A Secret Grave 154: Time to Move On

 

Lloyd had never met Anna, but he traveled to Cambridge from Minneapolis to be with Joe after her death. The guy was inconsolable. He couldn’t bare being in the apartment he had shared with Anna but couldn’t bring himself to leave it either. At work he couldn’t function and would break down in sobs every five minutes. He lost interest in food and stopped taking care of himself, even going for days without changing clothes or showering. Convinced the accident had been his fault and he the cause of his beloved’s death, Joe was consumed with guilt. He could barely look himself in the mirror, and when he awoke in the mornings, his first thought was what a bad guy he was and that he didn’t deserve to be on the planet. This went on for weeks – Joe refusing counseling and turning into a shadow of himself. Finally, the head of his department sat him down and said: “Do yourself a favor. Either go jump off a cliff, which is the last thing Anna would have wanted for you, or honor her memory and get back to work.” Joe chose the latter – not because of what his boss said, but because Anna came to him in a dream, a very real Anna who caressed his face and told him it was time to move on.

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angelic-visitation

The Dark Veil †, Nocnica, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Joe took her advice literally. He packed up the apartment, put everything he didn’t sell into storage, requested a leave of absence, bought a new car, and took off. Not knowing where he was going, he figured he’d know when he got there. And the “there” turned out to be Austin, Texas, a sleepy town in 1982 where people were friendly and you could hang out and hear music every night of the week. Through luck he managed to find work at UT. Things fell into place almost as if by magic, and he felt he had Anna’s blessing.

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The Armadillo World Headquarters, an Austin Texas music venue, in September 1976

Armadillo World Headquarters, an Austin, Texas music venue, in September 1976, SteveHopson, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

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It wasn’t until ten years later that he was completely robbed of his sight, but his loss of vision was so gradual, the world dimming a little more with each passing day, that by the end he was ready for it. He had a failed marriage during those years to a hippy girl named Meadow, who ran off with his guitar and one of his best friends. Then, just when he thought he might as well give up on romance, he met Caroline, who understood him and his love for math and music better than anyone since his beloved Anna. And here we are now, in another century, with Caroline in another man’s arms, and Joe, practically in tears, running his hands over my sister-in-law’s face in my kitchen in Austin. What next? I ask myself.

 

To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ https://www.foundmyself.com/philip+mckay/art/leaving-the-past-behind/145222

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