is it visible? like a flash in the dark. the light that reveals itself from our palms and soles of our feet. can everyone see this spark? this electric current that passes between bodies. or do we walk around pretending like the emperor’s new clothes. that everyone goes on believing what they’re seeing, different from what they’re feeling.
what we’re feeling is that beauty can be felt and shared through molecules of air. passed between eyes and car engines parked with little ones in tow.
pages are torn out. loose leaves. they flutter to the ground like wings without bodies. they were stories. what was. what is no more. but they are stories nonetheless.
the book is empty not knowing yet how to be replenished. not knowing yet how to be. forgetting to trust that it all comes as it should.
i’m in a hurry to write, to meet, to document. to make the history that would prove me not lonely. but that’s not how it works now is it? patience is gifted, not earned with white knuckles gripping the wheel in traffic.
hurry up to get there.
hurry up to not be alone.
hurry up to face time and silence.
the pages are blank.
and although it is beautifully lonely
it leaves me not knowing where or how to start again.
i should write every day. these words i found with no date. one month? two months old? i can’t quite remember. fitting though, for me to find them this day. this day i begin a letter.
To the man in the big white truck,
it’s 82 degrees before the sun even rises. everyone knows the heat makes texans a little crazy in the head. and yet there you are, in my rearview mirror at 7:30am. my four cylinder with the AC blasting just can’t go fast enough for your stress. and for that i apologize even though i shouldn’t, but dude… you’re driving dangerously close to me and my son. me, the ten year old car in the slow lane trying to get up this hill. you are flexing your muscle, honking your horn.
i recognize your anger. i hear it even with my windows rolled up. the speed limit is simply not fast enough for you today. you shout and your coffee breath fogs up your window with spit as it flies from your lips.
i have most likely never sat around a campfire with someone like you. you, i will not judge beyond this car, this morning, this word of power. are you the product of this stressful life? a product of a father figure, or simply a product of this society crammed into cubicles devoid of human contact… forgetting what is decent and kind?
there’s one thing i am sure of, in this so called loneliness: i’m glad i’m not going home to you.
river recently overheard a conversation i had with a friend. from three rows back in the minivan. he and his sippy, silently listening.
he’s fascinated with dreams.
“where did river’s middle name come from?” she asks and i begin the story, everything is a story. i like stories. maybe because everyone has them. it’s what makes us human. every one of us is interesting and different and still the same.
i chat to her about the time just six months after my wedding. deep in the winter of the rocky mountains, the one room cabin, the bed loft, the down comforter. six years before river’s birth. “his name came to me in a dream.” a series of dreams. each one more real than the next. and so he is malakai.
the next day it bubbles to the surface while he’s thinking. perched on the toilet (my presence required) he tilts his head to the side when asking a question.
“did you dream of me before i was born?”
throughout this week he lets me into his mind by asking this. and i feel that i can give him no better gift. to know this simple truth at such a young age. “i wanted you before i had you.” i never thought i’d have him. he, the sweet boy that he is. i had always dreamed. but then there he was six years later, the happy accident. how lucky i am that he found me. it seems that the best things in life are never planned.
i’m on a deck, on a dock. and i can pretend that i’m at the coast. the water is under me and the sun is setting. this is good. it’s what i need. a tall glass of water and five dollar slice of chocolate cake. it better be good.
with each boat that passes the waves move underfoot, a doppler effect of sound and emotion that crashes eventually underfoot.
there i am in the corner. the remote part of the deck, removed from the birthday party happening with bursts of festivities, people dancing on tables across the river.
it’s a river not a lake. it’s a lake not the ocean.
it’s cooler here by the water despite the 100 degree temperatures earlier today. the boats are beginning to dock for the night. to “anch” as river says. they come with coolers hoisted on shoulders, they come as the lights begin turning on and the wind blows and all that’s missing are the gulls.
i think to myself i’m not too fond of boats. not these kind anyway. the party boats with bikinis dancing in the sunset. i could do without boats and just sit with the silence, that i’d prefer.
she could smell the beach on me. the salt air. i’d get reprimanded, scolded for breaking the rules bestowed on me in high school. there was no denying the smell of the ocean. it was a lure i couldn’t deny. the beach at night. the power of the wind and total darkness that empowers as it humbles.
i’m running, taking the steps two by two straight up 775 feet above sea level. i can hear them before i round the corner. chanting. praying to christ in the dark with their arms thrown up to the sky. the sun has not yet broken through the clouds.
i walk into it, and past it, around it. their words are not joyful but painstricken. shouting, questioning, begging, pleading. i came here for the sky. for the water. the wind is cool but it doesn’t blow salty. and for that it doesn’t quite feel alive.
