bram ... the now

this is me ... as i am

26 January 2009

Once in every life, Someone comes along
And you came to me; It was almost like a song
You were in my arms, Right where you belong
And we were so in love It was almost like a song
January through December We had such a perfect year
Then the flame became a dying ember; All at once you weren't here
Now my broken heart Cries for you each night
And It's almost like a song But it’s much too sad to write
It's too sad to write

08 January 2009

08 January 2008
Must it be?

It’s getting harder all the time to write here on Bram’s blog. I never wanted to blog; Bram tried to talk me into it, but I told him I had nothing to say. And who would want to read my blog? My life was all about taking care of Bram and my kids, and making costumes for productions at my university. Each entry would be the same: “today I made costumes and talked to Bram on the phone several times. Then we came home and I made supper. We ate, then read or played on the computer or painted. We had our nightly half hour before bed chat, and we went to bed.” Repeat ad infinitum. Or I thought it would be ad infinitum.

I was happy to let Bram be the writer, and the public face of our relationship. I was satisfied to simply support him and encourage him in all his interests. I wanted Bram to be the star, the person people wanted to be with, to like, to emulate. It would frustrate me when Bram couldn’t get the jobs he wanted—why couldn’t everybody see how special he was, what a benefit he would be to any theatre company, to any kind of company, school, organization?

I think that Bram kept my demons at bay, kept me happy and calm. And sane. He’s been gone almost three months now and I am lonely and lost and so very sad. I’m also starting to feel bitter. I am bitter that at Christmas my mother told me I should be feeling better now. I will never feel better. I need Bram. I don’t know if anyone can understand how much. I think some people don’t want to know how much we needed each other.

When we lived in South Dakota, Bram had a pancreatic cyst. It was starving him to death and he wouldn’t go to the doctor. I finally threatened him with being carried to the doctor by two large friends and we found he needed surgery or he was going to die. The surgeon was honest with me; it would be a dangerous surgery. He called it “tiger country.” We walked down to the operating room beside Bram’s gurney, me and his family. And they each said goodbye and walked away. Except his mom. She wouldn’t leave so I could say goodbye to my husband. She was claiming her right as his mother, I guess. But I am his wife. I didn’t want to upset Bram before his surgery, so I leaned down and whispered to him, “Remember you promised I get to die first.” And I kissed him on his forehead and walked away. After the surgery, we all went to his room and his mother and I were the first ones through the door. When Bram saw me, he reached his hand out to me. I took it and drew closer. He smiled at me and whispered, “I kept my promise.”

But now his promise is broken and it’s the worst broken promise ever. I’ve endured many broken promises in my life, but this one, I just can’t get over. The sheer horror of it keeps me from looking at it squarely most of the time.

I wanted him to live forever.

For the last few days, I have been crying and I can’t seem to stop. I think I have been hiding the truth from myself all this time and it’s starting to push its way through. Bram is gone and I don’t know how to live without him. Bram is gone and not only has a bright light in the world gone out forever, but all my hopes and dreams have died as well. Bram is gone and I don’t want to believe it and I can’t face it. I’ll go crazy if it’s true. He was the best man I ever knew and the best thing that ever happened to me and I would trade places with him if I could, but I would never wish this pain on Bram. Why did I not prevent this from happening? Why didn’t I know heartburn meant heart attack? Why didn’t he tell me how bad he really felt? Why can’t we have just one moment in time to do over? All this time Bram let me believe I was the boss, but I cannot function without him.

Bram is dead and I wish I were too.

thought by Bram Davidson around 12:00 AM
6 things said by the gallery

04 January 2009

22 December 2007
Bram was my husband

He was my world

He was my life, my sanity, my hope.
He was my ears. He was my voice. He was my shield against the world.
He was my comfort, my peace, my common sense.
He was every thing good and smart and creative and kind in my soul.

Bram's family doesn’t say “I love you” out loud to one another very often. They love each other very much and this is apparent to anyone who sees them together. They laugh and tease and make a lot of noise, and sometimes they pause and perhaps Aili would say to Bram, “You’re my brother.” And Bram would tell Aili, “You’re my sister.” Or Bram would say to Karen, “You’re my mum.” And she would smile back at him and say, “You’re my son.” Witnessing this, at first I was puzzled. But I soon came to realize this was their way of saying “I love you.”

