Gary Numan (center)

Last week I went to see Gary Numan at the Observatory in San Diego, the same stage where I saw Father John Misty earlier this summer. Both were a bit loud and theatrical and used spotlights a lot, but other than that they could not have been more different.

First of all let me say I’m not a rock historian, if such a thing is possible, not even a rock journalist, or even a journalist. I’m just an old white guy who knows what he likes and, sometimes, as in this case, worries why he likes it. (For the record, I was born the same year as Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jim Morrison, and Joni Mitchell, and a few months after Jimi Hendrix. On the other hand I was listening to the Cure when my daughter, living with me so she could get in trouble out of sight of her mother, was learning the Beatles before graduating and embarking on a Deadhead tour.)

However, here’s what I know, or think I know, or pretend to think I know: after the 60s ended (with Altamont and the Manson murders and the end of the Vietnam war) music changed. Music always changes anyway (I remember when Calypso was more popular than the new thing, rock and roll), and I don’t want to get sociological about it, but there was stadium rock (irrelevant), punk, and what I like to call robot music, overly synthesized, overly stylized, etc. Mind you I liked this stuff, still do–Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears, Devo, Talking Heads. I used to say to my friends, “robots are our children” (given recent spin by the Bladerunner films and Battlestar Galactica). I liked saying that, despite the fact that it’s clearly true, if we disregard speciesism. Devo was tongue in cheek (“are we not men?”), Talking Heads told stories, albeit a little off-kilter (“this is not my beautiful wife”), and who could resist “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” however uneasy one might feel about the lyrics.

Gary Numan, and Brian Eno to a certain extent (though his project was different) carried this whole thing a bit further. Gary Numan is the poster person for robot music. Listening to him is like looking at a Klimt painting or watching synchronized swimming: if there’s anything human left it’s only because it couldn’t all be removed.

Now, Numan’s show at the Observatory. For one thing his light show, compared to Father John Misty’s, was brutal, throbbing strobes, a lot less nuance. My health at the time, the middle of a sick week, might have colored my perception, but I think not. And his stage presence, writhing on stage like a sylph (I thought that at the time, and would have written it down if pencils were allowed in the venue), was also less nuanced. Misty’s songs tell stories; if Numan’s do it’s hard to tell in the shouting, and his singing style seems designed to emulate a pre-Alexa computer voice. Maybe that’s a good thing, to keep you from mistaking him for a human.

Despite all this I liked the show; I liked him in the 70s or 80s, whenever he was around the first time, and I liked the show at the Observatory enough to stay around through the encore. But I missed real music, like Father John Misty, or, frankly, anyone else I’ve heard in this my year of concert going.

The Sleepwalkers

I heard a lot of live music over the summer–a lot for me anyway–but the last time I posted about one was an outdoor festival/concert in Venice Beach headlined by the Strawberry Alarm Clock. Someone there may have preferred the headliner over Barry Melton’s band of 60s San Francisco musicians, but it wasn’t me. Similarly, last night, though I went to the Casbah to hear the Blasters, the Alvin brothers’ rockabilly band from Downey that I’d heard of for years but never heard or seen, it the opening act, the Sleepwalkers, made me stand still and stare.

Mind you, nothing wrong with the Blasters. I might have liked them better if I hadn’t heard the Sleepwalkers first. Dave Alvin’s guitar is as good as anyone’s, and Phil Alvin played some pretty good straight harp, and there was plenty of energy, but the Sleepwalkers had more. I’ve only been going to concerts with my current frequency for about a year, and I’m sometimes at a loss for genre names, but I’m told I can call the Sleepwalkers Chicano Rockabilly, closer to Los Lobos than anyone else I know, but to me they make Los Lobos sound like Steely Dan. Or maybe that’s just the enthusiasm of the night. Their configuration is like the Stones, except that the bass is a standup, but this is no skinny British band. I’m sorry I don’t know anyone’s names. The lead guitarist was tremendous. A big guy, he’d play a solo and then turn his back and do something like a fist pump, as though he’d just scored a touchdown.

This is happy-making music, like X for another. Sometimes you want something softer, like Lana Del Rey, or more challenging lyrics, like Father John Misty, to name two I’ve heard this past year. But sometimes–not that they’re that much alike–you want the Stones, or the Sleepwalkers.

