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** A Letter from a Friend I want to Hang on To **

Listen I'm glad you brought up Steve when we were talking last. The truth is I think about him all the time. His death really hit me hard and I feel a bit confused as to why. Probably a mix of how connected I felt to him and the fact that there was a lot of unresolved grief from that whole summer of holding a dying baby who was cut into bits and drugged and in pain and then suddenly taking her home and having her be just fine. I didn't allow myself to accept that (The Turtle) was going to live until she turned a year old last June. I cried myself to sleep on the night of her Birthday.

I have a tendency to attract spirits and occasionally, if I feel like talking to them, I'll let them in (hope that doesn't sound new agey or fruity to you - it's just true - and has been since I was a toddler) That night we had the memorial at our house, he was around with me for a bit - especially while I was looking at my baby girl in her room and thinking about mortality - and then I told him it was alright to go be with the people who really needed him and I very distinctly felt him leave.

I know the two of you were really close - even involved for a while? - so I always felt strange about talking about him with you - because you knew him so well and seem to have so much more reason to mourn his loss and it's so hard for me to articulate what he meant to me, without worrying about coming off as one of those people that attach themselves to tragedy just to get off on it -

But, like I said, I felt really connected to him and had a hard time deciding between him and (husband) at the time. He and (husband) were so close and that whole brief triangle was so weird that I can't really talk about Steve with (husband) even though (husband) was pretty devastated by Steve's death too - and burst into tears when he told me about it. I wondered for a little while if I was just imagining things about Steve and if I was just another target for a 'Ladies Man' but my conversation with you made me think otherwise again. From what he did say to me, he seemed to see me quite well and I was touched by it.

I think I always had him in the back of my mind. He had said, disappointedly, that he could 'wait however long it took' so I guess I figured I would save him for another time.

Needless to say, I have a hard time with commitment (ha).

Aside from my own selfish desires, I really just wanted him to have a good life. He was a talented artist and one of those souls who took in the pain of the world like a vortex.

And God he was beautiful - I was so damn attracted to him.

If he could have leashed that pain, thrown the bottle away felt his feelings and sorted them out enough to remove the power they had over him and changed all that blackness into compassion for himself and the world, he could have done great things - in between all the bullshit we all have to wade through in daily life as a matter of course. He could have made fifty foot paintings of Mercury and all those fallen angels. He could have reached out to the other twenty and thirty somethings like himself and turned them in a better direction when they were ready to ask for it. He could have finally figured out how to love a woman the right way - by letting her the Hell go.

I know all this because (husband) has been through it. Do you really think he was born jubilant? I know this because Steve was a much younger version of my man in a lot of ways. Hence the confused attraction I had for the two of them at once. (Did I really want to bite off a piece as large as a spiritually and economically realized 45 year old man with all the ensuing baggage or did I want to take the ride from the beginning with someone more like me?) Little did I know, that once I took control of my own self worth, I had a lot to teach (husband) - that he was still a baby in a lot of ways. I don't believe anymore that we collide with people by accident.

Steve had a way of seeing honestly how messy life really is. He had a way of seeing people when he chose to even if he was self-involved and stuck in all that self loathing most of the time. He was so afraid of his own power but if he could have let go of trying to get it from everybody else or masking it in alcohol, and just put his finger on it, just turned around and faced it - it would have taken him for a ride. And I guess that's what was being asked of him at that moment in time, why he felt he was being abandoned, and he just wasn't ready to do it. And he had the choice to check out instead - like we all do, like many of us are faced with at those moments in our lives.

He was a rare type. Much of humanity is so deeply unconscious and stuck on Britney, interior design mags and American Idol. They think they are the ones who are healthy - the ones who gulp down Prozac and go to work and drive their kids to soccer practice every day. It takes big tragedy to wake them up. It takes very little for us. So we are faced with a very stark opportunity to become enlightened or to stay in the mud because there is no in-between for us. We are told that is weak but the truth is, we need those types who drown in sensory overload daily to stick around. We need those types to just push through those days of dwindling down to ninety pounds on a steady diet of cigarettes and coffee and candy, burn down to nothing and THEN COME BACK. Like I was fortunately able to. Like (husband) did. Like those of us who survive with a story to tell all have to do at some point. Fuck man -

Anyway -

It feels good to talk about him with someone who loved him.

I'm better with writing than talking face to face - God I am so anti-social. What can I say, I was raised in the sticks. You are a cat. I am a coyote.

1:02 p.m. - 2007-11-16


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