“Fuck yeah!” was the reply to my “I think the military is sending me to your neck of the woods in a few weeks. Want to meet up for some sushi or something?” email.
“A few weeks” ended last night. I followed Trudie’s (my Garmin) instructions across town. I laughed out loud at the sign showing the “Willows” subdivision. I saw the mountains that stood in the background of pictures of children. I saw a familiar street from bygone images. I checked Twitter while at a red light:
Trudie: “Arriving at destination, on left.”
Inside, a cat I already knew as Luna greeted me. A little girl I already knew as Lucy stuck her head down from upstairs. And then, a foot. And a few seconds later, all of her came downstairs. Then a little boy I already knew as Jackson emerged. The drums I already knew he played were in the corner. Through the window was a trampoline where an enigmatic man once did backflips on YouTube while challenging a mommy blogger’s husband.
Me: So, how you been?
BHJ: Not so good…it’s been hard, since getting back from BlogHer.
Me: I’m sure. So, how’d they find your blog?
BHJ: I was in Dallas when I started getting comments from the kids. They found the YouTube trampoline videos first, then the blog. It just sucked…having to take it all down. Some people thought it was a stunt or something, but fuck them.
Me: I thought it was pretty apparent from the tweets that this was something you were not choosing to do–something painstakingly hard. I assume you got a bunch of supportive emails, along with all the comments?
BHJ: I did. It’s taken me several days to be able to write again…it was hard coming off the high of BlogHer, having this happen, and then trying to start again. But the old stuff will be back–it’ll be on top of the new–once I can finish scrubbing it of pictures and references to the old name.
Me: That’s good. And, I noticed the “W” is back in “The Willows” sign, so there’s that.
BHJ: Yeah, we all got assessed to replace the damned thing. W’s are like $300. Fucking W’s.
The four of us jumped in his car and headed to a local cantina.
Me: So, Jackson, do you ever talk to Vincent any more?
Jackson: Not really…
BHJ: I don’t guess I ever told you, but I wrote a pretty popular post about you and Vincent. Remember when he had his birthday party and didn’t invite you, and you were hurt, and I was, too? Well, I wrote that we went over there and opened his presents and ate his cake and cut off his head and popped all his balloons!
Me: It was off the chain…several of us regard it as a favorite post from your dad’s blog.
Jackson: He didn’t even give a real reason for not inviting me–he said I was too old, but there were two other boys who were older… I beat him in the popcorn sales drive, though!
Me: Kettle corn?
Me: The only vengeance that can rival cutting off an ingrate’s head is outselling him in kettle corn. Nice work.
Lucy (pressing plastic pink glasses to her temple): I’m going to kill myself.
Me: What? You’re going to off yourself with the left arm of a set of plastic pink eyeglasses?
BHJ: Great, I can see you writing about this tomorrow–BHJ’s five-year-old daughter: the apple the didn’t fall far from the tree.
Lucy: It’s okay, Daddy. I’m just bored. Can we go home now?
The J’s reentered their home, and we made plans for Friday night. But before I could leave…
Me: So, where does that little bastard Vincent live, anyway?
BHJ (pointing): Right there, around the corner.
I pulled away and paused in front of Vincent’s house. Vincent–the kid who’d hurt the drum-playing, future scientist, popcorn-selling boy with whom I’d had enchiladas. Vincent, the kid who lost his head in the blogosphere, but has it in real life. Vincent, a dumb kid whose house was getting the middle finger from some overly zealous rodent from WordPress.
Me: Fuck you, Vincent. But thanks for your inspiration.
And the rented Mitsubishi returned through the backdrops of yesteryear’s interwebs towards the interstate path to reality.