Dec 21, 2005

On Fire For Jesus

It was October 1996, and I was in Irwindale, California, at a Speaking in Tongues Conference. I looked out at the people talking to Jesus in their special language. I saw the light in their eyes, the passion on their faces, and I thought to myself, what the f#$ am I doing here? How did I start on a path of wanting to know God, and end up with a bunch of white-trashers shouting “Shambala”?

It was because of the fire.

Growing up my Lutheran Pastor, Torvald Ingebretsen, talked about the fire of God like it was this deep, powerful mystery, like Harry Potter magic. Fire was a sign of God's presence. He appeared to Moses in a burning bush; He led the Israelites out of Egypt in a pillar of fire. And at Pentecost when the apostles got the Holy Spirit, tongues of fire rested on them and they started talking other languages. Like being in a yoga trance, only not as cool. I was six: I didn't want to be cool; I just wanted that fire.

However, by the time I was 16, the only thing I was on fire for was John Lennon and my boyfriend. I asked my sister for The White Album for Christmas. She gave me a Holly Hobbie Study bible. You know, Susie, she glared, when all your actor friends have dropped out of school or gotten thrown in jail, you might want to read it. And then I got dumped, John Lennon got shot, and I got lost. Sitting alone in my room, I thought of what my sister had said. Actually I thought, That self-righteous bitch! Where's that Holly Hobby Bible ?

So I read it, about how God loved me and he had good plans for my life. I thought back about the fire. So I asked God, and Jesus, and the Holy … – OK all three of them -- into my life. And you know what? I felt peace. I felt loved. It was like God was saying: I'm here. You're going to be okay. Life is going to be an adventure!

I started going to a surfer church that met in a circus tent. It was there that Pastor Craig asked us, Are you on fire for Jesus? Are you like, so in love with Jesus, that you just want to spend all your time with him, knowing what his will is for your life, letting him love on you? Because that's your love story, Man!

And if this was a love story, then I was in the infatuation stage. I'd wake up full of expectation and pray: Jesus, I just want to be with you. I just want to know your what your will is for me, man! Every moment! I don't want to do anything, make any decision, without your will! Like this morning: Should I eat frosted flakes or eggs? Just show me, man!

Sometimes it took a long time to get out of the room. But that's how it is when you're in love. Everything changes: the way you look at the world, the future. Even your senses are heightened. I'd smell a gardenia, or see the stars, and I'd think, Wow, God, that is so You! You are such an artist! Even my angry music had new meaning. I mean, what WAS so funny about peace, love and understanding?

Which brings up music at church. It was like Metallica got religion. And we tranced out to Jesus power ballads every Sunday:

All Consuming Fire (pronounced Fye-Yuhhhhh);
You're my heart's desire (dee-ZYE-yuhh) …

I love yew Lorrd-h.
And I love my life with yeeew, Lorrd-hhh
And I'm soooo in love with me, loving ... yeeeeeeew-h

Well, after a few years of trancing out to Jesus music, the infatuation wore off. So I went to see Pastor Craig.

Pastor Craig? Look gardenias are great, and I love the stars. But what are we doing here? What those plans God had for my life?

You just gotta wait on God, he said. Just gotta wait on God.

But Pastor Craig, I have waited on God. And I've gone to the conferences: Inner Healing, Healing the Father Wound, Fathering your Wounded Healer. I've been washed in the blood, slain in the spirit, zapped. You know what I haven't done? I haven't LIVED! – not outside this circus tent! No one at this church has time to date or get a real job!

Well, Suz, I'd rather be on fire for Jesus in the unemployment line, than working at some cush job for Satan!

That made me turn for the door.

Wait up, Suze, Craig called me back. Have you told God how you really feel? You should check out this Speaking in Tongue Conference in Irwindale. Blow your doors off man!

You know that bad boyfriend you know you shouldn't give another chance?

I prayed, Okay God. I want what you have for me, I swear I do. And if this is it, show me.

I drove out to Irwindale, a landlocked town an hour east of Los Angeles, home of the largest rock quarry west of Pittsburgh. The 1993 Malibu fires had been raging. The skies were red, and smoke had blown east all the way to Barstow.

The church was in a concrete warehouse in an industrial park right off the freeway. It felt like Costco for Christ. The place made miss the circus tent.

The pastor was an ex-WWF wrestler. Maybe he found Jesus during a steroid blackout. He looked like the Incredible Hulk, ready to explode. He got up on the stage, flexed his arms and shouted to the crowd: Have you been shredding the scriptures for Jesus?