Sarai Austin

In the year since Sarai died I have more than once thought about things I would tell her if I could. I had two lists, “Things I would tell you/her if I could,” and “Things I’ve learned since you/she died.” The lists overlapped, or got confused about their missions–is “it’s not as much fun coming home” something I’ve learned or just a fact I’d tell her if I could? And of course there’s the “if I could”: I can’t. Anything I write, if it’s not just for me (and if you’re reading this you know which way I went), is bound to be opaque, my only real audience dead, her ashes deaf dumb and blind in a box downstairs.

She sometimes said she hated irrelevant trivia I’d bring up. I tried, but I guess I couldn’t be stopped. I can’t be stopped now. So here I am, another pass, in a kind of Ted Hughes-like Birthday Letter, though on the anniversary of the other end of her life (birth and death days, less than a month apart).

 

Things I would tell you if I could, other, of course, than wish you were here

laundry is never done
I’m no longer surprised when a friend goes down
I’ve learned to make kitchari
it’s not as much fun coming home
the little ways I’ve changed the house disturb me
I talk to myself when I’m alone
there’s still no place I’d rather be

the drought is over
the lake is full
the flag on the “island”
is the Bear Flag now
that Trump was elected
which you didn’t know

if nothing else keep the toilets clean
you feared I’d make a mess of things
that dust would settle everywhere
and cats would run free

Draper and Damon closed
the Radio Shack on the corner closed
the Yardage Town is on final sale
reducing inventory so the owners can retire
no more Passage to India
or Souplantation Sunday brunch
Simple TV went out of business
and with our lifetime subscription
went your Miranda videos
you exercised with
in the bedroom
as many days as you could manage
the bedroom you died in
a year ago today

I can’t disappoint you any more
or try to learn to make you happy
I can’t live our life alone
and freedom just feels shitty
time’s healing power is overrated
time makes nothing easier
time doesn’t heal
time

wish you were here


A bit earlier today I wrote: “52 weeks ago she had almost an hour left to live; a year ago, a day. It’s how the calendar works, and our trip around the sun,” a little fancy with the unimaginable. Much is still in place, her glasses on her bedside table, purses and belts on their hooks in the closet. I’ll try to make this not too sentimental. One of us goes on, the other doesn’t, nothing else has happened really. I still live in the house. After a while–too soon–I went back to work. Life, and death, continue.

Every relationship begins by accident, even if you meet in kindergarten. You get hired to tutor, you offer a ride home from a party and stick around to walk the dog, there’s a swinging door between your offices, or you meet in the parking lot of a grocery store, you make a date, specificity takes over, and twenty-seven years later, while you’re watching television, one of you dies. That’s how things go. Everything about this is unremarkable to one not living it. Most of the time we loved each other; the details were our life.

The year’s been long and, a cliché, not so long. I’ve moved things around a little, though it makes me feel funny to do so. There’s a bigger TV in the bedroom, one I can see. There’s still no meat in the house. Her studio is mostly as she left it. I have no religion, I know I’m not being watched whatever I do, I know I won’t see her again. I cry a bit. For a while I couldn’t do much of anything. I read her poems–there are a lot of them, unseen, mostly, by anyone but herself while she was alive. It’s conventional to say she lives on in her work. It’s not true, really, but reading I remember, and in some sad ways know more about her than I did before. (There are more poems now on saraiaustin.com, where I’m trying now to be less haphazard and more chronological.)

Grief empties you,
your flesh scarcely
noticeable.
As though you’ve
lost weight,
pound per pound
to whatever
the loss.
A frail aging
parent, you lose
half of yourself,
a lover
yourself plus half.

Sarai Austin
3/26/99

Time to get serious.

Things I’ve Learned since you Died

laundry is never done
I talk to myself when I’m alone
the little ways the house has changed distress me

it’s not as much fun coming home
it’s not the same, the house, my own
time makes nothing easy

and that’s about it

 

“What’s important in this life? Ask the man who’s lost his wife.”
–Chrissie Hynde

Fat chance. Or as the kids say these days, I call bullshit. Pretenders don’t know. Or know something different than what I know, whatever that is. I don’t know. I know what I’ve done since to get on, killing time to stay alive, work, visiting friends and family, music, concerts and dive bars and festivals. Things we didn’t do much together.  Good to have people around me. Some of the time.

