pictures by charmley.
It was the last thing I could look forward to this summer. The long weekend. It held mystery and promise. We had started a tradition of getting old friends together on this weekend and this time would be no different. Except you would, of course, not be there. You are somewhere else. Perhaps you have started your own weekend traditions from out there in the ether...
I awoke early and began my journey with songs in my head and memories playing back to me from the catalogue that I keep.
It was raining at the terminal and there were a lot of tourists in vans, wearing sandals and shorts. I thought,"It's fucking six in the morning, people, and it is raining." I guess they all want to savour the summer. They are afraid, as I am, how the onset of fall and winter will make them feel.
Every year, I watch the leaves turn color and I have moments of despair when I think of the inevitable sadness of months of rain and grey. Grey isn't even a color, it is a shade.
I had arrived at Horseshoe Bay about an hour and a half early because I hadn't made reservations for the ferry and was concerned about getting on. I guess all these other humans, with their bad hair, bad coffee, standing in the rain in flip flops, thought along the same lines because there were a lot of them.
I was able to secure a space on the ferry to Langdale and we pulled out on time. This rarely happens. Usually I have left too late or I am just generally a victim of my own poor planning. This materializes in the form of added stress or missed ferries/boats/buses, etc.
By the time the ferry berthed in the slip, the rain had ceased and the Sun was showing it's face, albeit sporadically. This made me smile and I knew it was going to be alright, for now.
As I drove up the peninsula, I thought of you and how you had travelled up there for years, to spend time with your parents and family. I wondered to myself,"Did he ever stop there for a beer, or maybe a sandwich?"
I can only wonder. I think if there was a pub or a bar anywhere along this route, you had most likely stopped there.
I was sort of surprised by the beauty of this place. I talked aloud to you, as if you were in the car with me.
As I neared my destination, your parents' house, I began to get really sad. It was the realization that I was not going to see you. In my mind I had looked forward to this weekend, but when it finally arrived, I realized that the reason I was going there was because you were gone.
And all the things that I wish I had said or done, would come screaming back into my head again.
I think everyone that loved you is doing this to themselves, over and over. Running through conversations in their minds, trying to re-write history, chasing the horizon.
I had thought all day about you and how everyone would be, what the act of your family spreading your ashes, would seem like. What a shocking and bizarre thing to have to do for someone who never had a grey hair. It falls out of the natural order of things. Especially someone so close. And all the pain and misunderstanding that will never be solved.
And the good times. Partners in crime, you had a few of them.
I thought that I would see Heath when I first arrived. When I pulled up at the house, he pulled in at the exact same time. We were sharing the travel space through time with the same destination in mind.
Lund was a beacon with the light out. Or a magnet. Pulling. I was drawn there and afraid to go at the same time. Mel and Heath and me talked about our subsequent dreams of you. I think you would have liked that. You liked it when you caused people to talk about you, sometimes good and sometimes bad.
By the way, were these just dreams, or did you actually visit us?
It seems like something you would be desperate to do. Be a fly on the wall.
Didn't you want to see what would happen in this fucked up world? It intrigued you more than anyone else. You really loved to stir up shit. Remember the time we worked on the military commercial and you verbally attacked the soldiers at the wrap party? I ended up running away into the night, but cheers to you for sticking it to them. Ideologically, we shouldn't have been on that commercial in the first place and we both later felt guilt over this. I still do.
Or the time you were with Heath and you were randomly insulting the American soldiers that were taking shore leave from the air craft carrier. That took balls.
Your family looked tired and downcast. I met you when you were 21. They changed your diapers.
And now they watched with us as your ashes slowly sank to the bottom. White roses were pitched into the water.
Your grandparents were there, too. And your Aunts and Uncles. They all donned 'raging granny' hats and we all sang a song about democracy for you. It didn't sound very good, but it was the act of doing it that made it so special.
I learned some old gospel songs to play at the weekend. I played a few of them, but my heart just wasn't in it. I just wanted to get drunk and tell stories, but I mostly ended up listening to stories about you.
It was good to see all of us together. But it was like a dog without a bone. There was a key ingredient missing. I think you know what it was.
It will never quite taste the same without it.