Little Things

Often I focus on my shortcomings. It really felt like I wasn’t doing well lately. But I want to focus on some good. “Your jabs looked good. You almost looked like a boxer!” My coach yelled. I nodded. This wasn’t a big deal at the moment because I’m there for myself. He usually makes me the butt of his jokes in class. “Alan, you’ll be my greatest project. If I can make a boxer out of you, I can do anything!” Ha ha, it’s actually pretty funny. He has this Boston accent and he always gives me a hard time. I’ve been around guys like him before. You get angry then you lose. You laugh along and you work harder to prove them wrong. Besides, it’s true –I got a long way to go. By the end of the month, it’ll be my first sparring match.

I haven’t gotten a big donation for a few months. The last was a 45,000 donation based on my writing. No joke, three towering pallets of quality school supplies from a NY company, all for the kiddos. There were a few hundreds coming in because of me, but nothing as amazing. Well I was losing hope for this next event. Crickets! Until I got a phone call Friday. This company responded to my letter, bringing 600 pairs of socks for us. I was in high spirits this morning. Then another company responded, saying they’ll have a few hundred articles of clothes for me on Wednesday. And then another promised two vans full of clothes! I left work earlier to head to the fashion district. A streetwear company gave me some great stuff. Maybe luck favors the fool.

My first Tinder date went well. It was a 6 hour date. She noticed my scarred and bloody hands right away. We were honest about ourselves, and she told me she had a great time. But I guess not all things work out. A few days later, I received a text saying she’s not comfortable continuing things with me given my violent past. I wanted to pour my heart out saying I don’t blame her, but I’m trying my best to change. Doesn’t that count for something? But I didn’t. I’m not going to force these things anymore. Sadly and reluctantly, I set up another date with another girl. I made her happy, but she didn’t make me happy. A part of me wants to ask her out again for the sake of my loneliness. But I won’t. I’ve done enough damage to others. At least people want to date me?

My habits oscillate between hedonistic and ascetic. Some days I subsist on cigarettes and coffee. Other days, I eat like shit all day. Whenever the whim of duhhhh that looks good passes me, well, I’m already at the cash register. Why yes, I will take that abomination of a burger. It has three kinds of bacon? My body says no, but I’m the captain! So I sat by the window stuffing that heaping basketball of grease into my unhinged maw. Must have been a beautiful thing to behold.

I’m reading books about domestic abuse and it grinds my stomach up. I was the victim and I was the villain. I wasn’t good enough to stop spreading the pain. I wrapped my hands around your neck just as my mom had wrapped her hands around mine when I was 8. This will haunt me for the rest of my days. But you… you were always stronger than me. You left scarred and hurt, but I know you would never do that to anyone. You were always the best person I knew. I’m sorry I had to be your brush with true evil. If there’s any gem from your time with me, I hope it’s that you know the signs of a psychotic, abusive partner.

For better or worse, I don’t recognize myself sometimes when I stand naked in front of the mirror. I’m a lean turkey with, at long last, abs. I’m tattooed, and I’ll probably be more tattooed in the future. My hands are fucked up. My eyes are bleary and shadowed. My face is more squared and muscular than it’s ever been. How do I love this stupid, wonderful, sad, and kind motherfucker? I have a long way to go…