Having just got back from California, all I can think about it going back. I just finished A Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion and I’m trying to figure out how to say goodbye to Oakland without putting it completely out of my mind. I don’t think I know how to properly hold anything departed without making a new life that dismisses the void by forgetting the object.
I tried NC’s preemptive mourning towards preventing grief but it was unsuccessful. But it’s made me realize that my obsessive and intricate compulsion to commit things to memory is my own version of this.
Three goodbyes while I was there, indulgent in sentimentality:
Just yesterday morning, J and I took our last vacation run through Huckleberry Botanical Regional Preserve in the Oakland hills. The whole 1.7 mile trail is slender path cutting right across a steep valley. It was one of the first places J took me when I arrived in Oakland and made a perfect final day– especially since on our way out we heard a mountain lion screaming about 100 feet up into the bushes. Huckleberry’s microclimate is full of plant species from warmer days in the bay. J and I were both immediately charmed by the red manzanita trees, despite the fact that whenever separated we were each visualizing the other’s bloody death-by-puma around the next bend.
The day before I bid the state goodbye on my own with a seven mile run through the redwoods at Samuel P. Taylor Park in Marin. Later that day I got to see my friend from high school, DG, and we both had Pakistani food and liked who the other person, I think, had become in all this time. I’m ready to live a lot closer to her and we meant to get matching dead insects mounted for our apartments: butterflys or grasshoppers. In the end time and money limitations, interfered. I went home to finish reading a scary book with J and then go out to a messenger bar with three of her friends.
The Sunday before I left, we cooked a big family breakfast. Sara Seinberg and Ginger Robinson hosted and I made bacon and I met last two of a group of friends. Riotous laughter. Biscuits and gravy. Four southern queers who have been friends for 15 years all sitting around with their lovers telling outrageous stories about one another. Most of them– actually maybe all but J and I– are working on a big project that pairs visual artists with writers. It really was a family breakfast and I’m relying on plans to see Sara and Ginger in November to stem tearfulness. After eating too much J and I went to a Giants/Pirates game with J’s bestfriend and her homolover– where we could all talk about the ethics of steroids together and shout things in the sunshine for a few innings.