I can't believe next week marks three years since you've been gone. When you called me a few years earlier to confess that you'd fallen off the wagon I didn't realize it was the beginning of the end. I had always known you as a sober person and I assumed this was an unfortunate bump in the road, but that you'd be back on track, say, the next day. I didn't know that the wheels were starting to come off. I didn't understand that all those years when you seemed okay, your demons were still there, under the surface, gaining strength. I didn't understand anything.
When I think about how absent I was from your life at the end, so wound up in pregnancy and having a new baby, I feel so sad. I know I couldn't have changed anything for you, but I wonder if I could have just gotten a little bit more of you. Jackie told me things got pretty bad, that you were in the grip of self destruction and despair, so maybe it's a gift that I don't remember you that way.
I usually think of you when I'm in the car listening to music, but that might be because it's the only place I tend to be alone with my thoughts. You also always come to mind when I'm chasing a tele-skier down a slope that's a little beyond me (this has become a theme in my life, but you were the first and the most demanding), or when I get on the old mountain bike you sold me when you became a partner in the bike shop. When I go hear shows at Red Rocks you are with me and I can't listen to David Byrne any more without thinking about the time that you got me backstage at the Fillmore to meet him.
I feel so lucky to have shared the years of friendship with you and Jackie that I did. I was such a kid when I started working with Jackie that it's a wonder she didn't roll her eyes and mock me mercilessly for my endless follies. But she didn't. She laughed with me, and she invited me into your lives and made me the approved girlfriend, an appropriate companion for the things you loved that she didn't, like skiing and listening to jam bands play live shows. I hope I was good company for the things we all loved to do together too, like four straight seasons of Sunday night potlucks at your house watching every episode of Six Feet Under that ever aired.
I found myself wondering recently, during one of my Dylan reveries in the car, if you're here at all anymore. The grief we all shared immediately after you died made you feel so present to me. But coming up on three years without you, you were starting to feel distant and faint. When Jackie e-mailed me to ask if I wanted the cruiser you gave her it was like a jolt. When I saw the bike for the first time I laughed out loud for the joy of it.
Dylan, this bike is the most perfect gift I could imagine. It just feels so you, from the outrageous color to the skull-and-crossbones valve stem caps. Riding it makes me feel close to you and to Jackie and to all the times we shared together. It also makes me hopeful for the colorful and inspired future I am calling forth every day. This bike is the vehicle I'm taking to that place, so thanks for that.
I made this little film for Jackie, but also for you, to show you just how much I love your bike. Since you loved good design and the coolest people, I'm imagining you and Jerry Garcia and Steve Jobs huddled up in a corner around an iPad watching this. (You would have LOVED the high-def iPad, Dyllie. Wish you could have stuck around to see it.)
Miss you so.