No More Waiting to Die
Just Surviving As Noble Intent
about Aaron Noble and his life up to his forty-eight years. Dominated by an
older brother who excelled at everything he did, so the younger Noble found it
was easier to remain in the background, soon learning it was preferable not to
participate due to the inevitable comparison with his achiever brother. With a
father who left the family when he was four years old, his younger sister was
his closest friend and confidant since they together had been the ones who
helped their pill-popping mother through the half-dozen suicide attempts and
the drunken rants that were never remembered in the morning.
only being three years older, his brother Rex had never taken a liking to him.
His only memories were of Rex and his friends mocking him whenever he tried to
join them, always ending up in tears, with cuts or humiliated. His mother, on a
few occasions, had spoken to Rex to explain his responsibility to help and
protect and include Aaron, but without a firm fatherly role model Rex ran
rampant in everything he did. Reckless and talented with unusual physical coordination,
Rex was popular throughout school, ever earning a scholarship to Rice
University where he played baseball.
younger Noble adopted a gentle, withdrawn manner that protected him from
ridicule. It was safer to not participate than try in any activity, whether
with Rex or with his own classmates. Noble's best friend moved away from Corpus
Christi in the seventh grade, leaving him without any close friends at all. His
quiet and gentle manner did not cause him to be the victim of bullying because
he was already mastering the art of being invisible.
father, an aeronautical engineer with an outgoing, bigger-than-life personality
like Rex, had moved to San Francisco and had started a new family, but that
didn't stop him from writing his father often, clinging to the illusion that
they were close yet ignoring that his father seldom replied. It was a source of
strength for Noble to exaggerate and fabricate skills and achievements he never
did but believed his father was proud of him nonetheless. And he chose to
ignore the drunken outbursts of hate his mother had that belittled his father.
He excused here for her bitterness because of course she was still grieving.
read novels to pass the time, and constructed model airplanes until his bedroom
was full of them. Then one night during high school, Rex and his best friend
Darryl destroyed them all with a baseball bat. Noble had forgotten why they did
it and chose to ignore it, not reacting to the loss and adapting the belief
that any more models he built would suffer a similar fate.
high school and with no scholarship or money for university, he tried his best
to find a writing job, soon taking a low-paying job at one of the local
newspapers. His reticence and gentle voice were not enough for him to keep the
job but it did lead him to find a job with a local manufacturing company that
made electronic parts and boats. When asked to write a user manual for one of
the many units imported from Taiwan, the owner of the company hired him full
time to rewrite all user documentation that came with each unit because the
"Chinglish" as he called it was unreadable. Noble found his niche as a
technical writer in Houston, a job he still had after nearly twenty-five years.
He found it interesting to import parts from the Chinese.
found he liked his routine of work and the savings from his meager paycheck,
choosing to forego activities that cost money. He spent his nights watching
television or out walking, comforted that he would one day have a decent pension
from his investment in his retirement plan. South America was where he wanted
to go, a dream that motivated him each day that passed without spending money.
And he wanted to see his cousin Alistair in Saudi Arabia and wanted to see the
Great Wall of China.
passed him by, saving his pennies, seeing less and less of his family except
his younger sister Vicky, who had settled down in Florida, not far enough away
to avoid during the holidays. He tried to be a good uncle to his nephews but no
matter how hard he tried, the birthday cards were intermittent and phone calls
watched his brother Rex from afar, seeing a promising baseball career end
during his junior year after being expelled from university for being convicted
of rape, spending time in prison, then from job to job, slowly developing into
an alcoholic like his mother. Last he had heard Rex was a member of the
Banditos Motorcycle Club, spending another stint in prison and now living in
the clubhouse in Dallas. Noble still felt fear in his gut when thinking of him.
been a number of failed relationships with an array of different women, but
none lasted more than six months. After losing his high school sweetheart due
to reasons still unclear to him, he had floundered in his efforts to find a
companion. Soon he rationalized it was easier to go solo, keeping to his
hours spent at the computer, his eyes had begun to fail, requiring him to wear
eyeglasses. When his hands became sore and bruised, he had assumed it was
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and therefore cut down on the time spent on the
computer, with the exception of only the necessary manuals required for work.
Noble spent his free time resting his hands, waiting for it to go away.
finally he went to the hospital, enduring blood tests and frustrated doctors,
resenting the money required to determine the source of his pain, ending with a
diagnosis he had never expected.
mechanically, Noble walked to his favorite restaurant, ordered broccoli and
tofu with rice and a coke, and stared ahead holding his head with his hands
under his chin. Swirling thoughts, doubts, exasperation and shock created a
cocktail in his brain. He let out a laugh, a short burst, then rubbed his face
and shook his head. Then he laughed again but it morphed into tears and a
suffocated cry, quiet enough so others wouldn't see but powerful enough to
illustrate his new situation had registered in a mind long trained to bypass
all danger that could hurt or hamper his life.
a long sigh.
one point during the meal he shook his head again and threw up his hands.
the meal on his long walk to his apartment, he began to feel a thrill, an
irrepressible lightness he hadn't felt since perhaps his early childhood. It
was all over, his game of safe living, his pussy footing and chronic avoidance
of all life had to offer. The thrill stemmed from mischief, and the knowledge
of having the means to leave his life, quietly and without fanfare. He already
knew where he would go before he uttered the question to himself. With some of
the best surfing in South America and one of the cheapest places to live, he
would move to Ecuador and finally endure the embarrassment and overcome his
fear to learn how to surf, or maybe to go horseback riding. There was no other
place that offered what he wanted; it was what he had been daydreaming about
while at the office.
there were other places he's like to see, like the Great Pyramids and the Great
Wall of China, but he wanted to gather his thoughts and relax in the middle of
the world first and maybe even write an article for some of the surf magazines
he was always reading. He knew the international surf competition was taking
place in the next few months. Besides, he loved speaking Spanish.
he thought about it, the easier the whole thing was. Giving notice at work,
giving notice to his landlord, selling some furniture and buying a backpack,
were the major obstacles. There would be a penalty taking his retirement early
but there was more than enough in there to support him in Ecuador.
the time he arrived home he was high with anticipation. A lot could happen in a
year or so.