Dear My People,
You may or may not know who you are. For those who are reading this and are thinking O that’s me it’s because it is. I have expressed it in words, letters, time and warmth. For those of you who don’t know who you are it’s because our passing was one that was short yet impactful. Too short to share my true sentiment. Sometimes even too short for me to process that our crossing was significant until you were gone. But to all of you, a selfish part of me just wishes I could walk in with you all sitting on the old leather sofa in my family’s home.
This whole couch fantasy was once a magical reality… well until it wasn’t. My mom had to break the news to me while in college. She said, more or less, we can’t always be waiting for you here on the couch. My response: but you’re my people.
Let me explain the whole couch thing.
In high school I would come home ever night to my two favorite people on the old cracked leather couch. Mom and Nana (the cute ladies pictured above). I still think back on those days whenever I walk through the door after being gone for a while. O what I would give to experience that just one more time. Just the two of them waiting for me on the old leather couch. In my usual overly excitable manner I would bust through the front door yelling family. I would hear their voices, their laughter in the distance. Turning the corner I would see this beautiful pair of best friends. Wine in hand. Legs gentles crossed as they faced one another. I would hear the beautiful screech of my Nana’s voice Paigee. Depending on the day I would either melt into their arms. Shake my way over to the couch. Or begin to weep and slowly drag my feet over falling into the laps of my two favorite ladies. Coming home to them every day was exactly what I needed. The stability of it all. The safety.
The couch was a place of consistency and love. But over the years the couch has transformed into many things. The kitchen in the Pilsen neighborhood home. My Toyota Corolla as we sat for hours listening to the waves on West Cliff Drive. The bar stools at the cantina eating fries and drinking wine. The table in my host family’s kitchen with the bell of the tienda ringing in the background. The couch has taken on many forms over the years but the safety and love within those spaces still remains. So does my longing to return to those places.
I’m beginning to realize that maybe the beauty of the couch is that it’s not forever. Like the honeysuckles from The Light Between Oceans:
“She was holding the strand of honeysuckle, stroking the leaves absently. Tom plucked one of the creamy blooms from it. ‘We used to eat these, when we were kids. Did you?’
He bit the narrow end of the flower and sucked the droplet of nectar from its base. ‘You only taste it for a second. But it’s worth it.’ He picked another, and put it to her lips to bite.”
So my people. Our relationships have been my honeysuckles—momentary but worth every precious second. The sweet nectar produced from our laughter and love has helped me to recognize something. I would rather live a few short and profound moments with you then have a lifetime of stagnant conversations. So thank you for being alive with me, if only just for a few sweet moments.
I can accept the beauty of these short moments in time yet I still long to own a time machine. To freeze time. In the constant transition. In the ebb and flow. In the constant state of good-byes over the last year. I long for you. My heart expands and contracts with each of our passings. Goodbyes bring an achy feeling in my chest. Moments of closeness mend and protect that achy heart. Still this is a process. At times the cognitive dissonance helps me to separate how much I miss you. In other moments all I can do is cry because I miss you before you are already gone. A selfish part of me just wants you all on my old broken leather couch. But I know this cannot happen. But the sentiment remains. I appreciate the time we have spent and the time we will spend in the future.
Thank you for understanding that this isn’t an easy process for me. I appreciate the ways in which you have held my tears and our memories. Our moments of vulnerability and connections make me happy to be alive. Our laughter sustains my joy. Though I can’t come home to find you all on the couch, thank you for teaching me that the couch can exist in many places.
Thank you for the honeysuckles. Now and in the future.