Blue Raincoat

I received a package from Jim’s family. It was a vinyl pressed in the 1980s. Famous Blue Raincoat. Years ago when I was an exchange student, I interned one summer at the company where Jim worked. When I arrived, there were already moving boxes littered on his desk. He shared with me how he felt peeling away his life there piece by piece. We chatted about that hospice care classic, a religious book actually, that was lying next to his monitor. He said leaving after so many years at work was also an experience of dissolution and bardo. I could not suppress my surprise when he cited “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.” I would never have imagined anyone at work bringing up Yeats.

Years later I got a postcard from him. It was a breakfast setting. On the back: “I was looking at Europe on this side of Asia and wondering what people eat here, and then I realized that’s why we drink black coffee and have crescent-shaped pastries.”

I envied that he had the means to stroll around and wished him the best. Now I remember what he said to me before his retirement. When he started giving away things he bought in his youth, it means he would be onto the next stage. I took the record out carefully and let it turn a few rounds on the player. Thank you, Jim.