Not complete bullshit of course. Depends on where you’re looking. When I look back I know what was important, but for living life today that doesn’t help. The worst has already happened. I know what I’ve lost, but that’s not that much help with now.

“So many things I know but they don’t help me.”
–Regina Spektor

Here’s the thing: soon after she died I started saying, to myself and to others, “the worst has already happened.” This was a helpful mantra: it mean we (her daughter and I) couldn’t fuck things up: where or whether we buried her didn’t matter for example; we should make the best choice we could for us (her ashes are in a box next to the chair she sat in every morning), but we couldn’t screw it up. The same for many, mostly less-important, decisions since. But the corollary is “the best has already happened,” the 27 years from when we met in the parking lot of the old Mayfair Market in La Jolla to five minutes before, without discernible warning, she died eleven months ago in our house in Escondido.

“I went to the store one day.”
–Father John Misty

“Grievers use a very simple calendar: Before & After.”
–Facebook post

My “after” begin eleven months ago to the hour from when I’m writing these sentences, when the best had already happened, and the worst was taking its place. Not to minimize the importance to me of my daughter, grandkids, brothers, nephews, niece, ex-wife, sister-in-law, various long-time friends, etc., but they were only occasionally, not my constant, daily life. “Before” is not the same as “after.” We carry the weight of what we don’t have with us.

all those moments will be lost in time like tears in the rain
–Rutger Hauer

John Mayall

Years ago I had the chance to hear Robert Lockwood Jr. a few times in a small club in Cleveland. My mother had just died, or was about to, and I was in the midst of a series of trips to be with her and then to deconstruct the house. Lockwood was the same generation as my mother, 91, a few months away from dying, and a link to the past as the only guitarist to have learned to play from Robert Johnson and, later, as a collaborator with Sonny Boy Williamson II. on the King Biscuit radio show. Why he preferred Cleveland to Chicago I don’t know. He’d show up at Fat Fish Blue, several nights a week I believe, across the street from the Terminal Tower (now called Tower Center, where the Republicans had the convention that nominated Donald Trump), sit down, and play. Doing what he did

I saw Big Mama Thornton once too, no longer big, sitting in a chair in the Pub at UCSD, brought there by a local musician friend, to do what she did. Most of the children (I mean college students) had no idea who she was, had no idea what it meant when she sang Hound Dog. I had no idea she’d be there when I walked in looking for a beer, serendipity I guess. And she wasn’t well, she died at 57 and this can’t have been much before that, she only looked old, older than Lockwood when I saw him.

Last week I saw John Mayall at The Belly Up in Solana Beach, the same place I saw X the week before. X had a good time, fortieth anniversary tour, perhaps planning to keep going until at least one of them dropped. Mayall just needs Mayall. These aren’t his glory years, if he ever had them, he doesn’t have Eric Clapton or Harvey Mandel in his band now, just a bass and drums behind him and an organ, guitar, and harmonica in front, sometimes two at once. He’s 83, and I guess you’d know it, or think he was at least 60, but maybe only for his attitude. Here’s what I thought: he has nothing to prove, he just does what he does. And for all I know that’s the way to stay alive.

The contrast with the X show was interesting. The members of X are all about a decade younger than me, Mayall a decade older. (For reference, I’m slightly older than Mick and Keith, and a few years younger–this surprised me–than Grace Slick. If you don’t know who I’m talking about you probably need to ask your parents.) Mayall’s audience skewed older than most I’ve seen at the Belly Up (though Billy Bob Thornton’s audience wasn’t terribly young either): I didn’t feel out of place, and they didn’t pat us down on the way in. X sold out two nights and the line to get in was horrid; Mayall played one night, and it was walk right in. Both X and Mayall are arguably important in the history of rock, but influence is not popularity, perhaps the reverse if the size of Pere Ubu’s audience last December at the Casbah is an indication.

Greg Douglass, Barry Melton, Peter Albin, David Aguilar, and Roy Blumenthal (on drums)

On Saturday I drove to Venice Beach in LA for the Venice Beach Music Festival. I didn’t know what to expect but, as I told a couple of friends recently, I feel as though if I can go from music to music I’ll be fine. I hadn’t been to Venice for about 40 years, the last a time I almost rented an apartment right on the Boardwalk (which doesn’t seem to have any boards, but that’s not important). The drive was bad, the parking worse, I walked a mile from my car to the beach. I didn’t start listening to the Festival music right away, walking the length of the Boardwalk to see if I could find the place I almost lived (no luck). There were musicians everywhere, craft artists, lots of signs that said things like “no free photos,” and a topless protest parade that passed within feet of me almost before I noticed. This group was followed closely by a less attractive group of religious zealots shouting what you might expect. One sign said something like “Ask me why you deserve hell.” Those guys were followed by a few police officers, to keep the peace I assume, and an incidental indication of legitimacy.

