Sunday, January 12, 2020

Roger That

My nightly velocity wave. typed on an ipad from the center of the bed. writing because i need to say it; i don’t need to be understood. Exercises of exorcisms. Thoughts repelled. Expelled. Confession without the need of absolution.

last week i sat on a barstool in a new bar on the corner of century ave and stillwater blvd in Oakdale. I sat beside my best friend Mike and occasionally followed the cheers to a screen to see a football team score. But my mind wasn’t on the game.

I‘ve sat near this intersection countless times in my past. A distant past. 40 years ago. When deciding where to watch the game, Mike mentioned the intersection. It sounded familiar. But I couldn‘t recall why. Until we got there.

In 1978 & 1979 I sat in a car near that intersection and waited for my best friend - Roger Kachel - to get off work. He was a bag boy at a grocery store on that corner. Knowlans. The grocery store still stands; Roger does not. He died in 2006. Nearly every night I’d pick Roger up from work. We’d smoke. Sometimes pot. Mostly cigarettes. And we’d either head home to his basement or to a friend’s house. Nearly every night. Surface conversations. Too young for the tools to delve. To excavate. To divulge.

While watching the football game, I thought about Roger. Our friendship. The passages of time. Sad? Yes. But not heartbroken. Too long ago. Different men. I was different. I was shy. Uncertain. Scared. Roger was the first male friend. I was timid. So worried to lose. So worried to go back to lonely. I wondered whether Roger would like me now. He would. I haven’t changed that much. Would I like Roger now? Sure. I still like him. I loved him. He was my friend.

Last week while driving to the intersection, i felt so frustrated. So angry. So impotent. So pressured. So caught in the middle of aged. I sat down beside my best friend. Sipped my bloody Mary. Sighed my stresses aloud - remembered my first friend - and relaxed. A circle? No. A line. The continuation of me becoming - losing - maintaining - me. Us. We. Through Him. With Him. In Him. Forever and ever. Amen

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