It rained yesterday; pretty much all day. Sometimes it was a drizzle, and sometimes a deluge.
I wandered around the first permanent home I ever had after my formal education was complete. I looked upon the various empty lots that once contained the lodgings of my late youth; there was one that amused me greatly; the apartment was actually in the middle of the block, so its removal was like a surgical strike. Intent on removing that one building.
Perhaps it was the gigantic mural of Jake and Elwood Blues I painted in the dining room area that made it un-rentable. For lo, these 25 years. But Jake and Elwood have left the building, along with any remnant of my living there with a bulky word processor, a stereo I couldn't afford, and Clytemnestra, my first and bestest feline friend.
There was much changed about the old town; new businesses in, old businesses out; the scars of catastrophic fires in the downtown area seem to have healed; the restaurants and bars have changed names and locations, but the one on Fifth and Lewis still thrives despite the look of collapse. And the ferry that has been running since Lincoln was President runs no more, a victim of the economy and a decided lack of maintenance.
And the college on the Hill is still there, of course. But that's another story.
Of my town friends, there remains just one. The others (few, I'll admit; but rather than say that I'm not friendly, I will simply put that I have a certain discriminating taste) have all gone, either to greener pastures, or to journey in that event that comes after this stage goes dark.
But Todd remains.
The house on the corner where I spent many grand times, whether gaming or holidaying, or simply sitting and talking still remains, and as Todd found a lifemate in the years of my absence, the house that has ALSO been around since Lincoln was President has been vastly improved.
As has Todd.
He didn't know I was coming; the truth is, I didn't know I was coming, either.....but as I drove down memory lane, I noticed that there was a light over in the Frankenstein place, and I pulled up; and I saw Todd in the window, and knocked.
Let me say this about my friend: he never seems shocked about anything. I half expected him to simply say, "well, would you look at that?" and open the door for me to enter.
Well....actually, that's exactly what he did. But he followed with a bear hug, so we can call that his version of shock.
I received two hugs yesterday; and I have to say that I have never been hugged so tightly in my entire life.
For the record, I'm currently crying at the memory of it.
And after that, magically......nothing happened. We retreated to the living room, sat in two chairs, and picked up on a conversation we had begun in the kitchen of the Golden Eagle Riverboat Dinner Theatre in June of 1988.
And the 180 minutes flew by, and yet not.
I think I've mentioned this before, but I firmly believe that the elements of time travel put forth in the classic movie SOMEWHERE IN TIME are real; that you can actually will yourself into a previous time....because it happened to me. Because, it was 1988, and then it was 1991, and then it was 1994, and every moment of reminiscence took me right back to the genesis of the anecdote; the moments on that small stage at that long-gone theatre, the faces and the names and the moments.
He told me of the passing of the artist known as Richard; a frustratingly brilliant individual who lived a full and glorious life, poured upon canvases that are seen all over this small town; in which I appear in one cartoonish form or another, several times. We talked of his look and his voice and his laugh and the traditions we had for dateless New Year's Eves; alcohol, laughter and THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN. And Todd told me of the last week of Rich's life.
He smoked like a chimney. And it caught up to him like lightning.
Through the tears, I had to laugh when Todd said, "Honestly....dying was the fastest thing Rich ever did."
And he told me where to find him; and before I head back, I'll visit Rich and say thanks for all the fish. And he'll understand the allusion.
We parted in the side porch of the house, after showing me the gardens and the landscaping that his wife had completed; and it was raining, which was good so that he could not see as I left that I was, in fact, crying again. But before I left, and for the first time, I told him how I felt and how much he meant to me.
Because I needed to do that.
Because opportunities are not permanent.
It rained yesterday; pretty much all day. And sometimes it was a drizzle, and sometimes a deluge.
And it wasn't just the weather.