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

0 items from the peanut gallery

Post a Comment

<< Home