Norfolk
Pete
pooloftears

I'm in Norfolk Virginia. The last time I was here was 8 years ago. That was an impromptu vacation too. It was after a devastating heartbreak. I hung out with my brother for a week and read all of The Goblet of Fire. It's why I love that book the most despite Prisoner of Azkaban being the clearly superior story.
I'm not entirely sure why I'm here. It's just until Monday. Not even a full week. I kinda feel stagnant back home. I've been looking for something for a while. It's going to sound cheesy but I don't feel like I completely recognize myself. I'm trying to find that awesome dude I used to be.
I'm growing out my beard. I look funny. I hope that when I shave it off, I'll be there in the mirror. The me that's been MIA for the last year and a half.
I've defiantly gotta change some bad habits. I eat too much crap. I need to go back to Jiu Jitsu. But I'm so so broke. And no, I'm not being helped. That pisses me off. I'm doing this by myself. It's not something to be proud of. It sucks. I've taken a look at all of my friends and yeah, they've got help. A significant other, wife, husband, to pull half the weight. A supportive family that want to see them succeed. I honestly don't feel like I have that. And no, it's not about friends helping out. Friends I have. What I don't have is the support that is normal to have. Love & family (blood). If I fail, then I'm out on the street. Sure my mom would want me to stay with her, but I'd have to sleep in the tub because that home is retardedly crowded. 7 people in 3 bedrooms. With me it'd be 8. What the heck man? It's supposed to get easier isn't it?
Maybe that's where the missing side of me has gone. He had the good sense to checkout of this crappy situation.
We all say this a lot. Things have got to change.
I'm gonna start with the things that no longer make sense holding on to.

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Pete
pooloftears

Family drama. Drugs. Fist fights. I thought we got over this shit.

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Trains
Pete
pooloftears

Trains. Took me this long to realize just how significant this mode of transportation is to me. I spend everyday in one of these big metal carts. I have since I was a kid. I took the train (F) to school everyday. I take a train (7) to work now. I would take one (NJ Transit) to Dover to see Jhane. Right now I'm on the Montauk line going to Amagansett to see Dana & Missy. The last time I was on this line was with Val. It wasn't a fun conversation.
When I stepped on the train tonight I looked for my usual seat. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I stood there for a few seconds examining the seats Val and I sat in when we talked. I decided to sit somewhere else. My usual seat isn't comfortable anymore. Funny how that works. It's just cheap cushion on a plastic and metal frame, but it can be comforting or jarring without you even sitting in it.

Too bad it's nighttime. Can't see anything out the window.

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Bits and pieces.
Pete
pooloftears
I'm sitting in my room and it's dark. I still have my brown suit on. I don't own a black one. My stomach is growling. I haven't eaten in a few days. It's been too busy. That's what I tell myself at least. This last week has been too busy.
Luana walks in with a plate of food.
Luana: "Here. Mom wants you to eat."
Brontis: "..."
Luana: "We all miss Brenda, but you have to eat."
Brontis: "Thanks."
I take the plate and place it on my lap. She leaves and closes the door behind her. I should be outside thanking everyone who came to the funeral. I should be remembering her and sharing stories. Maybe even share a laugh at some of Brenda's crazy antics. But I'm here. In my room. In the dark. Waiting. I'm not even sure for what. I look at the plate of food. It's flautas. Steak and potato rolled up in a small tortilla shell. Mexican crema is spread over it. I love this dish. I grab one and take a bite. With a mouthful of food I cry. I sit there and cry but I'm hungry, so I keep eating. I'm in my room and it's dark. I'm wearing my brown suit. Brenda has been in the ground for a little over three hours and I'm sitting here eating flautas.

(no subject)
Pete
pooloftears
I decided to write something. A memoir. Dealing with me growing up in an all woman household. While the story will revolve around me and what I experienced, the real focus will be on Brenda and how she died.
To do that, I need to interview my family about her to fill in the pieces of who she actually was vs. who I though she was.
Asking a Latin family to reopen old wounds is like asking a sphere to be square. We never talk about our feelings. It's just never done. We always assume the best of the dead and revere them even if they don't deserve it. It feels like an impossible task, so I started with the most stubborn of the bunch. Mom.
I told her what I was doing. She didn't like it but understood why I want to do this, and agreed to be interviewed. We were in the car on a short trip to Jersey when she told me how she found out about Brenda being sick. She was arguing with Rolando, my stepdad.

