I've never made a mix-tape for a memorial service before. It's the hardest kind of mix-tape, I have found, to make. It has to be perfect because it's the very last one you will ever make for this particular person. I'm afraid I won't pick the right songs and Mason will shake his fist at me and say, "damnit, woman! I would have never picked that song for my funeral!"
The thing that's most upsetting is that Mason and I have spoken at length about the songs we'd want at our funerals. And I have somehow forgotten. I've been trying all night to remember. Me alone with my CD collection and Itunes and the songs we used to force upon one another.
"Listen to this! You'll love it"
Mason had a thing for Conor Oberst and he'd drag my ass to every Bright Eyes concert in Southern California so I chose four Bright Eyes tracks. I knew just the ones to choose. I knew which ones were Mason's favorites because he had their lyrics tattooed on his body.
Mason's memorial is Saturday in Santa Barbara so I will drive there and I will speak and I will mourn and laugh and secretly wish I could smoke cigs and drink vodka tonics in Mason's honor.
Mason didn't know I was pregnant, again. I didn't tell him because we hadn't talked. I kind of feel sad about that for some reason. I guess I'll tell him on Saturday.
This has been a very strange few weeks. Everything seems to be going wrong with the book release and I wonder if that's a sign or something. Like how the "i" key broke off my keyboard and I swore I'd never write another memoir. Another book about myself.
Last night there was a signing at Borders in Costa Mesa and I read from Rockabye and it was really lovely. And at one point I cried which was really embarrassing but I was sad and it's hard to read aloud about the people you love, sometimes. Especially because Meredith was there with her son, Nolan and her mother and in their honor I read the introduction to my book, which was a letter I wrote for her. For Meredith. On Unplanned Pregnancy For a Friend, and she was that friend. And I guess I got all choked up because there she was, my friend in the front row with her baby, and I was right. I was right to tell her everything would be okay.
Everything will be okay, I tell myself now, surrounded by CDs that skip and MP3s without labels. Everything will be okay.
I closed the comments to my last post because I didn't know what else to do. Sometimes it's nice to know there are people listening. And that's enough. But then I got your emails. I got your emails, read your stories about your Masons, and was grateful. So thank you. Thank you for stepping across the line I drew in the sand. I don't draw lines often. And if and when I do, they're never in anything other than pencil.
I leave for my booktour on Saturday. Rockabye is slowly making its way to stores and Amazon still won't call us back so my book is still for sale for $44 dollars, which is really pissing my mom off. More than me, I think. She's emailed Amazon a total of 800 times but the thing is? I couldn't love her more for it. I couldn't love her more for caring so damn much about everything. About me. I couldn't love her more for coming to all three of my readings. Driving to Costa Mesa yesterday to meet me for the afternoon because "I wouldn't miss it for the world." I couldn't love her more for showing my book to the guy who sold her supportive shoes at the Outdoor Shoe Store at Southcoast Plaza and then inviting him to my book signing.
"My daughter's doing a signing at Borders at 7:00," she said. "You should come."
And I rolled my eyes and told her to stop.
"Stop doing what you're doing! What you always do."
And what was funny is that he did come. They always do. My mom always knows the right things to say so people want to see me or read me or believe in me.
So the guy from the shoe store watched me read and cry in front of the entire bookstore and then he asked me to sign his book so I did.
"Who should I make it out to?"
And then my mom winked at me from the audience and when our eyes met, I saw that she had been crying with me. Because that's what moms do. They cry when their children cry. They cry when their children stand before an audience of friends and strangers and read chapters from their first books.
I'm supposed to be packing except I just today realized all my suitcases are down south, at my parent's house because we don't have room to store them. So instead I'm just hanging outfits around the house. I was, before I started this mix-tape.
I have about a thousand emails I should be answering. A thousand people I should have called back by now. A thousand reasons to be grateful. A thousand reasons to be angry. A thousand reasons to believe in the meaning of all this. A thousand reasons to doubt the meaning in anything. A thousand reasons to mourn life. A thousand reasons to celebrate it. A thousand reasons to be excited. A thousand reasons to be scared. A thousand reasons to be in love. With everything. For being so fucked up and beautiful and weird.
An unreasonable amount of reasons I have.
So I close my eyes and I hold myself, the life that grows inside me, standing among the decay and the memories and the music and the dresses with their tags attached by safety pins hanging on the bathroom door. The lists of things I must do before I leave on Saturday. On Sunday.
Sometimes I feel like I'm peeling time off the clock, like an apple. Or an orange. Or skin that's been in the sun for too long. Trying to find the right songs to say goodbye. The right names. The right way to do the right thing. The proper tone to speak to an audience so I can be taken seriously (but not too seriously.)
What time is it, again? When must I leave for Santa Barbara so that I get to the service on time? When must I leave for San Diego so that I don't get there too late? And what about San Francisco? It all looks the same right now. The decimal point is off and everything is very expensive to ship. More than it's worth? I don't know.
I just hope my mom knows how much I appreciate her. I hope my brother knows how much it means to me that he took his camera with him to the bookstore so he could take a picture of himself buying the book. I hope my sister knows how much it meant for her to call me during every book reading I've had so far, leave a message, wish she was there. I hope my father knows how much I love him for chasing Archer around the bookstore for me, even though he wanted to sit down in a chair like a normal person but couldn't, because Archer's a maniac. And I hope Hal knows how much I love him for understanding when I can't watch John Adams for the third night in a row. And I hope Archer just knows.
If only every child knew.
I know. Truly and deeply, I know.
My friend Mason did not and that breaks my heart more than anything.
Just finishing the mix now. I hope I chose the right songs.
Updated: My book is finally available to purchase on Amazon for the normal shipping cost. The decimal point is no longer off... I'll take that as a sign as well.