Cafe Hitch-hike



One year ago today, I listened to the gentle city rumblings from a guest room in Primrose Hill. It popped up on a memory feature. Wow, it's hard for me to believe it was a year ago that I made that trip. Never would I had guessed things would happen between now and then...

...a new position 18 year-old niece's homicide murder (the State of Florida is charging the suspect of a homicide because it will be easier to try and convict, but after getting details of her death, it was murder).

...reunited with a not-dreadful or not-toxic ex-boyfriend

...a pandemic

...the broad assortment of worldwide upheavals

I savor the trip so much more with what's been happening around us, and the fact that we may not be able to travel like that for quite some time. I'm also so glad I got to have that bogus adventure (in a Bill and Ted kind of way, hahha). I even think about the psychedelics retreat I took... Although I got a lot of good out of it, I also felt a lot of mixed feelings. It sure took a hell of a lot to process it. I'm still not sure what to think about all of it because so much happened in a short amount of time.

I then remember the openness that came back to me during that trip, some of the beautiful souls and places I got to see, and softly embrace them. Listening to Bob Marley on the houseboat, homecooked spaghetti with Copperas, sleeping next to the dog Kaya the boxer on the last night of the psychedelics retreat (he's no Marley, but he had plenty of puppy love to spare), and watching a late-evening sunset over London with my German friend before he got me drunk on prosecco. I'm sure I will have other special adventures. This one just feels like the sweetest one so far, because of what I got to see while on it, walking on air afterward, and... the weirdness of now.

If I want any perspective, my German friend wrote me a note today describing what's going on as, "going through this weird and wonderful life." Well, he's waiting on the outcome of his most recent cancer check-up (he has an inoperable prostate tumor which is kept from spreading with regular injections of female hormones). He's dealt with cancer off and on since 1996.

I felt an edge after I returned from the funeral of College John's mother. I told Rafael, "more will come to me after a few days." It was going to take a while to process what I was feeling.

First, the funeral made me look at the 24-year long relationship between me and CJ differently. I could see our bonds so much clearly. We knew each other's family lives and stories. I met his cousin 23 years ago, who was at a holiday dinner back then, and she was just as recognizable to me as she was back then. Hell, CJ's dad and my mom went to the same high school and he was born and raised in that lovely little river valley town of ours. Yeah, I thought of stuff like that.

CJ and I visited Florida in 1997 after I graduated from college. His mother got a job down here after his dad got an early retirement buyout from his social services employer. We now both call this place home, and here we are, sitting next to each other at his mother's funeral. Yes, I had to be there. He is my friend, his parents were always good to me, we shared stories and roads, and this was another part of to be shared, even if it wasn't happy.

Then, as I drove into their little town, it was down the same stretch of road Remy and rode in the spring of 2016. We had a nice little ride from north-central Florida back to his place in Miami. It was one of the smoothest rides I had ever taken, and I enjoyed taking in the gradual changes in scenery. As I sat in the front pew next to CJ and his father, I remembered that ride and it made me smile, while at the same time, my heart lurched. Remy had been gone since March 2017, and now I'm at another funeral. I guess these along with memories of people who are gone start to add up.

I sometimes rest in the morning, more comfortable than during the night, and just enjoy the embrace of the pillows, comforter, and Miss Marley. It's the one time where the whirr of thinking, troubles, laughs, or anything else isn't jostling me. It's true as German CO said about a weird and wonderful life. It can describe life at different times of mine, and also this year. I guess I can invoke the same thought I had about life's uncertainties back in
February 2020:

With that, I'm tired thanks to changes (job, body, family), it beats the hell out of me what the economy will do, I have no clue if Xanadu Tech or my building (or country from that matter) will be driven off a cliff, don't know if my little place will hold its value, or what. There's so many 'I don't knows' that I don't even feel like trying to go beyond what I can do and what I know here and now.

I'll think about what I can, when I can. I'll press myself to do more or go further when it's necessary, but I know I can't let myself think too hard over scenarios that may or never happen. I'll just let the unknowns co-exist with being grateful because that's all I can do at this point. I suppose I can toss in the reliance on the humbling faith that my Mexican-American mother and grandfather leaned on. I always thought we had to do what we could and to not just go by faith (which they often did), but now I'm seeing that faith is what keeps the pistons oiled, or else things feel dry. My deal: do both. Take the annoyances with where we can be grateful, and... have faith but still do what we gotta do.

downwind | upstream