The specter of you has been hanging around here for the last week. Heavily.
Saturday when I left the funeral, I found myself wanting to call you. To tell you about all the sorrow, all the joy of the day. To confess to a few unexpected tears so you’d tell me, in that reassuring baritone, “It doesn’t make you weak, La.” I wanted more than anything to reach out across the distance and tell you all about how unnerving and simultaneously comforting it was to experience the soul memory of what it was like to be in a church, the conservative nature of which I’ve long ago turned away from. I wanted to pour out all the mixed feelings I had about the pomp and circumstance and ponder aloud about the whys and the hows, knowing that even though I’d fumble over the words, you would understand with little explanation from me. That you’d listen when I needed. And laugh when I needed. And just; get me. Which I always need.
When I hit home I found myself wishing I could ask you to drive north, to go with me to the aquarium I’ve been dying to visit, knowing you wouldn’t judge my youthful exuberance at the experience. For the first time in a long time I wondered if my friends would adore you, if my family would take to you, as I haven’t wondered about anyone since way back when.
I thought maybe we’d go get sushi and have a drink on the rooftop and slyly crack jokes about passerby and look out at the skyline while I tried to pretend the temperature on the side where you sat wasn’t 10 degrees hotter than everywhere else.
In my mind I turned over all the could be’s, swiftly countering them with the are nots, but thinking them nonetheless.
It’s 7am and I’m thinking about making you breakfast. I have no idea why I still remember how you like your eggs.
It’s 11am and I want to go running in the park and I wish you’d come.
It’s 4pm and I’m petting a strange dog on the street and I can hear you admonishing me, “You don’t even know that damn dog, La.”
It’s 6pm and the man at the bar next to me orders your drink and I just shake my head at myself, disappointed in me for thinking any of this, feeling any of this. For feeling at all, really.
At 8, I find myself at a restaurant I think you’d really love. It would take everything in me not to tuck myself into your side in the plush leather booths.
At 11, I’m driving around enjoying the humid night air, listening to Sade and thinking that having you here, your presence in the passenger side, your cologne filling up the space in the car, your smile and your voice and your childlike laugh would make this even better. I think we’d have found our way into some deep conversation from nothing at all. I think we’d be listening to Sarah Vaughan or Amy Winehouse.
It’s 5am and I can’t sleep. I’m up and writing, watching the sun rise over this city I love.
And more than anything I want to call and tell you this, all of this, though I know I’d feel so foolish in the morning.
But you’re not here. Literally. Figuratively. In every single way imaginable.
And I wish that didn’t hurt.