up this morning a half hour early. i had a hard enough time getting to sleep. grab a quick shower, no soap, just water to wake me. throw on my clothes for the day, pack all my things away. gary’s late. no calls. unusual. i pick up mccarthy’s ‘the road’. only a few pages left anyway, and less to pack if i finish. a page goes by. where’s gary? ‘my alarm didn’t wake me up’ he says. ‘i’ll throw some clothes on and be over.’ i finish the road. heartbreaking. optimistic. humanity survives. a nice thought. i’m ready to go now. my trip to the airport ends with dane cook. he jokes about not having a condom when it’s time for sex. i laugh, which is a surprise; cook doesn’t do it for me. ‘kick the mean boys in the shins’ i say to gary as i enter the airport. the attendant flirts with me a bit. ‘hey wally’ says jeanne. i’m turn to see them and i know i’ve made the right decision to tag along. we joke with mel’s parents at the airport. we joke at the security line. we joke over breakfast. we joke as we board the plane. we joke we joke we joke. i sleep. las vegas is colder than i thought. a half hour at the car rental place. jeanne knows now that i sleepwalk and i have her in tears. we get the car and drive for a bit. i need a hamburger. we eat at a&w. not great, but it does the job. we myers-briggs a bit. i fall alseep in the car and wake up at the hoover dam. i take pictures for my dad; i think he’ll appreciate the bridge they’re building. we drive. we joke some more. i take the wheel. it’s fucking cold as i pump gas. we stop to look at the grand canyon before we check into the lodge. its fucking beautiful. i remember sitting on my father’s lap at the edge of a mountain in connecticut. we take some pictures then head to check-in. we set our stuff down, bust out the jim beam and coke. we eat. onion rings are bad, but the conversation is stellar. we head out into the night, more jim beam and coke and stare at the canyon in the night. still fucking beautiful. i toss a big rock into the belly of it, i can hear it go down. mel does the same. jeanne tries, but the rock catches just before the edge. we point and laugh at jeanne for a while. rinse and repeat a few times, then back inside. pajamas. i show them my mom’s memorial videos. i cry. we laugh. we film ourselves with my new mac camera. we laugh some more. the neighbors complain we’re too loud. we laugh again, silently. toothpaste. we retire to our journaling. i write this in bed in a lodge approximately fifty feet from the edge of the grand canyon. i’m happy. i miss you.