Woo Hoo!
The crowd replied, amped on adrenaline and Jesus.

And that's when I heard it, behind me: the first Shambala.
I was compelled to turn and look. It was a woman in a perm mullet. Her eyes were closed and her body writhed like an eel. She stood up to speak. Thankfully, in English.

I see a film of gold dust in the air, she cried. the Shekinah Glory of the Lord!
(Never mind it was sunset and we were downwind from a rock quarry).
The gold! The Lord is turning our silver fillings into gold!

The warehouse went nuts. All sorts of people came forward, compact mirrors hanging out of their mouths, claiming that their silver fillings had been turned to gold.

I couldn’t take any more. I stood up and raised my hand.

Praise Jesus, the Mullet Prophetess cried. More gold!

Sorry, I don't have cavities – Look, Pastor (Hulk?) I believe God can do whatever he wants, and I came today because I want whatever He has for me. But this doesn’t seem authentic.

The Hulk pastor smirked. How do you explain the silver fillings turning into gold? He flexed his muscles. Unless it was The LORD?! The crowd whooped it up.

If it WAS the Lord, I reasoned, Why didn't he turn the silver filling into TOOTH?

Pastor Hulk smashed his eyes closed. Lord! I pray for my sister here. I pray you would cast out the demons of pride and arrogance from her!

I heard a few Amens mumbled through mirror-stuffed mouths, and that was it. I stood up, calmly ran through out the door, got into my car, got onto the freeway, cranked up K-Rock on the radio, and screamed at the top of my lungs, That's it! I HATE YOU GOD. I hate you and all your side show freaks. Get your hands OFF OF ME! Get out of my life!

What was more terrifying than my anger was the feeling I'd been violated. And not by the Hulk or the Mullet, but by God. I had gone in trusting my vulnerability to him, and I was met with something dark and sinister. And there was no bottom to it.

If this was a love story, then this was the breakup. But you can't break up with God. Not really. Once you've had an experience of God, you can't go back and pretend that experience never happened. I remember too much. I remember being 8 years old, watching my brother fly a kite in the March sky. The clouds were so high you could see them hug the curvature of the earth. Suddenly God felt so big, and so close. I was not alone. I knew I was loved, and that I was loved by a Person. Ever since then, I've being running either toward – or away from – that knowing.

I've come back to church since then. Never with the same level faith or trust, but I'm back. I've tried the Lutherans with their Jello salads, the Episcopalian champagne communions; the Presbyterians with their intellectually cogent sermons… As we unpack the theological of God's sacrificial love or "agape" in the Greek, as that love is transmuted to us, it is then experience the phenomenon of joy, or "falapalos."

It's like going to a lecture about Beethoven, and not hearing a single note of music.

What happens in a relationship when the fire dwindles? Or maybe you still love the other person, you just can't stand his friends.

I know there are freaks and geeks everywhere. And there's not that much difference between Shambala and chanting a mantra … except for the yoga pants.

That night I told God off, I drove down to the beach to watch the Malibu fires. Have you ever seen fire at that magnitude, out of control? I'll never forget it. It was stunning, beyond good or evil. It was pure Nature. It was God. And God was beyond my control. As if He were saying, I'm not a circus monkey here to entertain you with gold teeth or your personal fulfillment. I am that I am. Get over it.

A while ago I woke up from a dreamless sleep: I had heard a deafening sound, like all the notes of the audio spectrum had been swept up into one whispered word: my name. I heard my own name. It was terrifying. And it was over too soon.

I don't miss those days, waiting on God to tell me what cereal to eat. I don't miss the gold fillings. But I kinda miss being on fire.

Nov 19, 2005

It's the little things in Life

I'm sure I heard Michael Caine say it in a film somehwere. I can hear him in his cockney accent: It's da littuhl fings in loife, aint it?

I have been a malcontent a good portion of my life. Looking forward with angst and back with regret. If only, if only ... when I get this, when I get that. Why don't I have this? Why did I ever do that? And here's a bad idea: asking yourself big life questions after 11pm. This is when the TV runs ads for fast food and cars and sleep aids. When we want to avoid, stuff, forget. When we want to gather round the good stuff.

