Dearest Rachel –
In the ad copy for The Most Interesting Man in the World, it was said that “his words carry weight that would break a lesser man’s jaw.” Personally, I always thought that that would be something to aspire to – to be able to speak such weighty words that people would hang onto every one of them. Unfortunately, I was (and still am) rarely able to achieve that level of gravitas; more often than not, I would say something foolish in the process, and wind up metaphorically drinking my next meal through a straw.
By contrast, you rarely bothered to deliberately make your words count, as it were. There were times when you would chatter like a magpie, words falling from your mouth like so many sunflower seeds onto the road. At other times, you would say very little, and we would simply sit in companionable silence. Much of the time, however, most of what we would discuss together would be considered utterly mundane. Which would stand to reason, as most of life doesn’t really involve Great Things. Most of life is just a series of questions such as “what do we need to pick up from the store?” or “do you want to eat out tonight? and if so, where?”: those insignificant and yet essential decisions that have to be made every day.
Of course, sometimes it comes as a shock to discover the sorts of things that become significant over time – and to whom. I’m still a little surprised at Junior’s reaction to my response when you were lost in the Tel Aviv airport, just before the flight was to take off for home. Now, of course I would be worried about you, but why would I be angry? Especially once you’d returned? All I could do was be grateful you were there as we were about to leave. But somehow, that struck him as being so much like you, and so much like me. And it carried weight with him, in a way that we would never have anticipated.
But not everything in our lives was so important or significant to anyone. Sometimes, the things you would say or do were just nonsensical, every bit as much as the poems of Edward Lear or Lewis Carroll that you so loved.
Take, for example for example, your habit of ‘unwinding’ every time you made a turn in your path. Whether you were going around the car in order to get in on the passenger’s side, or taking a turn on a staircase landing, whichever direction you were required to turn, you would then spin yourself around in the other direction to – for whatever reason – counterbalance the curve you just walked.
I know I used to kid you about it from time to time – at least, every time I noticed you do it, which was probably every third or fourth time you actually did so – and I’m pretty sure I asked you why you did it, but I don’t recall ever receiving a satisfactory answer as to why. Well, it wasn’t as if you owed me one, to be sure. But it isn’t as if I’d ever seen anybody else do something like this, not before and not since.
I suppose I could go out on a limb and make some kind of guess that it was that sort of childish superstitious magical thinking, not unlike the more familiar “step on a crack, break your mother’s back” type of thing. It might have been a matter of just restoring balance and equilibrium as the curves that you walked spin you around, and you were just trying to offset that. But it didn’t really necessarily have to be anything like that. Not everything you did had to make sense. Sometimes, we may have our own reasons for doing something, but sometimes, we don’t really need a reason.
After all, so many of the big things in life don’t seem to make sense. Certainly, the means and timing of your departure didn’t make any sense. It still doesn’t.
And if the big things in life don’t always make sense, why on earth should I expect little things like this to make any sense?
Somewhere, in amongst all your memorabilia that Jan and I have dug up over the past few months, there’s a little bag that you had obtained from one of the My Little Pony conventions that you and Daniel attended (along with Logan and Erin). It features Discord; that weird dragon-ish amalgamation… thing, and his famous quote:
Words to live by, I suppose. You certainly would take them to heart as often as not, and as confusing as I might have found you for it, you could keep life interesting in the process.
Hm. You know, I started this little letter out just thinking about that strange quirk you had of turning yourself about, and I have gone in all sorts of different directions in the process of putting those thoughts into words. It’s always interesting to see what happens when you follow your stream of consciousness and see where it takes you, building up an essay in the manner of preparing a recipe for Stone Soup. There are things to ponder sometimes, even in the smallest and most insignificant gestures, and it’s interesting to see how deceptively weighty some of them can be, and how it grows ever larger the longer you think about it.
Which is probably exactly the opposite of what you might have intended in the gesture. This was never meant to make sense, after all; and for me to overthink this is to just lose the point entirely. So, allow me to finish it off with a nonsensical little song… about soup.
Bon appetit, mon cherie.