Eternal Love

 

9.28.2017

I wear the necklace that I made out of her teeth much less these days, the smile she always wore that now, on occasion, I do. But both of our smiles are fragile.

Twelve years. It doesn’t get easier, only different – but that’s perhaps my fault, my choice. I never want to forget. – there are still triggers; but it has found  a different place in my heart, one of warmth and fondness instead of pain. Now, a subtle smile crosses my face as I recall her beauty, and we again smile together.

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Her ashes still rest by me, and the memories of those glorious days on the road from San Francisco, the long & accidental way to Austin. Austin wasn’t the plan, but as always, plans change – and we were needed there in the days following Hurricane Katrina to help. Every day an adventure. I had purpose. I was needed. The months living in The Enchanted Forest, both extraordinarily beautiful and full of sorrow, will remain in my heart, along with Bean, forever.

More than anything, she loved the car. I took her with me everywhere I could with me… but on that day – September 28th, 2005, she couldn’t come. Going to help a friend build a rain structure for a wedding reception, I was only gone for a couple hours. This time, however, she wasn’t waiting where we parked at the end of the driveway as she had always done before…

I learned moments later that her body had been found on the train tracks by friends at the Forest. Head crushed, but a stuffed toy, somehow, still in her mouth. I think that’s what they said. After the first words I wasn’t listening anymore.

Nearly always in these days of the year there’s a melancholy or need that comes over me – a longing. (Or, more appropriately said, it’s amplified.) A need to travel, to just go and watch cities & past disappear in the rearview mirror.

The way the Universe smiles on me sometimes, even when I don’t see it until later… A friend of mine, David, loaned me his car to do things I needed for four days, and on the last, after everything had mostly been done, I decided to give it all to Ruby – the only dog I’ve known who loves the car even more than Bean did. Starting at 5:30am, our drive began – sunrise at her favorite local park, then down to the Wharf where I took her for the first time as a pup of only four months old. Top down, loving every second of the wind & sunshine, we drove like beasts crunching bones & sucking the marrow out of the roads & the day, until the uncharacteristic San Francisco heat drove us back inside my apartment to rest in front of the fan.

Only a day later, when I realized the date, did the deep-seeded need become clear – it was my tribute to Bean, and all the miles we had driven together.

I look at the photo I took of her moments before we began our adventure, looking out the window of my van with a beautiful smile on her face – waiting for me to get in the car so we could go…

Bean

I’m sorry Bean, I thought I would see you sooner than this – but I had other things to do. I know you understand.

I miss you.
And one day, we’ll all drive again – you, Ruby, & me.

Until again, my sweet girl.

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Life, Death, Dogs. A Rooftop Contemplation

The occasional whisper of tires as a car drives by below, an unintelligible shout, the scattered songs of birds. The only sounds at this hour. Only the crackheads & I seem to be awake. Even the sirens are quiet, sleeping.

It’s 4am & I’m up on the roof of my apartment building with a fresh cup of coffee, a cigarette, & Ruby. The clouds above reflect the city lights giving a faint glow, just enough to see by. A cool breeze plays with my hair, blowing it in my face then away. I wrap my robe a little tighter around me.

I sit on the short wall of my building, look down at the weeds growing in our forbidden & neglected back yard. Near the far right corner calla lily’s bloom, defying the otherwise abandoned and unloved desolation. With their beauty inevitably comes a warm sorrow as I’m reminded of when Striggy brought a gift of bone-white lily’s to my tent in Austin. With love & reverence I placed them on top of the pale blonde box I had picked up earlier that day, already made into an altar surrounded with candles, a picture of Bean propped up against the box that now held the ashes of the most amazing dog & companion I’ve ever known. She was killed by a freight train a few days before, found by friends lying between the tracks, her favorite stuffed toy a few inches from her head. Nearly 13 years later & the tears still fall for her.

I turn back facing the roof top, close my eyes, take in a few deep breaths as I find a strange comfort in this sadness. Now, it’s filled with love and warm memories instead of the anguish I carried inside for years, holding it tight, afraid that if the pain wasn’t there I would somehow be betraying her memory.

I know better now. I understand death better now.

I think of how exquisite this life is, how fortunate I am. Occasionally I still let the weight of it all get to me and forget these things, but not now. Not today.

I open my eyes and catch Ruby briefly chasing her tail. I chuckle silently to myself and somehow love her even more.

I think of the time I spent in Hospice. Months on end so close to giving up, so desperately wanting to stop being strong, and each morning having to somehow find just one reason to keep fighting. One reason to stay alive.

As impossible it seemed to be able to imagine at times, I needed to believe that I would somehow get better.

I had to know, with as little doubt as possible, that there would be mornings like this one to look forward to.

Rolling, II

In Denver now, looks like I might be here for a couple days trying to earn money to get to Boston. Things are pretty interesting, to say the least.

Sarah headed out to the airport this morning, with all the money we made from busking last night and the account that the money donated for the purpose of getting me to boston was just about to be transfered to, leaving me with a little over $5 in change and a half tank of gas.

Don’t think I did anything wrong, save for the fact that most of everything didn’t go exactly as planned. Last night we were fine until it was time again to sleep in the van…

Hoping desperately that I can get the DD pay by Western Union. Otherwise…

I don’t know.

Fuck – I’ll make it to Boston, this ain’t shit. Just a different situation, no worse, no better than any of the other adversities I’ve faced.

Bean is rocking, enjoying the ride and all of the different places we get to stop – all of the different smells – the countryside, the deserts…

God, it’s good to have her back.

More later.