Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nobody Knows

Nobody knows that when I was a senior in high school, my brother a sophomore, and our neighbor and mutual best friend a junior, we had some great big parties while my parents were vacationing elsewhere. Yes, I remember high school like a John Hughes film.

Nobody knows that I miss that brotherly friendship with all my little brother's friends who were constantly hanging around our house.

Nobody knows that one summer night at one of those parties, sitting on the shag carpet in front of the tv that was blaring MTV (back when MTV actually played one music video after another), Ken, one of my brother's friends confessed his love for me.

Nobody knows that same night, my resistance to someone younger than me was numbed by the wine we had been drinking.

Nobody knows that we kissed passionately while Modern English sang, "I'll Stop the World and Melt With You", the lyrics and melody magically surrounding us, reflecting our feelings for one another at that moment.

Nobody knows that my heart swelled and skipped a few beats for Ken that night we shared a somewhat innocent kiss. I never told him.

Nobody knows that when I came back from college at Christmas break, I wanted to be of service to my community, so I organized a movie day for some underprivileged kids in my hometown.

Nobody knows that my brother would not go with me to help out.

Nobody knows that Ken volunteered to go with me, without me even asking him.

Nobody knows that when Ken and I walked through the doors into the darkened theater, a string of kids, who had never been in a movie theater in their lives ran in front of us all the way to the very front row. We chose two seats directly behind them so we could keep an eye on all of them at once.

Nobody knows that Ken and I both fell madly in love with the youngest and smallest of the group, a small four year old boy named 'Ocean Man'.

Nobody knows why a mother would name her son, 'Ocean Man'.

Nobody knows that as soon as the lights went out and the huge picture came on the screen along to the booming sound, Ocean Man jumped out of his seat like a shot and ran the entire row, as I stood, panicked, calling to him. He immediately turned into our row and ran by all the empty seats to hoist himself squarely in my lap.

Nobody knows how special I felt at 19 to be chosen by this precious soul, or to be sitting on this row in this dark theater with these two precious souls.

Nobody knows that when I came home from college that summer, merely three months later, I was told that Ocean Man had been hit by a car.

Nobody knows how devastated I felt that Ocean Man was dead.

Nobody knows that I wondered constantly if Ocean Man's family appreciated him and tried to protect him, or were they too busy in their survival to be bothered. Was he left to fend for himself without the protection of a warm lap? Did anyone know how precious Ocean Man was besides Ken and I? Could I have saved him?

Nobody knows that the years passed, and I lost touch with my hometown and everyone in it, even Ken.

Nobody knows that years passed, and we both moved on, fell in love with other precious souls, were married with our own new precious souls to take care of without any word to each other.

Nobody knows that when I heard that Ken had taken his own life, I was devastated. I had no right to be devastated. Ken wasn't a part of my life any more, nor I of his.

Nobody knows that I wondered constantly if his family appreciated him and tried to protect him, or were they too busy in their survival to be bothered. Was he left to fend for himself without the protection of a warm kiss? Did anyone know how precious Ken was? Could I have saved him?

Nobody knows that when I saw Ken's picture, it was a picture of a grown man I did not know.

Nobody knows that when I closely studied his eyes in the picture, I saw the Ken I melted with that night so long ago.

Nobody knows that to this day, when I hear that song by Modern English, my heart swells, and the rhythm of it's beat changes. I am back there in the embrace of a precious soul, stopping the world and melting with him.

Nobody knows how much I miss those two precious souls who each etched their initials in my heart so deeply with such brief encounters.


Angella Lister said...

I am so sorry for your loss and so moved by your memories of these two precious souls. It really is stunning how deeply certain people can affect us. Do you know the circumstances around Ken's tragedy? This is a lovely tribute to his life.

lilaphase said...

Thank you, Angela, sweetness, for also being one of those precious souls.

The only pieces I know about Ken's death: he possibly suffered from clinical depression. Whenever my brother got together with the rest of his 'gang', Ken always had an excuse for not showing up. There were also murmurings of possible abuse that had taken place when Ken was a little boy. Of course, it's easy to piece together a tidy reason for this tragedy, but, do our lives really follow such cliche and predictable story lines?

Thank you for listening.

Angella Lister said...

I really miss you in blog world, friend. How are things going for you?