Monday, September 06, 2004

Electrons for blood

Right now I'm sitting at the main computer in the living room. Usually I do this on the computer by my bed (yes... I'm that kind of a nerd), but a lot of the pictures I needed to look up are on this machine.

Right now I'm going over a disk Jody's dad gave me when I was in Dallas. The picture I'm looking at is of a mall parking lot there. It's early morning. There's Jody, smirking, in a new shirt, tie, pants, and shoes, striking a superhero pose as he looks off out of the picture towards his new job, his future.

I saw that parking lot. Jim, Jody's dad, pointed it out to me when I was there. He said I'd understand when I saw the pictures. It's a strange thing to have a memory of a place from when someone is already gone, and then to populate it with him afterwards. It's like turning memory inside out.

I don't think I've wept for Jody for a month or so, but right now that's where I'm at. This is a bittersweet chore I've been putting off. What I'm doing is taking everything digital I have of Jody—conversations, e-mail, photographs, drawings, music, even his LiveJournal exported as MHT files—anything that was from him, of him, or reminds me of him, and putting them onto a 210 MB mini disk. I'll make two copies of it. One will go to Jim and his SO Lily. The other will go into the cedar chest over there on the wardrobe shelf above the television, beside the photo of my parents and the ashes of my cat Jenny. The chest already contains a couple of drawings Jody sent me, my plane tickets from the trip, a cheque I sent Jody and he endorsed (which I had to fight to get back from my bank), and of course, about an ounce of Jody's ashes in a little vial inside a cheetah-print pouch. At least, that's what I assume. I've never opened the pouch.

A friend of mine in Connecticut is of the opinion I'm obsessing, and he's right, I am. I've already admitted as much here. It's been kind of bothering me, but I thought about it this morning and I've decided it's okay, because I understand the reasons behind it. These things are all I have left of him; in fact, all I ever had of him. Because of the nature of our relationship, I have about 95% of everything Jody and I said or sent one another in the past couple of years. Probably not many others of his friends are so fortunate. They have murky memories of flesh that shift like sand. But I have the passionless, servile fidelity of machines guarding the integrity of my memories. If I'm careful, I can make them last a lifetime (my lifetime, however long that turns out to be). And just about everything he was to me I can keep alive, in a way.

I was up till three in the morning, finally tackling my FM logs. That's not easy to do. ICQ is one-on-one, but FM is a cacophony of pages, poses, system messages, and other minutiae. Conversations are woven in and out of events. Fortunately, most of the last six months or so we shared time together there, we were alone, it wasn't as difficult as I thought. I didn't actually read them, mind you, just did enough scanning to paste them together in a document. There may come a time when I'll be able to read them... I'm not sure. I'm beginning to think that the more time passes, the more afraid I will be to step back into a world with Jody in it, and be slapped in the face by the realization of just how much he meant to me before time and silence blunted the knowledge. But the memories will be there, if I choose to open my heart and mind to them. I guess we'll see.

I have to edit down some of the bigger scans, and then see if all this will fit on the small disk. I think it will. It's going to take a couple of hours, and then I have this thing I want to do for a co-worker that I promised to tackle over the long weekend. That seemed like a better idea with Friday as my starting point, but less such a peach now that it's acutally 10 in the morning on Labour Day. Well, here goes. Everything.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"the more time passes, the more afraid I will be to step back into a world with Jody in it, and be slapped in the face by the realization of just how much he meant to me before time and silence blunted the knowledge."
When I think of the one I lost... Its like opening the flood gates of my sorrow, it all comes back again as strong as before, just a bit fuzzier because of time, but it never dies down in intensity. So now I usually keep those memory for special times... Just like a real flood gate, you only open it when you need to balance the water level of your emotions less they sweep you away!