Luin Grover Kingman Jr.
January 21, 1938 – September 29, 2019
Slow Dancing to Luin
September first, 1975 the day I arrived in San Francisco the sky was brilliant― a student filmmaker full of dreams no shadows on my mind. You happened in my way― a foul-mouthed tour bus driver, 37 bald and hot-headed, sentimental “drama queen.” A month later I married you in my heart. Meat-and-Potato all-American realist rice-and-fish Japanese-born dreamer. “You won’t last three weeks,” friends predicted.
“Fuck! You drive me crazy.” “You gotta eat, Sweetie, can’t live on dreams.” You made such a fuss taking care of me like you loved our baby to death— a stray dog who stayed with us for 17 years.
Together we went places, Lake Tahoe, Disneyland, Hawaii, Japan, even Paris.
There was always something; something new; something to see; and something we had to bury— friends, families, fantasies and secrets and betrayals.
I only lived for my own dreams. Stubborn, I would sacrifice anything. Alone you traveled to foreign ports where our past plans unraveled.
We knew we had done each other wrong when our stories lay by the wayside— the words forgotten, the pages yellowed by changing passage.
Decades later we still live in the same city. This fog-shrouded morning on your 80th birthday with stage 3.5 brain cancer, you tell Noli, the caregiver. “We’ve been together for 44 years,” I stand at the foot of your hospital bed. “How did we put up with us so long?” “We learned we add everything we don’t cancel what we do.”
Neither of us learned how to waltz. And now for the first time we start dancing.
Nine months later in a small room in Coming Home Hospice― once the Most Holy Redeemer’s convent― I ask you, “Are you comfortable?” Your speech fades into unintelligible whisper. A clamor of children on a recess of the elementary school next door. Autumn in the air on this sun-filled afternoon left limbs paralyzed, your right hand clasps my hand tightly as if too much to say your hazel eyes, clear and intent. gaze into my eyes for the last time.
―in Memory of Luin G. Kingman (January 21, 1938 – September 29, 2019)