Tuesday, December 07, 2004


History buffs will remember that today, December 7th, is Pearl Harbor Day. It's the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, bringing the United States into WWII with the rest of us.

For me, it has another connotation, one that I've been dwelling on. A kind of turning point, or milestone. It's six months today since Jody died. That was a Monday; this is a Tuesday.

So I'm left sitting here this morning wondering what I'd do if I could turn back time. I "spoke" to him last on June 4th, via ICQ, sitting right where I'm sitting right now. When I got up to go home and said "adore", how could I have known it was for the last time? That it was farewell? Six months ago, at this very moment, he was still alive, though he must have been in a very bad way. I'm not sure exactly when he died; no one really is because he was alone in his room, and found collapsed on the floor. He must have been trying to go for help when the pain or lack of breath took away consciousness. Forever. Timber, the roommate who found him, reckons it to have been between 8:30 and 9 (as I recall) CST. That would have been 9:30 or 10 here. I was just sitting at my desk, busying myself with little things, while perhaps the sweetest person who's ever been in my life was dying. If I'd known, what would I have done? Called him up more, certainly. Talked to him, covetted his time. I would definitely have visited him; something I never did. It's all too late now. But maybe it's better this way. At a distance, he could always be just Ruby, not Jody-with-cancer every single second. He told me a few times what a bittersweet thing visits were. Nice to see people, nice to be loved, but physically exhausting, and emotionally... I mean, every visit must have seemed like good-bye when you weren't sure how much time you had, but you knew, odds were, it wasn't much. "Two years" became seven months.

Something fundamental about my moorings in life was about to pull loose six months ago right now. But I didn't know that yet. I had a sick friend I was very worried about, and in cold, honest moments, feared would soon die. But "soon" was a year and a half. And then he was gone. And all that's left is sweet memories, a name on the ICQ bar, and a little pouch in a cedar chest at home with a few grams of my RubyOcelot's powdered bones inside. Bones that once made a happy little boy run and jump, and carried around the brilliant mind of a wonderful young programmer. Oh, Jody. I miss you. This world's a poorer place, and hardly even knows it.

No comments: