Thursday, July 31, 2008

may you never

There is a lot of laughter. About fifteen years ago, I wrote a little something, an imagined story about me and a fellow conspirator, how we would mock the pretentious, how we could look at each other and see the joke coming. Today, that little string of sentences is a premonition. We walk around hushed, dimly lit rooms mercilessly taking the piss out of Chihuly. It is the sort of thing I'd normally only write of doing, but given circumstances, we are both emboldened.

It's happened to him, not to me. I keep reminding myself of that. But it doesn't feel like that, as we're standing on the observation deck, looking over the city. He fails to see the charm, and I don't have the heart to argue today. Instead, I look out and see the exact spot below where Q and I stopped, paused, and noted the frames of this building, just a skeleton still. It's happened to him, not to me, I tell myself, but then that memory of Q drifts in and it just makes it all the more evident how temporary and fleeting everything can be.

We have a good dinner, he keeps in good spirits. But then it's just the two of us in the car, and he gets quiet as he's done periodically through the day. He gets quiet and suddenly breathing is a conscious effort for him. He lets out a breath and turns to me, says, nearly pleads, "Tell me I'm going to be okay."

And I say it without hesitation. "You're going to be okay." And I mean it and he knows this. That I say it with such certainty, with so little hesitation, surprises even me. Is he really going to be okay? Am I really being sincere? But he is, and I am. I just don't know how. I do not know how it happens, never came up with a series of well-planned steps. I only know that it does happen, almost miraculously. The things people can survive are a lot.

It just doesn't always feel that way.

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