Saturday, March 18, 2017

These Hands- Preparing to Say "Next Lifetime"

My transition to healing has been a slow, but gradual one. And now comes the final step. Tomorrow I prepare to say "next lifetime" to my dear Pete. I've been kinda irritable this week because I'm working a lot while I'm supposed to be on spring break, plus I'm grieving. Its been a tough week. One of the few bright lights at my job is a coworker, Stephanie. I tend to charm Stephanie with my stories of school, men, flash, and life. I like to encourage Stef. She's a bit more conservative than myself, but I can see that she has the capability of being a total rock star, so I love to remind her that she can save the world too.

I told her about Pete a few days ago, as I also told her that pre-Pete, I'd never really been one to be attracted to white men. Stef said, "I can't wait to get me a white guy." I half chuckled then reminded her that mine was officially gone so, yeah... Today she told me that a guy she'd been kind of into showed up at the job. She said that he'd always been really nice to her and she was so shocked when she saw him. He played stupid, but he remembered her. She said that he was really nice to her some years ago, but she'd love to reconnect. She also said that she didn't get to ask him for his number. Then she surprised me by saying that her old friend was white, which made her nervous. Then she said his name was Pete. I froze. "His name was what?!" She said it again. "Pete." I'll be damned. Then she stated again that she wasn't sure if she could get into a white guy like that. I immediately held up my phone, to show my wallpaper picture, that showed my friend Pete. I started to wipe my eyes before any tears could fall. She knew what I was trying to say.


Pete was always super helpful. My intern supervisor kept getting on me to take my beta fish home from his office. That afternoon as I walked the fish to my car, Pete saw me struggling and came over to grab the bowl. I took one look at his hands and panicked slightly. They were large and swollen as they gripped the round bowl. I worried. Had he been fighting or punching walls? Was he okay? He assured me that he was fine and explained his swollen hands as "that's what 30 years of shooting dope will do to you."

Since his passing, I've thought back on Pete's hands a lot. Right before he died, I'd gotten a cute manicure, finished with a nice sea foam green nail polish, accented with glitter ring fingers. I never got to show my nails to Pete, although I'd hoped to do so. The last time I saw him was in passing and I had class to head to, so no go. The following week, he was gone. I'd loved the sight of my nails before, but once Pete died, I hated looking at them. I love a freshly painted set, but the last thing I wanted was bright colors. Its been a week now and I still struggle with the idea of bright colors. I already knew that my next manicure would be black polish. It just felt right. But the day before I got them re-done, I decided on making my ring fingers white, with a glitter french manicured nail, to symbolize Pete as my angel. Occasionally when I think about Pete, I look down at my hands and I go to thinking about that moment and his hands.

I almost let Sky take my car to work today, but something told me to drive him instead because I needed to go visit my friend. Since his death, I've found a strange comfort in visiting the place where Pete and I kissed. It was right in front of the church halfway house he was staying in. I dropped Sky off and went to that space. I remember when he'd shown me the area, he talked about how beautiful the grounds were. I never thought I'd get to see it. But today, as I looked over at the church, I saw that the fence was open.

I climbed out of the car and walked in. Thinking back, I almost felt pulled in. It actually was kind of nice and peaceful. I found a bench and sat down quietly, thinking about my friend. Thinking about his services tomorrow. I looked down at my manicure and my mind wandered back to his swollen hands. "Please come back" I said through my tears. I lay my hand on that bench, and I felt his swollen hand take mine. I felt him next to me.

About 10 minutes in, a groundskeeper asked if I were okay. I hesitated. I explained that I just wanted to be where my friend once lived. He said that he remembered Pete in passing and that he was a good guy. The groundskeeper also explained that normally the gates would have been locked by that time, but today he'd had something to do so he'd been late. He asked if I wanted to see the chapel. I pride myself on being a woman that is open to anything, so just like getting pulled out of the car, I felt pulled to the chapel. Pete wasn't a religious person, nor am I, but an experience is an experience.

Reece, the groundskeeper, originally turned the lights all the way up, but then turned them down. It almost looked candle-lit. It was kinda peaceful. Very peaceful. I did think momentarily that I might come across a spirit or two while in there by myself, but then I figured that I was in a chapel, so I had a slim chance of any real negativity. I almost wanted to take a picture in the building, but I felt that a picture would just ruin the moment. I wanted to focus on my time in the chapel, plus no pics could ever do it justice. It was quiet. Occasionally the building settled. Again, I felt Pete next to me, holding my hand. No tears this time. I enjoyed the dark. It felt like a gift from him, this moment of quiet and reflection.

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