Dad asked where your ukulele was. I told him Scott has it, out in Portland. He showed me a catalog he got in the mail, really cool ukuleles, and wondered if Scott would want a new one. I told him the one he has is kind of crappy, but it means the world to him.
I heard you singing, after that. The same song…
I roll the window down. Close my eyes and breathe in.
…over and over. You did your own rendition, slightly different from the way Ben Gibbard wrote it. Maybe you didn’t know all the notes, or the right words.
Then looking upwards, I strain my eyes and try to see the difference between shooting stars and satellites...
Maybe you just liked your way better. I understand those tiny, subtle changes. I wonder if you did. Such a quiet song. Happy, really, and melancholy. Like you. Relieved.
“Do they collide?” I ask and you smile. With my feet on the dash the world doesn’t matter.
You tried playing your ukulele, those few weeks you were home, before the end. I remember watching you, listening, without you knowing. You got to the end of a song, and the ukulele kind of just fell away, your face falling too. The music wasn’t helping.
When you feel embarrassed, I’ll be your pride. When you need directions, I’ll be the guide…
Your voice always cracked at the high note, not because you couldn’t reach it, but because you liked it better that way. It’s more beautiful that way, you told me. Perfection isn’t beautiful.
...For all time. For all time.
As bits and pieces hit me, I emailed notes to myself on my cell, hoping it would be enough. Hoping if it wasn’t, I’d have the start of something. But I still heard you singing all night, in my dreams. All morning, as I went about my chores. I see your smile, right now. My goofy kid. My sad, sorry, hurting kid. Now it’s all here, on this page, in my words, and I’m hoping you’ll go away for a little bit. Forgive me for that, but there you have it.