I was planning this very happy-go-lucky sort of blog post, all about the gardening I did this weekend, and my new summer job working one and a half days a week for the admin of another division in addition to my regular job. (They have windows! Windows, I tell you!) I was maybe even going to mention the continued, almost-sickening cuteness of Justin and Lori as they venture deeper into mutual gooey-eyed-ness. If I’d been feeling particularly open, I would have shared about Rocco’s latest (and hopefully final) intrusion on my life. It would have been a good post. And then yesterday I got the message that Zeke is dead.

Zeke’s family went to the same small parish as mine, and attended the same Catholic schools. They live a few houses down from my sisters, a block away from my parents. However, he was seven years younger than me, so I didn’t actually meet him until he showed up one night at the Wednesday night swing dance. This was when I was just starting to learn how to teach, so the Powers That Be decided that I should get some teaching practice by teaching the Free Beginner Lesson to him, his cousin, and their friend. They picked it up quickly, and it was a lot of fun, assisted by the fact that all three were pretty darn cute. Except Zeke kept staring at me, and it was starting to creep me out. Then at the end of the lesson he said, “You’re a [Family Name], aren’t you!” I looked at him warily, very weirded out, and admitted that I was. He laughed. “I’m a [Other Family Name]!” And then I laughed too and relaxed completely, because that explained everything.

We were friends. He could make me laugh like no one else, especially when we were dancing. He would make these faces – it was like you could see every panicked thought that went through his mind as he led. It was awesome. One time I laughed so hard I came perilously close to peeing my pants. He took my odd-ness in stride, which made me want to be even a little more odd just to provoke him. It made me sad when he eased away from dancing, and then moved to another city an hour away, but I was sure I would see him again sooner or later. We still talked from time to time, and I reminded him that he had promised me a ride on his motorcycle one day. He always told me not to worry, that I would get my motorcycle ride.

And, well, no I won’t. He was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle in Florida, a hit and run accident. Although he was wearing all his protective gear, the injuries to his head were so severe that he was pronounced brain dead. His whole family had flown down to Florida to be with him. They’re making arrangements to donate his organs. They think that he might save eight people’s lives.

It’s selfish of me, but I’d rather have Zeke back.

This funny thing has been happening lately.  I’ll be going along, maybe driving somewhere, maybe working on German, whatever, and without realizing it, I start humming.  It’s usually classical music, most often a snatch of Pachebel’s Canon.  Historically, I have not been much of a hummer.  (I may be a humdinger, but not really a hummer…)  I have been known to break out into random bits of song on occasion (usually swing songs), but that’s a trait I share with my whole family.  So this humming thing is new.  When it happens, though, it’s accompanied by a deep feeling of peace and well-being.  I feel happy.  I think Pachebel’s Canon may be my Happy Song.

What’s making me so happy these days?  Well, happiness is always a mystery, but I think it’s a combination of a number of things.  I’m about to move, which is huge.  I haven’t been happy with my current living situation for some time, but my current roommate is suffering from liver cancer, and I didn’t feel like I could leave her.  Then maybe a week and a half ago we had a talk, in which she told me that she doesn’t think she needs me there, which frees me up to leave.  So I am.  I’m moving in with Liv, one of my best friends, who owns a house on the other side of campus.  I’m all excited.  I’ve started my garden there already, and have started moving things in.  It’s been a long time since I was able to be really domestic in a place that felt like home.  It’s just good.

And then, there’s being all done with school papers.  I wrote two for this last semester, one 20 pages long with 71 footnotes, and the other 30 pages long with 110 footnotes.  The second one got way overdue, and became such a millstone around my neck.  It was so good to just finish the thing, and send it off to my eagerly waiting professor.

In other news, it looks like I’m going to be able to strike one more thing off my list of Things To Do Before I Die.  I’ve always wanted to ride a motorcycle, but never knew a motorcycle owner well enough to have the chance.  Then I met Zeke: tall, blonde and handsome in the high-cheekbones sort of way.  Also snarky as all get out, and not a bad swing dancer.  Also funny enough to make me laugh until I (on one occasion) wet my pants.  Also completely not interested in theology.  (sigh)  And eight years younger than I am.  But he has a thing for motorcylces and owns three.  This winter he promised me that he would take me for a ride when the weather got warmer.  It’s warm now, and we’re making arrangements for this ride.  It will be at night, on smaller roads (not the interstate), and we will go fast.  That’s all I know so far.  I’ll let you know how it goes…