Bram and I told each other “I love you” hundreds of times every day. We never parted without saying it. We never got off the phone without saying it. We said it during conversations, during meals, during moments of quiet. It was the last thing we said before going to sleep, after saying good night. It was the last thing we said to each other before the trouble started the night he died.

Bram and I didn’t give each other gifts on gift days. Whenever we saw something the other wanted, we got it for them and then couldn’t wait for the birthday, or Christmas, or Valentine’s, or anniversary, or whatever, and presented it as soon as possible. There was really no need for a special gift on gift days. But last Christmas, Bram gave me a bunch of coupons he had made. For example: This coupon entitles bearer to ‘Computer Discipline, allowing the husband to talk to the computer because it hates you.’ This coupon entitles bearer to ‘Have the husband reach high crap with the desired effect of having the item at a more attainable level.’ This coupon entitles bearer to ‘Fancy Schmancy Coffee from coffee joint of choice including a trip to town if not already there.’ The card the coupons came in (a father’s day card, because Bram loved giving inappropriate cards) said, “I love you more than I ever have before … and that’s a lot.” We could never touch each other enough, and we could never say I love you enough.

Sometimes Bram would tell me, “You’re my wife.” I knew what he meant, but I am not a Davidson by blood, so the correct response of “You’re my husband” seemed wrong to me—not mine, if you see what I mean. So Bram would say, “You’re my wife.” And I would reply, “And I adore you.” And he would say, “Yes, but do you love me?” And I would tell him, “There are no words to express how much I love you.” And he would say, “I know.”

I know I am not a beautiful woman, but Bram told me I was. He told me I was beautiful, smart, sexy. He told me I was the best costume designer and seamstress in the world. He told me I was the world’s best mom and a fantastic teacher. He told me the world wasn’t out to get me and I was worthy of being loved. He told me I was safe with him and he would never leave me. Never a very trusting type, always doubtful of my own worth, I believed every word he said. Because when Bram loved someone, they were better for it.

I loved Bram with all my heart, and I know he loved me with all of his.

Bram, you are my husband.

thought by Bram Davidson around 11:57 PM
3 things said by the gallery

30 December 2008

09 December 2007
words and hair and cigarettes

I think everyone who knew me and Bram would agree I’m not a big talker. Bram talked. And sang and bounced around, entertaining everyone. I am a listener. I like to watch everyone around me, and I love being with my friends, but I don’t always have a lot to say. Monica came into my costume shop one day when I was teaching a bunch of students how to use a sewing machine. I lectured and demonstrated for about half an hour, and set the students to working on their own. I went into my office to see what Monica needed and she greeted me with, “Geez, Mom, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you talk for so long!”

There were two exceptions to my shortage of words. One is if you get me drinking. I don’t drink much—I’m a real lightweight—but it doesn’t take much for me to lose my quiet. A few drinks and, as my friend Farrah puts it: “Michelle starts holding forth.” I chatter away, telling the same old stories over and over, solving the problems of the world, amusing all who can hear me with my witty words and opinions. I’m not a stumbling or slurring drunk; I’m a chatty one.

The other exception was, I talked to Bram. We were so comfortable with one another, we sometimes didn’t even have to talk; we just enjoyed being together. Other times, Bram and I talked and talked and talked. We sometimes didn’t even use complete sentences with one another; words just tumbled out pell-mell as we amused ourselves, dreaming and planning and hoping together.

I told you Bram shaved his head right after we started dating. After that, he let it grow quite long again, and then he started a pattern that continued until he died: He’d grow out his hair until it started to get in his way and then he’d cut it all off again. After a few rounds of this, Bram quit shaving his head bald because when he did, people needed to rub his head. They couldn’t seem to help themselves: If Bram was bald, everyone rubbed his head. It caused his head to break out, all those hands on his head all the time. So he just started cutting it really short. Grow it out, cut it short. Grow it out, cut it short.

The first year we were in grad school right after we got married, Bram’s sister and brother-in-law invited us out for a night of drinks and dancing. Bram’s hair was getting shaggy again; it was the end of the semester. We arrived later than planned and Aili kept telling me I had to catch up. She kept buying me beers and yelling “Drink! Drink!” I would yell it back at her, and we drank. By the end of the evening, I was pretty buzzed. I don’t think Bram realized how buzzed I was, because the only outward sign I have is chattering. But I chattered all the time to Bram, so for him—well, how to tell the difference?

