Irish music from the hotel lobby beneath me mocked our goodbye. There was dancing, clamorous small talk, and if alcohol could speak, it would be too loud to hear yourself think. Two floors above, our phone conversation was ending “I’m going to miss you.” He gave no response other than “Goodbye Katie”
It all felt so cold- separating over the phone. After, I was left in my room watching as the textured minty green walls became muted, the sound below blurred, and the tears came without the slightest recognition. It’s strange how I’ve ended phone calls my whole life yet this one felt like I had forgotten how to do it.
At this point reading my words, you might assume I loved him deeply. But what if I was honest enough to admit I didn’t? Him and I were not good together, give or take a few sparse moments of euphoric affection, sidewalks witnessing our entangled hands, and the first days of our weekend trips. But mostly our relationship felt like an unopened book that was only admired for its cover art. He was stunningly beautiful, so much so that I dismissed all of the communication books that I marked up for months trying to formulate the right way to tell him I was lonely and tired of our harsh conversations that rarely ended in a tender surrender. Now that he’s gone, my longing has tricked me into believing this was love… It has tricked me into believing we could change.
Currently, I am flooded with moments I miss. I picture him now in our heated political discussions or our playful banter and kissing on a public tram after arguing over our least favorite Sex and the City character. He was wrong, obviously it was Miranda. But he was also wrong to believe that it would be easy for me to let go. Even with reality screaming our incompatibilities, I cannot help but feel a tugging to pick up the phone and surrender everything that’s good for me and say, “Hey you, Let’s do it all over again.”
“I desire the things that will destroy me in the end.” –Sylvia Plath
Art by: Beth Hoeckel
The realisation sets in, my heart aches. Not a deep red but the soft hues of a rusty pink gone purple. It’s the color of knowing it’s too early to claim heartbreak but past pretending not to care.
When we met we were a faded cream, then from the first night to the next we became a rich burgundy. I wondered if we were taking things too fast- like maybe the rosed reds should be after the pinks not before them. Yet, we skipped our way to the deeper shades until we were left with no other option but to grow pale.
That’s where this leaves us, a purpley indistinguishable hue of hearts not as certain as they used to be. The color that can be mistaken for subtlety but really is the removal of vibrancy and the marking of our descent into simply acquaintances.
You wish you were home even though you’ve already arrived. You could build a dam made of the mud from your childhood scars and they will fail you, tomorrow will come rushing in and break the stories you’ve told yourself over and over, “I’ll be happy when I find home.” You’ve always been home.
Home for you is searching. It’s in the boomerang waves off Waimea rock, it’s in the tears the day you reached the airport and kissed the man who’s hands laced around yours felt like the finest silk-the kind dedicated only for special occasions-like the birth of your sisters first child. You wanted to wrap that precious baby up in it and say, “Feel this right here, this is what life has in store for you. We call this love.”
Home is everyday you run into your neighbor who’s son your age died last year, you wonder if when she sees you graduate or get married she thinks of who he could have been. Home is in the trees that are there year after year even with the hurricane winds that slap its stillness dreams. Home is Tuesday’s canceled plans and traffic jams. Home is just as much your mothers embrace as it is the man you see dressed as Santa outside the Walmart sliding doors ringing his bell like an exit wish. Home is everywhere just as melancholy is, just as beauty is. If you search for it your whole life with your palms stretched out just remember it’s in your back pocket.
You want home, so welcome yourself to it. You want home, so swallow it whole.
Art Courtesy of Laura Owens
I once saw a video of a starfish walking and it made me not want to eat for a week. It no longer looked like an ethereal star but more like a mutated spider. The way it crawled on the ocean floor truly ruined my childhood, it made me wonder what else people were lying to me about.
If starfish aren’t beautiful home decor pieces sold at tjmax and are practically sea spiders, and Santa isn’t real, is anything what we expect nowadays?
Could this world be a collection of tears on the side of a penny, like those science experiments where we are waiting to see how many drops it takes before the dome of water explodes and we all go flying? Are we all just Heaven’s experiments, participating in a mini ant farm given too many steroids?
I wonder if we are disappointing to watch, I bet we are most days when we torpedo ourselves around our to-do-lists and worry about if we took the trash out on garbage day. Maybe in the end we are all just God’s starfish where he thought we could be so much more yet we continue to scrape the floors of the ocean looking for Santa or people’s approval. Wouldn’t that make for a lousy conversation starter in God’s decoration scheme?
Art by Vintage Art Originals
Some kisses are apologizes, some are hurried preludes to more, and some are engagement rings and lasting dreams. And his kiss, this lingering kiss on my shoulders, was like he was admiring the strength of where I carry my burdens. He traced his lips up the staircase that leads to my hungry mind only to move back to the gentle dip of my collarbone filled with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte.
This is when I froze in utter confusion. Normally we are in a rushed dance, one where true affection and feelings are not required. We agreed on casual kissing, but in my heart there has never been anything casual about kissing. That’s not the “chill” thing to think, and truthfully I am about as chill as the Sub-Saharan Desert on a sunny day. Because with every kiss I want to say, “Come rest your heart here” but I save it for a time he’s not in such a hurry. He’s always in such a hurry.
That is until he kissed my shoulders. For a moment it felt he was there to stay. The moon can tell the earth its uninterested but its orbit says otherwise. Yet it’s silly of me to pretend he is my moon because I am no earth- I am a blazing wildfire and he wants a calm sea to swim on occasion.
I’m kidding no one, not even myself. Regardless of how many kisses we twist ourselves into I can’t become someone I was never meant to be. I can’t be someone’s sea when I am meant to burn.
Art Courtesy of Eugenia Loli
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
I recite literature to God. He likes the ones I can’t get through without tears, mainly because He knows I’m offering my soul and not just steering words with autopilot.
Sometimes I use my own, other times someone says it better than I ever could and I trust that God accepts it the same. So this one Thursday night, Sylvia Plath said my prayer,
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
As I sat under Plath’s fig tree God remained tied tongued- tongue tied, I wondered if He too was trying to borrow just the right words.
After laying in that awful silence for over a week God spoke, “I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou [me]? Thou shalt see great things than these.” Luke 1:50.
The silence was broken to remind me God has always been the best of Poets..
Art Courtesy of Carlo Mattioli
Robert Desnos “J’ai tant rêvé de toi”