An invisible highway rushes on, and today your earthly remains will join the traffic. I remain land bound, too weak to follow and choking on the tears of shame. I will miss you.
When you left for good, it was to knowledge that I turned for comfort, as I often do. As if the tomes and the maps could bring you back, or make me understand why you had to leave. This time it was an effort doomed to failure, unless you count the sheer accumulation of data as success. Pardon my bitter laughter, but as much as I like a good, solid fact this time data may as well be vapor for as long as it lasted and as hard as it was to grasp.
The maps tell a very different story than the one I have written in my heart, the epic first recorded when you were born, and I followed, young lives becoming our Iliad and our Odyssey. The conceit I carry would make you laugh, of that I am certain. Maps. How do you map a surface that is restless and liquid? One that refuses to stand still?
The Spaniards “discovered” the Gulf Stream in the 16th century, using it as a highway for the ships carrying plundered gold from the Americas. Ben Franklin drew a map of the currents in the 18th century, all scratchy lines and sepia tones. Mr. Franklin’s map is in stark contrast to the digital satellite constructs I came across in my search, looking for that map of you. The bright colors writhed hallucinogenic across the screen and my eyes swam in my head. From tears or fatigue I do not know, but I smiled to think about old ink and Day-Glo posters and how these ends of the spectrum were the very essence of my memories of you.
Colonial powers used the mighty unseen power of the current as a road, and I cannot escape the comparison. This complex Ouroboros of upwellings and boundary conditions carrying life and salt over the swallowing vastness of the ocean is probably the perfect place for you now. The things you will see, at home with the fish and waves. I long to follow, but stand here on the shore, watching and waiting for courage which seems to have abandoned me.
Did you know the moon was full, five days ago? Of course you did, you have a spectacular vantage point I am sure. It was hypnotic and I spent some time staring at it through the naked branches of lonely trees as I walked through a chilly evening. The limpid breeze traced cool circles on my cheeks, lost in reverie. G-maw was there, too, telling me about the moon as we looked through her binoculars and the small telescope I used to have. She liked the moon, and could name some of the craters and seas. I still remember Copernicus and Tycho and Sea of Rains, their Latin names unfamiliar on my tongue. I stood still in the faint glow of streetlights as a memory surfaced, like Nessie in the murky loch of my mind. The big faintly blue smudge on the face of the moon, just right and up of center, that one is the Sea of Tranquility. It saddened me to think you may never have sailed those waters.
Speaking of waters today would have been your forty-sixth birthday, my brother, and it is today that your ashes will be cast upon the face of the Gulf Stream, by your beloved wife and in the presence of friends. I regret that I will not be there to see it, alone in my shame and timidity. Your loss weighs heavy on my mind and stayed my hand from making my way to join them. Know that I love you, my brother, and I hope that you forgive me my weakness.
Scientists say that the Gulf Stream carries the maximum amount of water in the fall, so it is fitting that you will be a passenger in this time of cold velocity. Brother, I bid you farewell, and pray that the current you loved to fish will carry you to your own Mare Tranquillitatis.