Greg Douglass, Denise Kaufman, Barry Melton

After the walk, a bathroom line, and a sandwich, I got back to the festival stage just in time to hear more old folks–my age group, my generation, this time–having fun, Barry Melton’s San Francisco All-Stars. Barry Melton is the “fish” of Country Joe and the Fish. In his band were Greg Douglass (Steve Miller), now a Del Dios resident where I used to live, Denise Kaufman (Ace of Cups), Peter Albin (Big Brother), Roy Blumenthal (Blues Project), and David Aguilar (broad resume). Seeing these guys made me happy. I love lead guitar and harmonica more than anything, and Greg Douglass and Denise Kaufman were terrific. No one played like they had anything to prove, and it was grand.

A little later the Festival headliners, The Strawberry Alarm Clock came on, suffering a little from their repertoire.

Strawberry Alarm Clock

And, just because I have it, and because if you’ve gotten this far you deserve it, here’s a photo of The Head and the Heart (a Seattle band my daughter and granddaughter like) singing California Dreaming with Michelle Phillips at Monterey Pop 50.

The Head and the Heart with Michelle Phillips
X

I don’t usually go in for hearing old bands live, touring with their old material for whatever reason (Steely Dan? and I’ve resisted both chances to hear the B-52s this summer). But X is different: hearing X makes me happy, makes me want to move to Los Angeles, and I’ve lived in Los Angeles. It could be argued that X is an important band, despite being unknown to a surprisingly large percentage of my friends, influential beyond their popularity, a band’s band maybe, like Pere Ubu.

I first heard X about 35 years ago, give or take, at a small club out Clairemont Mesa, gone now. don’t remember the name, maybe the Bacchanal but maybe not. There were a few rows of seats facing the stage and that was about it. Some drugs in the bathroom, or maybe that’s a misremembered TV show. Last week I attended the second of two sold out X shows at the Belly Up, a bigger venue than that first one but still what one might call “intimate.” Two nights before it was X Day at Dodger Stadium. They’re on their 40th Anniversary Tour.

X is back the same as it ever was, all four original members–Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom, and D. J. Bonebrake– forty years older. X is what we might have called in the late 60s a power trio with a chick singer, though I doubt I’d dare. They have power, straight-ahead punk sound, unrelenting even, coupled with the tight, unforgiving, shout singing vocal harmony between John Doe and Exene. (The only reason I hesitate to use the word “punk” is because they’re so good musically, unlike, say, the Dead Milkmen. And Billy Zoom, perhaps the straightest looking middle-aged musician I’ve seen in a long time, can flat play.) X is rarely subtle, musically, and the message of one of their best songs, Johnny Hit and Run Paulene, suffers from it, misconstrued into its opposite so that they stopped playing it for a while (but not anymore). Some of the songs are newer (Billy played a sax of some size on a couple of them) but the sound is pretty much the same, and these guys are still alive. Exene in particular–and I know the term is overused–a force of nature.

The audience was a bit punky, pogoing and jerking side-to-side, at least in my neighborhood, people probably younger than the band, but okay, better for me than the screamers at the Lana Del Rey show at the House of Blues. At one point, sometime after eleven, someone in the audience requested a song. John Doe answered, “It’s coming,” and “You were here last night motherfucker, you know what’s going on.” A little later they launched a medley, mostly from their first album, without breaks, Los Angeles, Your Phone’s Off the Hook but You’re Not, Nausea, Johnny Hit and Run Paulene, Motel Room in my Bed, and Soul Kitchen (a Doors song they do better), and an encore from a later album, The New World (my favorite) and Devil Dog. This is all according to Setlist, I was too busy listening to take notes.

The warm up band, LP3 and the Tragedy, was pretty good too, with a sound that at first made me wonder why X looked so different.

