I’ve known my fair share of holidays with tepid cheer, and spent several alone with only the quick phone calls of family (when long distance actually mattered on the bill) to interrupt the evening.

So every season I listen again to the music that stirred me so and kept me moving through what were dark waters.

I asked him to have the band play that song on one of the last times we knew each other. Unfamiliar with it, the clouds rolled across his eyes as my mouth twisted, knowing it was all over, all over, but holding to it tightly to wring every moment from it.

It played again, years later, loss upon loss so that I walked in a baffled stupor. The crystal fell from drunk hands and shattered on the floor, a kind of requiem and a final goodbye to all that.

Its mate remains in the cabinet yet, unfilled for years, now, a relic…when I was quite mad I thought of it that way – of burying it somewhere with the whole tale wrapped around it like a shroud. So that perhaps one day someone would know.

But I think, now, that sometimes we are given these stories to keep us alive. To make us stronger. So that we can, later, say, “And then I know I can bear anything.”

Our own Troubles are coming. A part of me is glad that I need not worry about him, that perhaps he can offer – from his vantage – graces when needed.

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