Thursday, August 07, 2014

A song for a friend.

During the summer that "Call Me Maybe" was unavoidable, my friend M had somehow managed to avoid it. We introduced him to Carly Rae Jepsen at the bowling alley one night because really everyone should know that song. Weeks later, I got a phone call. At a niece's wedding, he'd heard "Call Me Maybe"! And he knew the song! It was the only song he'd known! He signed off, as he would for the next few years, by saying "call me maybe." He called when Glee covered the song a few weeks later, repeating that it was the only song he'd known. In a new aspect of our friendship that I still find charming, he'd call me whenever he heard it. It was a strange homing beacon between us, advice that he took literally.

I don't remember meeting M, but it probably followed a couple showtunes and preceded a few often-told jokes. I'm sure I heard those jokes more than once over the course of our friendship. He regularly asked why I was laughing at such terrible jokes. I never had an answer. Not great with an RSVP, M would breeze in, serenade the crowd, tell the jokes, and settle in. He usually disappeared without fanfare, having mastered the Irish goodbye.

M was fiercely loyal and dedicated. Learning about a problem with a friend, or a hiccup in a project we were working on, he would call and ask what we were going to do to fix things. He gave advice not when you asked, but when he thought you needed it. He asked questions you didn't want to--but needed to--answer. "Why haven't we found a job?" "What's the deal with the boyfriend?" He would also call or show up occasionally, looking for advice for himself.

These stories feel random and haphazard, even to me. But as I try to comprehend that M has passed away, they are the stories I can anchor myself to. It is easier to focus on them than on the cancer that took M from us. It is easier than thinking about his family--his lovely and brilliant wife, his sons and grandson. All the pieces of his life that are now missing him. And writing has always been the way I process. Feelings don't make sense until I can write them down and arrange the words, put them in order.

So here I am. I have other blog posts on the way--I know this isn't what we do around here. Don't worry...I did some flirting and went to a wedding, so that's all on the way. But for now, thanks for sticking around while I try to make sense of real life. Until then, have some Carly Rae. 

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