Feb 8, 2017


It was the last time we would see each other.  But which of us was more aware of that and what did that mean?

I hadn't seen her in years.  Hadn't talked to her in a year.  I found her in the lunch room, in 'the facility'.  The dying facility as she once called it. She was sitting at a table with another woman.  I had hoped to meet her in some other less abrupt way.  There was no empty chair.  I finally approached her, sliding into her field of vision.  She recognized me.  "You were in an accident," she said.  I shook my head.  "Well, you will be."   I shook my head and pulled up a chair.

"You must learn to be less arrogant," she said following up just where we'd left off. I could hardly hear her.  I made her repeat it. "Less arrogant and listen to the Lord.  Don't talk so much."  All true, I thought, although it applied to both of us.  And that brought to mind those nights at the backgammon table, hour after hour, year after year, throwing down the dice from the leather shakers and sometimes in the frenzy, the martinis, on and on, turning the cube on the bar regardless of the consequences.  Did we learn nothing from the metaphors?

"You should leave," she said finally, although i'd only been there for a couple of hours.  I had imagined spending the whole afternoon.   But of course it was too much.  I stood up.  "Send in the next person," she said, with the authority of the autocratic priestess.  I moved toward her, to kiss her on the forehead.  "Don't touch me," she said.  Was that to make the most of a dramatic moment, which was her nature, although now, I don't know, I don't know if in that moment it was some reflex action.  Create one last vaccum. Or was it simply to prevent the dam from washing away?  And to allow the flood to include every last bit of sadness and horror.

"You must let Jesus into your life," she said still again and once more, as it always happens between us, the words seemed canned. The truth of the moment was suddenly disingenuous.  I told her I loved her and repeated that three times, but it was too late.  Any good director would have shaken his head, waved his hands, and cut the take.  "Tell the next person to come in," she said again. "Next," she said, and this time I left.  Even then I could hear her repeat it.  "Next!"  

As always, I was never able to establish equality.  Not since a day on the beach at Zuma.  On a dead calm afternoon.  "I couldn't resist," she began.

On the one hand, so what?  Why one earth would you think of something like that at such a moment.  I tried.  It worked or it didn't.  There was closure or there wasn't.  No one could ever say.  But still now, even now when it's still not too late, I'm thinking if we just had a few more minutes to make things right....

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