Fist Bump

A fist bump
that’s what I remember
just a bump
knuckle to knuckle

We had walked out of the room
chatting about sailing
where and when we would go
and how long we would be gone
and who would be going with us
just like we did every year
when the winter’s fog and rain
finally became unbearable
and by the calendar we could
sense the spring coming
and feel the salt breeze

A friendship of 40 years or so
the kind you take for granted
the kind you expect to always be there
but then you died in your sleep
the following weekend
and when Jill called to tell me
I suddenly had a hole in my heart
I didn’t expect that
and it hasn’t healed yet
I am not sure it ever will

I was surprised because
I had never thought about it before
One gets to an age when
you think about death and dying
you wonder what it will be like
when you lose a parent or a spouse
a child or grandchild
or even a long time lover or partner
I think everyone does that
a way of preparing for the inevitable
but I never thought about losing you

We didn’t hang out every weekend
we didn’t share family vacations
we went sailing once a year
just you and me and sometimes another friend
in the spring before the weather
became warm and reliably dry
I guess we liked the unpredictability of
springtime in the northwest
with its mix of sudden squalls and dead calms
high seas and contrary winds
days too risky to sail
and sunny interludes tied off
in the cove of a sheltering island

Who knows?
I don’t understand it
I didn’t expect it
even in your passing
you were as unpredictable
as the springtime winds
and that makes me smile
sadly smile
you were my friend
and now you are gone

Marv Himmel
May 14, 2018 ©

5 thoughts on “Fist Bump”

  1. This is so much how I felt after Bob died. Didn’t see him all that often but there is a void and vacuum in my life that no one but him can fill. Bob and Larry were the same age when they left; both died while they were sleeping. Bob spent a big lifetime on boats too so maybe they’ll find each other wherever they are. Thanks for this Marv.

  2. This made me sad to remember of how I felt when Bob died. We didn’t see each other all that often but he left a void that will never be filled. Lots of similarities between the two of them. Both he and Larry were 69 and both died in their sleep. Bob and he spent lots of time on boats; who knows? Maybe wherever they are they’ll get together and share “war stories” about their boating experiences. Seems like they could share some good ones. Anyway thank you again for this Marv. Larry must have been one heck of a man.

    1. Sorry for the double post. Had to leave house in a hurry and didn’t realize the first comment posted. Lo siento.

  3. You have been on my mind this week: you, and Jill, and Larry. So I looked you up, and found this gem of a page. I knew right away that this was about Larry, and a beautiful, heart-breaking poem it is. We are coming up on the first anniversary; a number of “firsts” have passed; perhaps for you something related to sailing, and of course, in such a long-standing friendship there will be many occasions to miss him dearly. For Jill, there are all of the times she and Larry marked – holidays, family traditions. Those first without-him times are, I think, the hardest. I do think of how very very hard it would be to lose my own friend of 56 years, and I am so very sorry you lost yours. A hole ripped in the heart is exactly how I felt, losing Sean; after 10 1/2 years, the hole is still there, but the ragged edges have softened considerably. Time does heal, but never completely, nor would I wish that. But I hope you are doing well despite this blow; your writing is certainly still good!
    I look forward to a collection that includes these poems. Thanks for them all, especially this one.

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