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Going Away Again
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Today is December 15th, 2021, and I am winging my way to a funeral. Just an average run-of-the-mill, out-of-nowhere, he-was-way-too-young kind of fatal heart attack. Knew him, loved him. Paying my respects to a good kind man that I wish mightily had a few more decades on this earth. The clouds are streaked with rainbows on this trip. I gotta see them with bare eyes, the transition lenses lie. And it’s raining over the ocean, which is still blue, and rising. If it’s the journey, not the destination, I’m glad the rainbows inside the rain clouds are water coloring my path to San Jose.

I am now, and have been since last night, mildly terrified. It’s not the height that kills you, it’s the ground. It’s not the bipolar upswing that kills you, it’s the downfall, the descent into madness and why are these metaphors chasing each other at thirty thousand feet up? I cry at weddings and funerals and sad pet commercials, so I am thinking I better bring the BIG box of Kleenex and a paper bag for the wet ones. And a couple of masks – dry for wet there too. I don’t want to catch Covid, not after all the lockdowns and all the masks and the many many news reports and commercials showing shots in the arms. All the “B” reels looping around the news reports – really just a minute later there are beaming faces and thumbs upping with pins and stick-ons. In April of this year posting on Facebook the first shot doing the same selfie – not bothering for the second and the booster. Traveling in spite of the risk because really, it’s better now.

I don’t live in California anymore, but I did – the Bay Area, and mostly San Francisco. I don’t miss it like everybody said I would when we moved into the house we had built on the Big Island. Hawaii is a dream come true, but I imagine rumbling along familiar streets stripped of naiveté, no longer bustling, and when I arrive at my friends’ houses, ringing the doorbell insistently, Nostalgia knocking and real life hugs behind the door.

I put down my gold pen for a couple sips of vodka rocks. Now the last two tablespoons are “Luke warm” and I wonder what did Luke ever do to be so temperature neutral? Like why don’t they call it Peter Cold? Pull down the mask, finish off the drink, put the glasses for distance back on, put the mask back on, see the lightly tinged clouds clearly, can‘t read what I’m writing but too lazy to switch to reading glasses, I plow on.

Pajama parties, lunches and brunches are planned. Dim Sum without the carts – no open food in a pandemic, but the R&G Lounge is still going strong (yay) good Chinese food (yay) and sourdough bread ripped from the round loaf while still warm (yay!). Warm coats, soft sweaters knee socks, loafers, shoes that lace up. Had to brush them off and lint roll them. Expecting cold rain I packed scarves and mittens, Brocade dresses and leggings – oh no – leggings! Will have to buy new Queen size black ones because Baby got a belly now, and a whole box of tight-fitting clothes on the way to Kona Goodwill. Never getting back that waist, don’t care, neither. The golden years. I am of an age now where I buy condolence cards in packs of ten. Wedding and birthday cards gather dust. Flying home for a funeral, only it’s not home, it’s where my homegirls live, and I will be there soon.

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