30
by Kent Bruyneel

I turned thirty today. And I am happy about it. Too much not to share.

Well, it's not being thirty so much. It's the things that I have seen, the people I have known; the opportunities and the beauties and the moments that have flashed in front of me (so fast) since 1971.

And I want to thank them, share them, note them. Carve them into this space. Forever. For me, to tell the truth. This is for me and you don't need this like this don't need you. And. I expect it will make no sense; and I hope that is okay with you; my friends unknown. But. There is no choice. Maybe. I'll just get on with it. Okay?

My mother is love. I see her walking slowly down Hurly Road in Joggins, Nova Scotia, holding her mother's hand and dreaming of the cliffs. I'm there too. In her eyes. Like sunshine or something less transient. Something perennial.

My father is truth. And belief, and motivation, and real heart. Because of him I have been able to live the way I see fit. Still am. Because of him I (we) can make this, and give it away. He is art unaware. Each day I get to sit across from him and put my feet on his red desk, and see him listen and care about me and everyone else. I am awed.

My brother is a professor now. For real. But he has been my teacher for as long as I can remember. He makes me feel stupid. Though he doesn't intend to. Not always anyway. He is aspiration and (sometimes brutal) truth. Needed like air. Like water.

My sister so honest and ground-floor real. My sister who, especially lately since I have become a man, shows me I have so much to learn about being an adult, about being a proper human being. Though she probably has no idea, I can see it in her, even though I see her so little. And mostly I am happy we are friends now as well as siblings. I remember they called me for advice while I lived in that blank dorm and was sad, and I remember what that attention and trust meant to me. Means to me. Love.

My partners include the best designer in the world, the writer I most admire, the funniest person I know, a Mexican guy who makes me want to be a better man, like he is; my attorney and the other funeral boys who have bled beside me, and are now bandaged and traveling on, hiking up with packs heavy but properly adjusted now (I think) like me. I miss him, and all of them, every day. I carry them, as them me. As long as memory still serves, even if it is hard. So hard sometimes. Together, we're warriors, us all. You know. Boo-yah.

My lost friends (not just, or even mostly, mine but, you know) make me understand the urgency of each moment (though I forget all the time), and I am ever lucky for having heard this one read his pain and gifts, and climb and surf with him, and watch his frail body sway madly at the mouth of a guitar imploring me; and that one laugh and sing and skip east in the PEI night; making me believe in every possibility, laying beside me on that other shitty couch inhaling and wailing that perfect laugh. I think of it almost more now, and fuck the echoes and the costs. I am lucky to have been there and born witness. All this is in memory of you. Two.

My comrades, the ones I have know for fully 20 years, and those for far less. You make the time go so fast now, and so perfect too. And I want to slow it down and hear each one tell everything, and not wait to talk but listen, and throw my heavy arms around you in dance, as yours around me; and I remember all your faces, and I care about you all. Though unnamed.

My soul, an honest love unending (geography and circumstance be damned) that saved my life at least once, and all I have would not be here if not for her. She is goodness to me and no matter the road ahead, my shoulders will remember the touch that bid them go on. And the soft kiss that I took for granted (shit, almost spit in the face of). I remember, and though am ashamed sometimes, hope for a forgiveness in her light and trusting face. And I am grateful beyond the capabilities of this modest immobile expression. Or any other talk. And will love you. Unending.

My first time made the world open for me, and made it easy, and taught me unintentional lessons. Still learning. All is peace now. Hope for happiness, so rich and deserved.

My days now: filled with animated smart discussions of books and magazines, and type on page and screen and making things more readable, not less. And I will get better, and so will this. Like that little newspaper staffed by geniuses, that made me proud and happy and held me up straight when I had become used to bowing.

This country. Countrymen and women more I guess. We will climb to that point where we all will feel a part of this culture. This great red blanket I tuck under my feet now. To keep warm and safe. Luck is my crutch and it seems I have two now. Walking is even easier. Finding my feet now and running a little (sometimes). So fortunate.

Forget. Yours. All of you who take the time, and help and care and read and write. No words to explain what it means. A gift for me from you and back again (I hope).

This basement. This home. These hands racing madly across this keyboard. So many choices of words. An endless pile sitting less than a foot from me in a dictionary I bought for half-off in Charlottetown at the Towers Mall. Yeah, there are lots of them. These words.

But how come these ones keep banging with echoes that reach from that 88 seat bar in Downtown, Prince Edward Island to this suite where my grandfather and I played gin each night in Coquitlam?

"Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

It is not dark ahead you know. It's bright and brave-lit by those possibilities, by those souls. Those souls (you know them too) who are a gift not for one day, this one or any other, but for life.

Ever forward, baby.

Yeah.

I'm a freight train, baby.

Yeah.

Kent J Bruyneel is the editor of Forget Magazine and thanks you for reading (the J stands for James. He is named for his maternal great grandfather: Charles Jeptha Kent; who lived way past thirty and, in actual fact, lives to this day. With him).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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