Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Thoughts of Jody

Tomorrow's the first of September. Most of the summer is gone. Jody never made it to this summer. He fell just short of it, dying in the last days of spring.

Sunday morning I was down at Tim Horton's and Lick's (I was after tea biscuits and a turkey burger, respectively). I was sitting in the car in the rain. I had put on Shaking the Tree by Peter Gabriel, and the song Mercy Street was playing. I couldn't get out of the car. The lyrics had new meaning, not the yearning but hopeful ones I used to hear, but something much sadder. Looking for Mercy Street... swear they moved that sign; looking for mercy. In your daddy's arms again...

This time last year, Jody was "cured" of his cancer. Then they moved that sign on him. In October it was back, and in June, he was gone. Jody was 26, a grown-up, but only just, and how desperately he must have wanted to run to his father's arms, his mother's arms, for them to hold him and tell him it was alright. And God knows, they must have wanted to be able to. But it was way beyond scraped knees or playground bullies or scary noises from under the bed. This was about God throwing dice, Einstein be damned, and someone who never had a choice in the game losing.

A young woman Jody knew contacted me recently, and last night she shared some of her photos of Jody from several years ago. Just Jody being Jody, hanging around with friends, helping out with computers, wearing the college colours and being someone. I knew him then, but not as that person... just as the sweet "voice" of RubyOcelot saying, "uh oh!" on ICQ and telling me such wonderful things. Meanwhile, here was this young man somewhere, being a person. It's a little hard to merge those pictures. The real Jody is beginning to eclipse what I remember as RubyOcelot. And maybe he should.

This morning, I'm sitting here about to be late for work because I don't want to let this moment slip away. This morning, it's Warren Zevon and Desperadoes Under the Eaves. I sort of got into Warren Zevon about a month and a half before Jody died, and so most of this music is tainted by Jody's illness, his death, and now my realization that while I was out enjoying all this, Jody was in fact dying, and probably preparing himself for it. He was compassionate enough not to point that out to me, except maybe once, subtly. It was going to be a broadside no matter what, but he let me live in the pretend world that he would one day be alright. Imagine that. He let me be innocent and naive.

Don't the sun look angry at me?
I was sitting in the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel
I was listening to the air conditioner hum.
It went mmmmmm, mmmmmmm, mm hmm hmm hmm hmm...
Look away down Gower Avenue...

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