Friday, October 25, 2002

Rain, rain, rain.

It's pouring outside. I love the rain here. It has a different feel to it than when it rains in Los Angeles. In LA, like everything else, the rain is only temporary. It comes during winter months, maybe for a week or two total, almost like it's rain in training or a special effect from a rain making machine on a Hollywood set. Just stopping by, until it's ready to pack up and leave.

The rain here feels thicker, more experienced, and has a different weight to it when it hits my car windshield. It has a wisdom to it like it personally knows the landscape and the people that it drenches. The clouds that carry it are lower, thicker and don't shoot their load in a one to two hour spurt. These East Coast clouds know what they are doing. They are well-conditioned and can produce solid rain through the night and next day without letting up. The rain here looks right, sounds right, and feels right when I walk in it. And, it smells like rain should.

Perhaps that's where the phrase "right as rain," comes from.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Tonight, I related with Tony Soprano.

It was unexpected, as Tony Soprano is a mob boss. However, I related to him in tonight's episode of The Sopranos called, "Everybody Hurts" when he learns that an estranged ex-fling of his committed suicide. This was a woman who had many problems before he met her, but he was one of the last people she was intimate with. The relationship had ended badly, as happens most of the time when a woman decides to see a married man, this one probably worse than most. Upon learning the news, Tony, despite his "no problem" attitude when it comes to killing those who turn on him or step on his toes, was hit very hard by the news of this woman hanging herself.

Why? Because suicide is one of hardest things on those who are left behind, whether you are a mob boss or a Girl Scout leader. I went through being "left behind" almost two years ago when Rob killed himself. Watching Tony deal with this, searching for answers that he wasn't going to find, hit home with me. You wonder if you're a good person, and like Tony, search for answers by visiting places that they worked or lived. You are left with so many unanswered questions and regardless of the circumstances you feel responsible for letting it happen.

It was hard to watch a saddened Tony try to process this. He's a tough mob boss. A big guy who walks around with a cowboy swagger in a leather jacket and black turtleneck. On a daily basis he works with the worst of humanity and on many occasions is the worst of humanity. But like me, he was saddened, angered, humbled, and confused by this woman's action. Her suicide tore through his armor and left him at a loss. I knew how he felt.

And that made me sad.

I'm still sad, as watching him made me remember what I went through. First, you can't believe it so you need some sort of proof. In my case, it was going to the funeral. I'll never forget driving up to my dad's house and seeing that castle, like Tony Soprano, humbled as if a piece had been torn out of it. And it had. Rob had taken his life in the garage. The house had witnessed it but even in its splendor could do nothing. It was still just a house. It couldn't reach out and turn off the car or call the police. It couldn't open the garage doors without the help of a human being. So it stood, paralyzed, and watched as someone it had grown to love took his life in its arms. The night I arrived, when my sister and I pulled into the driveway after she picked me up from the airport, the house looked shaken.

Before the funeral, Joan and I went through his stuff in his room. I went through his CD's, tapes, clothes, books, and photographs. I peeked into the journal I'd given him for Christmas that had been untouched. I went onto Marie's computer and looked at the last visited Web pages and at all the cookies for any kind of clue. Nothing that hinted at anything out of the ordinary. I searched through his bathroom and saw his antidepressants still in the bottles. Useless now, like the house, unable to prevent Rob from suicide. He wasn't reliable when it came to taking his medication and was an excellent liar when it came to covering that up. I wanted to find a message or explanation, or some clue of how much pain he was in. Mostly, I wanted him to tell me that there was nothing that I could have done, and that it wasn't my fault.

Despite my search for answers, until the funeral I had avoided the garage. I avoided walking past the door and when my dad wanted to hang up my coat on the hooks by the garage door, I told him that I'd take it upstairs. Ironically, the night before the funeral we watched the premiere episode of The Sopranos second season in Rob's honor and the episode had a big funeral for Tony's mother. The night before Rob had taken his life, we had chatted via Instant Message how much we were looking forward to the premiere. In my wildest dreams I never thought that I'd be watching it under those circumstances. When it came on, I turned a framed picture of Rob towards the television so he could watch with us, if even only in spirit.

During tonight's episode, every time that I watched Tony processing this woman's death, I wiped away tears, trying not to let my mom see that I was crying. I wasn't expecting to get hit that hard, but deep wounds may be easy to hide, burrowed away that they are, but not that hard to reopen. So many times, I wonder if Rob is watching me as I work at Barnes and Noble or drive in my car, or when I'm hunched over my journal in a coffee shop or taking a shower.

Maybe he was watching tonight, and saw how much his actions still hurt me.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

I felt it again.

The tingly, prickly feeling on my back as I hurried from the parking lot into work. I kept looking behind me at parked trucks. Like I said, I'm usually not like this, but this guy has spooked me.

And I have good reason, as he struck again tonight, and killed his target.

For those who aren't familiar with the area, Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia are all considered part of the Washington DC metro area. People who live in Baltimore commute to DC, just like I did for my interview. It's the same as New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. DC is a forty minute drive away with no traffic, to put it into perspective. Virginia surrounds DC, and Maryland is just across the Potomac River from DC. The sniper has hit areas that are all within an hour's drive from me.

I heard about the latest shooting when I got home tonight and logged onto the computer. I'm glad I didn't know about it on the drive home or while walking back out to my car.

I looked at another apartment today. My mom's friend Lois, who is a real estate agent, took me to an old row house right next to her own that had an apartment on the top. The whole place was empty, and we walked up the stairs to the third floor apartment. It was nice, and had exposed brick, Berber carpet, central air conditioning, a washer and dryer, and a porch, but I think that I liked the other place better. It was smaller than the one that I saw last week, and a little darker. Also, with all the amenities, it may be a bit expensive for me. The row house had just been bought by an investor, and is currently vacant. I love poking around in these old row houses, it's fascinating to see the details and layout. I feel like a time traveler exploring the 1800's. This particular street is paved with brick, traffic is blocked off, and hosts a gazebo in the middle of it. Absolutely charming.

Lois gave me the code to get into the house, so I can take my mom to see the place. It's walking distance from us.

Speaking of walking, I took a walk at dusk last night. Fall is starting to push summer along it's way, and I walked around the neighborhood in the crisp, cool, air. I am very much looking forward to fall, and to experiencing my first change of seasons in eight years.