Marvin Gaye – After The Dance ( Instrumental)
Guide my hands oh Lord, and renew my resolve.
Strengthen me in my hour of truth,
and increase my courage to see the mission through.
The men in my care, hear their cries, and see their tears.
Restore their health quickly, so they can gird up themselves
and carry on in battle valiantly.
If they should face death, welcome them into your rest
where they will dwell in peace eternally.
Shield me from the attacks of the enemy,
and keep my hands steady.
Calm my heart in the face of the storm
so I can fulfill my duties and triage correctly.
Allow these men to find solitude in their pain;
take their thoughts away from the severity of their injuries.
Focus their thoughts on the beauty of the women they love,
and bring back fond memories of their families.
In their hour of agony, provide them an escape.
Heavenly Father, for the light of your love we wait.
In the hell of warfare, for your angels we await.
Toms River, NJ
Two days ago, I found out my father was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. He was always a heavy smoker, but stage four lung cancer is a shock to our whole family. My father and I, haven’t spoken to each other for the last five years; I had to hear the news through the voice of my crying mother. He told my two sisters and my brother the news sometime last week, but they didn’t tell me shit. Even though he told them to keep it from me, my mother couldn’t hold it in any longer. I’m saddened by the news, but I’m not going to cry about it. My father is an abusive piece of shit. I’m the first born, and my siblings had it easy in comparison to what he did to my mother and I. Still, there is some strange resentment from them towards me. What the hell did I do? Is it because I never came back home for their bullshit Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners? I don’t know why my mother decided to stay with him after all the beatings and emotional abuse. When I became older, I figured it was because of the money he made — and the fact that my mother never finished college and didn’t have a trade, or anyway to sustain a family of four children on her own. My father was an aviation mechanic for thirty years and always made good money, along with doing gunsmithing on the side. He did take care of a family of five, and we never went to bed hungry — and always had good Christmases. Anything would set my father off, and the nights he came home intoxicated, my mother and I knew he would become abusive. She would tell me to hide in the closet in my room, and I would hear her wailing from being beaten. I hated him then, and I hate him now. Fuck him. When he dies, I might not even show up at the funeral, though it may break my mother’s heart. I love her, but I don’t know if I can do it. I’m seven years older than the second oldest sibling Laura. Her version of my childhood is revisionist bullshit. After my father suffered a heart attack, he slowed down significantly with the drinking and the abuse, so my brother and sisters didn’t go through what my mother and I went through. They don’t know a goddamn thing. I have this underlying anger in me; I tend to take things too far. If someone hurts me, I want them to hurt one hundred times more; then I want them gone.
Since my high school days, I’ve liked fighting, and really inflicting pain on any perceived enemies. Once, I broke this kid’s jaw in two places; he had been teasing me, and trying to bully me for weeks — I’d had enough. When I came home that day ,I thought I was in for a beating, but my father was proud of me, and even allowed me to drink half of his six pack of cold beer. My mother, just stared at me with tears and went back into her bedroom. I think I was sixteen years old at the time. One day, I was walking home from school, and the kid’s father approached me, screaming and swearing at the top of his lungs. I told my father about what happened, and the next day he went looking for him. when he found him, he told the guy he would kill him if he ever came near me again. Years later, I found out that my father stuck the barrel of his .45 Colt, into the guy’s mouth. From what I hear, the guy urinated on himself. Though he was protective of his family from other people, he was the monster who constantly beat my mother and severely damaged my mental health.
After I graduated high school, I left home and never looked back. My mother sent me to live with her sister, in Toms River, New Jersey; one state away from my hometown of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. In Toms River, I learned a trade — and ironically became an aviation mechanic like my father. All my other siblings finished college, and my sister Laura received her Master’s in Finance. She met some guy in college, and they got married. I rarely speak to my siblings, but I accept it as part of my reality. I have one niece and two nephews that I’ve only seen a few times; that fucking bothers me. I’ve never married, because I don’t think I’m the marrying type, but my girlfriend Melissa has been with me for five years now, and I love her. Lately, I’ve been going to therapy and working everyday to purge the anger out of my system. Melissa’s been supporting me, and she’s such an encouragement; the tears are falling right now. I love her so much. Signing off for now — I have grocery shopping to do. Melissa is eight months pregnant, and it was so unexpected; but a beautiful surprise. I don’t think my daughter will get to meet my father; I don’t know how I feel about that right now. The oncologist told him he has roughly six months left. Damn.
