15 April 2016

The Things I Cannot Talk About, Part One



I.

Thing One stands about 5'9 and looms large on my horizon.

It has long legs, strong arms, a beautiful mind.

And It has wings.

Big wings. 

II.

Over the course of the last year, I've often found myself thinking about my sister and Her Thing.  

I think about how hard it was to see Him fly away.

I recall vividly her front porch and how she and I, illuminated by the moonlight, sat talking very late into the night one warm summer evening. 

So very late, in fact, that before we thought to be aware, the night had suddenly disappeared and transformed into The Morning That She Had To Release Him.

From those memories an ache deep within me rises so quickly and so violently that I cannot bear to reflect on the morning that is advancing so rapidly toward me: The Morning When I Have To Release My Thing.

_________________________________________________________________

III.

Sometimes I can hear The Thing. 

There are moments when the sound of her wings fluttering against the sides of her cage become so emphatic, so loud, that I close my eyes tightly as I did when I was a child and I tell myself, "It's all okay, it's all okay. There's nothing there. Put those thoughts away. Push them back down. It's not real. It's not real. It's okay."

I can make myself believe that indeed, it's all in my head. 

It's all in my head. 

I'll inhale a deep breath and slowly open my eyes.

And then I hear the flutter of her wings again and I know The Thing is real. 

And I know The Thing is stirring. 

And It isn't in my head. 

Far, far worse: It is within my heart.



16 April 2015

Flight Patterns of the Atypical

The phone rang as I happened to be near the office of Little A's pediatrician, which is close to the office of the secretary of the physician that was calling me.

I was at a four-way stop in the complex.

My blinker was flashing right and I turned left.

The man at the opposing stop sign shook his head at me, the disbelief and contempt unmistakable, likely blaming my errant turn on my preoccupation with my phone rather than focusing on the most elementary routines of driving.

It wasn't the phone distracting me, mister.

It was the words being said to me on the phone. 

--

"The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blind side you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday." 

Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune, Wear Sunscreen Commencement Speech, 1998.

It was a Tuesday.

--

26 March 2015

There Is No Digression

He began to explain hardened masses that aren't cysts and what else they could be: lymph nodes; anomalies; calcification; tumors. "The bottom line is that it's a hard matter and it didn't disappear."

(Do the hard matters ever disappear? Isn't it always the hard matters that remain?)

--

18 October 2013

A Letter To My Grandfather In October

I remembered how at your funeral there was a place in your casket where notes could be placed; how we were encouraged to write something down; how I was instantly suspicious and how my mom had said, "Jennifer, come on."
--

10 October 2013

Before I Was Me

The Queens and I had the gift of today together and while we were running around playing, suddenly the sight of them laughing caught me off guard and sent me careening backwards, into yesteryear, my own sister by my side, a fall day shining down on us.

There was nothing particularly memorable about the day, nothing specific regarding the memory, but just for a moment, I could almost feel her beside me, her hand in mine, the way that she'd lean on me.

It struck me then, while I was lingering between what I thought would be and what is, that I've spent a lot of time thinking of what is to come, rather than focusing on what is now.