At just before 4A I heard the first text message arrive. I don’t text. Naturally I thought, “Somebody’s drunk texting the wrong number” and I moved around to a cooler spot on the mattress. At 4 I heard another text come through and I thought, “Probably an argument between young people, drunk and despondent” and I rolled back over to grab the phone out of my handbag to peek into someone else’s life.
The text was for me. It read- bds died.
I launched from the bed like a rocket and went to the kitchen phone. I called my Oldest and Dearest friend and we talked for an hour and a half; a conversation that meandered but always returned to its source- Mr. Stevens, larger than life, was dead.
I’m sad because I loved Big Danny Stevens. I’ve felt the range of emotions his family will feel during the immediate future, the surreal, underwater quality their lives will assume. Our parents are our compasses, the way home to our definition of ourselves. Regardless of whether they are good parents, or bad, they are the foundation for the people we will grow up to be. Mr. Stevens was a good dad.
I’ve talked with my Oldest and Dearest friend each day since her dad died. We’ve had long conversations about parents and family, the places we’ve been in our lives and where we are today. We remembered, as we almost always do, how much Mr. Stevens promoted our friendship. We were independent girls, sneaky but polite. One lied and the other one swore to it and Mr. Stevens said, “That’s what good friends do.”
In a fateful juxtaposition of events, a book she sent to me several days ago was ravaged and repackaged. It arrived yesterday with a card written prior to Mr. Stevens’ departure, among other things she wrote, “I love that there is an us.” Me too.
Daniel J. Stevens
March 18, 1925-August 3, 2012