We dropped her off
in the ocean dusk.
All that remained
was sand and dust.
Trailing along the tree farm, the winter breeze runs past my lips. The exhilarating chill seeps into my body with a remembrance of our love celebrated last year. The sun comes out and we feel his warmth touch our face. This is love.
When did I become the moon? Engrossed in dark femininity, trying to maintain my light for myself and others. I shine most of the time but I still have times of darkness. When people think of me, they forget about the phase when I fade away. When my light goes out and I feel like I can’t move on. Luckily, everything happens in phases.
She leans against a pylon in the empty train stop. Her hair is blowing in the breeze and the sounds of the rustling leaves fills her head. The season is changing.
She is not yet where she hoped to be in this new season. She is no where near where she wanted to be. Actually, she hasn’t tried to change at all.
A plane flies overhead and she can feel the rumble of the engine vibrating in her feet. She wants to run but she is paralyzed. Her feet are detached from her brain. Her toes are rooted through the cement beneath her feet, dug deep underground amongst the dirt, amongst the bugs.
A blown leaf catches on her foot. She looks down and moves her feet apart. She has been a barrier for herself. She doesn’t want to block anyone or anything else. The leaf loses grip and floats away with the wind, to continue its destiny.
The lonely sinks in after 3 nights of sitting on the screen porch. Complete quiet except for the low buzz of the insects in the grass. She sits there in her thoughts while she looks out for some wildlife company.
After some time, she hears some rustling from the edge of the wood and in the distance she spots two eyes. A deer has come to feed on the dandelions.
Their eyes connect. She understands that the deer wants his space. The deer understands that she will give him peace. She finds comfort in no longer being alone.
I am trying to find the words to paint my memory. To illustrate how ridiculous our actions were. Years ago, in the car, turning from one forested street to another, the sun shining through the trees. The backdrop was calm. It did not fit the scene. We were screaming over nothingness, making accusations and exclamations, shoving one another. Hormones were high and the wounds were deep. We were hurting each other.
I was ungrateful – and to be honest, I still am. My feelings are tainted by pain that is self-inflicted. I am sick and I am sad.
The soft moments with you that brush against my reality give me the the indication that we are moving in the right direction.
You are quiet. You are reserved. You are particular.
You are strong. You are sound. You are kind.
You are many things – although sometimes I think you ignore your qualities. You avoid your feelings as if they have bad intentions for you. You hush your inner voice telling you to open up.
Your walls were built to protect you, but in the end, they are hindering your growth. You have to let people in sometimes.
I am so glad we are getting somewhere.
under the waxing
gibbous moon we say goodbye
last evening of five
I’m standing on the stairway at the end of the beige corridor. The lights are low. The tone of the scene matches my insides. Dark and worried. Silent.
I glance down the hallway and she is in the doorway. He had knocked on her door looking for me. They both turn my direction, looking my way as if they were deer in the night.
She is peeking at me from the 5 inch crack in the door. He face is pale and worried. Her hair is up and frazzled. She stands there in her vintage pajamas, pastel and faded. She is giving off a low, frightened energy. It seems like he may have interrupted her while she was crying in there alone.
When we meet eyes, she frowns at me in the most loving way you could imagine. I don’t return the look. I stare; blank. Empty. Bleak and broken.
Our pain is so similar, yet nothing alike. When my pain freezes me in time, her pain shatters her entire world. When my pain rings loudly in everyone’s’ ears and runs red streaks throughout my sight, her pain doesn’t make a peep. Even though our pain speaks different truths, it is still pain.
I keep replaying this 10 second moment in my head. I have guilt for not returning the look. I was too strong in my emptiness. I regret not saying hello earlier in the evening. I regret not smiling in that moment.
I should have conveyed that we are wearing the same shields. I should’ve conveyed that we are on the same muddy battlefield, giving it our all, fighting the same war. I should’ve conveyed that we were allies, at risk for losing the same thing. We must gaurd our lives together as a team.
Show off his craft and woodworking, the pieces of his time.
Remember the things he enjoyed, his love of deep red wine.
Rest in the home together, the one that he built with you in mind.
Hold one another close, and finally say goodbye.
