Talking with Steph.

Stephanie would’ve been a happy woman today. She was well-informed, left-leaning, and politically active, and yesterday’s election provided a layoff notice to Wisconsin’s troglodyte Republican Governor, Scott Walker. She hated that schmuck.

I don’t usually talk to the picture of Stephanie on the front of her urn, but this morning I gave her the good news. Walker is going-going-gone, and on the national level, Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, so there’s perhaps some hope for reigning in President Trump. Stephanie thought he was stupid, cruel, literally deranged, and a danger to the country. And I absolutely don’t disagree.

* * * * * * * * * *

As soon as I woke up this morning, I grabbed a pen and started writing down the dream I’d just had. It was too good to forget. Stephanie was alive and healthy and happy to see me, but she couldn’t get out of bed without her wheelchair, and her wheelchair is still in the trunk of the car (in the dream, and in real life). I couldn’t find my car keys, and then when I finally found the keys I couldn’t find the car. I was still looking for the car when I woke up.

What made the dream worth remembering was the part where Stephanie and I talked with each other. We only talked about her wheelchair and the car, but still, we talked, and that was wonderful. I heard her voice, and woke up smiling.

First clue that this was all a dream? It took place in the house where I grew up, in Seattle, instead of in our own apartment – but Steph never saw Seattle.

* * * * * * * * * *

Yesterday I noticed a hair of hers, stuck to the wall in the bathroom. Seems like such a trivial thing, but I cried for ten minutes. Over a hair. Stephanie was a bit of a shedder; she had long hair, and her combs were full of it, it clogged the bathtub drain and vacuum cleaner. For years I would find a long brunette hair on my work clothes or on a chair or in the car, and I’d think nothing of it. Her hair was just always there, expected, not even a nuisance, just a fact of life.

I wonder how long that one hair has been stuck to the wall. When did it come off her head? Maybe it’s been months, maybe years. We’re not total slobs, but washing the bathroom walls is not part of the ordinary cleaning schedule.

One hair, twisted and stuck to the bathroom wall. I left it there. Eventually I suppose it’ll be part of the Steph Shrine, but I’m not sure how to do that. Maybe it’ll end up in a sandwich bag, tacked to the wall. I miss that woman so very much.

* * * * * * * * * *

When we were leaving the grocery store several years ago, we saw a little girl wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt, and Steph thought it was adorable. So, of course, I surprised her with an adult-size version of that t-shirt, and she loved it and wore it frequently. Stephanie was, you see, a bit of a wonder woman herself, so the shirt was perfect. She also liked the Wonder Woman movie that came out last year, and took to wearing that t-shirt even more often.

Steph’s Wonder Woman shirt is already on the wall as part of the Shrine, but I’d like a second Wonder Woman shirt – one that I can wear myself, in Stephanie’s memory. It’s on order from Amazon.


Posted 11/7/2018.

More about Stephanie.

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