Strange Fish The muscle and bone - they encase my heart but never touch my soul. I'll save that for the water and its shore, fear makes friends with joy
And I'll march slowly and I'll never forget How the music stopped or the feel of your breath
The flesh and the blood - they keep my body warm but still my mind is cold. To know what's fair is not always fair, but what proves real will never flee
And I'll march slowly and I'll never forget How that black dress fell upon your white neck Grand Isle rests quiet this time of year And I know you will be leaving soon my dear --The Anniversary
Scatophagus Argus is a strange fish. They are born in freshwater rivers and spend most of their lives in that river's brackish estuary. When they reach near-maturity, they travel out to sea. There they attempt to find a mate, and once they do, they bring their mate back to the fresh water, where they were born, to spawn. It's not every year that the Scatophagus Argus finds its mate. Infect, they may go years at a time without spawning. But still every fall, mate or no mate, the Scatophagus Argus travels back to the river to the place it was born. Even fish need to get a sense of perspective.
Every year in the fall, I make a pilgrimage back to J.B. Williams Park in Glastonbury, CT. It was there that Kat (you may remember her from THIS OLD POST) would take me after school at The Academy, where at first I knew no one and she preferred to talk to mice. She would draw on my shoes and we would just sit and not say anything. We would sit by the pond, where the water fell off a slope and into the brook below. She would hold me and rock me and tell me "It's all right… It's all right." Even when nothing was wrong, it just felt good to hear her say, "It's all right." There is so much that is uncertain at that age. Hormones flowing all over the place, pressures and expectations for the future, peer pressure and the ever-present fear of being made fun of "It's all right." That was the first time anyone ever said that to me and I believed them in return.
There are a million and one things I want to say about Kat, but I can never remember every single one of them to write down to form a thorough and proper tribute to her. Quite frankly, she is the person who had the greatest influence upon me ever – on what I was, who I wanted to become, what the hell I was gonna do with my life. Before I knew her, I was just a square little suburbanite boy doing my suburbanite boy things. She took me out into the world. She got me out in to the otherwise unexplored nook and crannies of Connecticut to see bands I couldn't hear on the radio or to read things I couldn't find in a mall bookstore. I hung out with her almost every day from September through November of 1993. Every day we locked the rest of the world out – our parents, out friends, our lives. We reveled in our inside. We go back to the rest eventually. But this, this was out time. When we didn't have to care what everyone else thought of us or expected from us or wanted from us. Free from judgment. Free from responsibility. And that was something we only found in us. I loved Kat the way a Christian loves Jesus.
And then, like that, she was gone. A lot of that was my own fault. Her boyfriend came home from college, and suddenly we weren't hanging out as much as we used to. And I didn't understand why. Sure, her boyfriend was around, but it wasn't like we were going out or anything like that. We were just friends. So, feeling shunned, I walked away and made new friends. I barely even spoke to her after that. And soon thereafter, I never saw her again. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself not to be so stupid, to not let this one go. But I can't. So now, instead, every fall I go back to that park where we used to sit, and remember. It feels a lot like visiting a grave. You sit and remember the good times, and all that person's one with you and for you. You think some thoughts, hoping somehow that person will magically hear them or something. But you know you'll never see them again. If I had one wish, I'd wish that I could see her again, just once, so that I could say "Hey. You. Thank you. You know, if you hadn't been my friends, there are a lot of things I would've never known. There are a lot of things I would never have done. Without your friendship, I wouldn't be anything resembling what I am today. So thank you." I'll never have that opportunity. So instead I go back to that spot -- like the Scatophagus Argus -- where the pond falls into the brook, and say a little something that no one will ever hear. This time I took a pinecone back with me. It's withered and brown and dry. But it's still there. Which is more than a can say for an old, memorable, once brilliant friendship.