Saturday, April 24, 2004

lake shore drive

Speaking of resonances, of elements of a life that pull back towards each other (and speaking, in particular, of my father's blues CDs), I have to mention how happy I am that a certain friend has reappeared in my life.

I met Fig when I was 14 and he was 17; he was an Exotic Older Man and we got into some trouble at a Model United Nations event (which should be enough, if he's reading, for him to recognize himself). I got kicked out as a result, but my parents were so impressed by how maturely Fig handled the situation that when he started bicycling insane distances to come see me (usually with little or no warning) they were cool with it, and I think they always harbored the secret belief (as did I, for a while) that he was the only man who would really ever do for me.

So when he got married a few years back--god, no, it's been at least six or seven now, hasn't it?--Dad wrote that while he was glad to hear it, he'd "always sort of been counting on that kid", which I thought was hilarious and sweet at the same time. I don't think Dad knew about Fig and his pal and I getting stoned in the pal's car before sneaking in to hear Lake Shore Drive play at Baker's, or some of the other things that might give a regular dad pause... but then, he wasn't, as my mother and I were just telling each other, that regular a dad.

Anyway. He tracked me down. He now has a lovely music educator wife and three completely wholesome-looking children, and I look at the photos on the Web site and think about wandering around East Lansing as a teenager. checking in the kitchens of various oddball restaurants to see if anyone knew where or with whom he might be crashing. Visiting San Francisco he filled my answering machine with poetry he was reading into a pay phone; later that same visit he got mugged and couldn't find his way back to my apartment, so he disappeared. He has always been the freest of the spirits I knew (as well as one of the more creative spellers), yet unassailably emotionally responsible for someone so apparently flighty. In Dad's word, honorable.

Another proof that appearances deceive. And looking at those healthy children, who have clothes and shoes and everything on (somehow, this seemed strange to me at first) the other night, the night between the funeral and the burial, was a huge comfort.

Thanks Fig.