I’m drinking a Widowmaker Black Ale at the counter/table/”island” construction in my kitchen, with “island” being the most relevant choice perhaps, and the Widowmaker a brew from the Keweenaw Brewing Company, and Levi on my mind.
Levi has been gone just about six months now, and it feels like just about long enough, damn it. There is something in my brain that decided his absence was temporary; that six months without being able to text him or call him on the phone or walk around the leafy Midwest with him, that was plenty. Six months, that’s a long damn time. And now he should just be getting back now. My brain has learned ways to deal with the absence of people I love, but in 99% of those cases, the people I love are just far away – like in the mountains of Colorado, or maybe across an ocean, or on the other side of the country. I cope without them for awhile, but they always come back. Or I find them. Or we meet in the middle. There is a reunion. We take photos. We hug. So here is my poor brain, and it is trying to apply the knowledge it has picked up from its years of experience and trial and error, and my poor simple brain has decided that it must be just about time for that reunion with Levi. We’ll take photos. We’ll hug. And Levi hugs are the greatest fucking thing.
Death, my friends – crazy revelation here – it doesn’t work like that. My brain is not liking this fact. My brain still sometimes forgets and types out half a text to him. I still sort of think that the next time I set foot on Isle Royale, he’ll be there on the dock. He’ll sweep me up with his big arms and spin me around under the big blue sky.
I still sort of think that I’m going to get to have a conversation with him about that last snowy night, get to ask what he was thinking about when he stood there with his puppies and smiled and waved while me and my Subaru drove away, listening to country music and smiling big at him through the frosted windows.
It’d be easier, maybe, if I was a religious person or believed in some mystical beyond. As it is, I am a scientist and don’t know how else to be, and I know, with the other parts of my brain, that I am not going to get to have that conversation. I am not going to get to have that hug. Levi has become a part of that big blue sky. He is a part of the leafy Midwest. He is a part of the crashing and clear Superior – in a real, molecular, particular way.
And I will keep missing him. This is how life works, brain. I will miss my friend today, and tomorrow, and next year, and when I am an old lady. But I can think of him while my bare toes stand on black basalt, and can speak his name softly into the wind, and that, I suppose, has to be enough.
I miss you, Levi. I miss you, I miss you, I miss you.