i have been gone, and it is taking 15 tries to type this simple message. I am sorry, Nana, tho I'm sorry is woefully inadequate to express how I feel. Sorry too to Eli and to Jenny and to the pooch. Sending love.
That version of Angels is amazing. I think she actually sings it better than Bonnie, which I didn't think could be done.
Yesterday I ventured out to the grocery store, not really thinking of anything, a little shaky over not only the still shocking news of Steve's sudden passing, my aunt's more-expected passing the day before, but also still hit hard over my friend's son's murder in Portland last month.
I haven't been going out much...
So, I walk in the co-op/grocery door yesterday, and suddenly am right there, years before, when Andrew, my husband, and I'd just met Steve and Jenny in the park downtown -- my husband having previously insisted: "We are meeting these total strangers on public ground until I can get a sense of these **total strangers** you've invited off the internet and over to our house!"
"Oh, they're *fine* - others have met Steve, and I'm sure he's okay, he's bringing his girlfriend! - who brings their girlfriend to planned nefarious activities?"
"Have you heard of Bonnie and Clyde?" replies my husband.
I snort and reply: "... if you insist..."
So we meet them - they are fine (but really, how does one tell?) - and they are tired and hungry - so we first head to this co-op/grocery so they can get any food things they like for breakfast, etc. before heading back to our house....
So, I walk in the co-op yesterday - and there is the time warp and I'm remembering every minute being there with Steve - "This store! look at all this great produce!" and a little later: "Look at all this weird food! ...I don't recognize *any* of these companies" while super polite and reserved - with maybe a little, what has Steve gotten me into, why did we come up here, anyway, and who is this weird woman dragging us around this weird store? - Jenny is saying, "I'm fine, whatever you want, I'm fine..."
Tears come again to my eyes (yesterday), thinking of those first awkward minutes of us together and how easy and lovely our visit became - am I going to be able to get my stuff and get out of here without falling apart?
I head to the back of the store, head down, and of course it's the day I run into an old neighbor, whose look of caring and concern is the worst possible look for my keeping it together.... we talk a minute, he offers a hug (hugs happen a lot at the co-op, so often, actually, that it can be annoying: excuse me, huggie people, just trying to buy groceries here) which just made me more tear-y.... we say good-bye, me, rather quickly.
I dash to the vitamin/supplement aisle, not because I need anything there but because it seems like the most clinical aisle, nothing emotional there, right?
A little girl is standing there with her grandparents. She has her face painted. She's a cat. I smile at her a little, notice the paint is rather siamese cat looking, the girl's eyes are rather siamese cat blue. I know the grandparents, vaguely, we say hi.
I look back at the cute little girl, she's about 7 or 8, and smile again. I can't help but think of Steve's last post of their little cat with the vaguely siamese look to it, Steve's penchant for saying meow in comment, how cats 'get' him.... I get visibly tear-y eyed.
She looks right at me and says: "Don't be sad....."
then she adds, with her big blue eyes staring right at me: "Meow."
So it goes, here.
Anna, I think that is the best, most moving comment I have ever read. Please turn it into a post.
Oh, and hugs... you earned them.
Sorry to hear Steve died he was at his prime time and enjoyed life and he will be missed. My thoughts to you and the family at this time and my best to them, he will not be forgotten. older/exasperated (Michael)
Anna, you’re so lucky to have met him, and ditto what Amy said.
There seems to be this period of time where the person isn’t really gone yet, your mind hasn’t been able to accept the absence. I lost a close friend a couple weeks ago, and every time I pass the place where we used go for coffee, I expect to see her. The corner out front is where she told me she’d metastasized, a year ago last summer. Now it’s like that with Steve. I can’t quite believe he isn’t going to pop up and say something tr ig-ish.
I feel kind of lucky too, for being on summer break, having time to work in the studio with the laptop sitting on my table so I can check in and chat. Sometimes months pass when I’ve not been here. If now had been one of those times, I would have missed these threads where a little of everything was discussed: memoir, politics, silliness, reflection, often with BAV accompaniment (that's Steve's title, BAV). It’s been an opportunity to get to know people I already knew much better and that includes Steve.
His last post makes for a beautiful leaving of the stage: the cat, the flowers, reportage of the new lawn mower already named Boy, the clover patch left for the bees. His last day was good it seems. Not like my friend who was blind, sedated, confined to her bed. Imagining Steve enjoying his last day is comforting. Imagining Ellen’s is not. So there’s that.
He sure like those cheese stuffed squash blossoms you made Anna :)
Anna, your comment made me tear up, not because I really knew Steve, or even interacted with him much, but because it was so moving.. Kids have a knack of getting it right.
Amy, I left a comment earlier saying thank you, but it seemed funny 'cause I didn't 'do' anything.
The 'meow' threw me.
...meant to add, 'so I erased it.'
Thought maybe'd you'd seen it.
...the other comment.
before I erased it.
(in my best Gilda Radner/Emily Litella voice.)
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