…yo creo… en cristo… senor..
i stand on the concrete slab of the picnic table. the blaspheme. their words fall at my feet. i step around them looking up. looking towards exactly what i came for.
i was jarred awake at 4am. the early morning hours of father’s day.
you. you are him. father to a boy. possibly two. i didn’t yet know your house in daylight, or the field that stretched behind it leading onward to the sea. but i knew the salt air and this room where comfort lay next to me. smiling, laughing. “let me kiss your lips” you say as if i willed you to existence. pulling your head towards me, a hand in your hair. you will do things to me, and i want to lick the salt from your skin. to open my mouth and consume you.
i see all of it there, even in darkness. the sailboat, the trust, the field we would lay down in. you are him, dark haired sailor.
it jarred me awake at 4am. the realness of it. the comfort. when i had gone to sleep asking “who are you?”
you are love.
you, this dream, are real.
existing somewhere near the sea.
“keep looking at the bandaged place. that’s where the light enters you.” ~ rumi
river’s upside down on the kitchen floor. “can you feel the whole world spinning?” yes, i think i can. somedays moreso than others. today it’s so beautiful it makes me cry. because i’m happy, because i don’t know why. i used to be amazed that any of us are upright at all, walking around talking and breathing. that was when i was floored mostly, when gravity was too much and pinned me flat on my back in that bullish way gravity has about itself. now i’m more amazed that we aren’t just floating off with the breeze, catching onto lamp posts to keep us grounded… smiles wide and our feet in the clouds.
“spin around with me!” he chants it with feet propped up on the fridge, head down in some strategic yoga pose.
it’s evening and i’m walking behind him as he does his hurky-lurky bike pedaling. i’m all grins and laughter because it’s just that funny, and life is just that good with glints of sunset in the distance and the fireflies just starting to reveal themselves. i’m laughing because this is what it is, life in slow motion jerking along at an awkward pace.
he sees us and rolls down his window, some stranger witnessing our scene. he waits for us to come closer. we get within earshot… the man points at me and calls out his window, ‘you are happy’ he says. a simple statement. ‘yes, i am’ i say in return. and he rolls up his window and drives off.
it must have been just that important to say it outloud.
it is something to be seen. just as much as the sadness was something to be felt. it’s a beautiful balance. a place i’ve just recently come to. where people are new in my life and genuinely interested in my story. silence sits with smiles on the couch, waiting for my words to fill the space. ‘who did you used to be?’ i’m finding that i’m finally at the place where i can share what used to be, it’s just like telling a story without judgment, one i know by heart. it’s part my story, part his story, for he will always be a part of me. our stories will always intersect. i am not bitter. i am not angry. i am not sad. i just am. it is what it is. and it’s giving me new eyes on the past and sorting out the beautiful, the amazing.
it’s june gloom in southern california. it’s the breeze and the scent of jasmine wafting over the rooftops down on Mulholland. it’s sleeping on a concrete slab, living on the jobsite. it’s good times. it’s swimming in skivvies in the fanciest pool ever after a full day of wiring a rooftop of solar panels.
it is what is light and what is dark. there cannot be one without the other.
my heart feels tender for this person i knew so well, although he’s someone i don’t always understand. a person in my life for a decade and a half yet always somewhat invisible, cloaked in feigned busyness. i wonder what the fear is. i wonder. but it doesn’t consume me as it used to.
and for that i feel lighter.
gravity has no hold on me.
come see me over at Cafe Mom today for a home and garden tour!
what does home mean to you?
i emptied my purse all over the floor. a bag i hadn’t used in probably a year, one i pulled from the back of my closet because i couldn’t find the green one i really wanted for this evening. this friday of firsts. this every other weekend that now spans 48 hours of time alone.
