My computer just reminded me that tomorrow is Jon's birthday.
I wouldn't say that I had forgotten, but it did take me by surprise.
It still surprises me - takes my breath away - which makes sense, because I don't expect to lose people. I expect you to be here forever, on the other end of the phone or somewhere out in Facebook land. I expect his voice when I call his number, and am always surprised when I hear the Spanish-speaking woman answer instead.
Which is interesting, to me, because in Spanish, death is temporary. There are two verbs for 'being' in Spanish, and when forced to choose, the fathers of romance decided it would make better poetry to believe something you've never seen. To allow for possibility. So it seems more reasonable in the feverish moments that he might pop back in for a bit, even just in the answering machine. Inviting me to call again, or leave a detailed message.
"I'm out right now, splintered into my elemental pieces, being reborn and recycled, drifting out to the Caribbean and into the Gulf, intermittently haunting the dreams of my loved ones. Leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can, in the form of a door creaking, or a gust of wind, or a sorrowful note...
Or a reminder on your computer, in case you can't bring yourself to delete me...
Merry Christmas, by the way. You're aging well - better than many of my friends, who smoke and drink, who pull "G"s and command troops for a living. I know you've been looking for a few things... Last year you accidentally packed your favorite scarf at the bottom of the box with Christmas cards, the one you were too sorrowful to dig into this year...
Oh, and David Bowie says hi."
The Goblin King and his minions, those dearly departed who tug at our heartstrings, unsteady in their disembodied forms? There is something that draws them closer in the colder, darker days.
And that's a good thing. To feel love.
Which according to Spanish, is permanent.