I still think of you.
One of the two “night nymphs,” as my father affectionately called you. The neighbour girls, who would dance with sparklers in the dark across the orchard, on Canada Day and New Year’s Eve.
You were so cool.
But kind as well, and you carried both traits so well. You seemed so much older than me, but never made me feel like a nuisance. Nearly twenty years ago, I was just entering the double digits, and learning to play the trumpet. We sat among the apple trees, halfway between our homes, and you helped me learn the keys. I’d blurt out squeaks, and honks, and blats, while you riffed and made your own trumpet sing.
I remember once, playing in your attic, while you and my brother listened to music. It must have been 1993, because you were both enjoying a “new” tune by Ace of Base. I’ll never forget it, like a move clip in my mind, playing over and over.
“I saw the sign…”
I knew nothing beyond The Chipmunks and Raffi then, but I liked it too.
Years later, in high school, I tried to learn guitar. Once more, you sat with me and taught me all the chords. You taught me G, then A, then D. Then you explained that those are happy chords. If I wanted to get moody with my bad self, I would need minor chords. Em, and Am. Especially Em, you said. And so we played the moody chords, grunted lyrics and pretended to be angsty. But we were too happy to be moody, so we laughed at ourselves.
God, you always made me laugh.
When I heard the news, it shattered me. How could it be so? How can the world go spinning on, without that hearty, infectious laugh? It can’t. I’m sure of that. The world is still spinning, so you can’t be really gone. In the four years since that news, I’ve heard that song more times than I can count. Everywhere. In the mall, on the radio, at work.
It follows me.
It’s a sign, alright. I hope you know I see it.