Now then, he says, and at once he is again victim of the confusion that he spreads in his wake. She takes him to task again, but he protests that what was now is clearly then, now, and this now, too, is now then, for each now is gone in the time it takes to recognize it as now. Now is always then, he says, as he quickly walks off in each of the ten directions.
It’s odd how your stature has grown as I dream of you occasionally staring at your yearbook picture. It was only four years ago that I knew you existed, but hadn’t the faintest idea of who you were, anything about your life, why you gave me up, and, therefore who it was I might have been. Now you are a selfless icon, caring more for siblings who needed education, at the immediate cost of your own, a child who needed two parents in a world that frowned deeply on anything less than a pair. Someday soon, I will visit your grave, place a small stone upon your stone, and a kiss, the closest I can ever hope, ever dream to coming to the face of my mother.
She says, “you suffer from scriptor interruptus, which makes her laugh, and she says you have to have a thought to be interrupted and we both know it has been a long while since you’ve been there, but keep holding the pen, you never know what might come out.”
They sit in a small wine bar on an out-of-the-way street in an out-of-the-way city, she sipping a Oregon Pinot Noir while he is on his second Alsatian Pinot Gris. She asks him if he ever thinks about death. He peers into his wine glass, than at her and smiles a gentle smile, “I don’t,” he says, “because I have died too often already.” She looks at him quizzically, “What do you mean?” “Simply that every moment spent thinking about death is a moment of death itself, for I most certainly stop living during that contemplation, and I prefer life in the moment to death in the same moment, because we both know it will arrive sooner than we desire or imagine.”
An evening: spring retreating in the face of summer, two garnacha, a piano, standup bass, drums, her voice lifts the weight of the sky and we float up on a melody, unchained. In heaven George and Ira smile and we, here, smile with them.