I don’t know what I want to write because I don’t know what I need to write. I don’t know who I am, or where I am going, or what anything means anymore. I feel like a man on fire running around frantically looking for water and relief yet all I find is smiling faces. The flesh is starting to burn –stop, drop, and roll dummy. To late the damage is done and the smell of burning flash is in the air.
At thirty I’m one of the lost boys only the bite is gone and so is the fun. I have nothing to show for anything I’ve done except a selfish confusion looking back at me in the mirror from a man who won’t grow up. I missed the bus and I have nobody to blame but my own damn self. But for Christ’s sake it’s more helpful placing the blame on others, and after all he did die for our sins.
I was thirty minutes late for work today because I couldn’t find a special rock given to me by a special girl, who in the process gave me a special purpose. It all started a week ago when this girl gave me this rock as a Christmas present. My mind didn’t know how to respond when I saw the little round rock since I’ve never been given a rock for a present in the past, or really put much thought into rocks in general for that matter. So I smiled. She explained that Moqui Ball (aka the rock) have a protective quality to them and can absorb negative energy and turn it positive. I commented how nicely it felt in the hand, which it indeed does. She went on to tell me they can help center the soul and take a person home. I remembered how passionate she was about rocks, and if the rock was special to her it was special to me. Plus she added it looked like an acorn which given the fact she likes to be called Squirrel made perfect sense.
I did what most Americans do to just about everything they don’t fully understand. I googled it. The moqui ball/marble (Iron oxide concretion) is found in the Navaho sandstone and seems to be indigenous to the United States. They have been used by Shaman for thousands of years and have a great mythical history. In mythology and spirituality they are known as a tool to talk to the dead and indeed are known for their protective qualities. The Navaho believed their dead spirits would play games with the marbles and leave them behind to let the living know they are still around and having fun. From a geologists stand point it’s an extremely rare formation that is not fully understood. Given that knowledge I became more intrigued by the rock.
I carry a lot of things on my persons and in the winter time my inventory increases with the addition of a coat. Common items found on me are a tin of Altoids, a hard cover copy of the United States Constitution (for good luck), my phone (in case you call), my keys, my wallet, gloves, Ray-Bans (when I need to hide), about two dollars in random change, a lighter, a catholic cross (for redemption), a ring my mother gave me just before she met Jesus, a can of New York PD mace, a small note book (who knows when genius will strike), a click pencil (never leaks in your fucking pocket like a pen), and random slips of paper filled with my insanity. Given my need to travel heavy, and already chalked full of symbolism and fate the rock seemed like a perfect addition.
So the rock entered my pocket, and over the next few days I found it to be in my hand more and more. People would ask me about the rock and I would hand it to them and explain the story about the Indians and their dead playing marbles. Most people looked at me like I was crazy which was making me grow found of the little rock. But they all held it and listened as a rambled the story as best I could.
My grandmother is nearing the end of her life and that has been really weighing heavy on my mind. She has a great story of a woman who always worked. My grandfather was an electrician and my grandma worked in a factory. They raised my mother, although I know nothing of those years. What I do know is my grandfather started losing his mind due to a tumor (what they called it). My grandmother cared for him right up to the end as he died young in his sleep in his early fifties. After a few years of grieving she became a nanny and helped raise a young surgeon’s child. In that time she met a man by the name of Dominick who she loved. They had a great time together for many years going to Vegas, so much so they moved there. The only time I saw her in those ten years was when she returned here to help me bury my mother. They lived a good ten years in the desert before he died a few months ago. My grandmother grieved but seemed ok, as she had been there before. Last month she had a heart attack and the people who were supposed to care for her sold he apartment out from under her. She recovered and found herself in a nursing home. For the first time she needed somebody to take care of her and nobody was around to do it. I felt like a failure of a man. Here I am at thirty and I couldn’t even find a way to visit her let alone take care of her.
Her situation was unfair and unacceptable and she deserved better. She also knew she deserved better and I could hear it in her stoic voice. It might make you think of me as a lesser man to know I cried for my grandmother, but I would argue a lesser man wouldn’t cry at all. How could life punish such a beautiful creature, I questioned God.
It was Christmas Eve and I had the rock in my pocket protecting me. My cell phone rang and it was my grandmother. She was very happy and was inviting me to a Christmas Party. I told her Vegas was far too long of a drive. She told me she was in Oak Brook (a Chicago suburb). I pulled the car over. She explained further. The surgeon my Grandma used to nanny for flew her out to their mansion where she will now live until her pending dinner date with Jesus is scheduled. She will die in a warm bed surrounded by the people who love her while enjoying the things she enjoys before she passes. It was a real honest to God Christmas miracle. No matter if it was God’s little gift, the small brown rock, or fates right hand I'm very impressed and reborn with a stronger vigor to the betterment of humanity and an absolute belief in its beauty. Grandma's going to have a happy ending after all. A story book ending in a youtube era.
So the rock was with me then, and has remained with me since. What I’ve learned in that time is for a protective ball it needs a lot of protection of its own. It’s round and rolls with ease, and at times even falls out of my pocket. It’s rolled off my desk and a few times and I have had to crawl to find it. When the rock is alone it becomes very cold to the touch however when it’s in contact with humans or near people in general it becomes warm. I read somewhere about its powers during sleep so now it remains in my hand as I sleep comfortably. When I wake in the morning its hot as a cup of coffee no matter how cold the room is.
I don’t know if the rock is anything more than a rock or if it has special powers. I just don’t know so I carry it as a good luck charm and in this last week it’s become more than that. I was staring at it thinking of my grandmother, and how excited I am to see her. I was thinking how I couldn’t wait to tell her about the rock and have her hold it in her hand. That’s when it all became clear. By protecting the rock I can protect myself and together we both stand strong…like a rock. If the rock can’t give me power I can give it some, and protect it. So if it really has power it’s protecting me. If it has none I’m protecting it.
For the rest of my life the rock will remain with me and everybody I care about will touch it. My father, my grandmother, my friends, my co-works, and every person from here on out will hold the rock. Some will fade with time, some will fade with relationship, and some will outlast me, but all of them will have touched the rock good or bad. When they touch it, they will become a piece of my history. As I grow older its value will increase as the stories of those who’ve touched it will increase. The rock will become my history and my legacy. If I go on to produce a large family my grandchildren will sit and stare with wonder about grandpa’s rock. It will be the start of the family history and my legacy and my stories will be passed down within through the ages until they become our stories. If I die famous the rock will become valued and probably placed in a museum along with our story. If I die poor and alone so will the rock just to be thrown out and forgotten. So by valuing the rock I’m valuing myself. The rock has eternity while I’m on borrowed time so my only hope is to make the rock my life. Fossilize my existence breathing life into the lifeless.
I can see it now ten years from now me running madly into a department store ranting franticly about a lost rock. What will they think of me? Who cares? I told a co-worker this plan today and when I finished he asked to hold the rock. The value is already increasing. What a great and unexpected present, thanks Squirrel.
A special girl gave me a special rock and now in many ways I have found myself with a special purpose and a great ending to the dismal year of 2009.