When we got home from the bar, Bram decided to cut his hair again. He was shaving it with an electric razor and it was looking pretty good, but he couldn’t reach the back. So he asked me to get it for him. Sure! I took the razor and cut a swath from is neck to his cowlick. I cut a swath down to the skin. He had a bald path up the back of his head. He was watching in the mirror; we were both rather startled. Bram looked at me and asked, “Are you drunk?” “I can fix it!” I replied. “Give me the razor, baby.” He held out his hand. And then Bram went bald again. He was never mad; he thought it was funny.

He always seemed amused by my bouts of ditziness. I miss him smiling at me, and the way he’d laugh and wrinkle his nose at me. He never called me Michelle: I was always baby. And I called him baby, too. I miss his voice calling for me and I miss the sound of his breathing next to me in bed.

I mark time now by counting the number of cigarettes I’ve smoked. These add up to how many hours until I can leave school and go home and wait for a call from Bram that never comes, how many hours until I can take my next painkiller, How long until I can go to bed and try to sleep without him, how long I can toss and turn until it’s time to go back to school and start counting the hours of the day with cigarettes again. I have nothing to do, no Bram to take care of. I am waiting and still and I can hear my heart beating in my ears. Every beat echoes in my lonely soul: “no Bram. No Bram. No Bram…”

thought by Bram Davidson around 7:48 PM
4 things said by the gallery

29 December 2008

04 December 2007
That smirk ... (Long Pants)

We spent two semesters in Grand Forks, in '99-'00, I believe. We lived in a dorm-apartment-complex-deal on campus.
One night, the four of us were all playing in the kitchen. It was something we'd always done: we'd all just spontaneously start wrestling and climbing on one another (mostly it was Monica, Bram and myself all climbing on one another while mum stood aside) and having a good ol' time. It's important to know that I had no shoes on and my pants were too long; I was walking on the last 5-6 inches. Anyway, I was trying to push Bram, but I was 14 years old at this point so I may as well have been trying to rearrange Stonehenge for as much as I was moving Bram (something that didn't really change as I got older). This went on for some time, but suddenly, Bram stepped on the bottom hem of my pants, and pushed me. Not a shove, mind you. Just placed his right hand squarely on my chest and pushed. Naturally, with my pants planted firmly into the floor, the only direction I went was down. I wasn't hurt, but I was suffocating with laughter. It was one of my most memorable laughing fits.
When I looked up, Bram was standing over me, convulsing slightly with contained laughter, and that smirk on his lips. He certainly thought what he created was humorous, but he didn't seem to want to gut-laugh in my face.
A year later, in Vermillion, SD, he did it again.
I just keep seeing that stupid smirk.

Nick Wing

thought by Bram Davidson around 11:24 PM

01 December 2007
Baby, will you come?

Come get me

You perhaps noticed in my last post that after I said Bram and I got together, I didn’t say, “We’ve been together ever since.” We dated off and on for about 4 years before Bram moved in with me and my kids. During that time, Bram broke up with me at least twice a year. Some of our friends may remember it being more often than that; to tell you the truth I lost count after a while. Once, Bram and I broke up for five minutes! I do know for sure that Bram usually managed to break up with me right before Chistmas and right before my birthday! I began to suspect he was just doing it to get out of buying me a present. But I never needed any presents; all I ever needed was Bram. Even when we were "broken up,' we stilled continued our late night telephone talks.

After some of the break-ups, Bram’s sister would tell me, “Don’t be sad, Michelle. He’ll be back. He loves you. You and I are going to be sisters.” She was right. Before we got married, Bram apologized for being so erratic. I told him everything was fine; I knew that he had just needed some time to grow up and decide what he wanted. During the times when we were not dating each other, we would date other people. It always made me so sad to see him with others. Well, I guess not always. Some of those girls were such obvious bad choices for him that I knew he’d be back to me in no time. I also knew if I started dating someone, Bram would get jealous and we’d be back together. Poor anybody who got between us.

