Photobomb me from the grave, will you? I see you there, don’t think you’re hiding. You with the big stuffed bunny toy, so pleased, me with my P-47. And why are we all dressed up? Oh right, this must be Easter Sunday: 1956 I’d say, Rhein-Main Air Force Base near Frankfurt. Occupied Germany still, the U.S. Zone. And to think we were living in the same apartments occupied by Luftwaffe pilots’ families during the war… (Someone calls out, “Which war?” World War II, of course, back when they were separate and didn’t run into each other until you couldn’t tell whom we’re bombing now and why.)
You’ve been gone for over four years. Can’t mean anything to you, I guess. Hardly a day goes by without my thinking of you and the way you lived. “Dying is perfectly safe!” you chortled, knowing you were right, and proved it. What can happen to you now?
I want to make a difference. Don’t want it said that all I did was take. The wagon piled up high with everything is rolling down the hill. I can’t run fast enough to jump on board. You knew what the secret was, how to let it all unfold and end. How to be yourself and nothing else. How to fill the life you had. When you left, the world was sorry. I still get emails from people with your paintings, sad that you’re not here. I wasn’t going to write this, but I came across the photo, and it hit me. Johnny’s not a genius any more and feels himself for lumps in funny places; not that anything would break, except a heart.