It doesn’t matter what shirt I wear and hasn’t for some time. In fact, my very best are wrapped in plastic, hung by wire, waiting for a day that will never come. Me looking my best for a job interview, me wrapped in plastic too.
It is like this now, emerald green in a hundred forms. Birds and the coming of bugs, for us in the west a lost year comes to a close. Dry cleaning still in plastic from 2020, when going to the office ended one day and never resumed. Shoes I haven’t worn, business jackets. Our closet now a scrapbook of times mostly gone. Needed now more for the odd wedding or funeral than the business meeting. Our closet the C.S. Lewis kind I can lose myself in through the clothes I wore and the memories they stir, they take me back.
That spring Dawn and I visited France for the first time and mom would have been at the airport in Barcelona with our friend Laurent and the old green Mercedes, the same one we drove down to Morocco the time before.
They lived a few towns up from the Spanish border in a village on the sea, and going there in the spring was like compressing every indulgence into one long week that went by too fast. It was warmer and the season more advanced than back home. And mom had just discovered Nick Drake and introduced us to his Pink Moon CD, a whole new world of brooding. At least enough to fill a small village.
I save his music for the fall now, as it bears that same melancholy, the beauty in the passing final moments. But this year we’re reading a book on Pink Moon for our weekly book club and it’s taken me back to that first spring in France.
Dawn and I in the living room with someone in the kitchen fixing dinner and everyone in African robes. Dogs and cats and lizards outside. Large cacti in the front yard and all the houses with terraces facing the sea. The sky a deep Mediterranean blue. And you can see why the painters gravitated there for the colors and drama of it all, the romance. We had a week and few pictures to show for it, but Pink Moon is the soundtrack. And like our time there, the record goes by quick but runs deep.
Nick Drake. The wonder of discovery of this lost soul for many of us in the late 90s. Ghostly and withdrawn he passes through like something remarkable outside your window you’re likely to miss. The songs from his albums are indistinct but wash over me the way memories can, indistinct too. The pink wine we drank, lamb with mint jelly, the walk we took after dinner through town. The small dark bar on a side street playing dub reggae by candlelight. Dawn and I just starting out.
There is not much more at the end of it but what we leave behind. Donate my shirts and recycle the wire hangers. Let those memories drift and settle into someone else’s room. None of you stand so tall, pink moon gonna get you all.