Ever since I had the news of the loss of my friend last week, I've been hyper-sensitive to his absence, the times we shared, and his presence on Columbus Street. Little by little, as if on the paws of kittens, those times and memories have returned.
So much has changed. In the aftermath of the storm I was living back in the apartment since the house had flooded. Now, I'm living in "the big house". After the storm, I was alone here with Dal and Sam. Now I have two tenants and Dal has passed on. I believed my friend would retun at some point. It seems that the people I love and lose always do, and relatively quickly after they have passed. I usually find myself in that in between state-not asleep-not awake-but a place where I still feel, see and know. This time was no different.
3 am the morning of his servcies, there he was. He'd plunked himself down in my rocking chair beside my round table, quite the same as he'd plunked himself into my life in 2005... leaning back, relaxed, open crossed legs, sparkling eyes and that huge, inimatable, toothy grin spreading from ear to ear. I'd perched myself on the footstool to the red leather chair. We were surrounded by a haze of faces, but no actual people.
All I could do was say: "Vann, it's really you-Vann, I'm so glad you've come;" but he was too far away to touch.
Each time we'd talk on the phone, we'd always tease that one of these days we'd lay eyes on each other again. Tuesday morning was that day. Now, every time I see that empty rocker, I feel him smiling back at me. I know, he'll be back again.