Sing my songs to me
Sing them to me softly
Sing me sunlight and shadows
Orange groves and meadows
Let your voice ring back my memories
Sing my songs to me
— the prophet jackson browne
Hi. I hope all is well and wedding preparations are going great and blah blah introductory paragraph that we were taught was mandatory back somewhere. If you ever go back into journalism, and please don’t, you should do away with the lede. Waste of a perfectly good paragraph. Let the lazy bastards keep reading if they want to know what you’re talking about. Get off my lawn, you kids. But I digress.
Here’s the thing: I can’t come to your wedding.
We were set. I had a room reserved at the party house, even though I’ve heard stories about Anne’s snoring. Hmmm. I think I heard those stories from you. We got the week off from the sweatshops. Mo found a great dress, and Mo doesn’t take wearing a dress lightly. I never found out if long pants were required, so I was just figuring on pairing the Gramiccis with a tasteful T-shirt and bow tie. I have been planning to get a haircut lately, but Mo said I couldn’t whack the ponytail off until after you were married. A Pacific Northwest thing, she says. Mo is kind of weird. You knew that.
But then I found out about the particulars of the guest list.
La Señora Glascock, my seventh-grade Spanish teacher at John H. Glenn Junior High School (no, i will never forgive you for going to Lee, you traitor) taught me one of the most valuable lessons I ever came across, and it didn’t involve tildes at all. “I don’t judge people by what other people say about them,” she said. “I judge them by the way they treat me.” She was a wise teacher, even if the only Spanish phrase I can recall learning is “my uncle Boni plays in the orchestra,” which surprisingly doesn’t come up that often in casual conversation.
So I totally understand that you can have a different viewpoint of this person than me. I watched the act for many years; it’s a good one. But I was there when the show ended and the lights turned off after the performances. Some plays are better seen from the balcony. My experiences were as such that I will never have anything to do with this production again.
As time went on, I decided to put this person and the lies and deceit and cruelty and hate and darkness behind me for good, and I never looked back. And that’s why I need to continue not looking back. Being in the same place as this person would simply be too hard. I would do anything for you, except this. I just can’t. I’m sorry.
So on the evening of June 30, 2018, as you start your happily ever after, Mo and I will sit on the steps of the courthouse in Flagstaff where we started ours. We will cheer and whoop and startle the homeless guys sleeping next to Late for the Train. Maybe we can talk Mike into giving us a Facetime feed. No, I’m still not going to wear long pants. We can negotiate on the bow tie. We will walk around the little town we all love and share in the spirit of the artists and poets we all are, and we will be so, so happy for you.
The next morning, we’ll take your spirit to the bottom of the canyon, where we will projectile vomit from the crazy heat and lie in the icy water of Bright Angel Creek while thinking about the adventures you guys had here. We will celebrate your life and spirit and the joyous next chapter that awaits you.
I love you, cheep. Of everyone in the family, you’re the one who ended up most like me, an unfortunate circumstance for you. But I’m glad to know that a little bit of my spirit and angst and passion will carry on in the world long after I’m gone. And every time I eat a peach, I will think of you.
I’m truly sorry we won’t be there, but please know we will be cheering you from afar. I’m not sure about the Fat Gray Cat Larkspurs, but they’ll be the soundtrack in Flag that night at the Monte V. Please know we’ll be dancing with you in spirit.
p.s. these plans all hinge on the hopes that Mo isn’t arrested on our arrival for stealing the poster. If so, we will be celebrating in a month or so.