Inside the van, we were the center of our universe, me and Bird. Music playing, rain falling, flying through a veil of sparkling, refracted light, gliding, cocooned.
We sang and watched the world flash past.
At a traffic light, a man in a red hat...a fez. Shriner. Pavlovian, I opened the window, waved a dollar at him. I can't spare dollars. But he's a Shriner, and I have to. They did a good turn for someone I knew, long time ago, and I'm paying them back at the crossroads, one dollar, one handful of loose change at a time. He was a layer, spread thin, around our center.
Everything is slow, and we see it all at once, all the moments happening around us swimming through almost amber-thick time/space/perception.
At the light, a police car comes to a stop, middle of the intersection, even as I wave my dollar at the red-hatted man. I cannot understand why he is there, unless it is to ensure I cannot move on until the dollar has been taken. Curious. Lights flashing, all is quiet, except the soundtrack. Love Train, Big and Rich, from the Horse of a Different Color CD. Happy song.
Police car. Another layer, red and blue, pulsing. Rain still falling.
The funeral procession is another layer. It's all simultaneous, us, music, silence, police car in the intersection, police car leading the sad parade, funeral procession, hearse. Bird and I are laughing, the people in the cars passing by are weeping, the red-hatted man is trying to fund new lives, and the police officers are waiting.
Procession past, police care moves on to some the next intersection, leapfrogging another patrol car to someone else's final resting place, and I wonder if they are listening to a happy song or thinking about their own inevitable cortege. Maybe it's just all overtime. The unseen presences behind the strobing light are another layer.
I wonder who died, how old they were, did they like the rain, plan puddle-splashing with their purple-booted child while listening to happy music.
Light changes, we turn left, make for the first stop. Jeff Buckley, singing Hallelujah, from the album Grace. Apropos. I am crying. For this song, I sing, and I cry, every time.
In the parking lot, I hold Bird's hand, turn my face to the rain. I like to turn my face to the rain, pretend it is thousands of gentle kisses from the sky. Rain and tears mingle and are indifferent to each other. He splashes happily in a puddle I parked in (with purpose, mind, as I knew he would like it), wetting my cuffs. I wonder if anyone is witnessing our oddity, feels the joy he radiates, a little sun of happiness. I laugh. He laughs.
The funeral is long gone from sight, but I know they are there. I wonder if they'd like to share a puddle splash, would rather play in the rain than watch someone go down into the wet earth. Do they know he isn't really gone? That by seeing him, they made him part of themselves, took in the particles he emitted and carried them along, passing them about, until he was everywhere and everyone, as are we all? Nothing, no one, ever dies - they may pass from perception, but not from presence.
We are all in the same moment, being; all of us experiencing our multitude of realities.