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Strange Little Bird: Page 3

Before and After

Recent events forced me to examine my belief in heaven. You see, I would say “re-examine,” except that I’d never really given it much thought before. Heaven is just one of those things we tend to believe in without question because we want to believe in something good, and it does sound good.

After I sat in the floor and sobbed until it pained me just to draw breath, yelling at God, I stopped doubting his existence. That was as far as I got for a while. I stared skeptically at the ceiling, not questioning whether or not there was a God, but wondering why he was letting this happen.

I could make it through the days with some sense of composure. I could wash dishes or do laundry to distract myself. But then the night would swallow me up, the house would get quiet, and the sobbing would begin. I was alone. Alone with God, and he was going to take her from me at any time. So I sobbed silently, so no one would hear, because they needed me to be strong. She needed me to be strong. At my very lowest point a terror like I’ve never known gripped me. The thought was more horrific than even the knowledge of what was happening. What if, I thought, when she dies, that’s it? That’s all there is. What if there’s nothing after this?

And that’s how I came to question heaven. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had.

I sat up in bed, peering out into the suffocating dark, unable to move, unable to breathe.

After, I thought. I turned the word over and over in my mind. Is there anything after this life? After. It seemed like it was missing something. Then I realized what that something was.


I know there is a before. We don’t just fall out of the sky. God creates us, makes us, so there is a before. If there is a Before, there has to be an After.

I’m not exactly sure what After is. I don’t think it’s fluffy pink clouds and pearly gates. I’m not sure if it’s a long nap. I don’t know that the departed can hear us, but I don’t know that they can’t, either. I don’t know what After is.

But that’s okay. I don’t think we’re supposed to know. We spend a lot of time and effort trying to figure that one out, which is pointless, because we’ll all find out someday anyway, and it’s not like there’s a prize if we figure it out while we’re still here.

But there is a Before, and an After.

Sunday January 28, 2007

Brothers and Sister

“What the fuck?! Barry, that stinks of shit! Nasty dead pig. It’s like dead pork shit fat!!”

My idiot brother looked at Skip like he might be a little afraid of him for about half a second, and then he burst into laughter, spraying Skip with little chewed up bits of rank pork rind. The vein on the right side of Skip’s forhead started throbbing. I wondered if he had taken his Toprol that morning.

I sat in the back seat staring out the window while Skip stewed about stinking pork rinds and Barry continued to pilot our misguided Ford Freestyle through bowels of East Texas. It was a rare occurance. A sibling trip. We were sadly deprived of those for many years because my biological father hated my brothers and would do anything he could to keep us apart. I wish we’d had more of those trips. No matter how old you get, all you need to start a fight is to get in a car with your siblings for 4 or 5 hours.

I didn’t think Barry knew where he was going, or that his brilliant “short cut” had any basis in reality, but I wasn’t going to say anything and fuel the fire. I didn’t have to, because after just a little while Skip’s eyebrow did that arching thing it’s gotten so good at.

“Barry, do have a damn clue where you’re going?”

“Well, yeah, dumb ass. You think I’d just drive off all half-cocked?”


We drove around for a while before Barry pulled off at a gas station. He said he was going in for a map, but he came out with yet another bag of pork rinds. Skip waited till we got going pretty fast and tossed them out the window. I laughed. Barry pouted. Skip gloated over his small victory.

None of this matters. It’s just family. Me and my two brothers hurtling down a crumbling road to visit Winfred and take him a slightly late Christmas present. Winfred is our family now. Our mom was supposed to marry him two months ago, so now he’s our family, because two months ago our mom died.

Family is funny thing. The less of it you have, the more you want, and so you find it where you can.

Thursday January 18, 2007


Last night I did not stay out late.

There was no booze, no funny hats, no confetti, and certainly no Dick Clark.

Today there are no hangovers, empty resolutions, or even black-eyed peas.

2007 will be better. It has to be.

Monday January 1, 2007

First Post

Pay no attention to this first post. Just testing things out while I get back to writing.

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Saturday December 23, 2006
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