For the first time in 20 years, I went to
Beecher's house. Last time
I went to Beecher's house, I was
with Beecher. It had been a winter
day, and we were high school seniors. His mom had made a stew, but Beecher
and his brother didn't like all of the
ingredients, so when she fixed their bowls, she used a strainer to fish out
anything they didn't like. That's love, I thought.
He was long-haired and free-spirited, loved music and playing his guitar. He smelled like cigarettes, leather, and freshly washed hair. He felt things deeply and would react rashly, but he would come back later and talk it out, apologizing if necessary.
Two years after we graduated, his life started to unravel. Problems mounted at work, school, and with his girlfriend. It got to be too much, and he made the decision to take his life. I imagine that, if it were possible, he would think it over, come back and apologize. And in some ways he has.
"But you are the lake," he told me.
He wanted me to call her, and I did. He would come to me several more times over the years. Then there was this final dream. I did not see him, but he was flying and carrying me. We looked down on the earth. He showed me scenes of war and destruction and then beautiful images: a single tree in pasture with a rainbow hanging over head, the sky still mostly gray.
"There are terrible things and beautiful things, but I'm all done here," he said. I haven't dreamt of him since.
Often I had thought about going to visit his mother, but how could I go to
house without him? We all play those games in our minds where we pretend that
something is unless we go prove to ourselves that it isn't. Sure, I knew
the reality of it. I had been to his grave multiple times, a pack of Marlboros
and a little wilted bunch of wild flowers in my hand, and I 'd sit and chatter
to him. But I held the image of him
tucked away at his house instead of in his grave, and a visit to his house
would take away the security of denial.
Denial was something his mother didn't have the luxury of. She had faced a house without him every day for years and had gained a level of acceptance. Not peace and not a feeling of "getting over it" but an acceptance of what is. I'd run into her at the grocery store and promise to come over and visit, but I'd never followed through. Finally one evening she offered to come to my house, and I worked up the nerve to agree to go to hers.
I drove the three miles up the holler road. I pulled down into his driveway, walked up the steps, knocked on the familiar door, and heard his father telling me to come in.
I sat and talked with his mother for hours. Every time I held eye contact with her, there
was again. Nobody else I know has eyes that color. Some of her mannerisms and
the way she phrased things, gave him back to me in small doses, an IV drip to a
spirit in drought. I hope I've been able to do the same for her. I can't bound
up on her porch and bust through the door like I did years ago, probably
excited about some concert and talking about music. All I can offer are a few
scattered dreams, the reporting of visits, and a maybe a reminder of how old
he'd be now.
We're hitting 40. Would he get a kick out of me turning 40 while he is eternally 19? I think so. Because that's how he is. I can almost hear it, "Fuck, Trin! You're getting old."
A fellow psychic recently told me that he still comes around me and that there are several who follow me. She said I'm a beacon, that they can see me if they can't see anything else, and so they will come. He's an enlightened one, and I feel that he has moved on. He doesn't hang out because he has to. He comes around because he wants to.
We finished our coffee. I gave her a hug and promised I'd be back, and I fully intend to visit regularly. She's one of those people that will always be "home" to me. She followed me out to the porch and watched me walk up the driveway to my car. Last time I did that,
Beecher ran beside me yelling
"I got shotgun."
He always called shotgun and wanted to ride up front beside me. Even if I had a boyfriend who should've rightfully been in that spot, we always let Beech ride shotgun when he called it. I wish shotgun would've retained this innocent meaning. I wish so many things weren't so.