I tried to write you a letter, ant scratchings on white it meant as much as that; maybe less. Anyway, here I am, rain marching legions on the pavement, 2:00 a.m. and I'm still no closer to the emotion embodied by this summer storm. If I could, I would tell you: listen to the drumbeat of water on the ground. Can you feel its staccato song? It speaks volumes in the hush of darkest night. My God, how I wish you could hear it one more time, tonight, with me.

Once you told me you envied me my youth. I laughed and said I envied your experience. Two ends of opposite poles, yearning; for that which we did not have. And still I yearn, for what I no longer have. As time goes by I think there are things I cannot learn. Will I ever?

Look! Lightning burns the room a ghostly glow. Fitting, wouldn't you say? Snippets like photographs an instant of this moment, caught in frozen seconds. Still as a painting, still as the memory of a smile, still as a body deep underground. And breathless silence, until the thunder comes and wakes me up. It is fitting, for my thoughts of you aren't still; far from it - they need animation. A photograph never did you justice, my friend.

Blessed humour, dear Lord, yours was the finest. A wit sharp as steel and truer still. Damn, as I contemplate, so many memories play inside my head. Each one a special treasure yet it is collectively, what tells your tale most fully. Dare I say more? Shall I tell of your description of foot long wieners ordered by telephone, or your directions to a taxi driver - double gin and tonic please? No. None of that tells the whole of you.

Perhaps what speaks most is this time that you've been gone. There's not a day I haven't thought of you, though four years have gone by. So often my heart aches to know some special thing you would have loved to be a part of wasn't there for you.

And there is this indescribable loneliness that hovers over me when I wonder - where, if you are at all, are you now? Are you, as some would say, immersed in nothingness a black so deep and endless no living soul can comprehend? Or are you, as I sometimes feel, standing beside me at opportune times, a shadow in my peripheral vision, a baritone voice in my dream as I sleep? Faraway and untouchable is where you are, and close, so very near, in recollection fresh and ageless.

Once I cried; often a fleeting thought would bring the pain you brought us all cutting close and tears stung the wounds you left behind. But that was yesterday, and if time heals all wounds, the scars remain visible reminders of what has been and gone. No more stinging tears, yet the marks they still remain. I touch them now and then, wishing they weren't there at all.

The passage of days has mellowed the loss of you but it cannot ease the very absence of your being. Life doesn't come in blocks of experience like memory sectors in a computer - you can't place a single event in its own little compartment. Rather, it flows like water; each happening a drop of coloured liquid - for just an instant it is there, bold and brilliant and then it mingles and while it seems to disappear, it simply has become a part of the whole; invisible, but there none-the-less.

So many souls have touched my life, many are gone now, scattered on the wind to their destiny; the river carries them where it will, as it has me. When I travel I like to look in telephone books and see if, perhaps, a name will be there that I can phone and say: hi, do you remember? But I never find the names I do so dearly want to call. Maybe someday these long ago faces will cross my path again. At least I hope they do.

There are others I'd rather not see, former lovers or friends whose parting was a bitter pill to swallow. They are few though, and lesser still as time goes on.

Ah, but you my friend, this I cannot hope for you. I know where you lie and our paths won't cross again. The era of you is over now, as all our personal eras will in time. It saddens me to think of the many gifts you will never give to the world - the stories left unwritten, gone forever more. Still, the things you left behind were more than wonderful, my friend. They were the very best of you.

Listen. This summer storm is over, and dawn creeps onto the horizon. Rain has washed away yesterday's dust and sparkles on the leaves outside my window - diamond drops of water searching for a river to join. That is where I am now, picking up droplets to meld with those that have gone before. Yours was a very special one my friend.

My river flows even fuller, because of you.


1990 Catherine M. Harris (Davies) - all rights reserved.