Electric Grandmother

Maggie Croft's Personal Journal young spirit, wire-wrapped
spark electric grandmother
arc against the night

-- Lon Prater
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on a sunday, and the final A___ entry

This afternoon Rice and I spent some time discussing Heinlein, particularly The Cat Who Walked Through Walls. I have abstained from reading this particular book, and Rice says it's just bloody awful. Some have evidently speculated that Heinlein was making a statement with this book. Other than "I don't have to play by the rules", I'm not sure what that would be, based off of Rice's description and plot run down.

This discussion moved into a tirade (by moi, of course) about how some good writers seem to have a tendency to get lazy, or something -- I'm voting for lazy -- once they've gotten successful and been on the road for a while. I've read some recent books by a couple of BIG authors in particular that seem to illustrate this point. Either the recent books have all been rushed or the writers aren't putting the effort and care into their books as they once did. Either that or their editors suck.


Rice and I were with A_________ the night he died. Rice spent a good portion of the evening playing on A_____'s machine while A_____ and I discussed life, relationships, and how to make a really good drink. That night it was vodka and grape juice. (We'd had raspberry lemonade and vodka about a month before.)

A____ also told me some very personal things he'd had no one else to tell, mostly because no one else would understand. After he told me he said, "See? Even you think less of me now." And I said, "No. I love you. Nothing you could tell me would change that." And that was true.

In a sense, that night was a small gift from the universe. Rice and I both knew A_______ quite well, but we saw deeper into him that night than we ever had before. He shared his music with us, books, his computer, and his heart and thoughts and where he was going with his life now that things really were going well -- in his relationships, scholastically, professionally, with his family.

And when it was time to go, I didn't want to. I don't know why, but I was worried, and wanted to stay on the couch, just in case. But I couldn't justify it.

A______ and I made plans to go get some Chinese in a couple of days; he'd call me.

When he died he was reading Catch-22 and A Wrinkle in Time, which I'd given him for his birthday the previous May. Watership Down was also on his nightstand.

The paper listed his death as an accident. Some assumed that because he was gay and young that he died of AIDS; some assumed because he had been depressed at one time that he committed suicide.

The evidence at the house showed he wasn't alone when he died. I knew who he'd been with because of our deep conversation. I knew who had come to his house that night after Rice and I left. I went and told the police. They were incredibly interested until I got to the part where it was another man involved. And that was it. They closed everything down. They didn't want to know anymore. There's more to it than that, but it makes me so frustrated, and that's not what I want tonight.

His funeral wasn't what he would have wanted, but I suppose that happens a lot. Rice was a pall bearer and he and I sat with the family. Afterwards, A______'s homophobic evangelical Christian parents who didn't own a TV until their youngest son came out of the closet invited A_____'s friends to the family dinner at the church, gay and straight, acceptable and not. We had such hope for them, but time wore on and they forgot. They moved on with their lives, as they should.

And so did we. But we haven't forgotten A________. We gave our first son A______'s name as his middle name. We had a boutonnière at our wedding reception for him, which we later put on his grave with some flowers from the reception. We miss him, and hope so many great things for him.

And because he does come up in my thoughts so often, I should probably give him a name here. Perhaps I'll call him the Dream King, but not for Gaiman's Sandman. It's for the Dream King character I created and wrote about when I was 14 and 15, and still write about sometimes. Somehow that seems right. *********************************************************

Time to turn the bacon.

Happy Sunday all, and thanks for hanging in with me this week.

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