I don’t know why you decided to pop up in disguise to my friend, but I’m glad you stopped by.
But can I say this now, with the confidence I never had when you were around:
Dude, you’re a fucking weirdo.
You must have known that I had been thinking about you–although just in passing…while I was waded in the murky marshes of Mercury’s retrograde motion.
You really got us, man. We’re those way-too-serious Saturnian types. So you loosened our prim ponytails and lassoed us with your Jupiterian jokes.
Child of Purim, I’ve wondered if were we ever this jokey in the last millennium?
Yes and no. But isn’t that the classic answer of true-blue Maroons?
It’s that our jesting was poisonously laced with a bit of stubborn, respectful sobriety, a little too much reality.
Too much humble earth, not enough raucous light and connective illusion.
Yet once we faced it, in your student ghetto apartment–
you stood by the window, garish street lights illuminating you like some wearisome ghost of carnality, and, oh god–
I wanted to be haunted.
We chose to solemnly spoon, sighing and whimpering into a long-standing, unyielding no.
We’d live in the smothering blankets of our sticky insinuations.
But damn–did I respect you for respecting me.
And then, somewhere north along a long, dark boulevard, I saw you again, that one last time, with Neptune’s ziploc bag of herbs.
“I have a cold,” I said as we sat on my bed, looking at each other with steady eyes and wry smiles.
We both knew what that meant.
Sitting in Lula’s on a lonely, empty night, underneath those dim, white Christmas lights, eating dessert. I was still so fucking high-strung.
I couldn’t relax into the moment, into you…
And you knew that, and you wriggled, far East and away, in your weird fishy way that drove me mad.
“calm. down.” you wrote replied to me after I wrote you some long screed of worry.
I know now you were feeling all I felt, even more than I could or even express, and how that feels like an inescapable rogue wave of emotion.
If I had only known that I was a seagoat and you were a fish…I would have swum differently…
So you showed up on Friday night in old man cosplay. I can only assume where you are now has surprised you as an atheist–
(can you even call yourself that anymore?)
Well…it’s not over…is it?
Maybe you showed up in tweed and pipe because you’re Classic that way.
And maybe that’s what you wanted, in the end, here.
I wanted that for you, too. I assumed. I fucking assumed.
And when I went to look you up, knowing you wouldn’t be caught dead on Facebook…
I didn’t expect to catch you dead in a ditch.
How banal, darling.
You always had some cantankerous old man, screeching inside of you. And you had probably seen a lot that a kid didn’t need to see, before we met in the middle of Jenny’s genius talks and in the never-ending parade of Echo and the Bunnymen t-shirts.
I knew there was more to it, to you–
And then I learned that you were mad because the world wasn’t fair. Shit, I was just as mad.
An alluring anger burned between us that could never be cooled.
There’s so much I’m leaving out here–besides that we couldn’t quite sync up.
But really, all that there’s really left to say is that you were there for me when I needed you, not when I wanted you.
So, for now, we travel endlessly on this Möbius strip of grief.
And, just so you know, I’ll never have a cold again, but it doesn’t matter now…
I just wish it did.
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