Yesterdays With Parker
The far edge of Parker’s large yard softened from sweltering late summer sun, to cooler evening shadows. I watched from his living room, looking out across the hand-hewn wood deck, lovingly crafted years past, watched the sky shift from azure to fire-orange glowing rays as the sun splayed her farewell banner.
Behind me, Parker’s raspy breath remained a sad, rhythmic reminder of why I was here, in a home I’d left years ago after one final battle for independence. We’d partnered, he and I, as renegade youths, bent on freeing the world from materialistic ways, seeking spiritual nirvana around the globe. We'd trekked across Asia in search of Shambhala, then across Europe in search of pleasure. Eventually, we'd landed in California’s coastlands, found a community of like-minded families and settled down.
Parker’s talents with gadgetry landed him a high-paying job in Silicon Valley and our battles began. I was always a writer, poet, philosopher of life. As Parker’s income grew, his acquisitions followed – cars, boats, toys of high expense. Journeys to exotic lands, now paid for by his employer, did not include me.
How I longed for yesterday, for yesteryear – those times of owning what we could carry on our backs, earning enough to eat and survive, bartering our skills for a place to stay.
When Parker’s new partner, Janine, contacted me, I hesitated to respond. What do I care that he is dying? But she said he’d asked to see me, had something he wanted to tell me. Yes, I’d thought, now he wants to apologize, a bit late in the game for me.
I took a day to meditate on everything I believed, sought a release of the anger and bitterness that rose up in me, surprised me by its intensity – and even its presence. Forgiveness, I knew, was necessary for true internal peace. But could I forgive him for giving up everything we once embraced together, forgive him for choosing to sow his seeds in a consumerist society? And, then, could I forgive him for turning from me, selecting Janine over me and lying about his affair?
Seeing Parker tucked into a portable bed, propped up for this view out his living room window, wires and tubes attached to his body, his breath a raspy wheeze, sucked the last morsel of resistance from my heart. “I forgive you, Parker,” I’d said before he had a chance to speak. “Can you forgive me?”
Parker won’t live to see many more of these day-night-day transitions. I will. That awareness churns within me. Hearing Parker cough, I turn from the sunset, approach his bed. Standing next to Janine, I take his hand in mine and say good-bye.
Years Gone By
so near, so far away,
yet it is today embraced
I most seek,
a treasure trove
seen through lenses
polished by years
of grit, oil, fire and pain,
etched by desert sands,
love’s deep attachments
adding textures and colors
too quiet to notice