start. Part of it my denial. If I am writing about him in the past then, well,, that’s it. And I don’t want there to be only memories left of Austin. I want to be able to have so many more stories. The memories are not enough. In this I know I am not alone. But write I must, so, I start with one simple memory, one that makes me smile.
I read somebody else’s story about Austin turning down a game of mini-golf and it brings me to: A Day Out at Mini-golf 1 - Summer of 1999. I was visiting my “family” the Hudson Lapore’s in Albuquerque, with my then boyfriend, John, who was driving on after our trip to New Mexico to start a life in Arizona. Without me. We decided to say our tearful goodbyes (somewhat onesided I might add!) at their house, where I would then nurse my wounds spending time with the family - the world’s best remedy to any ailment, including the incurable, “heartache”.
What better way to distract my thoughts than a round at the local mini-golf course? Neither Austin, nor I, were any good at playing. As we played, it became clear that Austin was actually worse than me - a pretty difficult task, I might add -
and he began scowling at me and banging his little mini-club at the verge. He asked Gregg why we were doing this . He simply couldn’t comprehend that he had found something that he wasn’t good at and we were still doing it! Gregg patiently
began to explain the concept of playing, yet not always winning. Austin did not look impressed.
“You can’t always win Austin”, Gregg said, reassuringly.
“Why not?”, Austin sulked.
“Because that would be boring.” supplied Gregg.
“No it wouldn’t.” Austin replied. “I love winning.”
Well, he didn’t win this game, and his humour didn’t improve, but he didn’t stop playing. At the end of the game, as we were returning our clubs, Austin came up close to me, leant his head against my arm and said, “I let you win Jo, because you’re sad today.”
Thus, making us both feel a little better.
I’m glad to say that Austin’s sense of competitiveness never weakened, his desire to help people and make them feel better, (though in the is particular memory I have a sneaking suspicion that he may have been helping himself), and his curiosity to understand why something was so, and, being Austin, challenging it.