What is it you want Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon.
~ George Bailey, It's a Wonderful Life.
S. died today. B. was with him every step of the way. Until the very end.
And only for them do I want to open up this little book again, just this once perhaps, and remember the adoration I feel for them ~ my awe at the strength of them both. Or perhaps, this is a better way to end this chapter ~ with the strength of S. and the love and loyalty of B.
B. woke up this morning knowing he had to tell S. there was nothing more to be done ~ he spent the day saying goodbye to his friend, his mentor, his business partner, his second father. What would I think, feel, say ~ if my closest friend told me I would die today?
I did not meet S. ~ I knew him only through the stories B. told me ~ the spark in his eyes when he talked about S., the years B. spent learning his art from S., the determination in B.'s voice as he told me the plan ~ the plan to help S. fight the cancer that was invading his body. But today the fight ended ~ anything to be done would end the same ~ we would lose S.
~ ~ ~ ~
In the weeks B. had spent arranging my meetings in Los Angeles, I never knew that, in between all of our emails and conversations, he was shuttling back and forth between the hospital, work, meetings with doctors, phone calls, research, surgery, chemo ~ taking care of S. ~ and me, too.
I woke up that morning at 5 am to pack. One last email check, one final cruel cut, and I died one final death. I opened the door. I walked out. I paid the cab driver extra to drive fast ~ to get me away ~ to get me closer to something good.
I was late, as usual. The last one on the plane, right before they closed the door. Somehow, that seemed appropriate. I slept for an hour, and dreamed away the colorless and cold hate of that Oakland morning ~ and walked out into the brightness and heat of the City of Angels.
Later, we were surrounded by music, dancing, stories, the opera singer from Tel Aviv, more musicians, the superstar from Africa and his lovely wife ~ the stories of his work in the West Bank, his day in Jenin sharing music with children. He spoke softly but he was larger than life; his smile was as bright as Jupiter ~ and we were the charged particles within his orbit ~ his Galilean Moons.
The next night, we walked around the Hollywood Hills, lost in thought, "accidentally breaking into" yards and innocently nodding our heads to the cop who drove by. The Crescent Moon smiled down at us, its glow competing with the glare of the billboards and broken dreams down below on Sunset Boulevard.
Everything that is lost on Earth is to be found on the Moon.
~ Orlando Furioso
Later, I would tell B that his loyalty, devotion, love, faith ~ his utter goodness ~ inspired me ~ that I wanted to be, simply, a star in his orbit.
That night, on that walk, though, I remembered that Orlando's unrequited love for Angelica drives him mad ~ furioso. Astolfo has to fly to the Moon where everything lost on Earth is to be found....including Orlando's wits. Astolfo gathers Orlando's wits into a bottle, and back on Earth he makes Orlando sniff them ~ regaining his sanity.
I inhaled deeply, the cool night air warming my heart.
I exhaled ~ Madness. Fury. Frenzy. I let Orlando Furioso float up to the Moon ~ and matched my steps to B's, next to me.
But before Orlando went mad, he was in Love. Orlando Furioso is a continuation of Orlando's unfinished romance ~ Orlando Innamorato. Unfinished. Like that ball of clay I just put back in the Fire. Like B., who takes up where Orlando ends ~with "ardent devotion to Love and Loyalty, shedding warmth and sunshine wherever the lapse of ages has rendered the legends colourless and cold."
Sometimes angels appear at night ~ they are not poetry, nor metaphor, nor colorful ~