Okay, Samantha

Okay Samantha, strap yourself into me.

I sit to write about you and forget my words.  20 billion miles above the planet in a ship that simply should not be, my body moves along at a slightly unfathomable arc over clouds (which, even here, can’t be pure.)  Sitting perfunctorily still, I can only utter something that ends with ‘each other’.

When I start to write, there is you and your hands on me when you got back in the car; or your hand on my knee when we were crammed onto that beer and piss soaked couch…then there’s me and there’s Grady, his head shaking like a pendulum regardless of time or tears.  His hand on my head and my head on his shoulder, shaking.  My hand on his head and the tender way we touch each others faces and necks and hair wondering, is this what it takes to love each other?

And I feel guilty Samantha.  Like I might have betrayed you.  How many times have you told me you love me?  How many times did I truly listen?  Was it very often that I figured you’d pull through this or that fight and then I’d find you again?

When I shuddered, when I recognized that I’d have to call our mutual friends, tell them that you left for good, I broke.  How to tell your story?  I refuse to talk about you in terms of people who’ve died before you.  I’ll not only tell your punk rock stories.  Be prepared world!  The stories about bottles breaking on our backs on Bartlett street, or the timid way you announced your triumphs in Jimmy’s basement will ring out with the bath water.

You’re not a punk statistic, not a friend I met in a bar once a lifetime ago.  You’re a person.  Real.  You love me and you told me so.  And I love you.  Ivy says, Let us not forget!  We radiate!  You do.

I’m writing these words from an airplane, a little before the wing.  The first time I was ever in the air this high, every snippit of afterlife moshed through my brain when I realized I was above the clouds.  Now, they look like the aftermath of millions of micro-explosions- they are everything at once;  the debris of life, people, our thoughts, our lives.  They’re vapor now.  Are you?

Careening just below the atmosphere, I would imagine this is what your head must have always felt like flying above your body, but what do I know?  I’m the one who can’t take comfort in your peace right now.

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3 Responses to “Okay, Samantha”

  1. oh my Melissa, i’m really touched by your beautiful words and i’m really saddened by your and everyone’s loss. Thank you so much for sharing these happy-sad memories of Sam. Although i try to never take for granted the time i have with friends, it’s hard to always keep in mind how precious and fragile they are, and how unpredictable life is. Thank you for reminding me of this.

    Hope all else in your life is going well, hope you find much comfort and love from all your friends as you go through these hard times.

    Very happy to know you and to be able to read your sincere and love-filled thoughts. Take good care. Fortitude and Joy,

    pati

  2. I knew Sam in my own little Pensacola family that I love so much through thick and thin. And in this moment, I get a chance to realize how many other families Sam was a part of too. I realized it when I made those phone calls too, breaking the news because I chose people who I knew were touched by Samantha’s grace, resilience, and wisdom. And these last few days I’ve happened upon more people, just another person who had so much respect for her.

    Thank you so much for your poem, capturing how we all remember Sam. Thanks so very much. gloria d

  3. melissa merin Says:

    Thanks you two for your words. I read them again tonight and remembered again, that Samantha is so part of everything I know. Even before I met her (Mission Records, 2002), the things she built had already become an integral part of my life; punk rock, prisoner rights, fucking gender again and again…Through tears and somber beers at my desk, it’s hard to articulate how grateful I am that she is so loved. I don’t want to type the feelings away, so I’ll leave them there for now.

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