tobeloved

Because I Want So Badly To Be Loved
by Joseph Riippi

I want my grandfather to come back to life. I want to ask him some questions.

I want to know about the war he fought. I want to hear the stories he never told.

I want to read my grandfather the story I wrote about the time he pounded a nail into a cedar tree with his bare hand. I want to tell him how my cousins and sister and me still talk about it when we get together.

I want to know if that really happened, that bit with the nail, or if it was just one of memory’s tricks.


I want to tell my children about the lake house my grandfather built with his bare hands. I want to tell them how he hammered nails with his bare hands and crushed huge spiders between his fingers. I want to build a family that would make my grandfather proud.

I want to sit on the lake house porch and I want to pour a beer and clink a glass with my grandfather alive again. I want to lean back and breathe lake air and look out at the mountains and listen to my grandfather tell his version of the nail story.

I want to know what he was like before he was old. I want to know what he did the night before his wedding. I want to hear the war stories.

I want to know what he meant at the party for his and my grandmother’s fiftieth wedding anniversary, when he raised a shaky hand in a salute and said, It’s been a long war.

I want to know if that was a joke or if he was confused and thought it was an actual war he was in, if he got all of us family confused for soldiers.

I want to know what it’s like to fight in a war. I want to know what it’s like to have no choice but to go and fight. I want him to explain it to me.

I want to tell him about the last time I saw him, when he was dying and I was eighteen and he confused me for my father. I want to tell him what he said to me. I want to ask him if he meant what he said.

I want my own last words to count so much.

I want you to understand why I am writing this.

I want you to listen to me.

***

I want you to understand how I want so many things.

I want to be heard. I want to be remembered. I want to be happy as my grandfather was.

I want to be remembered as happy and loving.

I want to be remembered as gracious and kind and a wonderful writer.

I want to have presence, like a great actor on a bare stage. I want to have prescience. I want to have stature. I want gravitas. I want grace.

I want to live heroically.

I want to know how many people my grandfather watched die in the war. I want to ask him how many last words he remembered.

I want my family to be proud of me. I want my wife to be proud of me.

I want to have a party on our fiftieth anniversary and I want to say something like, It’s been too short.

I want to think of something better than that to say.

I want my wife to live a happy and joyful life.

I want our children and their children to be happy, to live lives remembered joyfully in songs and in stories with great love and loud laughter and pride in their surnames.

I want, really, the same that you want.

I want, badly, for you to love me.

***

I want, on our fiftieth anniversary, for my wife and I to spend the day telling our family stories of our adventures. I want my grandchildren to know everything about me.

I want to pound a nail into a cedar tree with my bare hand.

I want our children to love us. I want you, too, to love us. I want you to understand that there is more to all this wanting than just love and us.

I want you to understand what I’m trying to say here.

I want to know if you’re hearing me.

I want this explained back to me, because I don’t know, not exactly, what I’m trying to say.

I want to look back on my life and remember it happily and lovingly and proudly, and if I have to remember my life differently, if that will make me happier, then yes, I want to remember differently.

I want to remember fictions.

***

I want to relive crawling under a blanket as a child. I want to relive the smell of the fabric and floor carpet.

I want to feel safe.

I want to relive getting tucked tight into bed at night. I want to relive picture books and board books being read to me. I want to relive skinning my knee on the driveway and my mother’s fast running.

I want to relive Christmas mornings and birthdays. I want to relive bicycles and summer vacations. I want to remember having always done the right thing.

I want to remember harder, and by harder I mean I want to remember better, more sharply, with more specificity and clarity and sense. I want razor-edge thinking like for cutting up filmstrips.

I want to remember smells and tastes simultaneously, sounds and sights simultaneously, faces and names, feelings and emotions, all one great and grand simultaneity. I want remembering to be like reliving. I want to relive what I’ve lived through already.

I want to relive my wedding as a guest. I want to relive my first bike crash as my father. I want to relive my first taste of ice cream as the woman who scooped it. I want to relive my first smell of wet grass clippings. I want to relive my first smell of dirt, of gouda, of cookies baking. I want to relive every embarrassment and triumph. I want to edit the past like the draft of a novel written from memory.

