I was thinking about him yesterday. No particular reason. I think being pregnant did it, maybe. I’m sentimental enough on the average day, but throw in gestation and I’m pretty much a sodden Kleenex. This baby is a son, another son, and as I interlace my fingers around my burgeoning belly I think of how Joe’s mother is still alive while her son is not, so there’s that, but also it struck me anew how he never got to have children, a wife or girlfriend or a real job even, never got to trudge up the slope of the parking garage ramp towards his car at the end of a long day, deeply relieved that it’s Friday again, ready to hurl his crap into the front seat and fiddle with the radio dial and savor the drive home to the chaos of family, all of us relieved by the promise of Saturday, another long week survived.
I woke at 4:45 am today from a bad dream. I sat in the wee morning hours and read a few blogs, checked Pinterest, and he never knew what Pinterest was because according to wikipedia “development of Pinterest began in December 2009, and the site launched as closed beta in March 2010,” and he of course died in January of 2006.
You should look at this. It’s along the same lines, although I suppose not quite, because for Joe the five minute video would have stopped at about 1:45. It’s surprisingly touching, to stare into Danielle’s eyes as she grows old before you. One time I was in a theater workshop where all of us, 100 people or more in a hotel ballroom, had to create a “machine.” We had little instruction, it was a creative icebreaking what-have-you, and it took a while for some brave folks to get it started, but eventually we developed some momentum and one by one people stood up and connected themselves to the knot of bodies arranged in the middle, either palm to palm or back to back or some people showing off by doing headstands and that sort of thing. The pressure to be “creative” was high – how would you arrange your body and connect it to the others so as to be as pretentiously artistic as possible? So I hung back and waited til the end. I was one of the last people to be placed, and I draped myself over someone’s back, resting my head on the flat of his shoulder blade (he was bent over), and when I got myself positioned I discovered that my eyes ended up pointing right at someone else’s eyes. We were inches apart, and she reached put a hand in the small of my back, and we stared at each other like that for at least a minute or two – my cheek on the shoulder blade of a strange boy whose face I never saw, my left arm dangling slack, my eyes staring in the eyes of someone I didn’t know. The thought of this surely gives some of you readers hives. We looked in each other’s eyes, and the ballroom was hot, and miraculously there were no nervous giggles, no rolled eyes or whispers. There was commitment to this icebreaker in that room, which is why I love theater people. A hundred people were silent, earnest, willing to make fools of themselves, including the girl whose eyes I stared into. It was incredibly moving, oddly, unsettlingly moving. I have always craved connection. A cheek on a stranger’s shoulder blade.
All of my life I’ve known I would one day die but I still can’t quite wrap my head around it.