Billy would’ve turned forty-four today.
I’d have booked a dinner for us at a restaurant that he'd think was too expensive, and I'd cajole him into ordering the New York strip despite his protests that it cost too much. Before dinner, though, back home in our living room, I'd have already arranged a row of presents that would’ve included a new cell phone, and Sirius for his car because he would’ve been whining about not having one since Mickey gave me mine at Christmas. There’d also be that really cute shirt he pointed out at American Rag, as well as some new socks and underwear, and the annual box of dark chocolate-covered raisins from the candy shop near my office, and then he’d get to take his Birthday Walk.
In the past four and a half years since he’d’ve gotten out of the hospital and regained his strength, we would’ve been a non-smoking house. Losing Bob would’ve crushed him, and he probably wouldn’t have picked Steve as our next dog, but they’d still be thick as thieves. Man, he would’ve loved the DC experience, though, and bawled when we had to move from our Venice home but he’d have already set up his workshop in the new one, tinkering around every inch of the new house, and this past weekend, he would’ve cuddled our new find, Eddie.
We would’ve had a thousand fights, some of them ending with us naked and exhausted after exchanged apologies. We may have even separated for a little while, but we’d have come back together. We always did.
Writing about Billy in the past tense seems like a lie to me, because he is present every single moment of every single day. That’s why the words burned into my arm mean so much to me, even more than they meant when I first read Billy’s prophetic poem in Montreal in the card he crafted for his marriage proposal to me.
thru the same eyes
We will see time
pass the same way.
Clouds float into
eternity. We are
one of those clouds.
You are my love -