Stephan (A work in progress)
Our favorite journey was to the mountains, to a place called Mount Pilchuck State Park, not far from a ghost town called Monte Cristo. We tried to get to Monte Cristo more than once but the road would either be closed or the weather forbidding.
Stephan died unexpectedly in a car wreck on the West Seattle bridge and when I finally got to Monte Cristo I was driven by someone else. Twice I went to Monte Cristo with other lovers and once with a woman friend, a grizzled philosopher of a woman named Jean who drove a yellow truck and looked for precious stones.
Each time I went to Monte Cristo I tried to find Stephan again, as if he’d be there waiting in the blue shadows of the foothills, waiting for me find him for he was always ahead of me, looking back over his shoulder, waiting for me to catch up.
Once I dreamed we were climbing a trail at twilight and that I couldn’t keep up; he had to stop and wait and this he did with infinite love and patience and that was the way we were in real life, Stephan way out ahead of me, knowing everything, me gasping, scrambling and falling over loose stones.
I’m still not sure where we were trying to get to – perhaps it wasn’t any place at all but I felt we were there when we flew kites or when we drank coffee from the old blue thermos in the mountains that day he pissed my name in the snow. Back in the city, back in the cars we backtracked, we forgot what we knew and fought and hurt each other well.
Now alone in this city Stephan’s kites fill my walls. I would be afraid to fly them now, I am afraid I would damage them. Only Stephan could repair them, know how to fix things when they were broken. Anything that can be broken can be repaired, he said once during the ravages of an argument. As we argued he quietly and efficiently repaired my broken key ring. When he handed me the key ring he handed it to me as if he were handing me peace but I couldn’t accept it. I wasn’t through destroying.
Stephan often gave me things I wasn’t ready for. He must have glimpsed a part of me that hadn’t yet emerged, that lay half-formed, undeveloped, blanketed by resentment and fear.
NOTE: This was written in the early 1980s after I had stopped drinking and found my way to the mountains.