Some of you have had what I now refer to as owl stories. Stories of nature behaving unusually to let you know that Nate is OK. I had kinda hoped for one, but in my heart told Nate that if I didn't get one...that was OK.
I got one.
As I'm typing this a bunch of Nate's friends are getting together at a bar in L5P to drink to Nate's memory. I wanted to be there, but living in Colorado has a disadvantage when it comes to this. So I promise Nate's sister that I will have a drink around 2pm Mountain Time (around 4 eastern when they plan on starting the party).
I lazily go about my Sunday tasks. Laundry. Groceries. Dishes. I decide to take a break from chores to watch Star Trek. I finish up and I decide to check my computer. "Oh good," I think "iTunes has downloaded 'This American Life' onto my computer. Now I can listen to it while I do dishes." This has become a new weekly ritual for me. I sync up my iPod, strap it on and get to work on the dishes.
This American Life starts off with a song about turkeys playing baseball and Ira Glass comes on and tells me that they will be keeping their annual Thanksgiving tradition of doing stories about birds and poultry for the show. I think I'm in for an interesting show.
The first story is about an Afghan who decides to test a magic amulet that is supposed to render one bullet proof by strapping it to a chicken and firing at it with a small firearm from about the distance of a tennis court. In retrospect, I think Nate would like that story.
The next story starts off talking about Spalding Gray. Spalding was an Irish-American who went missing and turned up in the East River a few days later. His wife is retelling this sad tale and starts to talk about her children calling her to inform her there is a bird loose in their house. She remembers an old Irish legend Spalding told her about how if someone you know has died and you find a dead bird in your house, their spirit is restless. But if you find a live bird in your house their spirit is free.
I stop what I'm doing and shift my eyes from my kitchen sink to the vent above my stove less than a foot and a half away. I've had a bird living in this vent since around October. About the time we lost Nate.
I check the time. It's a little after 2pm. The party is getting started as the pieces of the puzzle all click into place to show me the picture. Nate is OK.
Now....as gullible as I am I can also be pretty skeptical. I start to try and find an out right away. I can't.
Having a bird living in my vent. Well....not that odd if you've ever lived through a Colorado winter. Finding out that a piece of your life corresponds with an Irish legend. Also not that odd. Finding it out a couple of months after your friend has died. Now it's getting kind of odd. Hearing about the Irish legend of a bird living in your house to indicate the freed spirit of a lost loved one as friends are gathering in your hometown to toast to his memory. I'd rather not calculate the odds.
I call Robert right away in the hopes he can get a hold of Nate's sister. He's still at his new house doing some cleaning. I tell him the story. I can tell he's crying. But this story doesn't make me feel like crying. It makes me feel like dancing. Like singing. Like leaping for joy. For the first time, I know....no....Nate has TOLD me...he's OK. It's all gonna be OK.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Living in a World where I know Nate isn't around is hard. I don't like that idea. But knowing that Nate is safe. Knowing that Nate wants us to know he's OK. Nate LETTING us know he's OK. Gives me a since of relief I can't quite describe.
Thank you Nate. I'm so glad you were....and still are....my friend.