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Oct 15, 2013

WRIT 101 H-1

Jon Swallow

10/3/2013

 

 

The Wolf in the Snow

My guts were icicles turning. I paced frantically, as if I had somewhere to go, but I didn’t. I was walking a high wire in the rain, and I knew it. If I wasn’t careful I would fall off. For me there was no choice I had to keep it together. I had moved home to Montana with my son about seven months prior. I knew it would be hard, but I held out hope and just kept trying. Just then, though I wasn’t thinking about how we had made it through the hard times before. I was only staring at the huge seemingly unsurmountable wall that towered above me. I felt like a wounded tiger hounded, and cornered. I was ready to explode.

    He kept me sane that day. The only thing I knew was I wanted some relief. I had defined myself as a father for so long and now that was being threatened. As for my brother, I knew I was going to beat his ass as soon as I saw him. “I need my house back,” he had said. I wondered if he knew I would have never came up here if I had known he was going to put us out on our collective asses. Coming home should have been a dream come true. The splendor of the mountains, sweet smell of the air, and the undercurrent of wild I had always perceived here was thrilling. I had known the day we arrived that things weren’t as I was led to believe.

 I had spent hours talking with my brother Greg, he was as close a friend as I had in the world. He had asked us to come up, said finding work would be no problem, and assured me all would be well. The moment we arrived though, I could tell something was different. His tone and manner were almost superior. I could feel an animosity that was almost tangible. As much as that hurt, and it bloody did. Nothing could compare to the fear I felt now. How was I going to take care of this child now?  An unwanted thought crept into my head a drink sure would help. I knew I would have to send my son back to his mother. I was having a hard time accepting that just then. So much had passed, could I trust her to finally put him before herself? Would she relapse? Questions swarmed through my head. Fear is like that for me. I wanted things to work out. Had I made a mistake coming home? I certainly had no answers.

 I began to give up. Seems like this whole thing has been a fight from the very start. I had nothing when he first came to live with me at three years old. And how we made it through the last four years was a miracle. All that, and now my own brother was going to destroy my life… the life of my son? I walked into the house. When I saw my son Joey, I knew somehow I would make it work. Having spent the last half hour in a panic chasing my Brother Ed’s dog around.  Hell of a time for her to get loose. It had started snowing. I was happy to see Joey’s face, it seemed to snap me out of it for a little bit. But under the smoothed surface a current rushed. I hugged him up tight and began talking to my Goddess. Don’t let me let him down Diana. Damn the snow anyway it was the end of April for crying out loud.

 I looked out of Greg’s window and saw a large wolf in the neighbor’s field. His large black body a stark contrast to the snow that surrounded him. I called out to my son and pointed the wolf out. Now I knew I was screwed. Joey had been dreaming of wolves since he was five. Little did I know that I would eventually accept the change. Every life is forged in fire. Every time change is necessary there is must be an event that sparks it, I was in the catalyst and it sucked. My son would not only be ok with his mother, but he would be happy. About the moment I realized how selfish I was being, a change in my attitude began to occur. I didn’t know that this seemingly horrible juncture in my life, would lead me to be attending college in less than a year from that moment. All I knew was I was hurting and in fear. I didn’t have the answers and it was my Birthday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Moment of Clarity

 

The man looked uncertain as he opened the door to his car. The bar had been packed that day. Sandra was his concern now. Seemed to him that everybody took advantage of that girl. Well he was damned if he was going to let it happen again. They said they were taking her to some damned A.A. meeting. He wasn’t sure about that, so he thought he had better go make sure they didn’t mess with her head too much. Anthony was going to that place and hadn’t he seen him drinking the day before? He remembered when he had met him. He had always elected to drink alone, never wanted anyone around him. Here came Anthony, just wouldn’t leave him alone. After a while he couldn’t help but like the guy.

 Everyone who knew the man said he was a drunk, hardly to his face though. That would have consequences few were ready to face. He knew he was a violent man. Didn’t matter much though nothing really did anymore. Hadn’t he worked his way up to Captain? That was no small feat in the oilfields of the Gulf. Sure he lived in the backroom of a whorehouse when he wasn’t offshore. But that was ok too. He hadn’t seen his daughters in almost a year but that didn’t matter much, because he paid plenty. He remembered when his parents had called him. ”Yeah, I live in a bar if you don’t like it you can go pound sand,” that’s what he had told them. And if there was a God he hated him too. Almost as much as he hated himself.

