My Story (Parts I and II)

by jerrontables

Read Part III

From my personal blog: I thought it might be good to explain myself a little more.

Part I

It’s not easy to do when you’re seven and your parents die in a Parisian car accident. The sign said arrêt, but they didn’t know what that meant. They didn’t speak French. Since then my life has been dedicated to translation, which is really convenient, because my life was already dedicated to translation anyway. They were on their way back to the states to make it in time for my early graduation from St. Mary’s Translation School for Boys. They didn’t make it. I was the only kid in a crowd of blue-robed men. I scanned the audience over and over. I walked the stage, accepting my forty diplomas (all in different languages) and found my teacher, Monsigneur Godot, waiting for me with the news.

I spent the night at the school, rocking back and forth and retranslating the Odyssey.

Part II

I rocked. I rocked and I rocked—lines of the Odyssey running through me. Man, I was sharp. Never had I worked with such speed, eloquence of style. The text took up space and I was Odysseus, venturing out on the lonely journey of my own life, the words my comrades. My mom. My dad. They were gone forever.

There was the overall pain of this realization. Loved ones lost. There was the first and bitter sting–pieces of myself that had never before spoken, wails of begging like captive birds.

Then there were the tiny, searing strings that hung from the blanket of my new life:

  • I would never, ever again have someone to make me lunch, someone that would not only do it because they had to and it was the right thing, but because I was their own.
  • I would never again, on this earth, feel that level of love. Where do you find it? Where does it live? It starts at the moment of conception as a belted elation on the highest mountain top and travels on the lightest of wings, ever upwards as each second conceives itself and melts away. They were probably with that love now, high above the rain, the noise, the thoughts of men.
  • Who could I share things with? Where were my confidants? It was me trying to channel my mom and dad, wondering, always, if I was right, trying to guide my seven year-old memory of them.
  • No more would anyone give teeth and nails in battle for me. I might find someone to die on my behalf, but I would never find anyone with the superhuman fire of fight for a beloved one—that capacity for selflessness and suffering. I would never find anyone to endure the torture, to morph with the light of passion from God and trump everything with the awesome cudgel of brass-knuckled parentry—darting and tearing like a blunt weapon with teeth.

These feelings were bigger than me. My colleagues were bigger than me. The language professors took me in, raised me as their own. I honed my skills. They made for me the sandwich of their learnings, spiced it with scholastic contempt for the world. I got it. I was watering before they planted the seed—ripples in the small ocean of my burgeoning life. There wasn’t much they could teach me, but I gathered some from each and mulled them in my mind. I pressed on. It was the first thing I could never translate, and so I let it be what it was.


Read Part III