Lana Del Rey in situ

I haven’t been a big concert goer the past few decades. I’ve heard Pere Ubu, Billy Bob Thornton, Father John Misty, Kitty Plague, and I went to the three-day Monterey Pop 50 with my daughter (where we both heard Regina Spektor for the first time), but none of these was a match for the Lana Del Rey experience at the House of Blues in San Diego. The concert was announced four days in advance, with insider ticket sales the next day if you bought something from her site and logged on at 10am. So grandpa played the rules, bought her new album online, and made the will-call list, part of the experience.

On Monday I left work early but not early enough to avoid an hour-and-a-half wait in the will-call line that that went three-quarters of the way around the block, standing with strangers mostly my granddaughter’s age, managing not to need to pee or to faint from dehydration, then it was another line, half an hour and all the way around the block, lapping the will-call line still going strong, to get in the door, past the pat down, and over to the bar to wait for another hour before the singing started. So, will-call line at 5:30, ticket at 7:00, inside by 7:30, singing at 8:40 until 10:10, ending with an instrumental walk-off worthy of the introduction to a Cure song.

I haven’t heard everybody, but I’ve listened to singers my age-mates, and even my daughters age-mates, have never heard or even heard of. To me Lana Del Rey is one of the three most interesting singer-songwriters of her generation (I have tickets to the other two in October). I’ve listened to her songs, on headphones mostly, over and over. I’m ambivalent and enthusiastic, beautiful songs contain lyrics like “Heaven is a place on earth with you/Tell me all the things you wanna do/I heard that you like the bad girls/Honey, is that true?” (Video Games, her first “hit”), or “My old man is a bad man” etc. (Off to the Races, which she closed with), where she loves that he loves her. But then there’s I Sing the Body Electric, which she opened with: right now I’m all about the night I saw her, not the hours I’ve listened on my own.

The problem, if you can call it a problem, is that she has fans. She has fans like no one else I’ve seen in a very long time. My 49 year-old daughter rushed the stage at Monterey when Phil Lesh came on, and that was something, but Lana’s fans were something else, much younger (than my daughter, and of course me) for the most part, majority female. They know the songs, and sang along, some. Lana encouraged it, pointed her microphone at audience for the refrain “probably a million years” in Summertime Sadness. She has a new album, Lust for Life, not the first album or song with that name (Iggy Pop, collaborating with David Bowie, not to mention the reference to Vincent Van Gogh), so the title could be seen as a statement about her position vis-a-vis these others. Reviewers, and Lana Del Rey herself, think this album, which debuted at #1, is her best, and a new departure; I’m not so sure, to me it seems more like her Nashville Skyline moment (to reference one of her avowed influences), but it didn’t matter last Monday night. Only two of the sixteen songs she sang–Change and Love–were from the new album. The concert, with the fans singing along, holding their phones aloft as a previous generation held cigaret lighters, screaming in recognition as each song started and intermittently throughout, so that the acoustics were better in the men’s room–this concert, this experience, was about the past, not the future or even the present.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved being there, standing in the back by the bar, peering over the heads of the fans who, if not her target audience (she says she’s a songwriter first and a singer second) have at least taken that role; I know the songs too, and teared up during Born to Die, and I’d go see her again (even with the will-call line), but the true experience of her music is alone in headphone space listening closely to the lyrics.

 

Unsteady

When I was in high school some friends and I sometimes went to a racetrack about halfway between Shaker Heights and Akron. We weren’t old enough to bet, but one of us–Dudgie we called him, though how we spelled it in our minds is uncertain–looked old enough, so we picked horses whose names we liked. I will never forget Happyfellow Bob.

I went to the Casbah a few months ago, my first time out alone after my life changed last October, to hear, as I’ve put it, God, Dave Thomas as Pere Ubu, about which not too much could be said. Tonight (actually, three nights ago now) I went just to hear music, three bands, two with interesting names, and a third whose name I couldn’t remember talking about it beforehand. The interesting names were Kitty Plague and The Digital Lizards of Doom. That latter name in particular was my reason for driving down from Escondido to this dive bar near the San Diego airport.