After a couple years of heartache, shame, embarrassment and disappointment, I had nothing to count but those little things. A good long sleep. A room clean from dust. Good coffee. Getting regular. The calm after 90 minutes of kick ass yoga. And then the other things. My apartment. After two years of gypsy living I'm now in a spectacular guest house. Paying rent to a couple much younger than I. I have one of those cats that is friendly and likes to be around people. And speaking of people. I have amazing friends. A group of casual friends I feel proud to know, and a smaller handful of close friends I feel blessed to be loved by.

My sister just called to remind me that turkeys are really cheap at the grocery store right now. They lure you in with free turkeys to get you to buy the stuffing and the baster. I just want the turkey. A 12 pound turkey for five bucks in my freezer is a simple pleasure. So is the blessing of having a sister who calls me on tips.

Here's a few other things I've come to respect: Half-decaf coffee. Cheese made with goat's milk (my allergies are less). And here's one you might not know. Bring your car to the brand dealership, show them your VIN number and proof of ID, and they look up the code and cut you a brand new original key. No more OSH knockoffs that can't even open your glove box.

One last thing. Winter light in the morning. Love that.

All of these little things add up to one really big thing: a glimpse at contentment.

Aug 12, 2005

Peter Jennings, Sex Symbol

Autumn is on its way. I know because of the light in August. The sun sits just a little lower in the sky, a little dimmer. A little sadder. It's for real, too. The earth orbits the sun on an ellipsis, so days don't shorten by the same amount every day. We hit a sharp curve in August and the light leaves even faste. But before I knew that science, I knew it was true because the summer was tipping away from me, I felt some strange nostalgia.

Autums is my favorite season. There's something about noting the passing of time, that is good for the soul. Sobering and beautiful. Maybe we don't know it that well in LA, the pasage of time, because the seasons seem too much the same. That, and everyone gets Botox. But no, it's good for the soul, to mourn and honor the dead, even if it's just the death of a summer.

I cried when I heard that Peter Jennings died. Just a little. Then last night I watched a TV special on him, and I cried again. A lot. He was sooo sexy. Smart, urbane, refined, the way he trudged through the middle east with his cravat and fatigues, talking about the Middle East like he was undressing you. But he was more than just James Bond with a microphone. He did some amazing things as a journalist; after a miserable try at anchoring (at 25) he went abroad to become a journalist. He became a Middle East expert; he insisted on covering Bosnia in the early 1990s when no one wanted to admit what was going on. He was down to earth. and there were those amazing specials he did on The Search for Jesus, the Search for Faith. He engaged the person in the room who seemed to be a nobody. He got into coversations with people who started out cursing him.

One thing that made me cry watching the show last night, was to find out women loved him, and he was a ladies man. I thought I was the only one, lusting after him in an urbane, respectable way. He cheated on me!

In April 2000, I was doing production coordinating for TV Guide/News Corporation. I got roped into coordinating for this live event for Fox News, held at the Regent Wall Street Hotel. It was nothing but talking heads for four hours. Which is too bad, since we had some heavy hitters show up to talk: Colin Powell, Madeline Albright, Gorbachev, Kissinger. I wrote an opening speech for Rupert Murdoch. It was ridiculous. I got a temp job wrapping Christmas gifts for TV Guide Special Events; and four months later I was writing an opening statement for Rupert Murdoch. I didn't know news, and I sure as hell didn't know who Bill O'Reilly was, because we had to book hotel rooms for O'Reilly (in case he wanted to stay the night at the hotel before, maybe to have some lurid phone sex with a resistant assistant) he'd have the freedom to do it on Fox News' dime. Anyway, this O'Reilly character who acted like he was Murdoch, didn't end up taking the room. So my production supervisor gave the rooms to those of us who'd been at the hotel for three days straight on about four hours' sleep.

The morning of the event had to go out and give a kind welcome blurb to tell people to shut their fucking blackberries off), but right before show time, I had to use the unisex bathroom backstage. As I was walking in, Gorbie walked by. And afterward, as I was walking back out, Kissinger's walking in. "Vat arr yoo dooink in da men's room?"

But for me, the high point was later, the news reporters were mingling, eating and sipping coffee. Michael Bolton was there. Guess he knew the days of long haired singer/non songwriters was over and he best be getting his extensions removed and do something serious. Just as I was staring at the close-cropped Bolton, the crowd parted and there he was. The James Bond of news reporting. Peter Jennings. He was stirring his coffee and looking for cream in an empty pitcher. I sashayed over. "Looks like you need something."
He smiled, this charming, dashing, Rex Harrison naughty gentleman smile. My wobbly knees managed to convey me far enough to find him a full pitcher of cream and bring it back.

