Monday, December 28, 2009
"Some Things Just Stick in Your Mind"
Some memories play over like good records. Today is grey; yesterday was grey. We're in the grey of winter and I've been playing over the time we lost Patrick in my head. I've been waking up with it in the middle of the night; I've been holding it with my morning coffee.
It was this time of year - a little before Christmas. Mom was pregnant with Nora. Earlier in the day we had gone up the Empire State Building with Uncle Bill. In the elevator we thought of names for Nora. Patrick and I, with uncomfortable ears, distracted ourselves with dinodahn names. We figured out, I think it was for the first time, that many names when paired with "Dahn" become dinosaur names. Irena Dahn. Carlotta Dahn. Umberto Dahn. Madonna Dahn.
My grandparents had an apartment in White Plains that grandpa used when he was in the city on business. It had what my child's mind perceived to be an extensive roof garden, multi-leveled and well-populated with nooks and topiaries. We left mom and dad, looking at stars, embracing at the edge of the terrace. We played hide and seek.
It was dark and large and I couldn't find him. I looked and looked and eventually interrupted my parents to enlist their help. We looked everywhere. We couldn't find him. I started looking over the edges of the wall; every time I looked over a new edge I was clutching my core in preparation for something I didn't want to see.
These past days when I've woken up in the middle of the night with this memory, it's been to the image of Patrick's little body at the foot of that building. And it's always with that same clutch in your core, isn't it, when you have to prepare for something you don't want?
He was fine. He had gotten lost and wandered inside.
He left yesterday to move to Paris. No one ever said dreams were subtle.
He's left the stewardship of his record collection to me. I'm hoping they get stuck in my head.