Palau, that perfect underwater shot,
Amsterdam red light district, girls in windows, and all that pot,
Sometimes only my subconscious is the only thing that remembers.
When the nights are hot and the brain is high,
It’s pretty hard to just play coy.
There was a night in costa Rica I danced nearly naked in the rain,
The locals thought I was a crazy perra Jane.
The void in my body; was easy to fill
But love, acceptance goes deeper; takes skill.
I've eaten my fair share of pastries in France,
In Argentina; I've done the dance.
Chile; I've slept under stars and hiked the mountain mile.
In China, eaten food that came in unidentified piles.
In Peru, I played with abandoned monkeys,
Because they reminded me of myself, for more than food; hungry.
There was that magical night on the life giving Amazon, pink dolphins, a quartette,
came to me; I almost heard them whisper, “check out the swimmer.”
For awhile, they allowed me to forget,
But when they swam away, the moment was lost and I felt dimmer.
Like a wrecked past you want to hold close, yet keep at bay.
Whether you like it or not, the memories of the river will always have their way.
Those dolphins, like me, no staying put; instead, existence.
Curious and friendly, yet try to keep a far distance.
With the love, loss, intensity of feelings,
The pink dolphins remind me of concealing.
That snake in the rafters of that hikers lodge in Peru,
Reminded me of the evil that lurks above, below and through.
Similar to the thousands of mosquito bites I reigned,
It is easy to pretend the mark wasn’t felt, yet that is the bain.
Just be distant and pretend it doesn’t itch,
Instead, just behave as a bitch.
The sea lions in Galapagos, curious and friendly, like a dog in the water,
Loyal and true they didn’t want to bother,
They enjoyed the moment and nibbled at my feet,
Perhaps a bit bittersweet.
But take a backseat.
That witch doctor in Equator told me there has to be a middle ground,
To your re-crown.
Keep looking, he said.
You ran far away from just letting it be,
In an attempt to find yourself, you hid (from yourself), quite easily.
In random cities and towns, you can escape the day
But the night may
Once again; bring you into your head where doubt and self-loathing will only become part of your unfolding.
Avoid that misery by finding a balance between peace and love and friendship and heartache, and simply, quit holding
Onto those things that will only bring detriment.
Don’t be your own impediment.
Choose your friends wisely, your lovers even more so,
And this, the witch doctor said, you already know.
Upon myself, in that moment, I realized and bestowed my thoughts again.
The dolphins and the sea lions, there is a balance,
Somewhere in the middle, that is the place to tread.
There is really no reason to be estranged,
From those thoughts in your head.
If someone doesn’t understand them, well, that is their own dread.
Even though constant searching I thought certainly was bound,
Peace, happiness and love, sometimes can be found
Only when you get off that merry-go-round.
After you left: The first year without my best friend
Sunday, December 20, 2015
I’m sorry I was so drunk when you died. When I came over last night, only to see your breathing had gotten worse, I panicked and started downing the Coors Lights. Although ever-loving husband Chris had texted me in the morning about your 3 hour seizure, I didn’t make it over until 5 p.m. Shitty friend, huh?
If I’m being honest, the main reason for my lateness was the fact I had met some young guy (yeah, I don’t remember his name) at the bar the night before and I was fucking him at his parents’ house when his family was gone. I know you don’t judge, but c’mon, I’m 42 and he was 22…he could be my son. It was some of the better sex I’ve had recently, and this you don’t know—since I left him in October, I’ve had a lot of sex.
I’ve been longing to tell you what it’s been like for me since I walked out on my marriage. But, the cancer had already taken your brain, and I didn’t want to trouble you with the little brain you had left, the brain that was so uniquely yours. When I sat by your bedside the Saturday night you died, I wanted to tell you all of this. But I also didn’t want you to leave this world with my problems on your shoulders. Anyway, my soon-to-be ex asked me if I wanted to watch Sons of Anarchy and my response was, “I don’t love you anymore.” Not one of my better moments, and really, no way to end a 15 marriage. That was on October 29, almost two months ago.
