You once told me about the cactus you kept in the bed of your truck. How’d you drive, parading it through the city. You told me people would give you looks. Maybe even a quizzical lift of the brow.
I wish I saved those emails so that I can paint a better picture – the one who painted with your words. Because all I imagine is a bed of sand with your cactus planted in the middle. I don’t imagine the nopal, but the saguaro as it is the most referenced in popular culture.
I can’t remember the color of your truck, or if you ever told me the model and brand. But I think of an old red pickup, the sort abuelos drive.
We reconnected when I was in college. You found a review I made on Amazon and that led you down the rabbit hole to whatever social network I was using back then. Probably MySpace. We emailed each other, old friends catching up. You were always pushing me to share my work, find my voice.
And I eventually did, though I’m sad you never got to see me recite one of my poems on stage. Never heard me voice my characters.
I still wear the rings you gave me. These biker rings that appeared on Facebook. Rings that became the bane of my former employer’s existence. Rings I wore to push the limits one October and never took off until my weight got away from me.
And the moment my fingers allowed me to put them back on, it brought me so much peace. I can’t explain to you how exposed I felt without them. Every time I forget to wear them, a part of me is missing. And I’m sure you’d have loved to know that.
In some small way, I always felt that I carry you with me when I wear them. When I thought of buying new ones, I second guessed because these rings were from you.
Among other gifts you sent me, a Harley Quinn tee shirt, copies of your sister’s books, a book I never read, and several inappropriate birthday cards. How I loved those inappropriate cards.
I’m sorry that I stopped making that effort. Sorry I never held my word in writing those things for you. It’s easy to say that life gets in the way. That I was raising a child when I still didn’t feel like much of an adult. Sorry for never writing or reaching out when that illness began to take you. You were a better friend than I ever deserved.
It’s just that I scare easily, and I make it a habit to keep people I love at an arm’s length. I always think this will make the pain easier to take, but all it does is leave room for regret.
And there is a lot I regret these days.
As you know, I don’t have much faith on what lies beyond this life. Whether we simply stop existing or go into a higher plane of existence – be it Heaven or whatever. But I do hope that I see you again.
You once sent me this song and told me that you were the pretty girl. You didn’t care if I was Dr. Dre or Eminem.