One of the last truly happy memories I have of my friend Steph was when we went together to see the Rolling Stones. I loved The Stones, but Steph was obsessed. Her bedroom walls were literally papered floor to ceiling with pictures of Mick and The Boys carefully cut from magazines, and she had a typical girlish crush (read: obsession) with Mick Jagger.
Saw you stretched out in room ten-o-nine
With a smile on your face
And a tear right in your eye
I can still see her in my mind’s eye, if I try hard enough, huge smile on her face as she belted out the lyrics to all of the songs (of which, I personally knew only a fraction) while taking drags off her Camel Wide Light.
Couldn’t seem to get a line on you
My sweet honey love
That was my friend.
The same friend who smelled like a garden with me, the same friend who threw my baby shower when I was pregnant with Ben. She (and Ashley) are the reason that for every party I throw, I must have a cutout Hula Girl thrown up somewhere (we found it along with every color of the rainbow baby dolls in our quest for the Tackiest Shower Decorations Ever). She was my introduction to flavored coffees and Opium perfume. I think I still have her copy of “Goat’s Head Soup” somewhere.
Well, you’re drunk in the alley, baby
With your clothes all torn
And your late night friends
Leave you in the cold gray dawn
Just seemed too many flies on you
I just can’t brush them off
Somewhere, probably up in Heaven, she is laughing at me right now. I can almost hear it’s distinctive peal tinkling over me as I write this. She’s sitting up in Heaven surrounded by stacks of every Rolling Stones record (even the unreleased B-Sides) ever recorded, drinking her ubiquitous cup of coffee, with a carton of Camel Wide Lights by her side, and she is laughing.
She had a beautiful laugh. It was the sort that made you smile no matter what mood you were in, the kind that made other people around you stop and look around for the source (but not because it was annoying or grating, but because it was so full of happiness). I always wished I’d had a laugh like that, and now I just wish I could hear her laugh again.
Tonight I bury my friend.
And the angels beating all their wings in time
With smiles on their faces
And a gleam right in their eyes
Thought I heard one sigh for you
Come on up, come on up, now
Come on up, now
(I am linking here so that you may go over and see what she looked like. I don’t have a scanner, so I cannot scan a picture in of her right this moment like I’d like to).
This week, I’ve been posting under titles ripped from Rolling Stones lyrics as a (pathetic) tribute to Steph, as I know she would have liked it. I don’t have any better way to commemorate her yet, so I will likely continue doing so from time to time. Maybe it’s not as permanent as a tattoo, but it’s something.
One of my own favorite Stones songs has always been “Shine a Light,” but it always confused me until Steph died. The ebullient chorus coupled with the really depressing stanzas always seemed such a disconnect until I looked at them in this light. When I reread the lyrics, it made perfect sense.
Now, if this were anyone else, I’d have scoured The Internet looking for a poem or quote to dedicate, but Steph probably wouldn’t have appreciated that nearly as much. It just wasn’t the way she rolled.
And normally, I refrain from posting lyrics to songs because it makes no fucking sense and offers very little emotion without the music behind it, but today isn’t a normal day.
May the Good Lord shine a light on you
Make every song you sing your favorite tune
May the Good Lord shine a light on you
Warm like the evening sun.
The world is a colder place having lost Steph, although I am certain she is far happier where she is now. But I’m a selfish prick, and I want her back. I don’t want to be attending her funeral tonight. I don’t want to bury my friend.
I want her to come back and tell me that this was the ultimate prank. I want her to jump out from behind a door and yell “Psych!” and laugh uproariously at my stunned reaction. I want her to be who she was before the disease took her Shine away from her, and I want her to get her life back on track. I want to have coffee and play dates with her, I want our children to grow up together as good friends, I want to sit around and reminisce about the dumb shit we did when we were kids. I want to get old with her and start switching to decaf and vitamins, rather than coffee and cigarettes, I want to laugh with her again.
I don’t want to bury her tonight.
She was my friend and I loved her very much and I don’t want her to be dead.