Back in the day, before I had two kids, before I was a married man with a wife and all of the stuff that comes with those things, I was just an idea really.
Freedom was mine, of course, and I rode it like a wild stallion, like a lightning bolt, doing stuff a lot of guys only ever get to dream of doing. I remember standing on the stage at a big festival in some city somewhere and our band was getting ready to play to a crowd of thousands, a sea of summertime people spread out for what seemed like miles before my eyes.
And I remember thinking that life couldn’t possibly ever get any better than this.
I remember looking down in the dark of the stage and tuning my electric guitar and hearing our drummer tapping his sticks on the side of his snare drum,hearing my brother/the singer clearing his throat and taking a sip of his beer, the thousand little sounds that each electrify and accentuate your very being in the seconds that lead up to the first loud rips of the very first song, and I remember feeling as if I was a man completed.
I was in my early thirties, I was about half decent-looking, I was healthy and horny and my heart was gushing so much fast blood out into my veins that I felt invincible/unstoppable/unconquerable/and indestructible.
And I was young enough to truly believe, in those rapid exhilarated moments before the high-hat counted us in, that nothing in my wide-open future would/could ever make me happier than this right here, this being in a band and traveling off into the proverbial sunset each and every night forever.
But, oh how wrong I was.
Because what I forgot, what I didn’t even realize at the time, was that I was alone.
The moment that I saw Violet’s jet black hair easing itself out of her mama and into the light of the hospital room and the world that we live in, someone or something out there in the cosmos took my plug out of the socket it had been stuck in for years and jammed it into a fresh, new power load. There are a few tense moments when we welcome any baby into this life, but especially your first baby, when your breath freezes hard down in your lungs and you teeter on the highest cliff you’ll ever find yourself teetering on, waiting to hear that first tiny cry cut through the room and your soul.
It is a long few seconds, man. As long as any I have ever known.
Even if you are a non-believer, you still end up praying a little. Or maybe it’s not praying, maybe it’s called something else. Maybe you are just wandering out into the back rooms of your mind, just begging the wind and the stars and the ocean currents and the pyramids and the mountains and the sunshine and the clouds and the wild deer and all the green grass in the world to please please please let her cry/let her breath/let her be here now and be okay.
When she did then, when Violet cried her teensy cry, I swear that whatever the hell I had gotten plugged into shot me like a rocket into outer space with more fuel and fire than anything I had ever known until that very instant.
I looked at my wife, Monica, the tears of joy and pain trickling down her cheeks and mixing down by her breathing lips, and I knew right away that my ass had just washed up on the shore of a very very important beach.
There are things you are always going to miss.
When you are standing there at around ten o’clock on a Friday night with a soaking wet pee-pee diaper in your hands, and the kid is awake and screaming with a fever, and in the middle of all of your deliberate clumsy attempts to rectify her little world you are still the same slightly self-centered human being that you always were/that we all are whether we wanna admit it or not, and you manage to imagine all of the people out there in the night, standing in line to get into the clubs/staring across a restaurant into a pair of eager eyes/waiting for the band to start/waiting for the world to start/caught up in all of the neon and glimmer that Friday night promises the young and the free and delivers, too, then of course you can’t help but think to yourself how all that used to be yours.
You whiff the ripe baby piss and your mind explodes with all of the lust and energy that you used to know and own back before you were a dad.
And yeah, it hurts sometimes. It stings a little bit when you realize that what you traded away was something pretty great.
But then, she eventually falls back to sleep and you are really nervous while you try to gently lay her back down in her crib, talking to yourself/guiding yourself with your silent, whispered commands: “Don’t wake her up! Go easy! Slide your hand out softly, dude!” And then, before you know it, it’s 11:15 on a Friday night and you are standing there above her in the soft glow of the Winnie The Pooh lamp and she is down there in her crib and she is finally comfortable and asleep and it’s all because of you.
And the past is just the past.
And her light bird breaths, barely audible there in the quiet room you’ve made for her, are all that will ever matter from here on out.
You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.
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