I wanted to take you on the hike we completed recently. The hike with the rocks. The hike with the heights. The hike with lover’s leap. But I stopped myself because I was too scared you would purposefully jump off the highest cliff, into the rocky abyss. Visions of you crying, standing there. Your delicate jump. Your delicate fall. Your hair flowing and your nightgown waving. With everything smashing to pieces before my eyes.
I couldn’t take you there, not even in my mind.
Your porcelain skin
Dreams of mother’s posing
You can model too
My dear friend pointed out to me today that it has been 10 years since my grandmother’s passing.
10 years, 3 months, 18 days.
A total of 3,762 days.
Over 5 million minutes.
And more than 325 million seconds.
Her porch was lined with spider plants, money plants, ferns and more. So much green, so much peace. Drinking lemonade on the lounge chairs, laughing or singing the afternoon away.
My grandmother, Helena, was very much in love with nature. She had an infatuation with birds. She loved her colorful sprawling gardens, laced with lilies, butterflies, and green. She had a glass garden orb, her “crystal ball”. I spent much time playing with her outside, listening to birds and going for walks.
We loved to go to the beach together. Sitting with our chairs in the water and sifting through the sand to find treasures. It could be hot, it could be cool; we were there any time we could be. Bringing as much food as possible to the beach because we wanted it to feel like home. Pans of brownies stolen by seagulls. Oh, the stories!
My grandmother spent a lot of time creating which she has passed on to me. Sewing, crocheting, painting, writing, photography, ceramics. Any way that she could express herself. I remember making chains of colored paper with her and stringing them up in her dining room as if we were hosting a gathering. We would drink our tea and eat our cookies under the rainbow links. I was so proud to sit there beneath my own creation, the decorations for our own private tea party.
Helena died of ovarian cancer in April of 2007. She had a fear of doctors and seldom went for check ups. I find that I am following in her footsteps. I haven’t been to my PCP in 1.5 years, haven’t seen an OB/GYN in over 3 years. This is not the greatest trait to inherit but nonetheless, it is true. Constant worriers can either over-react or under-react and I find that with my health, I don’t do much but tell myself all is well.
I never made the connection but I’m glad that my friend did. I am definitely connected to my grandmother and even 10 years later, she has had such a profound impact on me. I miss her every day.
We got our ice creams and started walking towards the street. After a few steps, he kindly asked “are you sure you want to walk down here?” I nodded and looked off into the distance. The house on the corner of Pine and Main was now a flower shop with some rows of flowers planted out front.
When my mom was a child, she would walk by and gossip with her friends, telling stories about the older woman who lived here and how her house was haunted. I grew up thinking the same thing. Seeing ghosts in the third floor windows and running home to my grandmother. Out of breath, explaining what I saw. My grandmother always chuckled at my stories.
We turn down Pine and everything looks so different. At first I had no idea which house it was. All of the small capes were large colonials, only a few were still the same as I last remembered. It wasn’t until we got close that I realized I was looking at my grandmothers house, lucky number 13. It was no longer white with black shutters and a lavender door. It was tan and white and looked so foreign to me. Is this really the house I spent so much time in? It must be – the porch my dad and uncles built was still standing. It’s the only thing in the back I could see.
Since my father is from The Golden State, I only had one grandmother in New England, Helena. Helena was a beautiful woman, very particular, and very stubborn. She was a worrier. She enjoyed her sweets, her birds and plants, and her beloved Sinatra. We spent a lot of time together at 13 Pine.
I have fond memories of sliding down the basement stairs on my butt. The musty smell of the basement hitting my face, humidity covering my body. Tip toeing from pallet to pallet, hoping not to fall into the flooded water. Finally reaching the destination of the washing machine and dryer. The smell of cotton and laundry detergent filling my lungs. Oh, how I still love this smell! Filling the square, pale pink laundry basket with warm clothes. Folding them upstairs with her on her bed. Matching socks and chatting away. If only I could do laundry with her one more time.
We walk for a bit and turn around. “You know that broken square laundry basket we have? The pale pink one?” He nods. “In winter, I used to lug it outside and go sledding down that hill over there. That’s why it’s broken.” I’m sure he now realizes why I hold that silly thing so near and dear to my heart.
We keep walking slowly and I show him where the clothesline was, where I used to watch the hummingbirds, and where I used to build my snowmen. It’s amazing to think that I will never walk through that door again to the smell of a home cooked meal or the sound of my grandmother singing her songs and clapping away. If only I could have one more day.