Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Two Months, Two Days

June 8: The folder on my computer desktop "Dad" is filled with documents, notes, lists. As of right now I can't bear to see the word there, so meaningful, so loaded. I changed it to his initials instead. Better. A little.

Every day another piece of mail comes with his name on it. At first, the letters looked so strange  in the little metal mailbox, tilted on its side, waiting.

Sometimes, there's this: his laughter at something funny I am thinking about. My subconscious is bringing him in on the joke. Jokes, the language we could reliably speak.

June 14: Then something else happens. Something in the real world of courts and human pettiness that send me right back to my soapbox of Thanks For Leaving Me With Your Mess. I will have to, and must, put down the conversation between my higher self and his higher self. (Maybe his higher self is wearing worn overalls and squints a lot when he talks, but he exists, I think). Back to the forwarded mail and intrusive "as is" offers, now addressed directly to me. The heaviness of debt. I can't be learning-how-to-ride-a-bike me, or emotional-meltdown me. I have to be Grownup Me. Grownup Me has sharp lines between her eyebrows, gastritis, sleeplessness. She wants to dump all the heartache and thousand-yard stares and start again.

June 27: Back to waiting. Days are coins collected and tossed, one by one, into the muck. I can spend them as I choose. Flipping so the sun hits their surface just right, or toss 'em in, impatient, searching for some meaning or a better metaphor.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Dear Janine

I haven’t forgotten you. Your laugh was a boom, sudden and unapologetic. I remember that much but I don’t remember exactly what it sounded like now. It’s hard to write about you, even 10 years later. When your dad died, two years ago, I thought, maybe you are together. It was too hard to face the breast cancer walk last year. Our little group didn’t hear from your beloved about walking. I hope it’s because he fell in love and was too happy to meet us all in the parking lot so early on a Saturday morning. I will try to remember to send him a Christmas card. He really is a nice man, but I don’t have to tell you that.

I haven’t said it yet, but I miss you. Our talks, our emails. The kind of friend you were. You took it seriously, friendship. You drove to see me after I moved away. One of the only friends who did. And it’s not the thoughtful birthday and Christmas presents. The last time you visited me – remember? You had a present for my cat from your cat. It was so earnest and so damn sweet. When you said goodbye you kissed the top of the cat’s head, like a blessing. It’s so pressed into my memory, that image, the cat’s eyes closing for a moment.

I have your letters and cards and some photos of you, somewhere safe. Where is another story. My memory has gone to hell and I miss the conversations we never got to have about aging. If I dig up those letters, I’ll cry. I’ll read them all, your letters and cards, you always wrote so much. Thank Christ I saved them.

I still have that umbrella you gave me. The popup one with different colored panels. What made it such a thoughtful present was that I needed one, one just like that. You didn’t know this, but somehow you did. It still works. I had to sew the fabric back onto the ribs a few times. I just can’t let it go. Silly, right? It’s not you I’d be throwing away, or your laugh or the cafĂ© mochas or the frozen yogurt we ate with your dad, or Disneyland. I’ll keep it a little longer, I think, and see how I feel. What would you do, if you were me?