PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Thursday, December 06, 2007


The older you get, the more you forget things. Not that they ever completely leave you, but they get buried, they blend in, you don't see the sharp outline. Something that was huge (HUGE!) when you were 16 feels like a small divot of earth at 39. You run your finger along the groove of mortar between the bricks so many times, you no longer notice the small stone that is embedded there, it is simply part of the fabric of the wall, your history, your life.

And then, someone says something. Or you smell it. Or it comes up in casual conversation. For me, hearing just two words strung together - eleven small letters - was the emotional equivalent of grasping a live power line. At first I didn't even understand what was happening. (I'm not going to tell you what the words were, yet. I want to explain their effect, and I feel if I tell you? It cheapens the moment. You will focus on the lines and curves of those letters, predetermining the amount of emotion you think you should absorb. Into the pool, I say, all the way to the bottom.) I felt as though a closet door had been opened, and a thousand Revere Copper-Bottom Saucepan Lids had fallen around me. Bright glints, a rapid slide show from my childhood. Reduced to tears, but out of a place of winsome joy. A thin slice of wistful sadness, knowing I would never hear them again from the person who said it to me the most. Where I had been when I heard those words, many times in my life. What it meant then. How I know what it meant now. How I know now, with my father dead and my mother living her separate life, what they wanted for me as my parents, regardless of their own weaknesses and baggage. Two words, the essence of love. A wish for peace. Simply the best. Simply to be safe. Simply to be happy. So many other points in life they pushed, they set my goals, they pushed me into the mold they thought would break them free of their own chains. But each night, after we said our goodnights, my father would pause, and say 'sweet dreams'.

James said the very same thing to me the other night just before falling asleep, and I made him repeat it - I felt bewildered and confused. Like someone finally said the password to my soul, and even if he'd said it before, it could only be said in the dark of a chilly December night, on that night, and that night alone, and one of my deeply forgotten pieces would unlock and reveal that it had been there all along, waiting to be rediscovered. The small pebble in the mortar became a button that opened a brick, a secret passageway, a hideaway to a memory that had gotten lost, under all the other things. A little cubbyhole that will help soften the harshness of the past, a footnote to some of the other memories that curse and drive me still today. Today, as I write this, tears fall, the tears I've held at bay all week through my frustration and anger. I have been bitter and angry and out of sorts, disgusted with the past, desirous of controlling the future. But that night, I felt bathed in love, old and new, and I knew that I was loved.


posted by PlazaJen, 4:04 PM