I had just been thinking about you when I heard her stirring in the other room, waking from a bad dream.
I had been thinking about walking out onto the coblestone street at 2am (SO late to 12 yr/o me) in your little college town as rain started to drop onto the dusty street. We had been up all night painting your little apartment as well as the stairway up to it, part of whatever deal you made for a cut in deposit or rent. You were always doing things like that, trading work for reduced price.
Then i had thought about how far away everything with you feels now. That night was over 20 years ago. You've been gone five years? Has it been five years now? My life is so different than it was, than any life we'd have known. I wonder how you'd feel about it. I imagine trying to talk to you about it, like when i was 18 and you'd call me and drink, getting more honest with each beer. Maybe i could be honest with you too. I wonder if you could understand the things that mean so much to me now and help me sort through the things that confuse me so much, tie me up in knots. You taught me how to try to cut through those knots for other people. Maybe you could do it for me. Maybe i already know and just don't want to do it.
And then she cried in the other room. The little girl who bears your name. I could have let her dad, who graciously didn't argue when i wanted to name our child after my dead relative who he'd never met, get her. But i was right here and still awake. I wish i could ask your mom, my grandma, questions about kids and about how i was. I wish i could see you laugh about the ways she's like me and marvel at the ways she's not.
I miss you so much and wonder what you'd think about all this. Could you understand the man i love and how we love each other? The complicated relationship i have with my female partner and co-parent? How the knot of them and the children leave me paralyzed and ambivalent and bouncing back and forth all the time? I hope you could. I wish i could know if you could.