The Coach

An old friend and former lover, the coach laughs with ease and Cheshire grin, inhaling the titters out of me. He is a stocky, dark complected man with large brown eyes gleaming in fear and amusement. He orders his world with hierarchies of God, family, faith and football, with rules and structure, even as he breaks them, breaks others, breaks vows. He is all human. But his heart is mutely echo’d in walls of cotton candied gelatin. The tears well with warm patriotic ardor and weal. Those strong, short arms once enfolded mine, vining around my biceps and wrists, making them fly a simulated soaring flight to the outside of our seedy hotel room, or back of the 79 Mercury or passenger seat of the 73 Beetle, in the park, in my bed. Sucking the world into him like hunger, the coach shouts, stomps, demands, and pushes politely with aggressive passivity, wanting others to love him and resenting them for making him want to impress them. He once said to me with pained realization after I withdrew my hand from his, “You’re cold, ” again proving plays and strategies win the field for the day and lose the love in the long days of getting on with career, raising children and growing old beyond sexual need, into erectile dysfunction and the comfort of the wife who is the worn leather silk of his favorite recliner, the one he couldn’t get out of and so sits way back, softly slouching the last cut, the remnants of the breadth of his shoulders, the line of resolution and absolution his neck and the round of his blades make. Now the coach stands loudly among his charges but has slunk from site from where he sidled up against the trunk of my hips for so long, now receded, ever in retreat. Give the wave, the signal. Hide behind semblance of distinction and cower before the potential exposure of the lie that dresses you up each morning. Yet your killing kindness and funny frailty draw my memories to the temperate comfort of forgotten forgiveness. No words. Peace.

7 Replies to “The Coach”

    1. Intriguing, but what kind of lies do we resign ourselves to and how is that possible if they are lies? Are they lies we tell ourselves or lies created for others that we settle into and neither struggle with nor fight against any more, given that word “resigned”?

      1. We lie to ourselves about the reasons we have accepted resignation in order to be a part of the others.

        “How is it possible”? How is it not?

  1. The Coach, of course!

    “He orders his world with hierarchies of God, family, faith and football, with rules and structure, even as he breaks them, breaks others, breaks vows. He is all human. But his heart is mutely echo’d in walls of cotton candied gelatin.”

    He had his life mapped and the change to pay the tolls on his road. But he took detours and stopped in places he never should have been. And now, he suffers his pain of R&R – resignation and regret – “muted” so that sometimes not even he can hear his own mournful whimpering.

    But to me the most telling insight into his unwitting sacrifice and succumb-ation into his despair is his,

    “…wanting others to love him and resenting them for making him want to impress them. ”

    He has subsumed himself to play a role, a role he never intended for himself yet slowly and imperceptibly descended into, one acquiescence, one rationalization, and one capitulation at a time.

    1. He IS all human, replete with denial, justification and rationalization, I suspect. The hierarchies order a chaotic universe and thus battle for him and allay his fears. He had an affair. Does that make him a hypocrite in view of his world order or does it seem a natural outgrowth of one who fears losing his family and reputation, his security? A man who suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous expectations of marriage and monogamy (daily friction, boredom, stress, kids, jobs, etc.) skulks in the shadows to protect that very marriage cage consciously or unconsciously.

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