I remember eating fried waffles in a dim restaurant in the Quad Cities with a woman our age who had lost her teeth and couldn’t pay for more. You two went to church together. I remember how you talked to everyone the same way. You took people seriously and you loved them.
I remember your straight and open posture. (When I imagine you, you are standing).
I remember those silly barefoot shoes.
I remember when you and Sam cheerfully moved my enormous metal desk and filing cabinet through all those narrow doorways and up and down too many stairs.
I remember when Griff picked up that guy he knew who’d been in recovery and was now passed out on the street, and we drove around South Bend with him, but it was Sunday or something, and the detox places were closed or overflowing, so Griff put him in a fat brown chair at the Worker house and drew the curtains to keep it soothing, and locked the door, and you and I stayed with him while he came to. I remember the man said that he’d woken up “blowing numbers,” over and over with something like shock or shame. You spent most of that day on the couch near him, and kept quiet or conversed until his shaking got steady and he groaned a little less.
I remember the month when Bess was on oxygen; you texted me more than any other friend. When you put your cannulae in at night, you said, you were thinking of her, and how was her breathing? Your strong spine was crumbling and everything hurt. You had stage IV cancer from a war you’d left in protest, and you kept checking in to see how our two-month-old baby was doing; how I was doing. You sent her a package with a pretty white dress. Then you prayed for her; you always prayed. As your lungs filled, you prayed that hers would clear.