… the discovery …

The story that Alcir told me, of how he discovered Who he was,
discovered that he was First and Foremost a loner and a diver…
is actually heartbreaking, yet beautiful too.

“My inner self started when I was 6 years old, and I was drowning
in high seas.   My father trew me in the wader, he watch me as
I tried to stay up, my arms an’ legs grabbing.

I wen’ down, and didn’t come up.  I Loved it.  I went down to the
bottom, and sat in the mud for a long time…. maybe four minutes.
Suddenly I appeared up, with a big smile, and I discovered my life.
All I wanted was to dive.
I discovered who I was…. a loner and a diver. I didn’t need anyone
else to help me, or to tell me who I was.
And that is when I started fighting it.
They…my parents… could never understand why I refused to use
my intelligence, which they said I had.
Two times I broke the world record for deep sea diving.
I went over 75 meters down…
I don’t care that it was not recorded.  I know who I am. “

 I remember he told me once that he went down … i don’t know…
200 feet or something crazy.  When he came back up, the
other guys didn’t believe that he’d gone down all the way to
the sea floor, so he went back down, following the anchor chain,
and brought up some sand from the bottom, just to prove
that he did.  This was a Free Dive.

He claimed he could stay down for many minutes… four or five…
and frankly I doubted his story.  I mean, impossible, right?
Then much later, I saw some nature program, where it talked
about how some people have this rare genetic ability …
and can, indeed, hold their breath for many minutes, and also
endure deep dives.  I had no idea.

“All I wan’ to do is make myself happy.  Society wans people who
wan’ to impress society.  I’m not a monkey… I’m not a circus animal,
that lives to amuse people… I jus’ wanna live my life.”

He got a medal for bravery.  It was in Desert Storm I think.
He carried a buddy on his back to safety, but he was already dead.

“He took 6 or 7 bullets for me”, he told me “but he was already dead.
Actually, he shielded me, but that was not why I carried him.
I never thought of that, I only thought of getting him out of there”

Another war story in Desert Storm… he was sleeping in his tent,
and in the middle of the night, he got up to take a piss… he heard
an explosion.
He looked back, and NO TENT…

He’s been shot 11 times, stabbed 4 times, and something happened
to his face.
“I know,” I told him. ” I can’t believe you’re still alive.  I’m amazed.”

“If You are…imagine me?”  His eyes grew dark and clouded over.
Still, his gaze was intent, as he looked deeply into me, knowing
he was sharing things hidden so deeply within his heart.

“When I am at war, I do not see them as human beings…no…
as a target; I have a perfect concept that they feel the same for me.”

“I don’ wanna die,  I don’ know why.  I don’ care about life or death, but …
somehow, I don’ wanna die”

He told me so many things about himself that night.  My heart is
heavy with the realizations of his youthful pain.  He said at six,
his mother told him he wouldn’t live til he was eight, and every
year she renewed her predictions.

“Why?” I asked.
“Because she didn’t like me.”

He was always in trouble, at home, at school.  And then came the
beatings.
Now today, I realize that he is ADHD.  And these people are usually
extremely intelligent, and in those days they were completely
misunderstood.

And the father story… a life of beatings.  With the belt, with a
piece of wood, with whatever he had in his hand at the time….
…even kicking him, and when he fell to the ground and curled up
in a ball, well then he’d kick him some more.
They both took great pleasure in punishing him in front of others.
Strange, how such terrible deep scarring can direct someone to
such drive, such accomplishment.
I’ve felt for some time that all of this was about proving himself
as a man.  But not to be loved, not to be liked by others.
And he was never accepted or shown love by either parent.

No, it was something deeper.  Proving to Himself that he was
what he Knew himself to be……  Extraordinary.

—————————————————————-

…a watershed…

Friday, sometime early March 2005

Last nite was a watershed of story, as he poured the scotch
and poured his heart.
It started after he came home, after going out to get smoke, and
coming back two and a half hours later.  He goes to the favellas
to score, and although I worry about that, he tells me not to worry,
they know him, and he can take care of himself.  That I believe.

He’d run into friends, drank, coked, come home and looked into
her eyes, searching for anger.
She could not hide anything from him.  He always saw,  so this
time she truly said no, not anger, just adjusting to frequency.
It’s every 2 or 3 days…

“No… not every 2 or 3 days… no……. oh…………….yes….
I guess you’re so damned smart.
Just don’t be like the other ones, please.  Just understand me.
I will never lie to you, I will always be true to you, always,
I swear.  Can you handle me babe?”

She looked long into his eyes.  “I Think so…”

This night she desperately wished for a recorder. The things he told
her, the way they rolled from his tongue…how could she ever capture
a tenth of them…?

She told him her main concern with his drinking…
“Your drinking is your business…how it affects me is my business.
I’m concerned with your health, that’s what worries me.”

“When I die, they oughta cut out a few organs…burn the rest please…
but take some of me and study, because I am not a normal person.

