the serenity of a vineyard.

what a morbid little shit you were. you held the knife to your chest, and you thought about how easy it would be. only five years old and you put the big butcher knife right in front of your chest when no one else was looking. grandma caught you once. maybe you wanted to get caught. you were such a little drama queen, it's a marvel you never tried out for plays. grandma caught you, and she said, "don't do that! the devil could push your hand." you believed in the devil then. the devil, and ghosts and witchery. a little red and black man with yellow eyes, horns, and a long pointy tail would suddenly appear and bring that knife through you, empty your life all over the kitchen floor.

why did you do that? i don't think you were trying to be funny, or make a big production out of it. no, you were probably just seeing how easy life was. it was like your old nintendo. you could just press the power button, and it would be finished. but something made you want to keep playing. all the little pleasures in life, wasn't it? maybe it was hearing paperboy's "ditty" on the radio, or else full afternoons of eating pik-nik while watching tom and jerry. there was something weird about all of it, though, and i have to give you credit for knowing where the power switch was so early on.

and then there was that flight to los angeles you took when you were seventeen. it was a stormy day in april, and california was having the storm of its life. that plane shook and rattled, dropped and swayed for the short, forty-five minute flight, but you thought that was it. you thought you were dead. the attendants couldn't even get up to serve peanuts. that was always a bad sign. you made a deal with god then, you remember? you told god, if you get me out of this one, i'll be a better person. i'll stop being so negative, and i'll help people and be good and love, and dear god, just don't let me die. not tonight. not somewhere over fucking bakersfield. you made it, and then you didn't hold up your end of the deal.

what were you afraid of then? clinging to the isolated life you led, holed up in your room night after night re-watching jenna jameson videos? maybe it was the promise of another power-sized mango-a-go-go with a free vitamin c boost, or getting to sit through a really good movie - one that made you think - at the century theaters. there were all sorts of things you wanted to do. you were only seventeen then. you had to make it through that night. otherwise, all the old filipinos would just shake their heads and say, "bata pa, bata pa." translation: he was just a child. he was just a child.

you are growing too old for this kind of talk, this brand of negativity. you're older now. and even though you're not necessarily wiser, it's time to let go of some things. what if it is that easy? you know enough now that there is no devil, at least not one that's going to push your hand and make you do something you regret. worse yet, there's no more grandma. no one left to warn you about your own imagination.

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