bram ... the now

this is me ... as i am

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