He winked again.

I'd had just enough sleep deprivation that, had he looked at me a moment longer, maybe I would have said it. "So, what are you doing after? I have a suite upstairs that Bill O'Reilly never slept in. The other roadie stole all the Bulgari soaps but we could order room service."

But just as his pursed lips parted, someone called him away. My chance was gone. I'll never forget that wink.

Oh gosh what a man, he did so much for the world. He was filled with ambition and discipline, he knew what he wanted, he loved doing what he did. He had cojones, masculinity, that drive you so seldom see anymore. Testosterone. Wild at heart, in a cravat. God he floated my boat.

Last night, watching the special on his life, I saw it again. In some old footage, he turned to someone and gave them that wink. I cried.

And now, a moment of silence for each woman in the TV news audience who thought Mister Jennings was whispering sweet news nothings only to her ...

Mar 16, 2005

Ten Pet Peeves or Fewer

Did you know the rules of the Market Express Lane have changed? It's no longer “Ten Items or Less.” It's now "Ten Items or Fewer." .” I am serious. I wonder now if I get a discount if I buy ten items or many-er, or if I spend $50 or greater?

It was one thing to see this esoterica at Trader Joe's. But at Target? The company that urges you to open a Traget Credit Card so you can "Own It Tonite!"

What Geek Squad has ambushed the Department of Public Word Usage? Or is this part of the No Child Left Behind program. If you can't teach 'em in the classroom, teach them where they're at: Target, 7-11?

Why don't these geeks go after the real problems, like the rampant misuse of the apostrophe? And I don't just mean hastily scribbled signs at the 7-11, "Slurpee's." I have seen this on expensive neon signs: "Dickies Pant's Gallery" on Venice Blvd. "Beverly Hills Fabric's." Civilization and It's Discontents.

Another mystery to me. When did we start pronouncing it Bay-ZHING and not Peking? Or CHEE-Lay instead of Chilly? Okay so we're deferring to the foreign country's pronunciation. Then why not Puh-REE? Forget foreign soil. When did we decide to tay Cah-Loe-RAH-Doe instead of Cah-Loe-RADD-Doe? If they really want to honor the Spanish, they should be saying, Coe-Loe-RRRRRRRah-Doe. Or for that matter, Cah-Leeee-FORN-Ya.

This trend toward cleaning up public grammar could pose some problems companies like "Rite Aid" or "Nick at Nite." Or the entire US Department of Transportation: THRU Traffic Merge left. Please fix the potholes before you fix the language. That's something up with which I cannot put.

On the other hand, I'd like to elmiminate some of the really silly words and phrases that have crept into commerical print, if not common usage.

HAND CRAFTED: formerly known as: "hand made." IE: hand-crafted latte. I have never felt that starbucks barista was intent on hand-crafting my drink for me.

EDAMAME: FKA: soy beans. well, OK. We gave up noodles for pasta, starch for carbs, and coffee for Starbucks.

From the Corporate World:
SKILL SET: FKA "talents." IE "His skill set is image management (fka: damage control.) Actually this one could be of use. Another way to describe a corporate moron would be "one talent short of a skill set."

Alright, then. Time to post this blog. Short for weblog. Formerly known as "self-indulgent internet rant."

Respectfully your's,

Mar 6, 2005


This essay aired on NPR’s Weekend America on 3/5/05. To listen to the piece on line, Click on: The Moving Chronicles

They say that moving is one of the greatest stresses in life. Along with death, divorce, job loss and, these days carbs. In the last 24 months I've moved 17 times -- triggered by the other stresses: the death of a parent, a stroke to the other, job loss on the east coast, career suicide on the west, and a three year relationship died apparently because of my carbs.

In January 2003 I left NY and went back to LA: to help my mother sell the family house, revive my acting career, and take a break from my boyfriend so we could figure things out. By May, Mom’s house was in escrow and still filled with junk; my boyfriend was figuring things out with someone else; and my acting career? Okay, I played Mrs. Ben Franklin in a church video.

So, I drifted. From one friend's couch, to another’s spare room; I had a couple house sitting gigs, I even had a sublet that I never really stayed in because I went back to New York. Oh yeah, there were a few cross-country ricochets as well.

I know, I know: why didn’t I just get a job and a place and ride it out? Well how do you get a job when you don’t know what you’re supposed to do anymore? And how do you get a place when you don’t belong anywhere, or to anyone? And why go temp for some law firm when you just want to want jump out the conference room window?

