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 ©

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