Tuesday January 28 2014

Mestre Fungo. Henrique Lima.*

Waking up around 12:30 p.m.

Honey Bunches of Oats with Almond Milk. Grapefruit.

Running and working out at the gym.

Shivering Seagull (Jan 28 2014)

Running some errands. The snow flurries start to flutter down. Winter Storm Leon makes his grand entrance.

Double Egg Sandwich with Mayo and Tomato. Black Bean, Quinoa, Flax Seed Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Hummus. Honey Black Tea. Dark Chocolate Powerberries.

Driving around on the snowy roads in hopes the Rec Center would be open but to my dismay is not.

Back home. Darren and Aj are hanging out in the dining room. I fix up new decorations on the stairwell walls. A while back James painted some portraits of residents in the house on the back of pizza boxes. I align them on the wall like a dynasty.

1435 Dynasty (Jan 28 2014)

Ana spent about 45 minutes driving carefully from Norfolk to the house. She's here but still with a light hacking cough – she naps as long as she can.

Downstairs, I fix up a Kale Salad with Edamame and Carrots for Ana and I. I snag a few small slices of Pizza on the counter. Meanwhile, Josh, Kevin, Aj, and Darren are heavy into a debate about something dealing with game theory (http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/whatis.htm). It gets supremely heated, mostly because Darren is yelling over top of Josh and not allowing any room for other opinions. This short-tempered conversation is the reason Ana and I migrate upstairs to enjoy our dinner in peace. I pick up the guitar and we attempt to work out "You Are My Sunshine" together. After switching the capo up a few frets we hear a rumble in the hallway. Darren has egged on Kevin to engage in a fight. This isn't no rasslin' match. It's serious. It's escalated to this point. BAM. THUD. POW. There's nothing I can do to intervene. Kevin is more pissed than I've ever seen. Darren claims he was just trying to prove a point. All of this has nothing to do with Kevin or Josh or anyone else but himself. Doors get slammed and relations find calm water.

Hole in the Door (Jan 28 2014)

I catch up with Darren downstairs. He stands there in the living room holding a glass with a tiny bit of vodka swaying left and right. He explains himself...and more than that he breaks down everything about everything – the judgments and the flaws in himself, in others, and in the system of society.

¦¦¦ Society has raised a bunch of boys who had their balls cut off! ¦¦¦

A man of principles. Principles are important. I understand that. But he's getting caught up in trivial matters, which represent grander problems I know, but also weaken the "MAN" that Darren so eloquently talks about. As he preaches charismatically I'm reminded of times when I was a kid sitting in the pews of a Pentecostal church listening to the evangelist or preacher yelling and hollering at me to strive for something better. I remember how convincing everything that they said would sound. I felt inspired. And I feel inspired now but it's an uncomfortable inspiration. Beyond the red watery alcoholic eyes I can see a man who is tired...tired of injustice, tired of all the inconsistencies and hardships he sees around him, but mostly he's just tired of feeling defeated. This is one of those times I regret not having my phone or digital recorder to document the delicate words coming out of his mouth. Any other time I would've found a way to grab my phone and hit record but I couldn't move from my spot. I was glued to the stairs behind the banister as he presented his evocative monologue. The banister – its black metal bars resembled a cage – and he was in a cage – of course he probably has the same perspective on me from his position – I was also in my own cage. And I was the only one listening now, I, the only one offering complete attention. If only I had a camera installed in my glasses you too could witness the tenacity of this performance – an Oscar-worthy display of emotion and sheer passion. I can only paraphrase the things he's saying.

¦¦¦ I wanna be a legend. I'd rather die before I become the villain. ¦¦¦

He gets real personal too and mentions how much respect he has for me and how he looks up to me and expects me to be a "man" and how I've let him down a few times, citing a few examples of how I handled situations in the house. I'm the mediating force to his rage and as his friend I accept this role. He says I'm one on a short list of people that he actually looks up to. But he doesn't fail to point out where I could improve. He goes on and on and on – getting deeper and deeper – bringing up family history, how he was raised, and stories that put why he is who he is into perspective.


After a good hour I try to conclude this talk with Darren iterating to him that he should be strong. There are a lot of hardships to be had out there but this life is about growing and developing past those. I reach in for a hug – we slap each other on the back. Be strong, dude. 

Returning upstairs to the bedroom. Ana's in the bed reading something on her laptop. I stay quiet and type out some notes. "That was a lot," I tell her. Sharing some Maple Leaf Cookies and hot Apple Cider Vinegar Tea.

Sleep at 4:30 a.m.

* Mestre Fungo. Henrique Lima.
† Images by me.

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