One afternoon I took a picture of us to the temple. It was the picture from that party we had, back in Mount Martha. The picture is blurry. We are blurry. I think I’m holding a drink, but it’s hard to tell. You are standing, your arms pinned back, looking like you have something to say. I’m not really sure.
I stuck it to the temple and wrote on it that line from J. Alfred Prufrock that you love. I changed the words a bit. I hope you don’t mind. The words I chose were a bit more fitting.
I wore my trousers rolled.
People had written to Robin Williams. ‘Genie, you are free’ one said. That one resonated. Of course, I didn’t really know the guy, but I guess it just reminded me of you.
The playa dust kicked up, so I wrapped my headscarf around my face and put on my goggles, which steamed up from each breath. I wandered around the temple, peering close to the pieces of people’s lives, to the intimacy that they had shared, to what had been lost, until the dust and emotion made it too difficult, so I left.
I walked over the wooden planks, and hunted for my bike in the reverent haze. Through the search I couldn’t shake the feeling that what I had done here had wronged you, that I had committed some error of judgement, exposed something that you wanted hidden. If I did, then I apologise, but this loss is mine to grieve, not yours.
In the end, I think, I really just wanted you there, wanted you here, with me, with both of us, for our first burn. And as I rode back to camp, the gears on my bike choked up, and I couldn’t cycle anymore.