Monday, January 16, 2017

But I don't wanna say goodbye

It’s 1am.  I should be asleep.  But I’m not. My mind is busy, playing through memories.  Playing through memories that I don’t want to be old or forgotten, unable to be duplicated, unable to be replicated, replayed, relived.

As I’ve gotten older, I feel like death has become less real to me.  It should be the other way around, where death is more real than when I was child in a world where magic existed.  I think it’s because the people leaving are people I don’t see daily, or even regularly.  It’s easy to forget they’re not there, wherever they usually are, until you see someone or hear a voice or a laugh, and for a split second, you think it’s someone you know and love and care about.  And then you remember.  You remember it cannot be them, they are gone.  Or maybe it actually is them, in those moments, a fleeting, twinkling, dancing, laughing moment to say hello, to say “remember me?”, to say “remember me.”

I almost had one of those moments today.  On my plane.  A voice, a voice I almost knew.  But the news was still too raw to be caught in a foolish forgetful hope.  Yet that timber, that tone, while uttering some other words I didn’t hear, still said, “remember me.”  And now I lie here, awake in the dark, obeying the command, remembering.

It is that shining gleam in her eyes when her daughter was crowned Junior Miss that makes the tears flow hardest.  She was so very, very proud.  Always proud of her children, their achievements, her own children and those of us she’d welcomed in with open arms and southern hospitality.
It is her insistence, against her eleven-year old daughter’s attempts to assert “friend-girl” as a thing and three teenagers’ clear awkwardness, that it was so wonderful for her son to have his girlfriends over for dinner that brings choked-up giggles spilling from my throat, morphing into sobs and back to giggles again.  Sobs.  Giggles. Sobs.  Sobs.
It is knowing she’s cheering loudest and hardest from the stands, waving a pompom and hooting and hollering as we snap our horns down that makes me feel a warm giant hug though surrounded by thin air alone in my cold apartment. 
It is that broad, joyful smile that makes the corners of my mouth turn up to smile back even as my lip quivers and my heart crinkles into the deepest frown. 
It is plates of eggs and bacon, folding chairs on lawns, red pew cushions, and a big blue easy chair that unleash a booming, echoing, “so, what’s going on with you?” bouncing around inside my head, waiting for an answer. 
And it is realisticness compounded with a firm resolve that reminds me that within my memories of this wonderful woman lies a superhero’s capethose who believe can do anything.  Even while acknowledging the mountains that need to be climbed along the way, the hurdles that need to be jumped, and the rivers that need to be crossed.  “Well, there may be a big mountain and eight lions on this path, but I think there’s a real possibility he can do this if he just...”  That was so often her attitude; it may be tough, but there's a way.  And of course, she always had plenty of input on what that way was, too.

It doesn’t matter that the station agent gave us a schedule and we’ve been standing on the platform watching the train come in; I’m still mad it arrived.  Mad it didn’t delay more.  Mad it was even on its way already.  It’s always too soon when people you love go, but sometimes, it really is too soon.

So. I’ll let the memories play, until life goes on enough to bring one of those twinkling moments.  And then, I will obey.  I will remember her.


Jeannie said...

I hope tears won't ruin my keyboard...

Andy Oren said...
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