CJ: I need to you say "They have the best deals on beef" and sound super excited about it, like buying their meat is your life goal. Okay?
Me: (in the tone and attitude he wanted) They have the best deals on beef. (pregnant pause while he ends the recording on his laptop) What's up?
CJ: I always get like this around my Angie anniversary.
Me: I know, but what's really wrong?
CJ: I want to run my own radio station, but you have to be rich to do that. Fuck that greed. I just...this isn't what I thought I would be doing. It isn't what I want to do.
Me: How many people do you know are doing what they thought they would be doing, or even what they want to do? (CJ shakes his head) Then, what makes you special? Why should you be any different?
CJ: You're too young to be so old. When you say things like that, it makes me want to put your feet in the air. (I smirk and shake my head at him.) You'd enjoy it, but I know you can't handle that.
Me: You're right. You know I love you. (I give him a long hug)
CJ: I love you, too.
May of 2001. The three of us, CJ, me, and my college roommate (his mate), are sitting outside the sweat lodge and eating his homemade French onion soup.
Me: Don't say it. (But, I know he will anyway. She looks at me and then him.)
CJ: You're too smart for him.
Her: We love you.
Me: I love you, too. The soup is good.
May of 2005. CJ and I are in the hay loft that they have converted into a bedroom. We're on a large pallet of quilts. I'm on my stomach, and he is straddling my legs but not sitting on me.
CJ: You've got a lot of hate stored here. (He presses a hand firmly into my root chakra, inhales deeply, and exhales.) I'm surprised you can walk.
Me: I'm fucked up.
CJ: Well, of course you are. Let it go. Scream or something. What is the thing you hate most?
Me: When I tell the truth and people don't believe me. (I say this instantly, without thought or censor.)
Me: I guess so. I said it.
CJ: That wasn't what I expected. You have the most interesting answers.
Me: At times when I am most truthful, no one believes me. It pisses me off.
(He slides off to my side. We each sit in the lotus position, knees touching, palms touching, now third eyes touching. We stare at each other, into each other.)
CJ: You know what would make you feel better?
Me: (I smile and laugh. I may have been the only female he knew who wasn't attracted to him sexually.)
CJ: Yeah, well, with your hangups about marriage and monogamy, it wouldn't be good for you anyway. Doesn't matter. [My ex] can't share you. That's why it's been four years since the last time we saw you.
Me: I've missed you both. I'm meditating again. I called to you.
CJ: I heard you. I've been having dreams about you for two months now. Look at me, Beautiful. (He kisses me softly on the lips.) Come on. I'll show you the camp we made at the river.
He was so quick to see the beauty - mind, body, and spirit - in others but not in himself. He would tell me not to waste my energy on people who abuse it, knowing that, being me, I could not help but do it anyway. He would often chastise me, to which I would reply, "You do it too, and you're a lot sweeter than I am." He was gifted at assessing just how far he could push a person before he snapped, and he was never afraid to do it.
Two years ago, he died in her arms inside their tipi. An aortic aneurysm that bled out into his body within one minute. And a small part of everyone who knew him died with him.
I miss you, CJ.