This is not a music review, nothing like that, just a few impressions from an old guy who heard Hendrix, Cream, Butterfield, and Janis live back in the day. So I’m not complaining about volume. Kitty Plague, a power trio like Blue Cheer, made me think of the Ramones and the Dead Milkmen, and produced a wall of sound more powerful than Phil Spector could have pulled off. I liked them, painful as it was to listen, or want to have liked them, a third my age probably but who’s counting. I was told some of their songs were humorous. I tried not to leave the room. And, to tell the truth, I would go hear them again, particularly if I could get a t-shirt with their name on it. (I saw one tonight, but someone was already wearing it, and it would have been too small for me.)

From three we went to nine on stage, Unsteady, a band I hadn’t heard of but reportedly with a long history in San Diego. But I haven’t been our much the past few decades. They were billed as a ska band–a genre I don’t quite get, something like working class white reggae, but maybe something else–but didn’t sound so ska to me. A trumpet, a trombone (!), and two saxophones in the front row, a keyboard player with a hat the reminded me this was the night of the last day of Comic Con (a Wonder Woman showed up, and a guy in a costume I didn’t understand but clearly a costume). They were loud too, but it was easier to stay in the room, and hear the lyrics. The trombone player looked about my granddaughter’s age, and I pictured her up there, a different kind of life.

I remember the first time I saw Jimi Hendrix–sort of by accident, I’d gone to Winterland to hear James Cotton or Albert King, who can remember for sure. I was quickly in awe, and amazed that he could make all that sound without a rhythm guitarist. But he didn’t do it without a bass player and a drummer, to keep him grounded, or at least to remind him where to land. The Digital Lizards of Doom was a single guitarist up on stage with some equipment not clear to me. Even if he hadn’t started with a bad joke he would have had trouble. He didn’t fly like Hendrix. He did fill the room with sound, and I tried to appreciate it, but I thought Kitty Plague did it better. I didn’t stay for his whole set, so maybe I missed something, but driving home I remembered that Happyfellow Bob didn’t make us any money.

Sarai

Nine months ago today, almost to the hour, my wife of 21 years, companion of 27, died in this house, upstairs from where I’m writing, after an afternoon binge-watching Inspector Morse next to each other in the bedroom, a pleasant day until it wasn’t. The suddenness was, not the way the word is used now by ignorant children, awesome. She was here and then she wasn’t, though her body lingered for a while until it became ashes in a box next to the chair she sat in every morning writing. Before and after: everything else was the same, but not the important thing.

Nine months in the house we lived in together, the home she made for us after the Witch Creek fire burned us out of Del Dios, in another October (2007), just less than nine years before she died. Another “tragedy,” people called it, which took most of our possessions but left us, and the cat, alive. I went back to the empty lot today where we lived then, cleared now of brush and dead trees for fire season, picked up a piece of tile from our old walk-in shower, and a shard of a vintage stoneware cereal bowl, all while thinking about these words, and our life there, and the time between.

In another context nine months is time for a new life, but not in this. Most of today I tried to find words, drank coffee and looked out the windows, walked around the house, touching this and that. Dust has settled everywhere I hadn’t looked, and many of the places I had, I can’t keep up, I don’t keep up. She said I wouldn’t keep up if she died first, in one of those hypothetical conversations we used to have before they became real. I said I’d get sixteen cats, but I haven’t. Nine months living with the things she left behind and, it should go without saying, not over it. I have no illusions, I believe I have no illusions, but in a way I’m still inside her life, a different possibly better person than I was 27 years ago, annealed in the fire of our relationship, both of us happy (my belief) just before the end.

It’s not that nothing has changed in nine months. The awesome suddenness imbued everything she’d touched, particularly on her last day, with a patina of sacredness (there may be a better way to put that). Just a couple of examples, the chair she sat in every morning has not been sat in by anyone else, though it’s the most comfortable chair in the house, and the towel from her last shower is still hanging in the bathroom, on the hook where she left it. It wouldn’t bother me anymore to put the towel back into the laundry cycle, I don’t feel, no longer feel, as Joan Didion wrote she felt about her husband’s shoes, that she’ll come back and need it. It’s still sad, but I no longer feel the need to protect it, no longer tragedy but part of life, one or the other of you if you’re lucky enough to have something like what we had. I guess that’s, however slightly, moving on, but truthfully it feels worse, like a traumatic injury where, when the shock wears off (and I’m not saying it has) the pain rises.

This is, as she would have predicted, all about me, all about me missing her, and not about her, the person she was, the life cut short like a bird shot out of the sky (but see www.saraiaustin.com for some of that flight).

I miss her every day.