It is snowing today. Soft gentle flakes that fall effortlessly to earth. It is cold. A chilling breath of winter that lingers on the cheeks in claret-stained blushes of winter’s slow ebbing away into the memory of spring not yet seen, or felt. Only hoped for. Soon to come. A distant mark upon the calendar page, not yet turned. Always remembered.
I am inside. Looking out. Watching the snow fall. A cashmere wrap draped around my shoulders. A deep purple, it pours down my shoulders like spilled wine upon a tablecloth, the stain of conversation and laughter sinking me deep into memory.The heat of the space heater toasts the air at my feet. Gentle notes of a piano fill the air. This room is chilly. A carport turned into office space. No basement to heat it from the ground up. It is chilly. And I am warm.
I am wrapped in memories of you.
I write you out. I let the words form upon the page, seep out of my finger tips in an endless stream of letters, vowels and consonants forming meaning out of thoughts that leave my mind unformed until they reach the keyboard beneath my fingertips and slide effortlessly onto the screen. The negative space of the snow white page becomes littered with black. I look outside and see a world of white waiting to be written into story.
I told your story yesterday old friend. I told your story and shared your voice with strangers. Just like you wanted. Just like you knew I would those days when you shared stories of your life on the road and laughed and teased and flirted. Remember? You said you wanted to be remembered. Oh. Not for the word you carried that named you. Oh no. Never that harsh and judgmental label – homeless. It didn’t sit well with you. Call me anything but that, you said.
And then you laughed. Because I’m not, you know. I’ve got a home. Here. And your rheumy eyes glistened and I saw the longing for home shining.
I told them of your brother. Of your reuniting. Of the missing years that had no need of filling in. Of the tears and the joy. And finally, I told these strangers who had never met you, but wished they had, of your brother's hand holding yours in those final moments. Of your passing over filled with grace in the love of a brother who never forgot you and never gave up on finding you before it was too late.
You blessed my world my friend. You blessed me with your laughter and your words and your insistence you would fight this. You would win. You would beat it. Not even life can beat me down you said. And it didn't. At least not life itself. You were so full of it. So completely engaged in it. And then, you were gone.
In the end, you won. In the beauty and the tragedy of your life you found the thing you most sought. That thing we all yearn for. That place we all want to be. Held forever in the arms of Love.
Yesterday I told your story and I smiled and laughed and remembered you just the way you wanted to be remembered. Determined. Feisty. Laughing and just a little bit naughty. Tell them about the man I was, you said. Tell them about the man with dreams and big ideas and an eye for the ladies. You winked when you said that. You always winked when you flirted. Tell them about the man who could lift bales of hay with one hand and change a flat tire in three minutes flat. Don't tell them about the skin and bones, the skeleton rattling around a small cubicle room where all I own fits into a 2x6 foot locker. Leave the ending out, would you? you asked. Remember me for the man I was. The man who did it his way. The one who told himself he never needed anyone and found out, in the end, he was wrong. Make sure they know that, you said. Make sure they know. No one is meant to be alone. Especially in the end.
I told your story yesterday old friend and you were remembered and eyes glistened and hearts drew near and warmed their hands in the glow of your closeness and I knew, you were there. Laughing. Caring. Sharing your stories and your funny jokes and not so delicate ones too.
You are not forgotten my friend.
It is snowing today. The world outside my window turning white as once the page lay flat and white before me, until your memory filled it.