the next door neighbors are playing polka on the radio, and i'm lying on the too-cozy-for-my-own-good bed of my dear friend vicky's guest room. the weather is gorgeous on this new england tuesday morning, and part of me wishes i never had to return to sweltering nashville.
i came to town for vicky's wedding to her beloved jeff, a sweet gorgeous british rockstar type, who was her first boyfriend in 6th grade. they've lived a lot between their first courtship and their marriage, and it is a testament to love that they have found each other as adults, and adore each other as they do. there is gentleness in their union, and i feel nothing but peaceful when i'm in their midst. we're about to embark on a tuesday adventure of sightseeing and food-eating...
and there have been so many adventures already! the wedding was a countrytime lemonade commercial: in a field by a pond behind the west end creamery. we sat on blankets. i read a poem. they said their vows under a blue sky. and we danced the afternoon away to the music of an irish band (from rhode ireland). we ate ice cream and drank champagne. you really should have been there.
i've even had connecticut adventures: vicky's friend (and mine) rachel took me to rick's billiards for a night of bad pool, guinness, and bad karaoke. ah, fun follows us everywhere.
yesterday was wonderful. i drove the backroads into boston to connect with the lovely heather snow. the two of us, along with her boyfriend, dennis, drove to concord, where we picnicked on walden pond. you've never seen a happier trio of friends: we ate our sandwiches, drank contraband wine, and contemplated whether or not thoreau peed in the pond. we domesticated the chipmunks with the cunning use of pepperidge farms sausalito cookies. we swam in the cold, cold water. i skipped stones.
after hot showers, the three of us went to see the movie, saved!, which hit a little too close to my youth group teen years, mostly because it wasn't a caricature...i have lived some of the movie's scenarios verbatim. nevertheless, i enjoyed the movie, and sweet macauley culkin, thoroughly. after a mexicajun dinner at the border cafe in harvard square, i headed back to whitinsville.
i love the north.
my body remembers the breeziness of summers on the water, and the inocuous summer storms with muted thunder as background music to pizza night around the dinner table. the north is the smell and feel of home to me. and i can't help but think i'll end up this way eventually, permanently. it's in my bones.
some years i hate father's day. i am a sullen little girl who resents all the chisel-jawed, poloshirt-wearing dads walking in to starbucks, arm in arm with their own little girls. i glare. my heart takes on a whiny but that's not fair attitude.
today i didn't even notice my squinty-eyed resentment. i just served the drinks, with a belly full of unnamed anxiety. the awareness of being a daughter without a daddy came and went all day. i knew. i forgot. but i was on edge, bitchy. i tried not to let it get to me, because grief for a seven-year gone father is far away anymore. i've had lots of practice in the ways of getting through birthdays, anniversaries, christmases.
father's day comes every year. it always will. and i'll always have had a father: one who loved me, and died before i became a grownup. he'll always be the man who watches silently in my dreams at all my living and growing and mistake-making. some years i'll celebrate what i had. others i'll mourn what i've lost. this year, i'm simply pissed off. angry. and i'm not sure why.
it's mailtime in brentwood, tennessee, and alongside a yellow package containing pajamas i left at shannon's house in erie, sits an envelope from mercyhurst preparatory school, my alma mater. inside is a copy of the school's literary journal, with a dedication to a girl called katie sheriff, a classmate of mine. dedications only mean one thing: someone has died.
katie, i've learned a year later, was killed in the porch collapse at a chicago party last summer. she was one of 13 who died.
i can't say we were friends. our school was small enough for everyone to know everyone else, and we sat next to each other in classes. we worked on small group projects together. that is all i really remember of my time with her.
but. it is still a shock to learn that one of your own--the first from our class--is gone. gone in such a split-second life thieving way. what is our response after the shock settles?
honestly, i have not thought much about my high school years in a long time. but, this past weekend, i was part of a wedding party for my longtime friend, megan's wedding in new jersey. i spent a weekend with many of my mercyhurst friends. i stepped temporarily back into that world, this time as an adult: it was a reunion without all the pressure of reunions.
hearing the news of katie's death feels a little closer to home after allowing myself to consciously remember my high school days. i feel a bit of the weight of a life cut short, and all the soul-searching such weight demands. i'm listening to my lungs breathe, despite myself. i'm watching myself watch my world. my life, for the moment, is held in a frozen frame for examination. if such a tragedy as katie's untimely death can be redeemed in some minute way, i hope it is that we live a more living life.
[i don't want to forget that i'm alive.]
well friends, be prepared to see a lot more from me in the near future. the computer fund is full and overflowing, so much so that i am now typing this entry(yes, at this very instant) from my new (refurbished) laptop! i bit the bullet, bid on ebay, and won a sweet little dell latitude cpx in fantastic condition, with lots o bells and whistles.
i'm exhaling such relief tonight. i feel like i have a bit of my life back. i've been living out of virtual boxes for so long, and tonight i am home again.
so. i must thank the contributors to the fund: mom, peggy, cathy, eileen, kevin, jenna and trevor, ray, aunt mary helen, curtis, julie, jean, nicole, and christy. my cup runneth over. i send you all out an ellen-inspired HOLLAH!
and now i must go to bed. a girl can get entirely too used to staying up all night playing with her new computer (especially if this computer has 3-d pinball).
[ps, of course, the computer fund is still up and running...i am trying to make a living as a writer, you know...]