The Brave Face

My best friend from college and his wife stayed overnight this past weekend. Ralph was home too, which made it even better. The company was greatly appreciated. It’s easier to entertain and be entertaining than deal with the silence and solitude. Good grief…having the dog around is even helpful. A moment happened Sunday afternoon after my friends left and Ralph was getting to leave. He gave me a hug and I remember opening my mouth and just…letting words fall out I’d been thinking the past three weeks.

They’re gone. All three are gone. The three people who’d cemented me in life are now gone. Dad in November of 2015, Grandma this past May, and Mom just shy of a month ago. We lost our friend Marianne earlier this year and we’re on the cusp of losing the dog next door, the one who adopted me when I moved in to the house.

They’re gone.

This combined with the crap Ralph and I went through last year continues to knock me for a loop. There’s a popular saying we aren’t given more than we can handle. Some find comfort in this. I don’t. Not particularly. Because with everything thrown at me lately, someone’s either got a grudge or it’s all some colossal universal joke with the punchline I’ll be killed in some stupid fashion after the dust settles. Such a thing would just provide more proof about how absurd life can be sometimes, right?

I want to start bringing in the boxes of Christmas decorations, going through them, getting some of Mom’s holiday items from her house to add to ours, and put it all up before Thanksgiving. I need this right now. I need to see something festive. I need to find a way to make something beautiful again. And, yes, it’s only a short-term solution, but something short-term is better than nothing at all. Besides, Ralph loves walking into a house that’s decorated. He’ll sit in various places and look at the lights and décor for hours. That’s when I know I’ve done a good job.

I’ve been working on the new book a bit, which helps take my mind off things. I keep staring at the word count, 99k so far, and it’s still not even close to being done. So much to wrap up, so much to tell, and so much emotion packed into those pages. I also imagine the editing will be brutal to bring it down in length. Speaking of that part of my life, I’m thinking about having a new website built. I no longer write as Kage Alan, so I might as well continue erasing that bit. The blog posts I lost last year? I’ve recovered a hundred or so of them and haven’t had any inclination in re-loading them.

Much to do and no desire to do any of it. I looked into the mirror this morning and the person I always pictured myself as has gotten a bit older and tired looking. This does not bode well. I work with younger folks and while their taste in music baffles me from time to time, I don’t see as many differences between us other than experience. And yet when I look into the mirror and see what they see when they look at me, I get it. I’ve become how I saw others my age when I was younger. I get it.

Through it all, I put on a brave face. It’s expected of me. Smile at people where I work, lie and say everything is alright, smile at people in shops and restaurants, always answer “good” when asked how I am, all because that’s what’s expected and I’m too tired to explain myself. This will change. I’ll reemerge again one day.

I’ll wear the brave face until then.

Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, and sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant.

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4 Responses to “The Brave Face”

  1. Katherine Trick says:

    Wearing the brave face gets tiring. You can only do it for so long. Let it all go and reach out to someone once in a while. Cry when you need to, say no to things when you need to and hang on to those who love you. That’s all you can do. I understand where you are at. I wish I was closer so I could pop by and be an ear to chew on or a shoulder to lean on. I know the importance of those little gestures. Sometimes they are not so little when they come at the right time.
    Hugs and love.

  2. Jeff says:

    Please allow yourself the time and space to just be in this moment. It is a place of sadness and grief but that breaks through to acceptance, love, and dare I say, peace. I love you as only one can who had first lusted after you then realized that you and Ralph are too perfect together and your friendship is more valuable than anything under your clothes. Hence, still friends after all my tricks have gone. Lol.

  3. Jennifer Neault says:

    You are brave and strong. You just have to believe it for yourself. You will get through this.

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