a new landscape inquiry loosely springing from an experimental combination of about 300 sheets of expired 4x5 film, an ultra minimalist wooden pinhole camera loaned from a friend, and the simple utter truth that i fell in love with a 14 mile palm-lined boulevard in Fresno

Monday, October 30, 2006

all in the numbers

the other night after a particularly satisfying dinner we were lingering over coffee and talking about the significance of keeping things and the symbolic gestures of letting go. one of my dinner companions mentioned a friend who was unable to delete from his phone the number of his dad, who had passed away. i nodded in understanding, and our interesting conversation continued.

i have the numbers of two dead friends in my mobile phone.

Mark's house phone and mobile numbers . . . yes i did call his machine a few times the week after he died, just to hear his voice on the outbound message. i had called him from the garden on my mobile the day that Blue died, to let him know the vet was coming over -- smiled at the familiar sound of his deep voice but hung up not wanting to leave that news as a message . . . let him know in person,   i thought . . . not knowing at that moment that i was calling a dead man, that M had died (his news came to me by phone four days after that day). i like to think of this time though, around 11 am on that bittersweet sunny morning of 30 July 2004, me and Blue out in the garden, her laying in the crook of my arm breathing shallow under the lavender in her last hours of dying but still alive, me stroking that thick pelt of warm fur and watching one blue eye and one brown eye under those white eyelashes - us calling all our friends together for our last time . . . easier somehow, to tell people this way - me & Blue together --- this, the last time i called M hearing his voice and thinking that leaving a message was still an option.

and Deborah's, i still keep Deborah's numbers too.
i never even knew hers by heart.

i just can't do it, delete all details.
it is the very last everyday detail of their existence in my life.

this keeping of phone numbers was discussed again a few nights later, when out for dinner with another friend. she told me that when her mom phones, the full name of her deceased father still comes up on caller ID - the change hasn't been made yet. i think that would be disturbing.

and in telephone conversation today with yet another friend, who keeps her grandmother's telephone number in her cell phone. she says every once in a while she scrolls by it, a pleasant way to keep her Nana in her thoughts.