‘this one will do’ i thought as i dumped the contents onto the carpet. often i feel this hurry up aspect to these weekends. hurry up and get here, hurry up and leave, hurry up and come back to me. this is new to me, this side of single motherhood. when he is gone from me i feel as though part of me is missing.
it’s every other weekend that i step into new shoes, new handbags and head out to find myself. who am i again? am i these shoes? am i this purse? of course i’m not. but it’s fun to play like i’m a grown-up.
i am the steps between, as my heels lift and carry me down the sidewalk. i am that gap of air, fresh and new.
the other day river and i stepped out the front door and he announced to everyone and no one in particular, “the air is perfect!”
last year i threw my heart into hope. and at the same time, i discovered that hope notes were being hidden, stashed, handed out across america in a sort of belief that we as humans would remember to find our way. hopefully, with hope, we’d remember that we are all in this together. that we are all the same.
around the time i spread my hope notes, my photos, i also wrote down words. plain and simple. at the end of the summer i tucked them into my bag for just the right moment. then suddenly, (not so suddenly, it was actually very much like slow motion) life as i knew it had changed.
i changed my purse with the season. i packed my bags.
these words hibernated in my closet all year. i thought they needed me to deliver them, but what i found was that they were just waiting for me to read them. to remember them and hear them.
i have no idea where they came from, but i’m glad they found me today. the day i scattered the contents of my bag on the floor. the day i walked away and came back at midnight to find this one; this beauty in the space, floating on top, waiting for my eyes to see after almost a year. i almost didn’t recognize my handwriting, so much has changed about me.
my words sat there on the floor, smiling. looking up at me on the day that i am most needing to remember the beauty of space. because right now i am completely in between. jobs, schools, loves. and there is beauty here in this space in time. space in air. space in nothingness. it’s only in this space that i’m learning the beauty of patience.
this is certainly not the most difficult thing i’ve had to do this year. this past year of firsts, of fucked up shit and barrels of emotion. this past year of anger and sadness and leaving behind old hates. this past year of huge jumps into the blinding light of oblivion. leaps that quite honestly, don’t even look good on paper. this past year makes no logical sense. this past year i’ve been driven by heart. and just to make sure i’ve learned my lesson, i’m given it twice. one male. one female. i’ve had to jump again. i’ve had to fly one time. one more time.
i resign. i will not work for someone who disrespects me. repeatedly. a snake in the grass. i will not work when there is no trust. life is too damn short for mind games. this is not what i am teaching my son. i will not allow this in my life any longer. and so i resign.
there is quiet because my feet have lifted off the ground. i am hovering over two paths that diverge left and right. i am mid-air. i am dizzy from flight looking for the right landing spot. hoping i don’t crash and burn. there is quiet here in this space because i am looking for work, polishing resumes, searching for schools for river. there is quiet here because i am hurrying up and waiting. there is quiet here because i’m in survival mode with single motherhood and dirty dishes, childhood nightmares and i love you’s. there is quiet here because i am growing prayers and faith and belief and trust. it requires alot of silence.
my heart will not lead me astray.
life is just that important.
I have an ability
It’s pounding at my door.
Screaming for more.
In the world that owes you nothing
you give everything.
And now I’m caught in between
but I can’t leave behind
the world I may never find.
So fly one time.
So fly one time.
Standing at the edge of your life.
At the edge of our lives.
Don’t hold on
There’s no fighting back the years
so hard to unlearn fears.
Now your caught between
what you can’t leave behind.
And all that you may never find.
So fly, just fly
just fly one time.
I’ve seen you so clearly, so clearly up so high.
I see you up so clearly, up so clearly, up so high.
And now your caught in between
what you can’t leave behind.
And what you may, what we may never find.
So fly, so fly one time.
So clearly so clearly so high.
If i would die,
just fly one time.
If you fly one time.
~ ben harper and the relentless 7