There’s a line in the Ray Bradbury Sci-Fi classic “Fahrenheit 451” that describes friendship as a gradual progression; a drip by drip construction of innocent ripples whose mighty is a hidden gem of tidal given proper, pouring itself into a cup over the time and space of a person’s life. The evidence remains a mystery until the cup overflows.
Apologies for not googling the verbatim, but I felt like the imperfections of my memory as per this particular line dovetail much more effectively with the very idea.
Because love and friendship? Ain’t perfect.
But love and friendship are quite necessary things in a world whose market value changes for the better and worse on a daily basis. It seems that the times we’re living inside of are made of equal parts mercury and stardust. The sobering realities, tethered to the boundless dreams.
The weekend was all work for me, and it began on a very melancholic note because I lost my best workplace friend. Which is never a good thing in retail, where the weather changes every five minutes as it is.
How to describe Gus? He’s an Elmore Leonard character who makes the day worth figuring out to its better end. He’s a cool cat who still possesses that Louisiana drawl when he gets riled up. And he’s treating seventy as if it ain’t no thing at all. In his previous life, Gus was a minister. And that’s what he’s going back to now. My loss inside the day to day travails is going to be the gain of a great many people, and it’s how I had to frame things on Saturday . . when I wasn’t busy crying.
Before I left for the day, I found Gus and we hugged. I was tearing up as we embraced and then he went and did it.
“Hey man, I’m gonna be around.” He smiled.
“You better. We have a ballgame to get to.”
“You know it, Bubba. I love you.” He said.
“I love you too Gusto.”
And that was that. My day to day, changed, permanently. My forever too. The former will remain melancholic for a time, but the latter has become a better place thanks to Gus. Because he filled the void left by my good friend, George; who left me just when I needed him most. And it’s okay to be selfish about these things. When it matters this much, it is.
With love, it’s more complicated.
Love is a four letter word with sugar on top. It’s that honeyed up quality to the thing that allows it to have its way with us. Because love is a drug that doesn’t quit your system, even if you swear you will never . . ever . . ever . . never, dabble in the stuff again.
The way I did. When I started this blog.
This blog was my broken hearted pledge to the fates. It was a commandment to myself. To never again venture into something deeper than the shallows. And most certainly never to do such a thing on a blog . . with a writer . . whose words I loved to listen to as they roamed through my brain and tickled my heart and provoked my soul.
Never. Ever. Ever. Never.
I think I did one hell of a job of keeping this promise to myself. At least until she walked in the room and changed those plans. And it was like that line from the Harrison Ford flick Six Days, Seven Nights. She got me excited just by showing up. That was it. I was that easy. For her I was.
It’s just a certain way a man conducts himself when a certain woman enters his domain. He may not even be aware he’s behaving in a different way, but oh man . . he really is. Okay, imagine this dude’s life is a grand ballroom. The music is sizzling, the crowd is familiar and the mood is predictable. The dude is plenty fine with this, because he just so happens to be a creature of habit.
And then she makes the scene, and every single best laid plan goes up in the smoke of her fire. She steps into the grand ballroom wearing an indigo dress and it’s like every other woman in the place is dressed in monochrome. And the only music he can hear is coming from her. And all the sense in a world that’s busy making no sense at all, it’s tucked inside that smile of hers.
She gives him all the most important things. Love, friendship, support, understanding and faith. And sometimes, she gives him funny memes in the morning. And they end up having a gangsta rap meme showdown and it’s just the thing he needs, because the coffee ain’t working and the run didn’t feel so amazing and there’s so much to do and there’s so little time . .
And then he sits down, and in his best James Taylor he pens this. For her.
She’s got honey in her veins, and the breath of mountains in her soul and Keats in her movements and Cupid in her curls and mayhem in her silence and Broadway in her dancing and storms in her flirtatious wink and Hendrix in her rants and scandal in her steps and Gandhi in her whispers and the ocean in her tears and the age of disco in her laugh and she has the magic of all those crazy stars in the words she weaves.
He pens the words that fill him up, the words she created just by being in the grand ballroom of his existence. And he knows. He knows that it takes a certain woman to convince a certain man that you can never, ever say never . .