Right after my boyfriend and I broke up, I landed this housesitting gig for this UCLA-professor couple who lived in Bel Air. That meant four months of free rent! Time to grieve and to heal in abeautiful Spanish hacienda with eucalyptus trees, and silence, ... and their 18-year-old daughter who just got kicked out of rehab. Apparently I wasn’t there just to watch the house.

It was good to have someone else to worry about. But after I found the third bong, the professors came back, and I was out on the street. Luckily, my agent called with an audition in New York. So I flew out for the weekend, and ended up staying two months, trying to salvage my old life.

My friends took me in: Chris with his barbed-wire-hammock of a sofa and a dog that farted Napalm: Matthew with his king sized Temperpedic bed and the Emmy award mocking me from the mantle; and Julia, the bicoastal actress who was always out of town earning her rent -- as a pharmaceutical rep.

It was lying in Julia’s loft that I gave up on New York. Because Julia lived above a Dunkin Donuts. Dunkin Donuts was where my ex-boyfriend and I would meet to ride the subway together, or if we needed neutral territory to resolve an argument. Ah, the pink and orange Formica and that aroma of plain, fresh, good-old workin' man’s coffee. Just like my ex. And they were all over town. I couldn’t avoid them. So I went back to LA and hid in the bourgeois comfort of Starbucks.

I finally found a long-term sublet: a studio in Venice that was hip, cheap, and quiet.
"Yeah it has been quiet," my neighbor marveled. As if she were talking about an earthquake and we were long overdue for another. Then she told me: the alley right outside my Bathroom had JUST been the site of a drug overdose, a gang murder. And now it was quickly becoming the local hooker’s green room.

So last weekend, I moved. Again. Hopefully for the last time. But I got my own place with a real lease and a utility bill in my own name. And all the friends I picked up like lint over the past two years cheered. Some helped me move. Know who else helped? My ex boyfriend. We’re actually friends now. Living 3,000 miles apart helped. I think I'll buy him a cup of coffee.

Jan 7, 2005

My Own Private September 11

Miami, September 9, 2001

Most of us remember what we were doing on September 11, the moment the planes hit the World Trade Center. Well, if you were in LA, you were asleep. I was an actor in New York. I was also asleep. What's hard for me to remember is what I was doing the weekend before. Not because I can't, but because e details could have haunted me for the rest of my life.

The weekend before 9/11, I went to Miami with my boyfriend of a year. Neither Jack nor I had dated anyone that long, so we decided to celebrate: go somewhere new, lounge on the beach, watch Cuban men play dominoes. And we could stop arguing.

Jack attributed our arguments to us both being competitive. I attributed them to him being an ass. Jack was critical and controlling. But he was also thoughtful and sensitive. And really hot. And we thought a weekend away could get back to the people we were when we first met.

Jack got us a cheap airline and hotel package on He took care of all the arrangements. He didn't want me to screw it up. So, when we got to our hotel in Miami, I was kinda happy it was dump. A 1980s concrete block built on top of a shopping center that had since closed down. You could stare over the hotel balcony to the abandoned mall. A cement disk sat where the mall carousel had been yanked out. Nothing left but concrete and echoes. And nothing going on at the hotel, except for bankruptcy conventions, suckers from

Our room was decorated in pressboard furniture, Miami Vice pastels and smelled of Lysol and BO. Our window looked out at a sagging parking lot, the warehouses of little Haiti, and a bridge.

I sighed. Oh Jack, Our little love nest.

Later we drove to South Beach. We slogged through the humidity, past art deco hotels, models and Tourists taking pictures of the place Versace was shot. We sought the comfort of air conditioning in a restaurant. Jack hypervigilant about restaurants. He only sat in far corner booths, back to the wall, eyes to the door, like he was in the witness protection program.

I ordered an omelet. Tried to.
"Don’t get the omelet," he whispered, urgently. "Get a salad and we’ll share."
"Okay I'll have the salad with ranch dressing on the side."
Jack brooded. "I hate creamy salad dressings. I like things that are clear."
”No one is making you eat the ranch dressing, Jack.”
”I'm sorry. I'm having a hard time relaxing.”
”I get that.”
<”No you don't.”

I followed Jack's eyes. A group of gay men were leering at him. One hissed at Jack like a construction worker.

