I never took those pills. Fortunate for me, fortunate for us. We’ve been given a reprieve, another graceful season, more time, and time is all I want. Today I’m feeling better, stronger. Sitting in the rocker on the front porch, facing the Sound . . . there’s a big tanker in the distance; there’s a prop plane buzzing the air. In the chair Ross got for me because he knows I love this view; I love the waves. Sad to think we’ll be leaving soon . . .
Been feeling better lately, like ice melting, like the wind picking up, so much so that Ross has gone to California for three days—he’ll be back tomorrow. Out on the porch, out on my own in the daylight brilliancy, bare feet up on the railing, feeling the air between my toes, unshackled from pain and free. Sitting here thinking thoughts brought on the wind from across the Sound, maybe from France, maybe from Spain. Thoughts blown tattered and desultory, thoughts of the future and dreams from the past. The sun is warm; the cars race along the road; they don’t bother me. I’ve been reading the sky like the pages of a book. A story of love through the years and an ache in the soul. Up in that sun-bleached expanse, a star flashes at the apex of my vision, so clearly a harbinger my heart seizes up. It falls down to the sea, but floats atop the water, growing larger, brighter. I can’t turn away even though the light hurts my eyes.
And the trap doors in my mind fly open and simultaneously everything comes shining through those spaces. And it all comes back to me at once. I see everything. I see it all. The church the night I found my constellation. These are the directions I’ve been waiting for; don’t be frightened, just hold on to me. And Izzie, my beautiful Izzie—stepping on the concerto of stars, sparking, making tracks for heaven. May you run through the sky forever. Touring with Michael . . . Michael, oh, Michael, we didn’t know what we were doing; we listened to everyone but ourselves.
The dark waters of longing, of loss well up threatening to drown me. The separation and self-loathing. That tape loop that never stops running: the injustices, the abuse, the nightmares and the night watches, the nighttime seekers of graves . . . the mothers missing, the miscarriages and the motor crashes, the ashes your face was pushed into, the ashes to rise out of, the ashes of kittens released to the wind. And the world seemed terrible to me and full of senseless agony.
But I remember, too, I remember years ago, going to the town movies on Christmas Eve afternoon with Maureen. When we emerged after hours of cartoons, anticipating the wonders of the night ahead, the men from the Lions Club were waiting in the lobby to hand out chocolate bars and tangerines, and never questioning our right to this good fortune, we carried our treats papoose-style, weighing down the hoods of our winter coats, and walked home through the melting snow, bareheaded and free-handed, young and strong.
The light becomes ever more confusing. I want to sink into it; I want to yield to it, yet not abandon Ross. I can see him so clearly now; I can hear him murmur my name. We’ve had our time—it was the happiest time of my life. Now the priest has been released; he’s going home. If only we had known each other when we were younger, when you were a young boy and I a small girl—think of it—spiritual brother and sister, friends to the end. But I believe you carry it all with you; I’ve always loved you. My very own guardian priest. Sent here to transmute Sihn. Turn the dirty white to gold, the pale yellow to the color of the sky. Like young friends who become blood siblings, our souls have mingled. We’re not disappearing, we’re on our way back home. Out of the ashes, along the hard road to the land ahead. The bell ringing in the background, calling us, grows louder and louder, its peals swinging back and forth across the horizon as if on some heavenly pendulum.
The ringing phone finally wakes me up out of my stupor. Flinging open the screen door, staggering inside to the living room desk, still in a daze, I clutch at the receiver and hold it up to my face, steadying myself with my other hand on the desk. “Hi, Ross?”
The call is from the California State Police and it stops my heart.