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TBOR: Cinderella Man

July 28, 2010

Sometimes we are caught in a moment we do not yet understand.  Locked within ourselves, spinning round and round and trapped within the force of the whirlpool, we insulate ourselves from the pain and imagine it is coming from the outside.  Hiding away like this, wondering if what we feel is normal, we yearn for spontaneous emotion, some real feeling to come flying out, uninhibited. 

This was where I was when I was a kid.  I was 15.  I learned early to “think before I spoke.”  And I kept thinking and thinking until I really wasn’t sure that  I even could speak.  I could talk, and I did talk; but not at home, where a little brother is supposed to learn how to communicate, how to be understood.  But I never really spoke, not until later.

I spent a lot of time in my room that summer, lying on the bed and staring out the window.  The canal provided a temporary diversion and model cars provided another. But I was never very good with glue, and my cars always looked rushed and sticky.  I watched a lot of horror movies, too. I found in the darkest movies the same lonely, misunderstood hearts longing for the means of connection. I thought I was too sensitive.  I thought that because I hurt for the faceless old lady run over crossing the street and the 6 year old boy abducted and hacked to pieces, that I was somehow weaker than others.  So I found in movies like Hellraiser, Basket Case, Rawhead Rex and Evil Dead II that I could fear for and agonize over every death, every senseless murder and really feel that it was ok to feel.

I surrounded myself with the horrific images displayed on the cover of Fangoria Magazine.  Every month I’d make sure to have enough money to buy it. I’d ride my bike to Ted’s, about a mile west, and scan the magazine rack, slowly, from right to left, careful not to skip any magazines along the way and spoil the surprise too quickly.  It was only a couple of years ago that finally subscribed; but I still hit the magazine section everytime I find myself in a bookstore, just to see what the newest cover looks like as it stares back at me from the rack.

I tried to write; I started lots of stories, always with some horrific premise, like the one where the little boy stares at the ceiling kept from sleep by the faint screams coming from somewhere inside the walls and another based on a still recurring dream in which a plane crashes silently into my backyard.  Survivors wander aimlessly among the wreckage as fires burn around them.  In each of the stories, the narrator is a young boy, alone and innocent, finding the world around him just as deaf and blind to his thoughts and fears as the victims he is trying to save.  The narrator wants to be the hero, believes that by discovering the missing child or saving the dying victim, that somehow all that lies buried within his heart will be made real.

There was music, too.  My musical tastes were forged under the influence of my brother, mostly what is today considered classic rock; he listened to bands like REO Speedwagon, Hall and Oates, Journey and Meatloaf.  Sometime before he left for college, he introduced me to Pink Floyd.  I have memories of hearing “Another Brick in the Wall” on the radio as far back as Sunset Park; I was 11 when Pink Floyd’s The Wall came out, but I have no clear memories of knowing who was singing or what I was listening to.  But I do connect the title song to walking down the sidewalk along an endless mass of concrete townhouses toward the neighborhood swimming pool.  So it was pretty early on that I began using music to make my connections to time and place. 

Junior high school played to a soundtrack provided by Survivor.  When I was 10, Rocky III’s Eye of the Tiger unleashed a fury of electricity that inspired me.  In lyrics, for the first time, I found a philosophical thread that provided me with the idea that by desire alone I could achieve my dreams. My relationship with Survivor, at that time the only band that I could really call my own, lasted throughout junior high.  Their ’86 release, When Seconds Count, provided Man Against the World and Rebel Son.  I didnt know it then, but soon I would understand that the messages in these songs were connecting with me on a level I could not have known existed.     

And there I was, the summer of ’87, the summer before I was to enter high school, alone in my room.  My brother was away at college, my friends from junior high school miles away from the house we were recently forced to rent, and my mother and father, in spite of my protests, living together under the same roof once again.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. jacqueline golburgh permalink
    July 28, 2010 10:14 am

    This is beautiful writing. Please write more. What a talent you have. I applaud you.. mom

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