A third good-bye recently washed ashore, stranding me with my feelings—the trilogy finally complete—until the wave washed out and I was stranded no more.
Our first good-bye was hot –it was not hot enough. No, it was definitely too hot. You wrapped your arms around me, back to chest, sweat to sweat. Your heartbeat tickled my ribs as we moved to the bass, the drum, the rhythm of someone else’s lyrics. You, me, and no one else we know—hearts open, legs closed, the rhythm of our good-bye transmogrified by the din on stage.
At least we had an upright good-bye, both of us standing, neither kneeling before casket or grave, both of us cognizant of the changes ahead.
I wish I knew your middle name.
Not all good-byes are premeditated. We don’t always spot the speeding car or the malfunctioning artery soon enough. ‘In the nick of time’ is not guaranteed. Had such circumstances occurred post-separation our adieu would have tripled in value.
But what better way to go than when love has pressed tight, resonating with the force of blood pounding through veins, thousands of ears focused on a single word, an alliteration that reverberates through our memories and awakens in us something we used to be, that we once were, that we could be again?
That is the sometimes-purpose of art and words and music. Sometimes it is our servant. Sometimes it is our master. But it is omnipresent for people like us.
We did not misbehave. We betrayed no one except Tchaikovsky, but I suspect he would understand. He would have joined Nirvana were he immortal.
I will contemplate this later. I will think also about how, if God was made flesh through Jesus, then he must have lain with the Magdalene. No exceptions. God does not truck with exceptions. Neither does music, nor art, nor writing. We are here in the pit—above it, below it, beside it; it matters not, so long as we are alive and taking notes.
You, my wonderful girl; alive and baking in foreign suns. You know what you’re doing even when you do not know you know. You are forever pressed against my back and I have your back too. Still. There are not enough miles on earth to sever this connection.
I love you as only a non-sister sister can.
There was an apocalypse of sorts, the kind that happens while you’re seated at your desk, earbuds present, mind torn asunder from the tasks assigned you. There it is—the desk, the computer, the files. There it is—the explosion within, visible from space yet invisible to the person seated next to you.
And now there you are, having survived a change of heart and scenery, said heart pounding to the beat of Corbetta, Cohen, Marquez, Morrison—whatever turns your crank, whatever keeps awake at night, whatever makes you bleed.
Whatever heals you up again.
You are no longer beside me so we must establish new avenues of communication. So simple in so many ways, the demands of the flesh—it is platonic love that makes me pause over steak or wine; how shall I fulfill my duties, exactly? How to feed the will of unspoken things dying to be spoken?
It’s only once a fire is extinguished we can inventory that which has burned.
Far or near you are kindred. Yes, even when I turned down your invitations and stayed home writing; even when you did the same. And we laughed in understanding every single time.
I have written you a letter, and that is all. By tomorrow these sentences will feel foreign and far away. Perhaps I have written myself a letter instead then.
A fitting finale for the likes of us.
The first good-bye is the breaking of news, when giddiness rushes forth laced with grief that is untimely to acknowledge except in passing; the second good-bye is the physical sundering watered with tears of loss and excitement; the third good-bye is solitary and relies on acceptance.
Here is where letters get written and new approaches formulated; here is where tomorrow lies. It’s not dramatic, but almost disappointingly sublime.
So here’s to you and the rhythm of words and the modifications of friendship. You have stained me; you are part of my DNA, part of my writing. You are mine as surely as I am yours.
Words, love, music—we cannot be severed from our drive, and God help us should we ever desire as much.
The third good-bye is waning now, exhausted. Good-night, sleep tight, and may the muses find you on the morrow in all the places we once played.