Bram used to tell me often how glad he was that he had finally grown up and married me. I’ve been going through his papers lately, trying to decide what to do with them all, trying to make sense of things. I have journals and stories and poems, many of them going back to Bram’s college years. He wanted to be with me and the kids, but it scared him. He was afraid he would never make enough money to care for us. He was afraid he would never be strong enough , or sensible enough for us. He felt he was too different, too weird, to actually find a woman to put up with him and he was sure that he would never get married. He also believed he wouldn’t live past 40.

Bram finally stopped with the breakups and moved in with me about a year before we got married. I was in a pretty bad car accident and on crutches and various casts for about four months. Bram took care of me and the kids during that time and even stood up to my mother. (I knew then I was going to have to marry him.) I think the accident made him realize that it was time to stop playing around or he might lose me. Not that I ever would have left him. Bram was all I ever wanted out of life. He made the world perfect and happy and safe for me. Once we finally got together for good, we were never again very far from one another. For almost 10 years, All I ever had to do was reach out my hand and Bram was there.

I am having a very hard time trying to convince myself that Bram is actually not coming back this time. I am still waiting for him to come home. Something this terrible can’t be real. It has to be the worst bad dream ever and I wish I would wake up. I talk to Bram almost constantly now, and I beg him to come get me. I can’t believe he left without me. He died in my arms and I still can’t believe it. I beg God to end this game and I ask Bram to come get me. There is no answer. I don’t know how to live the rest of my life without Bram. I don’t want to.

Baby, please. Will you come get me?

thought by Bram Davidson around 5:59 PM
3 things said by the gallery

27 November 2008

27 November 2007
Happy Birthday, Baby

Today Bram would’ve been 34. I was 33 when we got married and he would tell me I was as old as Christ was when he died. When he died, Bram was as old as Christ was when he died. I don’t know what that means; it just used to be something Bram loved to say.

Bram was 20 when I first met him. The first time we really spoke was in a theater class. The instructor told us to choose a partner. Bram was sitting behind me and he leaned forward and asked me to be his partner. I agreed. We sat down on the floor to begin some acting exercise and Bram said, “I’ll be right back.” And he walked out of the room. He never returned. I found out later that his roommates had introduced him to vodka the night before and he and vodka were still having an argument the next day. He found me later and apologized. We had several classes together that semester, and hung out in the black box between classes. We talked a lot. Bram was fascinating and funny. I started to think maybe Bram had a crush on me. My best friend agreed and told me I should ask him out. I couldn’t. Bram was much too young for me; I was 28 and he couldn’t even get into a bar legally! Wasn’t going to happen.

Bram came over to my house one day to return a prop borrowed for a show. He called to say he was coming and I was all aflutter, changing clothes, brushing my teeth, combing my hair. But I wasn’t interested in him, I told myself. He only came in long enough to drop the item off, but before he went out the door, he bent down and kissed me. Foolish me. I told him he was too young for me and it couldn’t work.

So Bram started calling me late at night, after the kids were in bed. We’d talk for hours, staying up far too late, just talking and talking. About nothing, about everything. Then he called one night and told me he was now 21 and wanted to take me out. I said yes—but only as friends. We started going out drinking and dancing and I would go home to my house and he would go home to his, and he would call me and we would talk for the rest of the night.

In January, our theatre club went to actf. I can’t remember what city it was in, but we stayed in a fancy hotel. Bram and I ended up alone in the elevator. He leaned down and kissed me. So I took him to my hotel room, sat him down on my bed, and patiently explained to him again that I was too old for him. When we got home, he stopped calling me. A few weeks later, I heard he was dating a girl from his church. It made me sad. Then I saw them sitting in the school hall together. She had her arm around his shoulder and was talking in his ear. My heart dropped. Right out of my body. I loved him! He was mine! And I realized how foolish I had been, but it was too late. He’d moved on. Then he looked up at me. His face was so sad, so lifeless. He was unhappy and it was my fault. But I couldn’t say anything. I’d told him to move on.

A week or so later, he took me into his dad’s office at the school and told me he had broken up with the girl. He never should have been with her. He was just overreacting to me telling him no. And I leaned over and kissed him. He kissed me back. And we decided to try us and see what happened.

The next time I saw him, he had shaved off all his hair.

We got married on Friday August 13, 1999. This summer we would have been married 9 years. They were the best years of my life.

thought by Bram Davidson around 12:02 AM
4 things said by the gallery