The Salt Rock
I never really got to know you, not as a grown-up anyway. When I knew you, I knew a tall, goofy guy who bought me a rock collection and took me on fossil hunts. A guy who taught me the word “geologist," which I thought I wanted to be for a long time, probably because I thought I sounded smart for saying such a big word.
I remember the rock collection you gave me and how excited I was every time I opened that white cardboard box that looked like it could contain anything from a pastry to the Holy Grail. The colorful, shimmering pieces of stone glued to the bottom of the box had their names and properties written underneath so I could learn what each was made from. One of my favorites was Fool’s Gold of course, because it shone like a treasure and made me feel like I had a magic gem.
The one I loved most, though, was the salt rock. When no one was looking, I liked to see if it actually tasted like salt. I was pleased to discover that it did, and I licked it every once in awhile just to make sure it still tasted like salt, that I hadn’t been imagining things. I always did this in private.
There were things you kept private, too. The man you lived with, the man my mom called “Ronnie” - he was your salt rock. Everyone saw him, everyone knew he was there, but nobody talked about the reason why. It reminded me of my dad and Mitchell.
When you died in a plane crash with Ron, the family was devastated, and the family was divided. There were those who spoke about who Ronnie was to you, and there were those who never did - namely, your parents. Both of your parents are gone now, Larry, and they were wonderful people but I’m really sorry they never acknowledged your salt rock for the treasure it was.
I saw it and I thought it was great.