Up dates from the Road


 

A dear friend of mine is traveling cross-country on his motorcycle and I have been getting texts and random messages at the oddest times of the day—usually when I am fretting about something and feeling anxious—that remind me to live life fully.

Postcards from the edge.

One, actual postcard I received in the mail yesterday from Idaho—Crater of the Moon.

I have also gotten to track his progress through the posted photographs on the social media sites, camping in Minnesota, Niagara Falls from the Canadian side, summer travels through the Midwest, and now the coasts of Maine—lobster roll anyone?

I received a message of another sort today, the brother of my darling friend who passed away, far too young, will be in town next week and wants to get together.

His brother’s passing will mark its 7th year anniversary at the end of this month.

I always think of him in July, when the fog is thick and lowly along the coasts, when I want to be bundled in warm layers and scarves, when the smell of the sea is super saturating the city and the sidewalks are wet in the morning, the pavement damp not from an overnight shower, but from the thick overhanging mists that envelop the buildings and hug the coast line.

I always have this memory of watching the fog roll in over Twin Peaks, heavy, majestic, unstoppable.

Death coming for my friend who lay in a coma for a week before passing.

The fog a kind of death shroud swooping in to take him away from me.

Half his ashes are in Maine.

My friend on his motorcycle heading into Maine, my friend who passed being from Maine, so many little mysterious circles within circles.

I will see the brother next Sunday at a café in the Mission that I am fairly certain has gluten free options—he has Celiac’s disease and has to avoid all things gluten—to catch up and give him a really big hug.

It’s been a few years now since I have seen him or his family, though we do keep in touch and I always talk about getting back out to Maine to see his parents, his mom especially who I connected so well with. The entire family, really, but the time just keeps slipping past and I haven’t made it there in about five years.

I still experience some grief around my friends passing, but it is softened and muted by the passage of time a foggy mitten swaddling the memory and a brief stab that will bring tears to my eyes, but not the torrential sobbing that once engulfed me.

I hope to be of service to his brother.

I hope to show him that my life has been good in the ensuing years.

It is a life that looks often times different from what I want it to look like, but one that I think my dear friend would appreciate. Although, I hazard he would find something to give me grief about.

Like all good friends do.

They know your spots and poke them and elicit that response that endears you to them because they make you see how silly you are and how human and they accept you for it, warts and all.

I can look around my humble abode and yes, humble it is, but sweet too, and me, it’s me and that’s what my friend taught me the most, I think, over time with perspective, that there’s nothing wrong with me.

“Be the ball, Martines, let them come to you.” He told me when I was achy to rush after some unavailable man.

“You’re not going to relapse.” He said another time when I was pouting about something insignificant and being a drama queen about it.

“You have a kind of faith that I can’t fathom, it’s like this razor’s edge of faith, you just believe and believe and believe and you are taken care of.” He paused, “I don’t know that I believe like that.”

I shoved him

He did believe.

He believed in goodness and kindness and dancing and being sweet and he loved me despite myself getting in the way of that love.

I have trepidation about seeing his brother and I could say it’s because I have not made enough with my life, what ever that is, that he’ll see me and wonder why didn’t I die? Why did his brother? What have I done with my life, would his brother have done more?

But that is ego and false and dishonest and well, bullshit.

The reason is I don’t want to feel the pain and the loss again, I don’t want my heart to get broke open again, as it always seems to do in July, when the fog descends upon me and the days are full of pearly light diffused through the seas grief and my blood feels strong in my veins with longing for love.

I wish my friend on his cross-country trip safe travels knowing that there is no such thing as safe travels, it’s all a risk, but a risk worth taking, a life worth living.

My friend who passed would be proud of me for getting up and taking risks, for moving to Paris, for humbly moving back, for being human, for still chasing after the ball once in a while, but for the most part learning how to be still and be approached.

Of course the ankle injury helped with that one.

I look forward to swapping tales from the road with my travelling friend as I look forward to continuing to get out there and take risks myself.

And to sit in a café and look at the sweet resemblance of a man I once knew, who knew me so well, who honored me with his love and friendship, who filled his home with vases of white French tulips and candles and heaps of friends when I got a year sober, who told me that I was worth it and so much more.

Who never failed to be there for me, putting an arm around me when I needed it most.

May I honor that friend, those memories, and that legacy by being the same kind of person.

Genuine.

Loving.

Compassionate.

Kind.

I still miss you Shadrach.

I always will.

And.

I am a better person for having had you in my life.

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