She arrived Friday afternoon
having driven five hours from Los Angeles
just to be here with us.
The last time we were all here in San Jose together Orion was not yet talking
Janey was our only cat
and The Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan show.
Just kidding about the last part!
Too long is what I mean, that it's been too long.
This cottage was glowing with life:
three beasts (four if you count Elliot)
one babbling brook of a boy
a husband excited to say hello after a long day working
gentle chaos -
the joy of offering my arms open with this bounty is beyond compare.
Here, dear friend, sister friend,
be enveloped by us:
there is so much of us to hold
and we cannot stop smiling.
I didn't love living in Los Angeles geographically
and I much prefer Northern California
but when I spoke of the move that our newly-married hand was forced into nearly five years ago
I still got all choked up,
laughing with surprise as I wiped away my tears over coffee this morning and asking, "Where is this coming from?"
I intrinsically understand why grief still exists about the move, old as it is:
it's the part where the story we demanded be written, the destiny we stomped our feet to see followed
became other than what we most wanted.
Schmilly and I found ourselves lonely and foreign in Petaluma, surrounded by beauty and trying to feel a measure of safety, a place to put down roots after sudden relocation.
Our best friends were all suddenly very far away.
We've all been there, right?
It's the lover we decided was our mate that leaves and shocks our narrative
or the job we counted on that vanished in thin corporate air
the plot twist typed by someone else's fingers,
Who can say with certainty
what shifts that wind and blows our little boat north
when all we packed were bermuda shorts and suntan lotion.
But despite the little tender places that soul-good conversation opens and presses with salve
I'd say our redirection has been nothing short of a miracle.
The only thing missing is the proximity of my people
and when they come up or we go down south to visit
my heart and mind click gently into optimum condition:
I feel it tonight
in my spine, in my smile.
I feel the room Terra and I made by thumbing through the stories the phone calls miss,
sharing them with care and oh my God there was so much to laugh about,
so much laughter that was such a gift
for a tired mama.
The kind of silly where you can't ever stop, three minutes later you try and every breath
is funny. You hear the other person inhale and it starts again like a round. Like kids at a sleepover way past bedtime.
Before we said goodbye I clicked six or so portraits of these four souls
and they devolved from neat and smiling to fast-motion breakdown,
Orion demanding to be set free
Elliott whining and Anthony trying to hold the pose
the progression quite like a building demolition but with people
the last picture is simply Anthony's forehead and Terra's sweater swirling to the left
but what the camera could not capture are the peals of laughter
ringing off the wood floors like bells
that chime the dawn.
With friends like mine I feel ready to face the words written in my future history regardless of who holds the pen. We'll make sense of it all together.