Sunday, August 19, 2007

Kiss Me Clarissa

This afternoon I thought of my late friend Clarissa. Now by late I mean that Clarissa has gone to be a part of the heavenly throng. Clarissa will forever have a special place in my heart and I'll never forget her. She had sass, and lots of it, but that sass was seasoned with such an immense measure of love that every word was hand dipped in her sweetness.

What made me think of her is something that seems so silly and fun that it has to be marked as one of the most important moments of my life.

Sure, birth was great, I don't really remember much of that event that will be marked by it's 47th anniversary on the 23rd of this month, others seemed to have made a bigger deal of that day than I did, I have heard that I cried through part of it.

The first day of school had a memorable moment or two, well at least one, while I stood at the end of the lane, book bag in hand the big yellow student conveyance went off and left me standing there. I remember going to the house and saying, “They don't want me to go, they won't stop and pick me up.”

I remember my parents coming home to inform us that there would be a third child added to the family. My response through tears was, “this ruins everything.” Of course it didn't.

Another life moment that I won't forget was being in the hospital room when my best friend died. The sound of finality filling the room as his mother and I sat and looked at one another wondering if it really was over. I see now the mystery of life and death.

I remember a birthday party that I threw for myself, a dinner party for six, $350 in food and flowers, there were only three of us there. I wondered what I did wrong, not sure, but I'll tell you this, I won't turn 30 again.

Clarissa had a way of making you forget those moments that weren't fun, those hard memories were a part of what made you – you, but a laugh, an, “oh you,” her smile, her glow, even in the face of fighting breast cancer she was all grins and smiles and if she couldn't do it, you didn't see her.

I thought of her today because I remembered being Clarissaized. Somewhat like being baptized, it was into the family of Clarissa, not exactly the family of God, though the two were very tight friends. It wasn't an immersion into deep water, it wasn't a sprinkling, it wasn't walking on hot coals, it was one big deep plum colored kiss right on the forehead, for me, right where bald meets balder. I called it being Clarissaized. Right there in church in front of God and everybody, a smooch on top of my bald head that looked like a lip shaped neon sign.

It was a neon sign, it was a neon sign that reminded me that this beautiful woman, nearly the age of my own mother enjoyed life so much that she wanted to share it with anyone who would enjoy it with her. She referred to me as one of her boys. She only had a girl or girls I think, but for me it was one great honor to be one of her boys. Up and down the church aisle on Sunday morning, Clarissa the usher captain hugged and squeezed, and kissed her boys. When she plastered that nearly purple kiss on my forehead I didn't do like others did, no rubbing it off for me, I left it and I wore it just about all day and when it was faded I wanted to go back and ask her to do it again.

“For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them.
In my life I loved you more.” - Lennon and Mc Cartney

These words from a popular Beatles song ring through my mind often, my friend Reed and his wife Holly danced to these words at their wedding. They are the words from a love song, perfect for that first dance. For me they are the words from a love song for those that I wake up thinking of, when I'm longing for a dayglow purple kiss right on my bald spot.

The photo above is not a gratuitous shot of me mugging for the camera by the way, I just wanted you to see the expanse that Clarissa had to work with.


Anonymous UNK said...

I loved your story about Clarissa. I guess I had it in my mind she was much older than our mother. The beautiful memories that linger on through time are the best ones. I'm never disappointed in your writings. Love them.

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