MPM Pit Story
I had finally returned to the family that loved me. And it felt good to be back home again.
However, there was one thing that was left unfinished. I had met someone special in that neighborhood, where he used to live. A girl who would catch me at play. It was always a delightful surprise.
I lit up every time she appeared. She did too, at least in my eyes.
Our first meeting happened while I was practicing my monkey-like skills on the “jungle gym”, a name some have used to describe the “ladder bars” at the school playground.
Seemingly from nowhere, she appeared with her little sister in tow. She was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.
She and I and her little sister, enjoyed each other’s company as we climbed on the outdoor playground equipment together. After an amazing time together, in my opinion, she left for home with her sister.
As I continued to refine my monkey like skills, her sisters and brother stopped by to meet me. They told me that their sister had sent them out to get their opinion.
I was flattered. There was obviously interest. And her siblings said they would be giving me a good report. So from then on, she would stop by, always when I least expected, and surprise me with her presence, to invite me to play or to ask me for help with something, and then offer a kiss as reward.
Yet by this time, Danny had already been immersed in a family where he learned low self esteem and unworthiness to the point his vision had already faded into nearsightedness.
So despite the fact, that a beautiful girl stopped by repeatedly, called to him whenever he passed her house, Danny was too afraid to knock on her door.
Afraid not so much because of her, she was wonderful in every way.
but because he felt ill prepared to approach her parents to visit her at her home. He wanted to get to know her without intruding.
He wasn’t prepared to explain feelings. That was something generally frowned upon in those days, in his household.
Danny was taught by the religious sources given him, that it was a sin to associate with those of that denomination. He didn’t want to go to hell fire. And pursuing her would be that sin, he understood.
Instead Danny relied on her occasional surprise appearances, which was always a delight for him. During summer and weekends Danny went out of his way to pass her house. Quite often she was outside on her lawn, when he went by on his bicycle.
He was always hoping that she would notice and call out to him. She always did. “Dan” was the name she called out. It was the name he used at the time.
Of course, Danny would wave and return the greeting. That’s why he was riding by her house in the first place.
Her power to empower seemed to go beyond Dan’s normal mode of operation. She appeared as a light to Danny, even in his time.
Yet Dan found it hard to believe she would be interested him at all. He had little to offer, except the song he promised to write her one day, once he learned how to play guitar and how to write a song.
Dan had already learned about unworthiness, about feeling lesser-than, about feeling guilty about positive emotions. Between the awkwardness of a boy smitten by a girl beautiful in every way, and the threat of hell-fire by the supposed will of deity, Danny was confused.
Religions told him that he should not associate with those who practiced other forms of Christian worship. Not to mention the awkwardness of a boy smitten by girl, beautiful in every way.
So with twists of logic and emotion, religion and guilt, and misplace loyalty, Dan found a way to reject that girl, so he wouldn’t have to deal with the conflict of emotions and teachings, so he couldn’t go back.
Dan regretted that moment, the very moment he rejected her. She had done nothing, except to be wonderful to him. And he couldn’t understand that. He couldn’t believe it. So he destroyed it.
Dan didn’t know how to explain his behavior. After that ill conceived moment. Dan felt even less worthy and even more unworthy of her forgiveness.
He wanted to apologize, explain and confess to her. He wanted to be sure that his malady, ingrained in him, had not passed onto her, through his misguided act. He wanted to know she was alright.
Yet he did not know how to proceed. His social grace was underdeveloped, his mistake seemed irredeemable, and he understood punishment more than forgiveness. He was not ready to confess.
When the dice rolled, Dan’s life rolled away from that neighborhood, through the mill of the juvenile system. Danny emerged at Grandma’s home to complete the remainder of his childhood. It was that boy’s wish come true. And healing had begun.
Yet that boy had some unfinished business in his old neighborhood. And the opportunity for resolution was becoming more remote as time passed.
Danny’s life moved on. School, work, military service, relocation, career, family, life kept him moving. He usually didn’t have time to entertain thought of nostalgia or regret.
From time to time, he did wonder if she was okay. He wondered if she was being treated well in her marriage. He wondered if his moment of insensitivity caused any damage in her life.
He wanted to apologize, and to make sure she was well, he wanted to make amends. He wanted to let her know how wonderful she was to him, and how, in her way, she had moved him. He needed closure.
In 1994, Danny was occasionally travelling between Los Angeles and New York on business. Grandma was in a nursing home by then, so Danny arranged to pass through Milwaukee to visit her more often. Danny had been away from home for decades, and was grateful for additional time with Grandma.
During a visit through town, Danny passed the house where that delightful girl lived. Danny had intended one day to contact her through her parents to apologize for his misdeed and settle it in his heart.
Then he saw a “For Sale” sign in front.
Danny had relied on the idea that her parents would be there as a point of contact in reaching her, the opposite of his childhood concern that they might block him from her. That’s when Danny jumped out of the car and met her parents for the first time.
They both met him at the front door. Admittedly, they saw him approaching and thought he was interested in their house. After explaining about growing up in the neighborhood, he asked about the family. They were very nice people. He wished I had met them sooner.
And soon the opportunity to bring closure might be gone forever.
Danny expected to be in Milwaukee again soon, so he set about to resolve it through her parents. He would love to have met her, or talk to her on the phone but mid-west sensibilities suggested that likelihood, a near zero.
The explanation seemed more that Danny’s writing skills could convey at the time. There was a shared history of meetings and moments, that meant something., at least to that boy.
There was little time left. Her parents could move any day and that chance to resolve that mistake could soon be gone forever. Then he remembered how as a preteen, he had promised, to himself, to write a song for her to demonstrate what she meant him to him.
Admittedly, the song led to a place of pain and sorrow. But for years Danny had hidden behind his armor of machismo, ego, and fear. It was time to be honest and open, regardless of outcome.
This is what he wrote.
Want to hear it?