Hard for me not to think of Kent while staying in his childhood home probably for the last time. We bought the tickets to take Helen to Kauai in September; from one care home to another. She is not able to be home on her own, and with all of us living in Hawaii, we do not want to leave her here on her own. She really wants to go back to Kauai; has wanted to go there for many years before George died. And now, having lost her youngest son and her husband of 60 years, she is ready to leave her Oxnard home. I understand wanting to leave the memories, as I have left my memories on Maui for now.
Kent is everywhere here. He loved Oxnard. He told me so many stories about his time here, growing up and later falling down. He drove a cab here for 9 years. He had a wonderful childhood, a southern Calfornia golden boy childhood, surfing, playing on the water polo team, having buddies that he kept for life. It was later that his life became a sad, lonely mess of drugs; lost in a sad parody of “The Big Lebowski”, one of his favorite movies. “The Big Lebowski” really aces Kent’s later years in Oxnard going by the tales he told. Watching it with him more than once, I would see on his face and hear in his laughter that he was watching his past come to life. I cannot watch a Jeff Bridges movie without seeing Kent. Strangely, they looked alike from the time they were in their forties, when Kent and I met, and then aged looking the same through Jeff’s last movie. They were both pictures of California gone rotten with a bit of Tom Waits thrown in the mix; shaken and stirred with heartbreak and crying in the beers. The gold in dem der hills turned to dust and ashes.
Kent was blessed to finally pull himself together on Kauai, and we were blessed to find each other on Maui. We had about 15 years of good life, even though he was often sick; until the final 3 years of hell. And always, he remained the sweet prince of my heart.
I am saying goodbye to Oxnard for him since he didn’t get a chance to come back one more time to the town and home he loved. I brought some of his ashes with me and spread them in his mom’s garden; around the orange trees, in the berry patch, over the collection of succulents she had that he also tried to collect on our lanai on Maui, and over all the threshholds where he might enter. No matter that the house may be rented or sold; his spirit will have a place to come if he so desires. If he is not already gone to some far place beyond any desires on this small circle around the sun.