Life is evening out…and things that keep me up past bedtime are becoming my biggest hurdles again. It’s good to see you, familiar friends, I say to the darkening splotches under my eyes.
I recently realized that I’m in a love affair consisting almost entirely from letters. I think part of me has always wanted that. I feel like I just smelled a beautiful flower, discovering its bi-sensory joy. Like when I realized I was a professional New Orleans writer, artist, and advocate. A tiny fragment of beauty in a high stress world.
A woman I admired greatly died today. Another New Orleans artist. And for the first time in many years, I am thrust upon with regret. I never told her how amazing I thought she was. I never told her how I admired her, how she inspired me and made me feel capable. How her confidence in me so early on in W.E.L.L. made me feel able to take on the world. How working with W.E.L.L. gave me layers of healing and possible futures. She helped facilitate that process, and I never told her. And I regret it.
I never told Mari Shay either, although I feel like she knew. I told her some of it. I should tell her daughters…I should tell Katie how she still inspires me.
I feel like I might be writing lots of letters soon.
Do you know what my biggest fear is these days? It’s odd…I have so many pragmatic things to fear in my life right now. With all of that, I’m afraid that I’ll misrepresent Jim as I write. I thought maybe I feared it because of the family that is still living, but I think not…those that are left have already decided how they feel towards me. And I don’t care if it affects them, honestly. They had time to try and help, and time to apologize for not doing so, and they have time still. No, this fear isn’t about them. It’s about me.
I care because it might make me a liar. What if I’m wrong? What if I’ve gotten so used to the story that now it’s truth because I don’t know anything else? What if he WAS just a man with demons and a drinking problem? What if I’m just some maladjusted kid who saw her parents make bad choices and couldn’t deal with life after God?
Is is worthy to achieve personal integrity by risking that of another? The reality is that Jim’s dead, and I can’t ask him what happened. The times I did ask, I was told I would hear everything when I turned 18, and the bastard died when I was six months away from that birthday. Mostly I tell myself that the pot of gold at the end of Rainbow 18 was likely to be filled with shit, but the mystery remains unsolved.
I remember things, though….I do.
Thinking about this more, I think I have a new biggest fear: that I’m an unreliable narrator.