I want to remember away the wrong bits. I want to remember away the bits that don’t fit, the bits I don’t like, the split infinitives and illogical turns of plot or undeveloped character. I want choices as to how I remember but I don’t want to be conscious of choosing.

I want to read this fifty years from now and not change a word.

I want finality. I want excellence. I want perfection.

I want to know if you are understanding this.

I want to know if you also want these things.

***

I want to be more specific. I want to be happy but I don’t want to know that I’ve reached happiness. I want to be surprised by my happiness. I want to be sad sometimes so as to have a comparative kind of happiness. I want a happiness that is so full and so real and sustained it becomes stasis, just how I am. I want to make my wife happy in a way that’s higher and hardier than my own happiness. I want a happiness that grows between us, between my wife and me, like a tree in endless blossom.

I want us to radiate happiness and ride on it like waves.

I want my wife to understand me better than I understand myself. I want to be a better husband. I want to be the best husband.

I want to feel as though I’ve led a full life. I want people to cry at my funeral. I want the children to smile.

I want to die painlessly without regret. I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be proud they’ve descended from me.

I want to feel less narcissistic for writing this.

I want to be honest in writing this, even if honesty means narcissistic feelings.

I want to be a better son. I want to make my parents proud.

***

I want to feel depressed less. I want to not care about money. I want to not want to be rich. I want to be proud without arrogance. I want to be rich without money. I want to not want a nice car. I want to not want a nicer apartment. I want to be content with what I have. I want to be being honest right now. I want an extra of everything, just in case. I want to be more aware of everything good I already have. I want to say, Enough, and mean it.

I want to sigh satisfactorily at the end of each day. I want to finish each day feeling like a farmer who has seeded a field. I want my job to be something I can do in my apartment.

I want an apartment in the city and a house on an island and a getaway place somewhere in Northern Italy with olive trees and fields of herbs.

I want to learn how to make wine. I want to learn how to make shoes. I want to be able to tell people I am a cobbler. I want to be a chef. I want to paint. I want to sculpt. I want to make sandals. I want to make rocking horses. I want to design decks of cards and umbrellas. I want to make beautiful things. I want the world to be better because I lived in it. I want the world to be more beautiful because I lived in it.

I want to be thinner. I want to be more attractive. I want to be healthier for myself and for my wife. I want to be a better lover. I want to be a better brother. I want to be a better friend. I want certain people out of my life forever.

I want to not feel guilty about not living close to my family. I want to not feel guilty about having said I want certain people out of my life forever.

I want to know if you know who you are.

I want my family to understand that my choosing to live far away is not because I don’t love them. I want to always tell people the truth. I want to always write the truth. I want it to be easier for me to always tell people the truth. I want people to like me. I want to always be the best at whatever I do. I want to not always be so competitive. I want supremacy. I want to not always want so much. I want to not feel like writing like this is something I have to do to stay sane. I want to stay sane by just breathing. I want to stay sane without thinking, I want to stay sane without pills. I want to not feel so much like shit if I don’t write. I want to not feel so much like shit in general.

I want to not feel so much like shit when I do write, or because of what I’ve written. I want to not write the word shit anymore. I want to not remember that I tried to kill myself.

I want to relive and remember that day and night I tried to kill myself differently. I want to change the before and after. I want to not sometimes still want to kill myself. I want to not think about that, but I want to remember it actually sometimes still so that it makes me appreciate being alive and capable of remembering.

I want to just fucking say what I am trying to say. I want to not wonder if I actually meant to die. I want to move on.

Joseph Riippi‘s books include A Cloth House, The Orange Suitcase, and Do Something! Do Something! Do Something!. His next, Research: A Novel for Performance, will be published next year by Civil Coping Mechanisms. He lives with his wife in New York City. Visit www.josephriippi.com.

Follow Vol. 1 Brooklyn on TwitterFacebookGoogle + our Tumblr, and sign up for our mailing list.

Share →
  • Pingback: Volume 1 Brooklyn Sunday Stories | joseph riippi()

  • Bill Riippi

    I love you Joey! Dad

  • tom riippi

    i want to look outside myself just a bit! lol! life will surely edit much of this column for you. best to you joe, we miss you out here!