Anyway, back to the night you died. Your best friends were there: me and Lisa—my ever crying twin sister. Your sisters were there: Rhonda and Rachel. Their husbands Tim and Todd, Lisa’s husband Rob, and your daughters Sadie and Hanna, and of course, Chris. I don’t know why I’m explaining who these people are. I hope the cancer didn’t eat that part of your brain, but if it did, there you go…all of your favorite people.
I went up immediately to see you when I arrived. Well, if I’m being honest, I grabbed a beer first, checked my hair (I had that freshly fucked look). You were in much worse condition than you were the day before. I could tell your breathing was altered, and you were still wearing the same black and white polka dot nightgown from the day before. You know the one….tight straps that appeared to cut off your circulation in the arm pit.
There was so much I wanted to say to you as I held your hand and waited for your breathing to stop. Little did I know the breathing wouldn’t stop until 4:00 the next morning, after we’d already made two more beer runs. I was 12 or more beers in by then.
We were all surrounding your bed when you died. I lied next to you on the bed and I could hear your breathing slowing so I called Chris to lay down next to you. I really wanted to stay there and hold your hand and tell you it was going to be ok. But he had more right to be there than me. So I moved.
We said prayers around your bed, although until that time, I didn’t even know my own sister and friends were that religious. We cried. We hugged and we held hands. We drank more. I cried more for me than for you. I know that is selfish to say, but I just had (and still have) no clue how I was going to survive without my best friend.
I wish I could say I felt your presence leave this earth. I wish I could say I saw you floating beautiful above me when you died, with your hair back, make-up on, and dressed up to go out. I saw none of that. I only felt the deep sadness when you left.
When you died, Hanna and Sadie spent a lot of time with your body, curled up on the bed. It broke my heart to know they would be without their mother. Granted at 24 Sadie is practically a grown woman, but everyone needs their mom. And Hanna, at the tender and difficult age of 14 really needed her Mom. I know you didn’t want people to say this, but your getting cancer wasn’t fair. I’d have rather had cancer than you—since I don’t have kids, I think the loss in this world would be easier to take.
While the girls were with your body, Tim called us outside and we all toasted and spilled a bit of beer for you. I laughed to myself thinking you’d be pissed off that we were wasting beer.
When the girls were done, Chris spent time alone with your body. It was then when the guys in black came, all somber and serious to take your body. We had to pry Chris off of you. God, he loved you so much.
After they had taken your body and we signed the papers, I went out and bought stuff to make French toast. Good thing Rob doesn’t drink—he was the only one sober enough to drive. The grocery stores weren’t open yet so we settled on stuff from the convenience store. You know the one—on Pines and mission, right around the corner from your house. I made the entire loaf of bread, but no one ate (except me of course). I finally went back to my parents’ house. I was on Christmas Break…wait…we can’t call it that anymore…winter break…and staying with them. I told them we lost you. They said it was probably for the best given the pain from the cancer that had taken over. I wanted to punch them in the face.
I had hoped I’d see you in my dreams. I didn’t.
Love and hugs,
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Lisa, Chris, Rachel and I met at Chris’ to plan your funeral arrangements today. It sucked. When the funeral director said you were in the building, all I could imagine was that black and white polka dot nightgown you were wearing when you died. I noticed it was cutting into your armpits. It made me want to run back there, put a wig on you, dress you in Vegas nightclub attire, and apply make-up.
We made the decisions on the service and the funeral director told us we couldn’t have music that had cuss words in it. Fuck that, we do what we want. We wanted this service to represent you. And believe me, it will.
It is the fourth day in a row that I’ve been drunk. Most of my time has been spent with Chris and your sister’s at your old house going through pictures, crying, and talking about you. A steady stream of family had been in and out, bringing food (some of it absolutely disgusting). I’m sick of small talk.
