photo of my friend Nuri

Nuri Kilani, ca. 2010

A friend of mine died a couple of weeks ago. His death brought his friends – very good friends – together. We cooked together. Drank some beer. Laughed at memories. Exchanged hugs and tears and backslaps and fistbumps. And at one o’clock last Friday night we buried him. Threw his ashes in the air and watched them sparkle in the moonlight.

I hadn’t seen some of these people in decades, and that was my friend’s final gift: Come together again, brothers and sisters. Come together and share your joy.

Now, regrettably, I’m about to leave my old/new friends behind.

I will leave behind the store that sold fourteen-ounce bottles of lemon juice for $1.69. It took me five years to find that store and with it, to finally master the perfect margarita. I will leave behind the electric bicycle that whisked me downtown and parked there in six minutes. I will leave behind the magnolia tree in the back yard. I will leave behind the glorious Pacific Northwest that has been my home for nearly seventy years.

It’s getting to be that time. We’re five days from departure and that inevitable sense of foreboding is come upon us. What the hell are we doing? I sold my bed, of all things, at the estate sale. I paid for that bed, fifty dollars a month, when I was destitute and it was my only selfish luxury.

Our friends say “I wish I was doing what you’re doing,” but they aren’t doing it. There’s gotta be a reason for that. Is it because they’re sane?

Five days to go.

(Photo by Stephen Giovannoni)