My head swam, like I had been spinning for hours and then was trying to walk a strait line. It was almost impossible to breath. Through the mix of racing colors that sped by me, I could see images, memories, things I thought I’d forgotten. Mikey and I playing Star Wars in the snow outside. Grandma coming over to visit, sitting next to me, teaching me to draw, and sing. Stealing my mother’s money to buy cigarettes, and Mikey’s old band T-shirts because if I stole enough to buy clothes mom, would notice it was gone…
There were also things I wished had remained forgotten. The bullies at school, for starters, teasing me about being a chubby nerd. Being held at gunpoint, most likely that was one of the occasions where mom’s money was being used to buy cigarettes. The drugs, the alcohol, feeling like I needed them, like I would die if I didn’t have them. Past girlfriends, heartbreaks.
I wanted to close my eyes trying to blot them out! I want them to go away, to leave me alone! Why would I want to look back at the failings, and trials of my life. Faces of past friends were there too, people who had hurt me. I’m sure I hurt them too, I’d hurt so many people in my lifetime, its hard to remember all of them, but its weird. Like my brain is a giant fucking storage building with all sorts of units, filled with things I haven’t looked at in forever. Now its all just rushing out engulfing me in every emotion possible. Its to much to handle. I try breathing again, but its to hard. The air is thick, and now there are voices. I want to hear them.
Its just a jumble of words, but I remember some of them. People telling me it wouldn’t work, asking me if I was sure I wanted to go through with it. Me saying yes, me saying it would work, only because I wanted to believe it would. I was 24 for God’s sake! 24 year old art school grad, addicted to drugs, and alcohol, living in his parents basement!
They must have felt like they failed as parents. One fucked up loser in the basement, the other dropping out of collage after the first year. Neither going anywhere in life, neither really trying.
9/11! The buildings are falling! I’m watching even though the smoke hurts my eyes, and no matter how badly I wished I could look away. People are jumping out! Killing themselves their way, rather than burning to death inside! Its crazy, but humans are the most fucked up beings on the planet, so it makes sense.
I just wanted to die! Off this stupid fucking planet! Why did I need the drugs? Why did I need the booze? Why had I started cocaine? I should have at least a miniscule amount of self control! Grandma would have had a field day with me… if only she were here! I would trade everything just to be able to talk to her one more time! I wanted to see her, and just spill everything I’d been holding back for so long. She’d listen, and then tell me what to do! How to make it better. How to apologize to everyone I’d ever hurt. Especially Ray, and Frank… and Mikey most of all! Oh god, Mikey! I’ve hurt him more than anyone in the world, and he still takes me back! He forgives, and forgets like Jesus, and I can’t believe I was lucky enough to land such a top notch brother!
Kissing Frank on stage was a stupid idea, because our fans are creative, and like to fantasize about some of the nastiest things! We try our best not to accidentally read something someone sends us. Mikey did! He could barely talk, and I thought he was sick! I was about to call the hospital, but Ray braved the world of fan fiction, read it, and then explained to me as painlessly as he could why my baby brother could barely make eye contact with me without looking like he was going to ralph everywhere!
She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She was tall and strong, her dark hair up in those cute messy pigtails. She rocked the bass too, a lot of emotion, a lot of movement. She radiated confidence, and pride. She loved who she was, and no sick motherfucker could make her change! I’d seen LynZ before, but I’d been so fucked up then, I hadn’t noticed just how perfect she really was. I liked her, loved her, wanted to be with her forever!
LynZ is just so perfect! No matter how much she laughs at me when I tell her, I know she likes it when I do. But I’m not just saying it, I mean it more than I’ve meant anything in a long time. It takes a lot of self control not to drag her back to the tour bus and fuck her senseless! That would be violating my own rules of ‘No girls on the bus EVER’, and I know she’d never go for a hypocrite!
Damn, who in the hell am I to deserve her? I don’t, but she doesn’t care. She laughs and smiles, and paints, and creates beauty everywhere she is. She brightens the darkest days, and always makes me see the good in everything. And then she tells me she’s pregnant!
That was the best and worst day ever! I could hardly stand still the whole time, running back and forth freaking out! I was going to be a dad! Holy fuck, I was going to be a dad! It was so unreal, like the greatest dream come true, but also a terrible nightmare! What if I fucked it up? What if my kid didn’t get a second chance like I did? What if I did something wrong and it hated me for the rest of my life, and never wanted to have anything to do with me?
There are these moments where you just forget everything. All your problems just melt away, and all you can do is stare. Its weird knowing you are literally holding another person’s life in your hands. She’s so small, and light, like a fucking feather! All I can do is look at that little pink face, all puffy cheeked, and wrinkly, and think that she is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I think she looks like LynZ, LynZ says she looks like me! We argue about it for a few minutes, and LunZ finally drops off to sleep, leaving the room completely silent, except for the breathing.
Bandit walks, and talks, and is so willful all I can do is sit back and think ‘Holy fuck! How do I deal with this?’ She draws so many pictures that if I kept them all I would have to build whole room just for them. I’d love to, and I wish I didn’t have to throw it away, she reminds me of myself. She loves music too, playing around with LynZ’s bass, and then with the guys’ guitars when they come over.
Its great! They all got married, and Frank has 3 kids now! I don’t think I could stand 3 Bandits, but I do know I would have enough love to go around. There is enough love to go around here, and then some! Not just from me, but from everyone. We all laugh, we all cry, we all have fucked up families, bad things happen to all of us, and we all make a shit load of mistakes, but we love each other. And that’s all that really matters when you think about it.
I wake with a start. It wasn’t a bad dream, just… a sort of revelation, I suppose. I look over at LynZ, breathing calmly in the bed beside me, her blond hair spread out on the pillows. The clock reads 3:09am. Its April 9th 2012... I’m 35 today. 35 fucking years old… Old, the word seams ominous, bad, disagreeable, whatever.
I don’t mind it. My life is fucking amazing! I have great friends in an amazing band, I’m married to the most beautiful woman in the world, and although Bandit is crazy as hell, she’s the greatest, most amazing child ever! I know as time passes she’ll grow out of being my little girl, and she’ll make mistakes, and fall in love, and I know that eventually, I’ll have to let go. Its okay, though. She’s okay, we’re okay… I’m okay.
All I hope is that Bandit grows up to be nothing like me, and everything like herself.