Each evening after story time, I’d slouch at the black Mac and shop for boys, or stretch out on the futon couch I’d always hated and screen them by phone. I get a bit manic when I’m busy and this entire autumn when I reentered the dating world, many areas were percolating.
I was restless to get into my studio, to cut, to stitch and glue: I was tantalized by materials left when my 103.5-year-old grandmother died (earlier that year). In my imagination, scraps of lace and ratty fur and costume jewelry would mingle brutality with mannerism, murder with vitality. My hands, my eyes, were hot with impatience.
Male attention was giving me power and energy. I had long held the idea of a Day of the Dead ritual for Gavin, a more personal memorial than the one we did at church, and that time of year was approaching. I was sure that doing something would help to bind and settle “things” for us. I love playing hostess, so, a party; the most stunning spectacle I could imagine was to have my old roommate, Wekka, perform one of her original low-tech supersexy fire dances.
Plans came together strangely but surely. I opened up Gavin’s studio and set up a big offering of his materials, relics of our life together, hospital bracelets, amulets, and his baby sweater. It was as big a party as our housewarming – 75 people and lots of kids. Wekka was electrifying in a brocade coat, stripping down to a metallic leather (thong) bikini in the freezing cold. She danced with candles, swords, and swirly flame things. A 5 year old repeatedly whispered on a lap: “Mom, I can see her BUTT!” I served only beer and water, the left loudspeaker died after the second piece, and at the end a guest pointed out I’d allowed dozens of candles to be lit a few feet away from a gallon of mineral spirits. Kids, artists, neighbors, and friends from support group took home the intellectual, Zen souvenirs (blank bits of drawing paper) I made. Friends burned offerings, close friends thanked me for the chance to say goodbye.
“That was something else, but what did it have to do with Gavin?” someone asked.
Wekka and I exchanged looks. We had no idea, really. Wekka had done several shows in our backyard and loved us both. I’d invoked Eros and invited people from all my communities. I made something and invited people. How to say? “It was a celebration of life.” It was insufficient. The blank piece of paper said it better.
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