9:36 PM, New York City.
Coldness has gripped my heart. I have become exceedingly numb to the bodies that lie before me, even the young. I have grown accustomed to the taste of metal that lingers on my tongue. In the beginning I contemplated my own mortality, but now I only contemplate an increase in my salary. I must say, the long hours have taken a toll on me; REM sleep is difficult to attain lately. The last poor soul I examined was burned badly and didn’t have any surviving family. I used to be highly religious, but recently, I have been exploring the concepts of agnosticism and atheism more and more. Life hasn’t been the same, since Sarah walked out of the door; divorce lawyers are expensive. Maybe, it was for the best that we had two failed pregnancies, as I assume this divorce process could have gotten much more ugly. I’ve come to the realization that marriage is not for me; strangely, with everything we’ve been through in court, I still love her and genuinely want her to be happy. I hope she meets a great guy and can finally start a family. We were both in medical school when we met; I thought we would be together forever, but I guess that didn’t work out, whatever. The district attorney has been on my ass about the promptness of my reports, but fuck her. She, and her office are on my fucking time; the bodies keep coming in, and are stacked high. I’m not going to perform half-assed autopsies for the sake of time; these are still human beings and deserve respect and dignity, but more importantly, accuracy. On most days, Bach’s genius gets me through the long hours. Most of my colleagues are good people, but this particular guy, Kevin, is an asshole; most of the guys named Kevin I’ve come across are pricks. I am an absolute professional in this office, and my work can stand against any independent examination. Can’t say the same for “Kev.” I guess that’s why I’m the Chief Medical Examiner — and he is not. I’m proud of myself for being disciplined enough to cut back on cigarettes. Recently, I’ve tried menthols, but they’re absolutely disgusting; vaping is completely out of the question. I haven’t had sex since Sarah left, but it is companionship that I miss the most — or maybe not. The coffee here is bullshit, so I bring in the good stuff for myself and a few others. I’ve been receiving constant calls from my mother, regarding my divorce; she wants me to work things out with Sarah. There’s nothing left to work out, so I think not. As much as I love my mother, she needs to learn to stay out of my personal affairs. I saw how she emotionally clobbered my father to a pulp. He died as the result of a massive heart attack. I’m considering signing up on one those so called “dating” sites; the word “dating” is used loosely these days. I was walking in the city and had some random woman approach me with the offer of “services.” I replied with, What services are you specifically referring to? After she answered, I politely declined. I’ll give myself sixty days to find someone on whatever dating site I decide to go with. I’m not in the business of wasting my money. I’d like to find someone at least somewhat sane; no unreasonable expectations either. Eleven years of, honey do this and honey do that, was enough for a lifetime. After a while, the constant demands became a fucking nightmare, as if I already didn’t have enough on my plate dealing with my profession. I was responsible, faithful, maintained a roof over our heads in a nice neighborhood, maintained excellent credit, engaged in intimacy with her regularly (not just a five minute pounding, but actual intimacy with foreplay), and tried to show sincere interest in the things she enjoyed. I think that’s a pretty good goddamn track record; I told myself that’s it, I’m not doing anything else. Working here can be a drain on your mental health, so I guess the insensibility serves some purpose. One week of time off coming up next week. Looking forward to it.
Album: Real Love
Before the pain, she laughed beautifully and wrote her name,
and after it came, it brought lifelessness and dark rain;
but she was never told that she was not to blame,
so when she cried, she was ashamed — and sorrow,
consternation, and anger boiled in her veins.
Though she may pass feigned smiles, if you look into her eyes,
it is there that great pain lies—
draining her joy and her essence through a forced disguise.
But there is a quiet strength that fuels the fire of hope,
and in that hope she survives, pushing back against fear and its lies;
tears constantly fall, and somehow in a desolate place, she manages to smile.
Her tears are dried and looking through gorgeous eyes,
she will abide and make it through the night.
Marvin Gaye – You Are The Way You Are
Janet Jackson – Someday Is Tonight
Prince and The New Power Generation – Damn U
Shirley Horn – Summer (Estaté)