You can rely on me, honey.


I really, really miss you today.

By that I don't mean to say that I usually don't miss you, because I do. I just mean that I listened to YHF today at work and all of our time together came flooding back to me and all of the sunshine and the fresh pots of coffee that Lauren and Rob and I would make for you. I miss when I'd go out of town and you'd send me off with a card and twenty dollars like you were sending me off to summer camp and like I wasn't completely fucking grown. I miss how excited you were the day you came into my work after going to Spec's and you were so excited to pull your purchases out of your bag--some Rufus Wainwright album, Beck's Sea Change, and finally what I to this day refer to as our album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

I was just refering to it as "our album" yesterday, and found myself at a loss for words.

Remember right after New Years 2004, and Matthew was visiting me from Olympia, and Rob and him and I we're at our work although neither of us was working, and you were sipping on a giant paper cup of what was likely decaf Sumatra in the lobby? We spoke of Wilco that night too, and I remember you being amazed that my 20 y/o singer/songwriter boyfriend didn't listen to them. "What?" you were stammering, "What's wrong with you?" you asked him, and then I watched his brow furrow in that same way mine does when I'm frustrated and confused and about to get defensive. Then I laughed. Then you laughed. And then the corners of his mouth started to turn and the creases came out of his forehead and he finally laughed too.

Mom, I don't mean to cheapen all of our stuff concerning that album, but it was, along with Out of the Fierce Parade mine and Matthew's album too. Partly because of that night. Partly because I gave him the first track of that album to him for New Years CD that year to apologize for all of my indiscretions. Partly because I wrote to him that year among many, many other words about how still he made the night when we happened into the same city for a few days or a week or two--that those hours when the sun went down left us without obligation and promise, that I want to hold you in the Bible-black predawn. Oh, and this:

I do what
my baby bids me do;

acrross this side-effect of manifest destiny

I fly
to you.

I thought about this poem often this year between February and June when I spent long weeks in the city barely scraping by just so I could come see Wood for a few days or maybe a week. In all of that time I knew that it would end up being a self-fulfilling prophesy because I could only ever see for us the same end that Matthew and I shared--that I would end up back in my home town and all of our deal breakers would surface, and what seemed so perfect in the confines of a timeline would be destroyed merely by forever stretching on to the horizon. I could see it so clearly, Mom. I really could, and I couldn't bear to do it again, and whatever we managed to scrape up between the two of us in those few months was just too big for me to let it end forever. And so it came to pass that in my last trip up to see him specifically, at the end of June, I found myself gathering up all of my stuff from his little room, putting on all of my clothes and hightailing it out of his house at three in the morning. It was my last night in town, and I wasn't quite sure that I would end up at Ben Harrison's house until I was out front of his building heaped in a ball on his stoop in the middle of the night.

Karma, as it turns out, is a rancorous bitch-goddess, and when it happened to me rather than by me last night, I couldn't think of all of the reasons I had once done it myself, but could only lay still and count my misgivings like sheep until I finally fell asleep.

Mom, I want you to say something to me to make this okay, but much like the card and the twenty dollars you'd bring me at work before I would leave to Seattle to go see Matthew, it is, truth be told, unnecsesary for the exact same reason--because I'm a grown ass woman.

I guess I'm just hoping for a chance to redeem myself.

I love and miss you.

[Special thanks today to Jeff Tweedy for excerpts of I Am Trying To Break Your Heart and Jesus, etc. and to Mike Doughty for his lovely, lovely poem: My Lover Lives On the Other Coast.]

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