Because of coffee, a friend of mine was able to have her article be featured online. I remembered her asking me to make an illustration that could go with her piece. To be honest, I was surprised that she appreciated these clumsy hands of mine. And when she sent me the link to her article, I didn't know what to feel. It wasn't my best work, but I was glad it became part of something that mattered.
bus stop (watercolor on paper)
I'll always be grateful to you, Rann. Here's a link to her article, A Thousand Miles, published two years ago. It's a good read.
I presented this entry for a Spoken Word event months ago. I couldn't perform it the way spoken word performances often go. But I felt I had to share it. I wrote this on the day of the event itself, and even without practice I had to do it. There was a lump in my throat, my chest pounding as my heart was eager to jump out. I finally shared a piece of myself for the one who isn't here. I shared it with dear strangers, the way it should be.
I remember not the “how” of our first encounter.
Maybe I was in my white stockings, like all the little girls that time, and you were always the same; in a shirt and straight cut jeans. It was a time when children were made to cross over a coffin - to silence the one who passed. I remember our parents pressed on, “Love each other, “Love each other,” “Love each other.” How strange. I was supposed to love you, a stranger, who could hardly say my name the right way. You were a blood of my blood. Fine. But still a stranger. What was playing in your head then? Time continued to be time, and again we met. Were we strangers still? I knew your name, and you knew mine. You kissed my cheek, and I, yours. But whoever gave you butterflies I never knew. And who filled my cup with tea, you never met. Were we strangers still? You became the captain of the band of curious, the word ‘cliche’ of Meg’s “I won’t say”, the 3 of my Algebra when I was barely a 4. You were the cry from listening to the song “Por que” as I translated it from Chavacano. You were the broad back I watched as you played soccer by yourself along the sea shore. You were a walking secret, and I pretended to know. Were we strangers still? I remember the scent of the hospital, your mother drowning in her tears, your eyes staring as I reached for the handkerchief you dropped, your voice as you mouthed “I just missed you all”, words I last heard from your lips. If I had let time pass, and let moments be moments, I thought this wound would heal. If I’d kept the voices in a box, I’d thought the memory of you would just be a butterfly brushing its wings on my skin. And if every time I’d hear the song you had given life with your dance, the heart wouldn’t crease again and again. But the memory is unforgiving, and time will remain to be; forward, always moving forward. When you passed on, the hand I wanted but couldn’t hold became the handkerchief I gave that day. We were strangers... ...still, I miss you.