I took a stroll on a warm summer night. I was walking so fast that I defied gravity. I ascended higher and higher until I spotted a silhouette beneath me. There he was, standing under a streetlight. Once my feet touched the ground, he waved for me to come closer. I ran to give him a hug and said, “I knew it was all a big mistake. Please don’t do that again.” He signaled for me to walk with him. As we traipsed the pavement, I told him about the happenings in my life. He remained silent, with the exception of a hearty laugh every now and again.
We arrived at the Central Park Conservatory for a lavish garden party. It was like The Great Gatsby. Glasses clinked, music played and laughter ensued. He whispered in my ear, “Follow me.” At first, I followed closely behind, but he was moving extremely fast, I couldn’t keep up. More people came in between us. I attempted to shout over the revelry, “Wait up!” My words were inaudible. I was mute. I ran frantically through the crowd knocking drinks and plates out of people’s hands. I was too slow. Before he disappeared, we made eye contact. He winked.
…Then my alarm clock sounded.
Dreams of his resurrection are enjoyable yet tortuous. I’ve woken up actually believing he’s back. After the Gatsby dream, things became rather grim. I locked myself away for three days hoping I could have more dreams. A sad failure. Either I couldn’t sleep or he didn’t come to my dream. I began to question everything, including my purpose.
My grandpa always says, “Life is for living; live it up.” Heeding a word from the wise and from someone who lost the love of their life too, I took a leap of faith. A few nights after my self-inflicted house arrest, I pulled out my killer wrap dress in preparation for a special event. Before walking out the door, I looked in the mirror, “Everyone’s right, I am going to be okay.” I left home feeling confident. I looked nice, my purse was actually organized and my phone battery was fully charged. Once I was in the metro station, I only had to wait two short minutes for the train. As he used to say, I was right on time.
Within minutes of entering the restaurant, I was antsy to leave. Why am I here? I hate small talk. Small talk is a universal code for pretending like everything’s okay. I am not okay. I saw a group of young women who I have met but couldn’t place, since I can’t remember anything. After a quick hello, I overheard one of the women say, “Did you hear? I feel so bad for her.” That was my out. I called for a ride. For the first time in the history of Uber, the driver arrived in exactly two minutes at the proper location. Again, right on time. Relieved, I hopped into a bright red Chevrolet Cruze.
Thanks to a misguided GPS, the driver ventured up 18th Street, the main drag of Adams Morgan. I will always love that neighborhood, just as I will always love him. We passed by the compact reggae club, Timehri. I recalled going there with him on a random Wednesday for a Soca party. We danced until our (my) feet hurt and ended the night by sharing a jumbo slice of pizza.
We also drove past the skeleton of Little Fountain Cafe, where we went for his birthday dinner a couple years ago. I made arrangements to ensure we were the only patrons in the restaurant for a few hours. We sat on the tiny outdoor terrace on the same side of the table. Throughout the evening I coyly dropped hints for a weekend full of continued surprises. The mosquitos were out for blood; my ankles were burning. I was about to suggest that we move indoors when the owner of the restaurant brought out bread pudding with a single candle. I joyfully sang happy birthday. “Wow Rion, you can really sing!” That’s not actually true, he was always encouraging though. Sadly, Little Fountain closed last summer. Why do all the good things go away?
My trance into yesteryear was broken when the driver asked me if I was from D.C. Not in the mood for an entire song and dance, I said yes. He said, “You don’t sound like it.” Whatever that’s supposed to mean. He voluntarily shared his preference for driving in Virginia as opposed to D.C., reason being that he is from rural Missouri. Really? You don’t sound like it. By his accent, I would have guessed somewhere in Europe, but if I am from D.C., then he can be from Missouri. Who cares?
I asked what brought him from Missouri to the DMV. Mr. MO was going through a divorce and had to get away. In a moment of candor I asked, “I’ve recently lost someone very special to me, I’ve heard people compare divorce to death of a spouse, do think they are similar?” His response was, “Only if you decide to lose yourself.” Well, I am already lost. Before I exited the vehicle, Mr. MO turned to me, “I am sorry you have to go through whatever you are going through. I’ve lost everything too. This has nothing to do with anything but I suggest you don’t lie to anyone about what you want in life, that’s basically lying to yourself.”
As it pertains to moving forward, Mr. MO’s suggestion is imperative. However, now which also counts as moving forward, I still want to be with my love in my dreams or really anywhere. That’s my truth. I wish I had the unscathed mind of a child because for them make-believe is real. People want to know what’s next. If I knew what was next, I would have been totally prepared for the loss I am experiencing.
I was given the tools to do anything, I was told I can be anything, but nothing and no one groomed me for grief. Like many, I bought into the notion that something this tragic could never happen to me. I was a fool to be that smug. I’ve said it before, nothing is permanent. Some folks just live longer than others.