in San Francisco
I was looking through some old pictures in a tattered shoe box under
our bed today when I came across your journal. It was something I
hadnít thought about in the past few days. I remember you
scratching away furiously every night, telling it your thoughts and
actions of the day. You were so faithful to that journal! Even when
I would try to distract you, with a kiss or a seductive foot rub,
you would frown and tell me to knock it off for five more minutes so
you could finish. Now the journal makes me smile.
Iíve been smiling a lot lately. You know, those sad and wistful
smiles that accompany a recent loss. I smile when I think about the
strange times we had. I think my favorite memory was the two of us
in the trolley car. Remember, that night? We had each drunk a bottle
of cheap red wine and were looking for something wild to do. You
told me that the only thing to do in San Francisco when youíre
drunk is ride the trolley cars. "Trust me David," you
said, "itís so much better when youíre drunk." So I
bought us two tickets and we headed up the hill to Union Square. The
Tuesday night left us practically alone on the car, but we stood
anyway because you said it was better that way. I held the back of
your jacket and you stretched your arms out, gulping in the sweet
sea air and glowing in the cool darkness.
"Can you feel that David?" you asked.
"What?" I whispered into your neck, helplessly drowning in
your skinís scent.
"The hope in the air. The inspiration. This is where dreams are
My dream was realized that night when I fell in love with you on
that trolley car. A true love that showed through the fuzziness of
the wine and the numbness of my mind.
So, I think of these things and I smile. And then the tears come.
Because I canít make anymore memories with you. Because I
couldnít make you better. Because I wasnít there the night that
you needed me. If you could speak to me, I know you would tell me
that it isnít my fault that you lay here in this hospital bed. But
I know that it is because if I would have just come home that night
instead of going for an after work drink with the guys, then I could
have stopped everything.
The image of that night plays though my head, like an unwelcome
dream playing in continuous slow motion. When I pushed open the door
of our apartment and saw the table overturned and the couch cushions
spread throughout the living room, my heart stopped beating. I knew
there was trouble. I think I even knew you were gone before I found
you sprawled on the kitchen floor. I just stared down at you in
disbelief, praying that it wasnít your blood that was matting your
hair to the floor but knowing that it was.
My fingers were shaking so badly that the numbers on the phone
couldnít be distinguished from each other. I didnít know if I
could speak to the operator on the other line, my throat had lost
every bit of moisture. But I found my voice and wailed to the woman,
"My wife, my wife," over and over again. No, I didnít
know what had happened. No, I didnít see the attacker. No, I
couldnít hear a heartbeat.
Fours nights I spent in the hospital with you. I talked to you
and held your hand for every second. I prayed for you to squeeze
mine back. I waited for your nutmeg eyes to flutter open, for the
smooth eyelashes to flicker and flirt with me. I prayed for any sign
that you would still be in my life, that everything would go back to
normal. But all I had was the hum of the machines and the stiffness
of your pale hand in mine.
When they told me that it was pointless to keep you going now, I
just nodded and tried to be brave and clinical about the matter. But
I just couldnít do it. As I signed my name to the paper, a tear
skied down my nose and hit the fresh ink. The Ďaí in my name
bled down the page. Even my name was crying for you, I thought. And
I handed the pen back to the solemn doctor.
I donít even remember my last words to you in that chilly
hospital room. The words didnít matter anymore because there was
no life behind them. And a numbness washed over me. Everything that
I had known had been taken from me in a ridiculous moment that left
some crack head thief with a new t.v. and a $100 stereo. And maybe a
guilty blemish on a strung out conscience. I could only hope.
I realized today that youíre not coming back to me. It was kind
of a funny moment because I was at Jimmyís, at our table, and the
waitress came and said "Hereís you change back." And at
that moment it hit me that the change she was giving me was life
without you. And I was getting it back just like I was before I met
you. I looked out the window and cried. I donít know, maybe I had
just had too much coffee.
I left the diner and wandered around in the cool dawn air. I
thought of all the things that we had planned to do together. Buy a
dog and name it Kerouac, after your favorite author. Jog across the
Golden Gate bridge. Get dressed up and go to a martini bar and act
pretentious all night long. But we never did these things because we
were sure that there would be a better time. When we have more money
or when itís not so windy, we would say. Now Iím left to live by
myself knowing that there will never be a better time. And these
things donít seem to be very important anymore.
My walk took me to the trolley cars. This time I only bought one
ticket. I stood at the edge and watched my tears hit the moving
ground. I closed my eyes and your sweet face came back to me. I
stretched out farther. I heard your voice in the cool breeze that
once brought you so much pleasure and now brought me such heartache.
The ride was over too soon.
So, I thought I would write my thoughts in your journal. A last
entry to bring some closure to dealing with life without you. The
numbness is still there and my heart hasnít started its beating
again. But I look forward to the day when I can feel again. Feel
whatís itís like to actually live a life instead of living in
the past when I was so happy just being in love with you.