“I have drunk and snorted and shot, and been shot, and I live.
I’m not normal.
I’m not going to live long, babe, and I’m not going to change.
I can stop, I have stopped if there is a reason.

“But I don’t wanna spend my life sober.  I’ve seen too much.
No, you’ll see me dead.
Just don’t bury me.  Burn me, throw me in the ocean.
A Viking burial would be nice.  But otherwise just burn me, please. ”
Water filled her eyes…..

“I’m not afraid to die.  I never have been .  You know what scares
me…the only thing?.  I’ve never told anyone this.
What scares me is dying without being called a man.
To be worthy of being called a man, that is the one thing.
Not to die one of the masses….. oh….”

“In the Legion, they had a name they called me…..”
(I know it, but I’m not sharing it right now, as I’m not
sure he’d be OK with that).
“Oh, I’m good…I never miss.  Never.  One shot to the head.
I took out a squad of 40.  I wait…I watch…watch for days,
I know their routine, I know how many and where.  Pow Pow…
I could take out 5 in about 14 seconds.  I was the Best.

“Once they found me, they chased me for 4 days in the desert…
140 degrees day, -35 at night.  I covered myself for some shade.
I drank my own piss.
“They called out my special name, “It’s ___we gotta get him!”,
and they chased me … a bunch of them…
It was 35 miles to the sea, Once I got there, there was a beeper
and I could be found.  But I had lost mine, and no one
knew where I was….”
Obviously he escaped and was found, but I never heard how.

As a child, he was always in trouble, always being punished,
and the parents seemed to enjoy it, and from his stories,
they were quite creative.

They laughed at him, and called him Tatubola… little Armadillo…
The parents had a new horse whip and were trying it out on him.
There were other family there, and they all laughed as his mother
whipped him, and he rolled into a ball, rolled all over the ground
and down the hill.
The others said the parents must know what they are doing,
they’re the parents.  Little Armadillo, rolled up in a ball.

“My father decided the belt wasn’t good enough.  So he turned the
buckle on me.  A man 6’2”, 190#…do you think he needed to use a
buckle on a child?  What a coward.  But I never cried.  Never.
I thought of what Tom would do (Sawyer), he wouldn’t cry.
No, it was not me who should cry.  It was them, they were the
ones who were not human, they should cry.

“Once, when my mother left him, in order to get her back, he tried
to impress her by taking me on the back of his bicycle, for a ride to
show what a good father, a good man he was.
He put me behind him, and we rode.

“My ankles rubbed against the wheels, rubbed them raw and bleeding.
And when he saw, he told me how stupid I was, and he beat me.
I’d ruined his beautiful fantasy picture.”

Turns out he was ADHD.  I know it.  Total Right brain.
Got in trouble in school every day.  He read voraciously, and
everything at school seemed stupid, he already knew it.
Typical of ADD brains, unusually bright and intelligent,
easily distracted, able to focus intensely, and on their own.

He read all the classics early on, filled his head with the heroes
of so many times and places.  All of them, the great books, he read.
History, Geography, but not math, not numbers.

“If you got a woman laughing, you’re gonna get some pussy… ”
he continued.
(She remembered the big swedish nurse who assisted in her last home
birth, the most perfect birth.  Smile Carol, big smile, she’d say.
An open smile means an open pussy…. see?  it was true!)

“You always made me laugh, you’re good at that,”  she purred…
“So you must have gotten a lot of pussy…”
“Oh Good Lord, you have no idea!”
He shook his head and grinned.

“You’re clean.  Your eyes are clean.
I want to rebuild myself from what’s inside you.
I planted something in you, back then.
I planted it, and it grew inside you, and 17 years later,
you come and find me.
Because you never forgot me, and I never forgot you.

“When I saw you, I saw your goodness.  I saw you’re clean.
I was not a nice person at that time.  But with you, I gave my best.
It was out of time, and I saw another way.  I drove 400 miles..
….do you know how many times?  Just to see you.
It was apart from my life.”

She had no idea of this.  All she knew was he was diving at the pier.
So it turns out he was driving from Tahoe each time?

He and his Tahoe girlfriend fought about her.  She had called that
day, when he’d been gone for so long, took that chance, and the
woman answered.
Later, the woman asked him, and he told her…
yes, I’ve met someone, and this is why I drive.

He told her his friend Mark was a good man, a good friend,
and he lost him as a friend forever, because he hit that woman in
this fight…”knocked her lights out”…and he knew he was wrong,
that was the only time he did that.
She asked him why he was untrue to her.
“She was not a good fuck.  She had become like a sister.
I left soon after I saw you”

“You know, they are offering me a job…. I can’t believe it…
$80,000 and I said no.  I couldn’t do it… I felt like a whore.
The Legion keeps asking me to come back, come back, we could
live in France, you would be my wife, we would live well.
I would be maybe a Sargent Chief.
And I would teach people how to kill.
But no, I can’t do it.  I said no, I want something else.”

“You wanna know the two saddest things?
A soldier without a war, and
and a Man without a job…
I know….. I’m both.”