**As much as I would like to claim the following work as mine, it’s not. A musician named Matthew Bivins wrote this and read it at the Dockstreet Theatre in 1999. It is a tribute to his grandmother, Kiki. I am posting this because I think it speaks so greatly of life, memories, and loss. Matt has a wonderful way with words, and the things he says in this work certainly ring true. Read it with an open heart.**
It has been 2 yrs and 2 months. I think about her still, all the time. Sometimes I pick up the phone with the intention of calling her; I often collect postcards on the road with the idea of sending her one from a foreign place. She is responsible for one of the biggest lessons I have learned in the last five years, and I do not want to forget that lesson. It has two parts:
Part 1: Eventually everyone runs out of time. Even if they’ve been good little boys and girls. Even if they’ve taken all of their vitamins and exercised everyday and been kind to their neighbors. Even if they never smoke or drink and never stayed up too late and always brushed their teeth. Even if they’re perfect.
She wasn’t perfect by any means. She didn’t exercise everyday, and though there were people genuinely sweeter than she, she had her moments. She drank and smoked and stayed up too late. Sometimes she wouldn’t even brush her teeth. She was a wild child, that Kiki.
Which brings us to the second part of our lesson. She lived her life like it would never end. Here’s a woman who converted to Catholicism in her late 60’s. Here’s a woman who had weekly margarita parties with her best friends. Here’s a woman that went to rock n roll shows in slummy bars and stood on chairs and drank cheap beer. She didn’t really feel old, she was just playing a game. She knew what a southern lady at her age was supposed to say. She was just pretending.
And that’s what made her death so much harder for me, because she had me believing it too. That she had found a way to keep time at bay. That she had found the secret to living forever.
Once Kiki when to Florida, St. Augastine, and bought vile after vile of the supposed fountain of youth. Her mother was with her and later told me that she caught Kiki guzzling the stuff, whatever it was, tap water with sugar, she’ll never know. But Kiki was very superstitious and she wanted to believe in a fountain of youth. My theory was
that she had made a deal with Father Time. She was a pretty sexy gal,
and it wouldn’t have surprised me if she had seduced that old man into giving her a permanent extension. She was quite the charmer. I was wrong of course. I hate being wrong.
When someone you love dies, relive and relive and relive all of the wonderful moments you shared. Every beat of the clock shines unbearably bright. Events become fuller and brighter and more homogenized than they actually were. Everything in your head becomes an oscar nominated movie because you Hollywoodize your memories. For example:
Thanksgiving day. Beautiful sunny day with the perfect chill in the air. The camera closes in on a slightly unkempt house, but lovely whitewashed house on a tree lined street in Small Town, USA. Shot of Kiki, a vibrant and energetic woman in her late 60’s
sitting at the dinner table. She is wearing a bright purple jump suit with slippers,
her hair is dyed a light blonde, and she wears lipstick and mascara and blush. She is not necessarily ladylike, but holds herself with obvious dignity. She is constantly giggling. She is very beautiful. Fade out.
Everything runs out of time. But don’t worry about it. Record the now. The brain is a wonderful video camera that can easily take us back to the past. It holds every moments
starting from your beginning. But you have to live like you’ll miss the end.