“I don’t know what we’ll do,” she sobbed.
He lifted her chin gently till the brown-speckled eyes met his. “We’ll manage,” he said, surety threaded carefully into his voice. He didn’t want her feeling as if she was weak for unraveling or wondering whether any of what she was feeling was excessive or unreasonable. It was not.
He didn’t have all the answers, either.
He had plenty of that.
And it had to be enough.
“Everything’s a mess,” she sighed.
It was. And yet, it wasn’t. Not everything. Their care for each other had not a single tangle in it.
“It’s like this cotton field,” he breathed. “Raw fibers that are nonetheless brimming with nascent fabric potential. We’ll pick through our grief and weave love into a new life.”
They didn’t know what they could do. What’s left of what they had.
So they rode the day in minute steps, a hand in tender hand.
They sought the light as morning came.
They danced into the night.
Because they knew no ban could
What is allowed.
For RDP Tuesday: Ban
I chose to write this response to Dawn as a stream of consciousness piece. No edits. No pauses. No revisiting or rethinking or rephrasing. Typos and mismatched sentences and mixed metaphors and all. It is what it is. And so it is. Here goes, some ten things I am grateful for.
- You. I am thankful for all of you whom I met in the blog-lands in 2019, and for those I’d met before but got to know better in 2019. I’m thankful for the glorious, tender, poetic, empathic, wise, witty, funny, delightful, mysterious things you write and post and share. For all of you who love. For all of you I love. For the kindness shown to me.
- Kindness. I cannot overemphasize how grateful I am for kindness. For the big things people do for each other, yes. Opening one’s home to the needy. Giving of what one has enough of to those who do not. Going all out for someone else. Yes. All that. But also for the seemingly small acts of kindness: Holding the door for someone, making eye contact and smiling, paying for someone’s coffee, carrying someone’s groceries to the car, babysitting someone’s child so they can have a moment for themselves, clearing snow from someone else’s car, slowing down at the street crossing so someone who is slower or frail does not need to feel rushed lest the light changes before they are on the other side, being the driver who waits patiently till that slow-crosser gets safely to the other side … It all matters. Especially now.
- Connection. Through the big and small acts of kindness. Through the words we say and the things we do and the words we don’t say and the things we could’ve done and decided not to, because it was the better thing to do to refrain. To think not only of the immediate gratification but the long term realities of who we are and what we want to know about our own choices.
- Choices. For being able to have them. For being able to exercise them. For being able to know what they are and not take them for granted. For remembering those who fought for them and taking on the charge of fighting to help those who have far less choice, so they, too, have the choices they should have.
- Patience. Am grateful for learning a bit more of it. For knowing I’ve got more to learn and that I can take the time to become better at it. Patience with others who don’t see as I do. Patience with others who need me to see as they do and even if they have a difficult time accepting I do not see eye to eye with them and likely won’t, and yet that it is okay to disagree and no one needs to feel as if they’d lost face or have less worth. Patience with the things that take time that I don’t always feel I have. Patience with myself, especially. With my body’s limitations. With others’ human limitations. With the realities of pain and the cost of histories and with the urgency to know what the future holds, even if I know I can’t.
- The future. Grateful for the opportunity to work toward one. To be part of what change can be done that may help ensure the next generations will have one. To be part of believing that good matters and action matters and small choices matter, and that together we can be more light than doom, more responsible than victimizing, more repairing than damaging.
- Repair. Am grateful for the trust placed in each breath we breathe. For the potential to repair: relationships, the fractures of mistakes, the misunderstandings that come with complicated communications and different points of views and variations on information and the tug and pull of forces that may wish to harm, but we need not succumb to. Because we are better than that, and stronger at the seams of our repair. For the potential to hold hope and action for the repair of some aspects of this Earth, too.
- Hope. I am deeply, deeply, deeply thankful for hope.
- Children. I cannot imagine this world without them. There would be no world without them. They represent, embody, live, breathe, exude hope.
- Love, and the power of voice. I know. Two in one. For they are often one. Written, spoken, expressed love and voice. The kind that comes through in actions, in thoughts, in educating, in offering help, in wisdom, in words, in gestures, in the myriad ways that make us who we are. And help us grow.
May every day in 2020 — and in the decade unfurling, new and brimming with what can be still be born — bring us all that we are grateful for. And the courage and power and strength and stamina and magic to dream and trust and do and move beyond.
With a heart full of tremulousness and gratitude,
(Adding here a link to last year’s list. Because it made me smile to read it. I’m quite predictable to myself, I am. I am.)
“It will be long enough, for a life,”
She blinked back tears
And said nothing
Because she knew that no matter
How long he would be
Would not be longevity
Instead, she patted his hand and
Plumped his pillows
And fussed with the covers
Over his beloved
Now a shadow of itself.
The shadow smiled.
He always had.
At his last inhale, she smiled back.
Note: Dedicated to all tender goodbyes. Especially the final kind.
He did not know how to play
But they knew he’d be
He was scared of every thing
But they knew that he was
He had to learn life from scratch
But they knew they’d love him
He’s the sweetest boy there is
Even unsure how to
And whether he’s a bit autistic
His kind of love is
He is now a happy boy
Who gets his life to
For the Sunday Stills Challenge: Pets
He does not like the new way the kitchen’s been done.
He does not like the curtains she’d chosen.
He cares naught for the way she turned the couch around
Or how she leaves the garage door open.
He will never get used to the stuff on her nails.
He detests hosting all of those book clubs.
He’s did not want his Foosball exiled downstairs
Or pink bottles to take over the bathtub.
Some days he thinks it had been better before
She showed up to give life a stir,
But she does make him laugh and he cannot ignore
The fact that he’s just nuts about her.
Photo courtesy of David Meredith, photographer
“I know we can do it!”
Richard infused his voice with all the pep he could muster.
The house was a dump. He wanted to put a match to it. A tent would be better to live in. The very prospect of what fixing this wreck-of-a-building would entail had him exhausted in advance. He’d fixed homes before: this project would be measured in years, not months or weeks. He could almost see the creepy crawlies inside walls, the rot above the ceiling, the mold under the floors, the who knows what in the rafters.
He hated it already.
Who buys a house sight unseen? What on earth did she expect?
“It’ll be great!” He enthused, his arm protectively around her shoulders.
She’d been so proud to find a house that could fit them all and within their minuscule budget, further shrunken since he’d lost his job. She wanted to surprise him.
He hated seeing her devastation when they arrived at their new home, belongings and kids crammed into one truck.
“The children will learn so many skills,” he stressed. “You’ll see. We’ll go room by room and prioritize.”
“It’s a disaster,” she sniffled. Looked up. Smiled. “And I love you.”
If I could have a pink
Large enough to show my love
And fight on
I would need the whole breadth
And enlist the heavens
As both paint
(Photo by my amazingly talented and generous friend Karen Forte, who fills my heart and soul with the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.)
She could not get enough of him.
She’d spent the last few hours gazing at him as he slept.
She could spend another lifetime.
Nothing could replace the sweet contour of his back, the curve of his neck, the fists that could fly deliciously out of tempo with his kicking, the softness of his cheeks dimpled into smile.
Joy expanded her chest and spread a warmth under her skin that flushed through her soul to fill her with a flood of well-being.
She was his forever grandmother.
Note: Dedicated to all the grandmothers and great-grandmothers. To the aunts and great-aunts. To the mothers and mothers-to-be. To the grandfathers and great-grands, to the uncles and fathers. May you know this love, for nothing can replace it.