This will be a rather one-sided conversation, I’m afraid.
I am exhausted! I awoke before dawn broke, which is not as much fun as staying awake late enough to watch the sun rise. One of the last times I committed said act was with my dear Lu! We stumbled out of the infamous Niagara’s front gate not too far past closing time, but past closing time nonetheless. Then we wavered around Tompkins Square Park, arm in arm, choking and coughing with full-bellied laughter as we looked for her misplaced van.
Rest assured, dear readers. Since we recognized our ill-conditions and assumed her driving conditions were very likely impaired, we settled into a cozy booth at 7a Cafe for our ritual mastication of veggie nachos and steady caffeine consumption. These things paired with the in-exhaustive East Village philosophical discussion and debate could keep us preoccupied for eternities and hours while our passions were only temporarily squelched by the silhouetted trees and high rises coming into focus against the melted colors of New York dawn. During these lulls in conversation we would sigh heavily over the clatter of forks and knives against plates. One, if not both of us would rest a weary chin in her cupped palm supported by the table top as we stared at the magical melting New York City horizon.
I thought of these moments when I awoke for my scheduled root canal. The sun had not yet risen, and it’s been a year since Lu has left this world. Around this time last year, I was working on a song called “Can’t Go Home Again.” Inspiration usually grabbed me on the bus ride back to Harlem from Hells Kitchen. The chill in the winter air was just starting to bite, and that nip infected me with nostalgia and a longing to return to Illinois and visit my home, my family, or perhaps my youth. The first verse seemed to come fairly easily, but I struggled with the chorus and remaining verses.
Then Lucinda was gone…and every line seemed to have an entirely new meaning. Every word. Each syllable. The rest of the song poured out of me just as easily as the tears rolled down my cheeks.
At the risk of being saturated in sap, I want to share something of my decay. I want to share the part that was saved or at least repaired. The last year, without her, has been uncomfortable and the healing has been painful, to say the least. Nevertheless, winter becomes spring and babies are born, and loved ones pass away, and although some things change, sometimes the tooth doesn’t have to be pulled.
In the words of George Webber, “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.” [Thomas Wolfe]