Note From a Ghost — Final Lush Years pg153
Joe Marra had recently retired from the US Navy where he served as corpsman on a fast-attack submarine. You know what? Joe died in his sleep not long ago. Maybe he can write this part. Joe? Joe?
Hey, ya I’m here. Okay…
“I first noticed Mernie on the drunk boat. Didn’t get a good look as we passed too fast, but she was in the yacht club after the race. Even among a boisterous crowd of sailors in colorful clothes, she wasn’t hard to miss. Not skinny, not fat and as tall as the men, but with better legs and laughing. She was obviously enjoying her beer, but didn’t seem dim witted or sloppy. I got next to her and said something. I forget what it was and not important, but made a point to look at her eyes. You know that feeling when a good dog looks at you and there’s a thrill like you’re suddenly the same species? Like that only better, because there was a chance for sex too.” — From Chapter 8
I happened to have a life where many encounters that included sex ricocheted throughout my 20s. Some repeated and many didn’t. I can’t count how much fun I had during the weird years, but it was a lot. Joe Marra marked the beginning of becoming a serial monogamist.
We started out with the classic boy/girl passion attraction that was so strong I thought it might be love. We annoyed each other and broke up. Then he moved in with me and split a year later. That really annoyed me… mostly because he didn’t move far enough away. He kept popping up and I didn’t deal with that very well for a long time.
What makes Joe memorable is that what felt like love so long ago really was. The proof was in forgiveness. Joe finally, mercifully, turned into a friend and confidant. Our last fuck was thirty years ago. Our last hug was in April, 2017 in the garden full of flowers I shared with him. I was leaving Benicia to move to New York, and all my stuff was already in a container on a train headed east. It was a long hug, and Joe told me it was likely our last as he didn’t think he was going to live much longer. He was right.
The two relationships that had the most power to heal my soul and transform my heart were with my mother Joan Mernie, and with Joe Marra. I didn’t realize how much until I wrote this book. Thank you Joan. Thank you Joe. You both showed me love is eternal, and forgiveness keeps it that way.
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