 He was starting to lose count of how many times they had plotted to kill him, in that bar. He remembered the night he had almost gotten shot standing up for a woman. Another night a rowdy group had come in looking for trouble. He had heard later they had come with intentions of knifing one of those “bad asses,” from the Pumpkin Patch. That is what they called the place, he could think of some more descriptive names for it though. Someone else had gotten it that night, but he knew it was him they wanted. Reputations are like that. And so he was going to drive down to this so called meeting to stand up for another woman.

 The door closed he put the key into the ignition. He was finding it hard to move. His muscles in his back strained to the point of a tangible sensation. He could feel a hand on his back. He looked in the rear view mirror, and though no one was there he could in his mind’s eye see….. Well, he could see the Virgin Mary. He wasn’t catholic, what was going on? He couldn’t resist though, emotion flooded as if a great damn had burst sweeping all in its path away. He was faced with a fact he could never refute. Not then, not ever again. He knew with a certainty that he needed help. He needed help more than anyone he had ever known. He knew because it was staring him right in the face all the barriers he had put up were gone. If he kept living like this he knew he would die. And for the first time he could ever remember, he wanted to live. And although his perceptions of a God, or Gods have changed since that night. He begged that force whoever or whatever that was, to let him never take another drink. A new life began for him that night.

 

 

 

 

 

First Kiss

He was happy and excited all at the same time. Jon Jon his family called him, sat on the concrete steps of the alcove that led to the basement of Corvallis elementary school. He could see that she had no discern for him. Her sandy hair was softly blowing in the autumn wind. Her blue eyes shimmered in the sun. A smile was brimming on her pretty face. Jon couldn’t take his eyes off her. He didn’t know what to think. The school bully was yelling, and laughing at them, but Jon wasn’t angry or embarrassed.

 When he looked into her eyes all that seemed to disappear. All the thoughts of home, where he didn’t want to go, disappeared. The divorce his parents had just went through wasn’t on his mind. His brother Aaron who had drowned in Stevensville less than a year earlier wasn’t on his mind. He was content to look at this girl Shawna forever. This girl didn’t hate him, treat him badly, or judge him. He was poor white trash and everyone let him know it, not her though. He didn’t want to think about why his mother wasn’t around anymore, or why his father was always so angry.

 The only thing in the world that mattered to this child was that someone was being nice to him. That someone really cared about him. And as she leaned toward him and awkwardly pecked him on the lips. The six year old boy knew life was good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Morning is a Gift

“Come take my hand, you should know me. I’ve always been in your mind.” was playing on the phone. I awoke to another day being serenaded by Olivia Newton John. I frantically reached for my phone to silence the alarm, for fear of waking up the guy in the next room. The backup alarm on the other side of the room was beeping incessantly now. I jumped up, feeling my way in the dark toward that wonderful button that turned the noise off. I was happy.

 I had talked to my youngest daughter for quite some time the night before. I couldn’t even begin to explain how good that made me feel. For years I thought I would never have any kind of relationship with her. A grown woman now I remember vividly the day she was born. I think I cried more than she did that day. Soon my son would call. He had been with his mother now for about two and a half months and was doing well. What was gratifying was how well she was doing also. I hoped he would ring soon, as my bladder was aching in protest as I held on waiting for my daily call. I would wait for the call then I would make my run to the bathroom and either smoke a cigarette or perform my morning ritual.

 

 If I was smart I would hold off on that cigarette until after I had given my respect to the Archangels and asked Diana to guide me this day. This is something I must do every day, a lesson learned when I became sober. I had a hard time back then, and I needed a concept of a higher power that wasn’t going to shove a bolt of lightning up my ass every time I acted human. Paganism worked for me, it allowed me to view the world and myself differently. I truly believe that every person’s spiritual journey is just that, personal. So every morning I tried to connect to that source, to ask for help just like I had when I was desperate to stay sober. I remember those guys in meetings used to say their life was better than they could have ever planned it. I usually thought they were full of shit. But as I sat there on my bed, I knew my life truly was better than I could have dreamed.

I might not have much, but I did have a chance. I was living in Montana a place that was always sacred for me. I had my self-respect back and a relationship with a Higher Power that worked for me. Life was good. I began to become grateful for the process that turns a broken person into a human being. I could look in the mirror now and not despise what I saw looking back. Challenges lay before me this day I knew, but with help I could meet them head on. I took a deep breath and sighed. The phone began to ring.

WRIT 101 H-1

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Posted: Tuesday October 15, 2013, 9:52 pm
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Jon S.
male, age 44, divorced, 3 children
Corvallis, MT, USA
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