I thought of you today as I gazed on that empty bottle of wine. My favorite. But you knew that. So touched I was you remembered, and went to extra lengths to bring it back from New Mexico especially for me; I saved the bottle ever so carefully. It sits on the bookcase next to the bed. A reminder. And always a smile. I need to call you. It’s been a few weeks. I’m supposed to come down and see the new place. And have a beer and a smoke on the porch. Make the world right again. And I didn’t tell you yet about my trip to Cali. I have a shell for Dale’s grave. I need to get that to you.
It’s 11:18 am. The phone is ringing. It’s Muse. What is he doing calling me in the middle of the day?
What are you doing?
Just loading the dishwasher, why?
I have something to tell you. Sit down.
Are you sitting?
Don’t ask me any questions because I don’t have a lot of answers. Just listen.
Ok. I’m listening. *bemused smile*
Terry and Pam rolled a GOV on Pinon Canyon this morning. Terry is dead. Pam is being flighted out. No one knows what her condition is.
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, nooooooooooooooooooooo, Nooooooooooooooooooo, no, no, no, no, nonononoNO. NOT HAPPENING. NOT. HAPPENING.
I dropped the phone. Screaming. I could hear my voice echo against the walls…screaming… screaming….screaming. Forever screaming.
And then frantically dialing the phone of the Big Guy, my former boss.
And then Robin. Mead-he didn’t know. Joe called-I can’t even talk to him. I can’t even call Linda yet. No point in it.
And then the Big Guy called back. My final link from a fantasy I want desperately to come true and the harsh reality.
Hi. I guess there is nothing to say, Tom. Except that I wanna wake up now and find out this is a dream….
Be strong, he says.
I don’t wanna be strong. I am sick of being strong.
I hear a slight chuckle under his resignation. Yah, I know. Me too. I am going over to the hospital even though there is nothing I can do…
Well it sure beats standing in the living room crying, Tom. Let me know.
I picked up the phone and found TM in my contacts. Why did I even look? I didn’t need to look. It’s one of those committed to memory. A moment of insanity and I am standing in the kitchen calling a dead man to leave him a message.
Hey, dear! I know you see the irony in me calling a dead man. Just wanted to let you know how much I Love you and that I always knew you Loved me too. But you know that. Don’t worry. I’ll help take care of Pam. I promise. We all will. Godspeed on your journey, my friend. See you soon….
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, No, no, no, no, no, no, no, nooooooooooooooooooooo
no, no, no. NOT HAPPENING.NOT.
His wife of 3ish years was driving the vehicle and went of the road. He was killed. She is in surgery now. Broken legs. Broken arm. Broken pelvis. Head injuries. She was barely conscious when they flighted her out, but asking for him. She didn’t know. I don’t know if she knows yet. Her husband. Her best friend. Her soulmate. A Man. A Husband. A Father. A Son. A Granddad. A man who made a difference. A man of honor and integrity. A best friend to many….
Her grief will be magnified as she takes the blame for his death.
I am under orders…Muses mostly. My former boss as well. I have to be strong. Everyone who knew the both of us knows how close we were. Grief is ok. Selfish is not. I have NO CHOICE but to be strong. Because she cannot be right now.
And because I made this promise to a dead man on his cell phone this morning…a dead man who never broke his promise to me years ago…..