Chris and your sisters have done a really good job of trying to get your house ready for Christmas. The tree in your house has tons of presents under it. You’d be proud of the shopper you turned Chris into.
I wish I felt you around me more. When I left my parents’ house to go to Chris’ this morning, I thought I saw glitter falling from the sky. Was that you? Or was that my hangover talking? I’m going to believe that was you.
Lisa is doing better than you’d imagine. I know you were always so worried about her falling apart (she is a crier) but she’s been doing ok. Maybe she is in shock like all of us---losing you so young to cancer of all things, makes this feel unreal. The weird thing is the fact Lisa's actually taken over helping with the house load of people. Like me, she brought Kleenex and is quietly in the background cleaning up, ,like I will need to do with my life now that you're gone.
I really miss you.
Friday, December 25, 2015
Merry Christmas, Roxane!
I talked with Alan today. He is still in shock that I left our marriage. He asked if he could come to your funeral and I told him yes. Remember that one time at Oktoberfest when you and him got into an argument? Granted, you were both drunk, but I think your true feelings may have come out at that time. I don’t think you had any love lost. Am I right? He could be such a pompous asshole. Just because he’s French and educated at ivy league he always acted better than all of us from the little ho dunk town of Spokane. Did you think that too but were just afraid to tell me? Its weird, but I haven’t regretted my decision to leave him at all. I have a very short list of things I’ll miss, and few of them actually have to do with him. An example of this list includes:
• I’ll really miss Sal the dog. I’m pretty sure Alan is going to want to keep him in the divorce
• Having a dishwasher (the place I rented doesn’t have one)
• Yeah, I think that’s it.
The sex was few and far between, so I’d have had to have it in order to miss it. I definitely do not miss the controlling, always right attitude.
Anyway, it’s Christmas, so enough of that. We had a nice day. I got drunk on mimosas after going to church with my parents this morning. There was something comforting about being at church…the catholic rituals and sitting there with my family. Maybe I’ll start going again. Or not.
Chris and Hanna came to my parents’ house for Christmas dinner. Honestly, Chris seems pretty lost without you to help him plan things. Hanna seemed surprisingly ok, which actually concerns me. Her being a Scorpio like me, I’m sure she’s burying those feelings really, really deep. But, also being a Scorpio, I know she is strong. I know you don’t believe in that bullshit horoscope stuff, but I do.
All and all, it was a pretty typical normal Christmas. As I’ve mentioned to you before, my parents and always having the TV on drives me crazy. Apparently, Christmas is not a special enough holiday to shut off the TV. Ugh.
I’ll be driving the 3.5 hours back home tomorrow with a hangover because I’m drunk again (6th day in a row). But, I’m kinda looking forward to going home. Even though home for me isn’t home anymore, it’s a somewhat decent rental in the basement of someone’s house. Ph.D. professor turned basement renter. Still weird to me to feel like I don’t have my shit together.
Love you always,
Roxane (Don’t sing the song, she hated that)
Her black and white polka dot nightgown twisted awkwardly around her armpit. I fix it, and it wakes her from the cancer drug induced sleep. She glares at me at first, but then realizes it’s me, her best friend. She barely manages a smile. So I sit on her bed. I hold her hand. I tell her it will be all right. Even though we both knew it wouldn’t be. She tries to talk back but her cancer brain won’t let her find the words. It’s ok, because I wouldn’t know how to answer. I talk about stupid stuff. I talk about a million things yet about nothing. I rub her hand and hum quietly to myself until she falls back asleep, a sleep she will never wake up from. When they come to take her body away, I don’t want to look, but I have to. The men wearing black are serious, solemn and professional as they move her into the mortuary van with the name Hennessey Funeral Home and Cremation painted on the side. I wonder if her nightgown is twisted around her armpit again.
The sound of my other friends wailing awakens my motherly instinct, which I didn’t know I had until now. And I make French toast. And tell myself it will be ok. Even though I know it won’t.
At 6 a.m. she grabs my handle violently, ever so longingly, yet she walks away.