You may not be as strong as me
And I may not care to teach you
It may be hard to keep up with me
But I’ll always be able to reach you
And if you go forward, I’ll meet you there
And if you climb up through the cold freezing air
Look down below you, search out above
And cry out to life for a frozen love
By Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, the song “Frozen Love”
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -
If you’re out there can you touch me?
Can you see me? I don’t know
If you’re out there can you reach me?
Lay a flower in the snow…
By Robbie Robertson, Fallen Angel
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
What I remember the most of our friendship was the time that she came with me up to Connecticut, to see my friends up there the one last time. It was such a cold time for me. I hadn’t been up there in about six months. The previous time I’d gone up, I had gotten high, against my better judgment and my intentions. It was simply what I did when I was there. I had completely lacked the resolve to resist doing it, when I was there.
So, I’d resolved not to go back until I felt strong enough to go and face them, without getting high. They needed to know who I was. They had been such good friends. We’d gone through a lot together, especially losing our mutual friend the year before, when he’d died of pneumonia.
I knew where the getting high would take me. I’d nearly died from the alcohol a few years before, and had an out-of-body experience when I accidentally overdosed on the cocaine, five days before Reed died. He had brought me back — then, he went and died.
I’d had a moment of clarity that winter, and realized who and what I was. I was an alcoholic, and an addict. I couldn’t afford to do any mind- or mood- altering substances, if I ever wanted to make any kind of a life for myself. Those things would always, eventually, take over everything, and become everything, for me. They would take priority over everything else. I could not afford to live like that any longer. My sanity depended on my staying clean.
My friendship with Barb was solid enough that I trusted, with her by my side, I could face them, and be strong enough to not get high. It was a really hard trip to take. As we sat in the house with all my friends from up there, and I tried to explain it all to them, I could tell they had no clue what I was talking about. Whatever had once bonded us all was no longer there. I’d become somebody different. Somebody way too serious for them. They’d always known me as “partying Pete”, always up for a good time. Whenever I came around, the parties always rolled. It was so uncomfortable being there with them, after the first few minutes of explanation.
But, Barb got it. She was right there with me. She knew me. She was my new friend, and she helped me to deal with the loss of those friendships, as I knew that would be the last time I saw any of them, maybe ever. The first I’ve ever seen any of them again was two years ago, 35 years later, when I reconnected with David. I saw him again last month.
The Buckingham Nicks song quoted above was the song that always reminded me of that trip. It expressed what I felt like, then. Having to leave these friends who had once been my closest friends in the world. Now, that friendship love seemed frozen in time. I still had some feelings for Barb, though I knew they would never be realized. That felt like a frozen love to me. Our friendship seemed solid, like it would last forever, but it only lasted a few months past that trip. She had a relapse of her own, and while I tried to be there for her, like she had been for me when I came back from my relapse, she just seemed so broken and down on herself after hers, I couldn’t really reach her. The Barb that I had come to know and love had gone into hiding.
The other song quoted, from Robbie Robertson, was written for his dear friend and bandmate who committed suicide, Richard Manuel. He asks for some sort of sign that his friend is out there somewhere, maybe a flower in the snow.
I took my dog Chloe out back this evening to try to take care of business. She was having a real hard time finding a suitable spot, as the entire back yard was a frozen block of snow — frozen hard as a rock, no sign of earth, anywhere. It’s really hard for a dog to sniff out a good spot for business, when everything is frozen.
While I was out there, patiently waiting for Chloe to sniff out a frozen spot, I looked down and saw these flowers, poking up through the frozen sheet of white, frozen in place, still bearing their purple color, and their form — they kind of blew my mind. What the hell? I’d never seen anything quite like that before.
It felt like a frozen kiss goodbye from a dear friend, of many years before, and a brief love, frozen in time — a time I’ll never forget.
I took it as a sign. Goodbye, Barb.