I walked to the window to listen to the ravens cawing from the branches of yellowing trees growing in the graveyard across the street. I felt like one of the tombstones rising from the neatly mowed green grass: numb.
Suddenly, a big, black and gold Monarch butterfly flew above the trees by my ninth floor window. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. The pain moved like a high-speed subway train through my upper gastrointestinal tract and came crashing out of my mouth in a guttural wail. Then, the tears rained down my cheeks. I knew the butterfly was Lindsey's spirit, telling me he was okay.
I sat at the dining room table, talking to Lindsey about our friendship that started in junior high school, when I watched him play football; about how I heard somebody in my high school classroom say, "Hey Deb," and I turned around to discover it was Lindsey, who had transferred from another public school in Baltimore; about our trips by car to an ocean resort in Maryland, an annual event for high school students on Memorial Day weekend; about row-boating around the salty Severn River near Baltimore with a transistor playing 1960's songs and Coppertone; about Lindsey and his friends singing Auld Lang Syne as they trudged through a snowstorm to a New Year's Eve party in my family home when we were in college; about Lindsey's front-porch visits with my mother who called him her "baby boy"; about our role-playing sessions on our wooden front porch before his interview at The Baltimore Sunpapers where I worked and he got a non-union job; about his engagement party in the bar across the street from The Sunpapers, where his fiancee Joan tended bar and claimed to "know all of The Sunpapers drunks"; about talks about the post-honeymoon period of his marriage to Joan that was full of sex, love, and off-color jokes; about how disgusted he was when a columnist spat on him when he crossed a picket line when the newpapers' unions struck; about the births of his children and his grandson; about how well his adult daughter had turned out; about his frustration with his son, who couldn't decide what to do with his life, a trait Lindsey said his son inherited from him; about the deaths of our parents; about his laughing about a Grumpy Grandpa shirt I bought him even though he found grandfathering "pretty cool," and about how he never cheated on his wife, despite separations caused by his alcoholism before he got sober and became an Alcoholics Anonymous counselor.
I started talking to Lindsey again, worried about whether he would want this unofficial obituary written. A bee flew by, gently kissed my window, and flew away.