Jack shuddered. "I feel like a piece of meat."

"Well you're my piece of meat." I kissed him.

Jack stood up. Let's get out of here.

But there wasn't anywhere to go. Outside it was hot and muggy, and there was little to do indoors if you weren't into drugs or bars. So, we got cranky and fought: over the way I drove the car. Over who should reload the camera. Over whether it was OK for me to answer my cell phone.

"This is a vacation," Jack argued. "You're not supposed to talk to other people!"
"Sor-Reee!" I snapped. "I didn't read your RULE BOOK before we left.
"If you need to talk to your friends, maybe we shouldn't have come." he glared.
"Maybe I shouldn't have." Like I was daring him to agree.

That night Jack bought me Gerber daisies and treated me to a nice salmon dinner. Which we shared. It was really lovely. Until the waiter brought us the key lime pie.

"I should get more," Jack whined. Guys burn more calories than women. "
"Need Calories? Go drink an Ensure.
"I just get nervous when it looks like you're eating too much."
"You saying I'm fat?!"

And off we went, into a list of everything that was wrong the other person. He was controlling, I didn't make him a priority. He was hypercritical, I was sloppy. He didn't like my friends. My friends were freaks.

We argued all the way back to the hotel, through the lobby, past a low income prom, and into the elevator, where some drunk kids gave us the shaming look.

Jack apologized. I didn't.

We spent our last afternoon in a movie theater, dodging a monsoon. I sat, brittle and silent. I was the victim and I milked it. Jack reached over and took my hand.

I'm sorry. I don't know how to do this. But I want to try.

I leaned my head against his shoulder. It felt good. We tried to forget what we argued over, that we argued at all.

On the plane back we played Hangman and spelled out phrases like Roger Maris, and Sic transit Gloria, and the words for I love you in Norwegian. Jack laughed for the first time in days. There you are. I missed you

Monday September 10th, the monsoon followed us to New York. I had a meeting in SoHo, a block from Jack's office. I stopped outside his building in the rain, and called him.

I have another Hang Man question for you. It was basically, LOOK OUT YOUR WINDOW without the O's. Soon I saw his blonde head in a window high above, and heard his cackling laugh through the phone. The arguments were forgotten.

That night we took a walk in Jack's neighborhood. The storm had passed. The moon and stars were out. The breeze felt good and clean and forgiving.
"Do you want to come over a while?" I asked tentatively.
"No, I'm exhausted. I gotta go in early. We're holding a conference downtown."
"I could get up early with you, I offered.
"No. I have to be there at 8 AM sharp. I can't be late.
"You're only in SoHo."
"But the conference isn't at work. It's at the World Trade Center."

We kissed goodbye. I walked a few paces and turned back to wave. We always did that: walk a few paces, turn back and wave. Usually about three waves, then we turned away for good. But this time I kept turning and he was just standing there. Watching. Waving. I turned back until I could no longer make out his pale head and dark clothes in the pattern of night. I went home. pin drop silence

At 8:49 am on September 11, my cell phone rang.

Jack's conference was at Windows on the World, the 106th floor of the North Tower. It started at 8 AM. Jack, my hyper-vigilant Jack, got up early, had his coffee, got his corner seat on the subway. And fell asleep. He missed his stop. Finally he made it back to the WTC, got to the lobby, and into the express elevator that goes straight to the 80th floor. But the attendant wouldn't let the elevator leave the lobby until enough people got in. It was 8:46 am, and Jack was late.

Just as the elevator doors began to close, the plane hit. The doors snapped open, everyone scattered back out into the lobby, running for safety. Some of them were never seen again.

Jack ran through the lobby, dodging falling concrete. He made it out to the street. He heard screams and sirens; he saw luggage and metal and bodies falling from the sky. And hundreds of empty shoes. He made it as far as a block. Stopped to call me.

"Run Jack. Run like you've never run before!"

What if I had rode the train in with him, would I have pointed out his stop? What if the elevator attendant hadn't waited for more passengers? And what if our arguing in Miami hadn't exhausted him, so that he didn't fall asleep?

What if my last image of Jack was of him waiting in the shadows, turning back one last time to wave goodbye? For some that’s all they have, a memory that was meant to be commonplace. Maybe they missed the chance to say I'm sorry or I love you Maybe they said nothing. Maybe they argued over a piece of pie.

But Jack, my exhausted Jack, ran eight miles home. I met him at his doorstep: hot and sweaty in his one good suit, alive.