A letter to Abram six years on
Photo credit: Benjamin Amure
I asked you first, to marry me. I asked you because your mom had just told me that you only had a few days left to live and the first words out of my mouth were, “But we were going to spend the rest of our lives together.” to which she replied, “You can still get married.”
So I asked you in a butter-fingered way, not dissimilar to a certain Simon Armitage poem that I’d fallen in love with as a young teenager and would eventually read to you out loud at a Thanksgiving Dinner. I asked you and you said nothing. Silence. It was the silence you would always make when you were in deep thought. I knew you knew. You knew I knew. Such intense and epic knowing in the silence between us.
A couple of days later you causally asked me, “So, do you still want to get married?” and without missing a beat I replied, “Only if you ask me properly.” You paused for a moment and then in that beautiful Southern drawl said,”Well, I don’t have a ring or anything but, Miss Cashman, will you marry me?” I smiled back, “Yes.” I said. As the tears began to fall steadily down my cheeks I whispered, “You will always be my husband.” And there we were, marked for an eternity.
As each year passes I appreciate a little more the enormity of what you did for me that day. The gift you gave me by holding on just long enough to say, “I will.” and to let everyone who was there to witness it know how proud you were of me, your family, your band and all that you’d achieved in your life.
Six years on and I wonder what you’d make of everything: Reuben touring the world with Sam Smith; Femi and Dylan and Ezra Collective; Sheila and Neriía and Kokoroko; Binker & Moses; Moses Boyd Exodus; Artie and his guitar; Kansas Smitty’s; Ruben living in NYC; Tyrone and his multi-disciplinary practice and so much more. I don’t know, is the answer and I never will and I’m okay with that. I’m okay with it being just what it is without you physically here to tell me what you think or don’t think about it all.
What I do know is that you’re here somewhere, in the sounds of your former students, in my heart, and in the hearts of all those who loved you and whose lives you touched with your music. I know that your spirit is fully on board with the here and now of all that is, that you’re still proud and that you’re happy that your work gets to live on in the work of others.
I also know that although our love will last an eternity there’s always rooms for more. As my best friend’s ma very wisely said, “There’s more than one bullet with your name on it.” So I guess here’s to six years of learning to live without you, to six years of connecting with something much greater than myself, and to six years of growing into the person you saw when you fell in love with me. You were the one who knew I could do this way before I did. You knew and you showed me the way and for that I will be forever grateful.
Thank you, my love and Happy Anniversary.