Sunday, February 9, 2014. I thought I would write a rare humorous post. Kind of like the man I mentioned in my last post who wrote a “happier song.” My mood has passed. By the time I rebooted this old computer that was acting too sluggish to write a thing, realized I was hungry so fixed a bowl of organic apple pieces, cheese and crackers, I sit here now having wiped a few more tears realizing that all I have to write about it what I always do: Just my life.
True, my version of a jewelry box is an upside-down Avon box lid. True, what I have thrown in there in tangled heap and dirty mess would not fit in the only jewelry box I have ever owned (and certainly still do not own) – a jewelry box that was precious to me as a child with its tiny ballerina dancer who popped up in front of her mirror all tutued and fancy. I could wind up the music box, which in the era of my childhood made a quality sound as it pinged out “I Could Have Danced All Night,” so I could feel for a few more moments like a fairy princess. After all, Mother gave me that jewelry box. I believed this gift meant she loved me.
I have never in my life made a show of cleaning all of my jewelry until today. I own nothing fancy, most of it coming from thrift stores over these past many years that, as I think about it, all adds up to the fact that I am getting old at 62 to not only have so many earrings and slender chains with baubles on them but to have accumulated so many memories of stages of my life that belong to each piece.
This collection spent the past seven years hanging from a piece of lace thumbtacked to the back of the bathroom door of the house I just moved out of last October 12th. There are many that never moved from the first place on the lace I stuck them during those years. My “professional” earrings, the ones I bought during and after graduate school when hope for a new and better life radiated from me all of the time. Thanks for my trauma-related disabilities there is no more professional me to wear them. What do I do with those earrings now?
The lovely seed-beaded earrings I made when I still had excellent vision over 20 years ago. The images of turtles that came from a significant era of my life I never write about (and probably won’t). That era has past. Those memories are of times that were precious, of betrayals that ended in danger to myself and more significantly – and nearly tragically – to my children.
When the move out of my house down south was in full motion I did not take the time to carefully pack my loaded piece of lace or any of my hanging necklaces. I threw them in a box, accumulated desert dust and all. It feels important to me that I literally straighten out that mess. I look forward to what I expect to find: A reflected new small space within me of calm and glisten as each chain, each bead sparkles from my attention now. A sense of order as each piece again takes a home for itself on a new piece of lace on a new wall in my new life.
I wasn’t prepared for the wave of razor pure sadness that sent tears down my cheeks as I handled a pair of earrings made of cheap metal and turquoise glass beads. I like this pair although I haven’t had time to wear them since my Mexican neighbor, Antonio, placed them in my palm one night after he knocked on my Arizona door to bum yet another cigarette. He learned well not to come asking me for things after dark unless he brought me something in trade. A hot biscuit from his wife’s oven. Some peaches from his tree. A pair of earrings.
It makes me cry to write this. I lived, as many readers know, right on the Mexican-American border fence line in the high desert in a rented house in the middle of a trailer park filled with people from Mexico who had nothing to speak of except a whole lot of love for one another. I did not say goodbye to any but the one neighbor who appeared as my friend and I were pulling away in the U-Haul truck. She came to say goodbye to me.
I miss my people down there. I miss the children who grew from ages of 3 to 10, from 7 to 14. Children whose lives I shared in so many ways over those years as they were my friends. They helped me garden. We did lots of art projects. We made Playdo. The very first day I moved into that house I hired a group of those children to pick up all the nails and screws in my driveway. I kept those nails. I hung all of my pictures in this apartment with those nails. I am grieving for that home while I live now in this one 2000 miles north.
I have never been so aware before as I will be from now on how every piece of jewelry I own and wear, be it so humble, contains such memories of the passing of my life. I did not say goodbye when I left that little town because a huge part of me did not want to leave. Could not really believe I WAS leaving.
I could not face that loss. It is hard for me now to face that loss — no matter how much I have gained here with my family — a loss is a loss. (I have lost my appetite in this frigid place, trapped like a living bug in amber within this tiny apartment with day and night and day and night of sub-sub-zero weather outside. I have lost my muscle tone. I have become weaker than I have ever been in my life. I need to come back from that. I am teaching myself to eat again. To remember to eat. That seems so strange to me. Yet — so human.)
I must live my life with my heart open. I can no longer find any shortcuts. No ways to close my feelings off from the flow of my life — at least not for very long. I want to be in my little home down there. I want to walk out my door, out my garden gate, across the gravel parking lot to Antonio and his family’s home. I want to walk up their rough wooden steps to their trailer door, knock and be called to enter.
I want to tell them — not goodbye.
I want to tell them what I never said: “I love you. Having you in my life has blessed me so much. I did not tell you goodbye. I am sorry. Please forgive me.”
I would hug them each. I would cry.
I am crying now.
I guess I just skipped all the rest and went for the tears. Or they have come for me.
Here is our first book out in ebook format. A very kind professional graphic artist is going to revise our cover pro bono – what a gift and thank you Ben!
Click here to view or purchase: A STORY WITHOUT WORDS
It lists for $2.99 and can be read free for Amazon Prime customers. Reviews for the book on the Amazon.com site are WELCOME and appreciated!
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