Please, please, please, please.
I’m supposed to be praying. I told your wife I would.
But all that comes through my head is please.
You have to be okay.
You have to be okay so I can yell at you for being so stupid stubborn because you didn’t go to the doctor last week. They didn’t even tell me about the first “episode” you had. I would have worried. I would have been on the phone in an instant, although I don’t know what I think I could have done.
Was it before or after you called me last week, I wonder? Before you asked me to dinner and I said I couldn’t go out with you and the girls because I had other plans?
Did I remember to tell you about the turtles?
You have to be okay so I can scold you for not taking better care of yourself. I told your wife as much when I called her this morning, after the phone tree reached me with the news of your collapse. You are as stubborn as that basset hound of yours. It’s probably why the two of you are always at odds, you and that dog.
People depend on you, don’t you know? You are so loved and needed.
And I’ve been crying all morning, thank you very much. So, I’d like for you to get better so I can chide you for that as well.
I think of how you will laugh when I tell you that I had done my make up particularly awesome, and the news of you, being ill, hooked up, on life support, machines breathing for you, made me cry. Like crazy, ugly cry until all my makeup was cried off except for the waterproof eye liner and mascara. I think about how we will laugh about that together, my vanity.
How you chuckled when I ironically called myself “the painted whore.”
So, I’ve tried to go about the business of the day, but all I want is to hear you are okay. Tears leak out of my eyes incessantly. My dog hovers near me, concerned at my change in mood. See? You’ve gone and upset my dog. We’ll laugh about that too.
I was sorting silverware, trying not to cry when I heard your voice. You said, “Char, it’s okay.” I hate when people call me by the shortened version of my name, except for you.
Remember how we used to joke that your clone would come and visit me for glasses of wine in the evening? “A lovely pinot,” you would say. It was our little fantasy escape from work and chaos. And even though it was just in my imagination, it brought me so much comfort.
I don’t accept that you will be anything other than okay. Do you hear me?
Every room in my house is festooned with little bits of you. Cards. Pictures. Gifts. The fan from Chinatown, NYC in the sixties. The scarves you gave me. Damn, where were those from? See? You have to pull out of this so you can remind me where they are from. Spain, maybe?
The paining of swans you gave us hangs in my dining room. “Be of love(a little) more careful than everything,” is the ee cummings quote on it. You had taken it off your own office wall and given it to me when we bought our house, two years ago. I was shocked that you would part with it. It is big and beautiful. “Char,” you said. “I’m at the age and station in life when it is okay to part with things.”
I think I told you to shut up. Or at least I covered my ears and didn’t want to hear your age and station speech yet again.
Thing is, I’m at the age and station where imagining a world without you is still way too painful.
All the secrets and confidences I’ve shared with you over the years. We haven’t known each other longest, but we’ve known each other well, if that even makes sense.
I finally looked up the poem. It’s a good one. I think you would like it, if you are not familiar with it already.
I had always taken the quote to mean that you should be wary of love. But when I read the poem in its entirety, I realized what ee cummings was saying was that you should be protective about love, that you should guard it fastidiously because it is everything.
How stupid could I have been to misread such an obvious quote for all these years. I must have looked at that painting a thousand times in your office.
And now I’m here and you’re there and it just seems a very apt line.
Please be okay.
Please. I love you. Please be okay.
You are one of my best friends in the whole world.
You are my hero. My champion. You allowed me to see myself through eyes of kindness and love when you looked at and accepted me.
This doesn’t even seem real.
Please be okay.
“Go to work, Char,” I hear you say.
And that is what you would advise me to do. You wold want me to dry my tears and smile and go to work.
So, I will, but only on the condition that you will be okay.