april friday passover good fool

Yesterday I was punctual, tidy, and focused. I appreciated the weather. It is the cruelest month, to be sure, and I leave the shenanigans to the amateurs and hacks. It was hot and sunny, perfect weather for lizards, and I observed a dark anniversary as brightly as I could. Longtime friends and readers know I tend to mull over the memory of Shosh every year, but this year I find myself with new readers and friends I know haven’t heard me talk about this before. I have a lot of best friends. They’re pretty much the only kind of friend I have. It is against my nature to pick favorites and a matter of my philosophy to seek out my soulmates, and I find them everywhere I look. Shosh was one of the people who taught me how to be like this. We met in high school and did every play for four years together, then I moved in with her for my sophomore year of college. I moved out at the end of that year and we didn’t speak much. I didn’t invite her to my wedding and eighteen months after I moved out she was killed by a drunk driver. It was April Fool’s day and I was working at the record store; when Persi called me with the news there was a strange brief moment when I thought it was some kind of sick joke, and then something inside me imploded and the color drained from my world. It was a terrible accident and another one of my very good friends was in it. He barely survived and it took years for him to recover. I went to his wedding several years ago and he’s a music teacher now.

She wanted to be a librarian, and there was a bench dedicated to her at our local library. She was a vegetarian and she loved hats, cats and tapdancing. She loved ‘Into the Woods’ and show tunes and didn’t understand pop music. Her outrage at the needless suffering and cruelty in the world was fearsome and inspiring. She loved Dorothy Parker, but the Prince song that makes me think of her is ‘Starfish & Coffee‘. Her favorite book was The Great Gatsby and she named her cats Gatsby and Daisy. Gatsby was huge and white, Daisy was a frail calico; they had been in the back seat. Shosh painted the kitchen red and insisted on getting a little yellow VW Beetle. I borrowed it from her too often and kept it out too long. I told her it was a dangerous car. I drank too much in those days. At the end of our sophomore year she told me she didn’t want me to live there anymore. I was a drunken asshole slob, quite frankly. Even though a drunk killed her after her funeral I got incredibly drunk afterward.

It’s been years since I’ve gotten drunk. I don’t even have any desire to anymore and even have an occasional glass of wine with dinner. Once in a great while I’ll have a beer but I really can’t afford the calories so I generally skip it. If I’m going to indulge I’d rather have an ice cream cone, quite frankly. I stopped feeling tormented about Shosh a long time ago but the light of her spirit continues to shine in my memory. Her loss was not only mine, but everyone’s; I can only imagine what she might have done, of course, but she was determined to leave the world a better place than she found it. She made my life better, that is for certain, and I cannot imagine the person I would be had I not known her.

Everyone loses the people they love or they are lost by them, eventually. In Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel The Sandman there is a powerful chapter that introduces the character of Death by depicting her on her rounds, some scenes are humorous, some have pathos, but the scene where she stands over a crib holding the soul of an infant who asks ‘is that all?’ to which she responds, ‘you get what everyone gets, you get a lifetime.’ is unforgettable because it is painfully true. Death is not a stranger to me but still remains a mystery as profound as life and enigmatic as love. It is the most urgent question we face and the most unanswerable.

I don’t believe my ego can survive the death of my physical body, but I am not my ego any more than I am my physical body. In other words, I don’t think there’s a Heaven where Saint Augustine is living in a mansion crafted just for him nor do I think there is a Hell where Nero is still being tormented for his depraved murderous sins; yet neither am I an atheist. My faith is not dependent on the literal truth of the Resurrection or the magic powers of celibate mystics or suchlike.  I just don’t think that metaphysics are remotely important compared with how we treat each other; after all, does a raindrop remember it was a raindrop when it falls into the ocean?

My unlimited love to y’all.

5 Responses to “april friday passover good fool”

  1. Thanks for this. It is very timely. I think of her often…

  2. Thanks dude. Happy Easter. What would be a good time to drop by on Sunday?

  3. That was beautiful. Somehow reading this every year is sad but the exact opposite of morbid, if that makes any sense. Maybe it is because she is still alive in your words.
    I love that she has a bench outside of a library… it just happened about 80 years or so too soon.

  4. Winston, you are so much deeper than I could have previously fathomed. It was exhilarating to peer past your fiery political and artistic intensity and catch a glimpse of your past.

    It was an excellent read and effective at inciting empathy.

  5. Shosh and I met when I was in 7th grade and she was in 8th. We were inseparable. She used to catalog and files all kinds of wonders. We used to sit in her room and she would bring out the most wonderful things. I was heartbroken when she “grew up” and went onto High School without out me.

    She was indeed was very special and kind. We were lucky to have had her with us – however briefly.

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