a  mirror. ______ then asked if her hands could be clasped together, so the man did as _____ asked, and arranged her fucking hands like she was some goddamn doll that had to be positioned a certain way to look pretty. She was wearing a blue dress, my favorite color, even though her favorite color was red. I had to pick out the dress for some reason. A real fun time for a fourteen year old. "Oh hey, we know your mother's dead and you are going home to live out the nightmare you've dreaded more than any perceived monster most children are scared of, but go ahead and pick out a death dress for your mother laying downstairs." I remember sitting outside and talking with _____ for most of the wake. Mainly because of that damn depressing music they kept playing in the funeral home. That combined with the low lighting and the realization of the next day was just too much for a fourteen year old mind I suppose. ______ just fell to pieces at the burial, crying on anyone's shoulder he could find. I got a lot of hugs myself. I remember at the hospital he asked us all to leave the room and we could hear him balling like a baby about how he didn't want to lose his mother. It's been 17 years and we still can't talk about it. I could tell a complete stranger more details about that time then I could ______ or _______. The hardest part for me wasn't until the next day, saturday, when I woke up and _____ and her friend were cleaning the house. It was just, like, what the fuck do I do now? How do I act, where do I go, how do I feel? I remember doing the dishes and Dad yelled at me about something and I just started crying. Not because he yelled at me, just because of the fact that there was no one else. Just me and him. My worst nightmare growing up wasn't of the boogeyman or Jason or Freddy Kruger, it was Mom and Dad getting divorced and having to live with Dad. I always told my mother that, and she always said the same thing, "it's up to the judge". Then one day, boom. I get a call from my aunt ______, and my mothers dead. Ironically the Ken Burns documentary baseball was playing and it was the scene where a famous player had died. Everything just stopped. Like when you're at a party and having a good time and someone turns off the music and the lights come up and you are told to leave. Just, over. That quick. And it's never the same. You may go to other parties and have a good time, but, that first one is gone, forever. In one instant my toys were no longer entertaining to me, what made me laugh just an instant before no longer did. The bubble was burst. The innocence lost for good, never to return. I think that is what they talk about when people have been through  a war and they they lost their innocence. That way of looking at the world through a child's eyes. I guess for most people it dies slowly, a natural death. But for some of us it's a shock, a sudden smack to the face. There was a time I wished I believed in God and the Devil, because I would have sold my soul to relive that time in my life, from 0 to 14. I would listen to certain music and watch certain shows and movies and look up commercials on you tube and even go buy toys to play with all in an attempt to recapture that feeling of being like I was back then, before everything changed. I was so desperate to relive that time I would cry myself to sleep at night willing to give anything just to have one more second of how I felt back then. Even as I write this now I have had to stop four or five times to regain my composure. I am the only one who saw my mother with no wig on, who heard her throwing up because of the chemo, who had to go home with my dad. ______,_______, and _______ all were in their 20's , they could go home and do whatever they wanted. And then fast forward to one year later, September 29th, 1995, and where was I? My dad remarried, the house was re-carpeted, re-painted, and re-furnished, and the woman wanting me to call her mom, (I later did) was abusing me physically and emotionally on a daily basis. Then we move to fucking bum fuck egypt, away from all my friends and family, and have to live in a shed with a bathroom for two years. Here I am though, watching my dad slowly die in front of me, and people ask why I act so goofy and childlike all the time. Well, read this story again, and you see why I say what I say to that inquiry:

"I've had enough serious moments in my life, I'll take the goofy ones when I can."

Friday, April 1, 2011

how

I take his things, his watch, wallet, glasses, teeth, and put them in the bag the nurses have given me. I try not to make eye contact as he slowly disassembles himself in front of me. This man I once thought was the strongest and biggest man ever, is now laying naked in front of me as he puts on a hospital gown. He's no longer superman, and I'm no longer a child. He is a frail old man, just like all the other frail old men that came before him, just like the frail old man I will someday become. I try not to cry, although my eyes water involuntarily. This may be the last time I see this man alive. This man who growing up ruled the world. "Just wait till your Daddy gets home." Were the words that struck fear into my heart as a child. This same man whose lap I would sit on as a child, then mess up his hair, put a fake snake around his neck, an action figure on his head, and call him michael jackson. This same man who used to play with my by hiding my favorite blanket by sitting on it. The man who I cried until he picked me up and then I took a pencil from his pocket and stuck it in his ear. Got a picture of that one somewhere. The man who I would grow to nearly hate as a teenager, to resent him and his habits, his shortcomings, his personality. The same man who when I got back from the Army stood outside and talked to me for 4 hours like we were old friends. This same man now weighs less than me and is laying there, talking to me with no teeth in, trying not to show me the fear we both feel that this may be the last time we see each other. Trying no to think of the similarities between now and the last time I saw my mother, laying in a hospital bed, gown on, fear in her eyes. I try not to think of all this as I gather his things, hoping to return them to him the next day but knowing there is an equal chance I never will. I ask the nurses if there is anything else he needs, and I tell him I'll see him tomorrow. How can I do this? How can I look at him, an old man, with thin graying hair, no teeth of his own, skin red from 40 years of sun, hands callused from 60 plus years of hard work, and not think about how he used to be? How can he go from Daddy to this decrepid being, as fragile as anyone else? How can he be mortal? Damn him for being human! Damn him for living so long and making me go through this by myself. Damn him for sitting there at the kitchen table and telling me my mother was dead. Damn him for drinking till he was drunk every night, and telling me "go get me a beer" every goddamn day until I had the balls to stand up to him. Damn him for not being perfect and being the perfect dad and having all the answers like I thought he should. Damn him for making a person that was so much like him, and for it taking me 20 years to figure it out. Damn you dad, why do you have to to be human. This may be the last time I see him, yet like at my mother's funeral, the tears won't come. Will this be another 6 years long delayed reaction? Will a song make remind me of him and make me cry out of nowhere like with mom? Will I have to watch him die like I watched mother? Will I have images and memories burned into my head like with mother because I am the only one around? Will I look into his casket and know his eyes are sewn shut and his hair is just a wig like mother? Is this my fate? My punishment? What I have to live with? I gather his things in a bag, I go out to the truck, and I drive away. Flinching, waiting for the other shoe to drop like I have since 1994, waiting for a phone call, waiting to walk into his house and find him. Or go to the hospital and watch him look at me for the last time with tubes up his nose like mother. Whatever happens, I wait. Knowing it will happen,

just not when.