Do you remember the good summer, that first one? This last summer was the hell, and the second summer, something was starting to speak. But that first summer.
We walked the seawall a lot that summer, that year. We sat on your rectangular balcony and stared at the bits of the Fraser that could be seen, at lights in high rises and sunsets and moons and fireworks. There were homemade margaritas on my roof deck . . . or was that the second summer? I like that we had enough time for me to get confused.
The man I met was so hopeful, and grabbed that hope even when it was in threads and life threatened. You had routines that were sacred; smoothies and podcasts and skyped guitar lessons. We went to music stores. So many music stores. There was always a next guitar.
Entering a second relationship showed the truth of being older. The patterns and stories of the first are carried. It was a relief that you would share your history as openly as I chose to share mine. The imprints though. The things you wish you could undo because they no longer serve you but you can’t find the hanging thread such that the unraveling can begin. Being older and having a history and wanting more of life means . . . Well it means flow charts. Webs of emotions and connection and challenge. For everything I have ever carried, I have also reached to risk. You were my equal in that regard, even if our fears looked different.
But that seawall. Journeying out on a Sunday morning. Same parking spot. Same starting point, often with tea or hot chocolate. Rounded it out with shwarma or pho. Many observances along the way – people and dogs and the water. You would take me back to the Caribbean with you, in your memories. And we always walked together best, when we put the same literal foot forward.
There is no changing the choices of the past. These histories of ours, they are what make us. They are best light, not heavy. Like this peace that now tells me you are right here, entirely different as a result of your choice to pass . . . your need to pass . . . the fear you passed through . . . I expected to face the challenge of alone. I didn’t expect to find you still here, changed. All that weight, shed.
I have all of these semantics that mean so much to me, life theories that make my history lighter. In your last week I tried to share the idea of stories, of the meaning we ascribe, in the hopes it would lessen the fear that hung over you as you got closer to such an incredible unknown. “Nothing deep, k?” you asked, as I introduced a bit of Byron Katie I had read that morning. “Ok,” I acquiesced. I understood the disdain for ingesting ideas when there was so much inside of you that needed to find its way out. I had been writing in lurches and starts over the past decade for this exact reason. Release. I must exist. Except your release was to be one of spirit, beyond that bold body of yours that attracted more attention than my bald head.
In the end it felt like all I cared for, was your body. The walls you built were so thick, such that you could hear yourself. Tolerate pain. Make final decisions on things that were nowhere near final. Stunted offerings to those you loved as they moved on without your body.
As I type these words, there is a folk tune telling me that, “I know who I am now. I know who I wanna be.” Thank you Beardo. Thank you for those Seawall Sundays.