Blue was not a fan of spiders, but ever since I’d read our boy Charlotte’s Web, Eliot adored them. He’d seen me rescue countless spiders from the house using a magazine and a glass, and halfway through his twenty-fourth year he performed his own rescue.
“Charlotte,” I heard him say, “You belong outside. No, don’t bite.”
“Did you just carry a spider outside with your bare hand?” I asked.
“Yah,” he said.
I couldn’t imagine doing that myself, yet spiders were hardly Eliot’s greatest challenge. I wondered as much as he did about the logistics of the life he was about to launch on his own. But food writer Ruth Reichl said,“ I truly believe that the only things worth doing are the things that scare you.”
“When something terrifies me,” she said, “I know it’s important.”
Two and half months after we signed the lease, Imagine Supported Living took over the job of filling in Eliot’s team, and he was able to move into his studio. The weekend he moved, he reminded me and Blue of all his jobs we’d be taking over for him.
“You’re going to have to be Recycling Man,” he told me.
He held up his companion George, who’d lost all his stuffing. His arm was falling out of the tunic that was supposed to be holding him together.
“If you can’t sew George,” he said, “We can just say goodbye.”
“Do you want me to try?” I asked, and he said yes.
“We could get a new George,” Blue said, but that was beside the point. I was pretty sure Little Man, who lived in San Diego, had no legs.
I poked George’s arm back into the sleeve of his tunic and sewed it in place. I knew the move-in was complete when Eliot tucked George and Penguin in the bed and a six-pack of beer in the fridge.
“You can cry now,” he said, which I already had.
Moving the music equipment and the clothes, you can purge the belongings but not the spirit of the one who leaves. The one who cheered up whenever he wore the color red, the one who put Soulwise on the speaker when I needed music to clean by, the one who shook his booty in moments of victory.