Saturday, August 2, 2014
I want to meet you for mussels. Will you meet me in Manhattan, at my favorite mussel place across from the park in the east village? Did you ever think I would say those words? Manhattan. Are you stunned that I made it out east all by myself? Looking back, it is hard to imagine. I know! You would have been right up the road.
I could order wine because I am old enough to drink now and you would be so surprised by how tall I am when I stand up to give you a hug as you walked through the door. My hair is blonder, I pierced my nose, but you would spot me instantly because you know me, and I look the same. Remember, we have the same walk? I would recognize you anywhere. You are sporting your baseball cap, classic button down shirt and jeans. You smile that hundred-watt smile and we sit down.
I would take one long stare, looking deep through the frames of your glasses, and then down, the pen and paper that you always kept in your breast pocket, studying your hands. I miss those hands. Those hands that built. I would reach out to touch your arm, reminding myself that this moment was real. Where would I even begin?
There are so many days, so many moments, celebrations, shenanigans and heartache that you have missed. Knowing me, I would probably end up telling you more about President Obama (how I met Brent in the freezing cold at Inauguration) then about my recent graduation from my MA Program. Yep, this girl got her MA. Your niece (who would never leave home, not even for sailing camp) got an MA in International Affairs. Your niece who (at age 7) closed her eyes when you put on Speed for movie night wants a career in post-conflict peace building. I will probably forget to mention that I sailed around the world, but instead pull out my iphone….You instantly want one. I would tell you that Nest is no longer available, but PAPER is sure to intrigue you. You would be surprised that we both lead nomadic lifestyles, and you would appreciate and understand why I can’t settle down. I lived in LA. Can you imagine? I learned how to parallel park the Subaru in Venice Beach. Oh, and I worked for Bill Clinton, and if I had mentioned that you two had previously met, he would have remembered. Who would have thought, right? And! And! I am a Beaver! Granddad will never live it down! I am the only Beaver in the family! I know! Crazy. But don’t worry, I still cheer for the Ducks.
I am going to take some time to gossip about the family. I am going to lean in and tell you all the things that drive me crazy, the stuff that would make you laugh. Your laugh, I can hear it. It’s perfect. You won’t believe some of it, your eyebrow is raised. Believe me, this shit happened. What a weird world, right? Don’t you wish you could have seen this for yourself? Aren’t you glad you weren’t around for some of this? I know. I know.
Guy, the squid polenta in Croatia, it was jet black and I tried it! They have peeps for every occasion now, even the 4th of July, they come in blue and red! And they have mini–peeps! And, there is this cheese called Humboldt Fog that will change your life.
I wouldn’t share the dark memories. I would resist telling you how much I hate August. I would skip over the details from that summer where all I could manage to keep down was chocolate soymilk. I won’t tell you the feeling I felt lifting the mask off my face in the intensive care unit so you could have one last look–the extreme loss I have felt every day of your absence. I won’t go there.
You’re dipping the crust in the salty mussel broth. It’s so good. The wine is almost gone. There is not enough time to get through it all. Everyone is still sailing along. I’ve missed you. I will always miss you. And I wish you were here.
This cup is for Guy–SNF.