Rolando: "You're impossible to deal with!"
Regina: "Well you're a stupid son of a bitch that always cries to his mommy on the phone."

Yeah, mom was kinda vicious with words.

Rolando: "At least I have a good relationship with my mom. Your kids hate you! You're a terrible person and an even worse mother. It's no wonder your daughter has AIDS!"
Regina: "...What? Who? Who has AIDS?"
Rolando: "Brenda..."

My sister was so afraid to tell mom that, well, she just didn't. She spoke to Rolando, who she had a pretty good relationship with. In the heat of the argument he used that to put mom down. I'm sure he regretted it immediately, but... I just can't imagine what mom felt at that moment. To hear that your kid is essentially going to die...

I had no idea Brenda was sick for so long actually. I though she caught it when I was 15 or so. Rolando left us when I was 11, so she must have been sick before that. god. Mom had to watch that. She knew for years that her daughter was slowly dieing. How the hell did she keep it together? She was struggling to feed Luana and me. She was working 2 jobs. She was starving herself to ensure we had clothes and school supplies. And she did this going to bed every night thinking it was her fault Brenda got sick. Where in the world do you find that kind of strength?

I guess this project isn't just about me. It's about mom too. I still look up to her. She has fucked up so much in her life, but she takes all these hits and keeps getting up. I wish I could say there is some sort of trick to the resolve I have, some sort of philosophical ideal, but in all honesty, I'm mostly just trying to emulate the strength in that woman.

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Pete
pooloftears
My mind has been preoccupied as of late. I've been ignoring a problem that's been sitting right in front of me. I'm exhausted, but who isn't? And how is that new anyway?

I'm enjoying some new people in my life. The company is nice and the conversations are fun.

I'm revisiting some things from my past. Mostly things about Brenda. It's uncomfortably and still feels like a fresh wound despite the fact that's it's been over 10 years.
I'm taking notes. And I'm writing. My family is not going to like what they read.

Honors Night
Pete
pooloftears

So tonight was Honors Night and I received two awards. One for my work in Social Psychology, the other for my research paper on Artificial Intelligence & Philosophy. I invited my mom to this one. She was pretty happy about being there, we talked for a while afterward.

Mom - "Well now that you have these two awards, you can frame them and show them to Lily when she gets older."
Me - "Yeah, I've already framed my other awards."
Mom - "Oh.... How many do you have?"
Me - "In the last two years, I guess I've received about... Ten."
Mom - "I thought these were your first awards."
Me - "I got the award from the American Psychological Association at last year's Honors Night."
Mom - "Oh. I wasn't invited to that."
Me - "Yeah, I know. I have a hard time sort of celebrating these things."
Mom - "Well it's good to be humble."
Me - "It's not that, it's just that when I get congratulated on something, it feels weird because there a sense of finality to it. I just.... I haven't felt like I've been done with any of it. Like last year, it was nice to be recognized, but I wasn't done kicking ass in Psychology, you know? I felt like there was so much more to do and I didn't want to stand there and feel good about it just yet."
Mom - "What about now?"
Me - "Now... I'm graduating next week. This chapter of my life has pretty much ended. The next one is beginning. I dunno I guess I felt like I could afford to have my family there to be proud and congratulate me this time."
Mom - "Well I am proud."
Me - "Thanks mom."

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Pete
pooloftears

What happened to us?

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Pete
pooloftears

She made the cake. <3

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Pete
pooloftears

There are times where I miss being latino. It feels weird to say, but i miss speaking spanish every day and eating hearty meals and sharing a culture. I miss the glimpses of mountains and dirt roads and simple people... the kind that say goodmorning because they have no idea what turning up your ipod and ignoring the world means. I need to dance salsa, and eat in an open aired restaurant and drink some flavored shaved ice. Dame comida tipica. I've kinda worked my whole life to not be part of one specific nationality, but right now, I want some Puerto Rico, I want some Ecuador and I want some Brazil.

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