When my mama came to you with Remnants of Tears Still Yet to Be Cried left in her sockets and the stiff smell of Sadness on her breath, did you touch her wrist first or take her full force into your arms?
When she came to you looking more sleepless than Seattle, more worn than the limbs of the teddy she carried 17 years back, did you see her?
And when the strange ruckus of sounds moved out from her lips, “I don’t love him anymore. Will you help me call the wedding off,” Did you hear her?
When Indecision hijacked her Being— the tall frame and skinny legs of a daughter who was wearing a ring just yesterday—did you hold her?
Did you take it all in? And did you think, for maybe a moment, that before a more efficient version of the record player came around we should probably find a way to suck the tears from the eyes of one another?
Cause we don’t do that so well anymore, Grandma. No, we don’t do that so well.
You know, I’m afraid to admit to you that most of the fragmented pieces of my friends’ hearts come to me by way of messages that take up half an inch of space on my screen, that scream and howl beside Social Steals for yoga that is only 30 dollars this month. Only 30 dollars… I think that’s a deal.
That I’ve got more pain piled- like fluffed whites and linen- in my inbox. So I respond when I can. I click “reply” when I can. That I’m furiously tapping “Stay Strong”s and “We’ll meet up soon”s before my mimosa reaches the table and the conversation turns back to me.
Truth told, I’m scared. 1,500 followers lately and I’m most petrified, really. To tell you that all of this is Normalcy. It’s habit. Lifestyle. These Parades of Personality, this Character in 140 Characters, this Follow the Leader who has no reason to be followed, really.
I like mud runs. Chai tea with the skim milk steamed. I believe in people, in their goodness. I’ve been praying for my husband, wherever God has him right now, every day for three years straight. There’s not a reason to follow me at all.
And Grandma, I’m so torn. Because something like last night, four women sitting beside one another, laughing over thai food and wine while they talk of education for girls in India & poems in Brooklyn, never would have happened without a thing called Twitter. Torn because I’ve found God’s Children in tweets and they’d be the kind to join you for toast and hot chocolate. I know it. They would.
But I want to relearn Sacred.
Something you once told me would matter before the days I had to wonder if heaven had an inbox or if I could send a text message that would reach you through all the dirt. And the tears we cried. And the bagpipes that played when we placed you there, deep in the ground.
Like the dinners where phones don’t touch the table. Or moments when a vibration couldn’t take someone away from me so easily. Like boys whose faces glow without the help of a screen. Friendships founded, planted & rooted in dialogue such as this:
I’m struggling. I need you. Diner. Ten Minutes. No Questions.
Sacred. Like a time when you had me. You really had me. Showing up at my kitchen table to help me piece together the JonBenet Ramsey murder case, sitting with me for Tiny Eternities to talk about Who Done It. No text to answer on the other end. No reason to pin & tweet & tumble somewhere beside strangers who never called me “beautiful” with my ballet tutus on.
Grandma, I’m still teachable. Still so teachable. & eager to believe in the boy who makes poetry in hand movements, with blue eyes that sculpt lullabies like fragile fingers on pottery wheels. Eager to believe in Presence & Speechlessness & Skin: The First Connection.
Grandma, I’m so teachable. & ready to re-remember that I had you at a time when Apple was a thing that sat in the middle of table before you halved it and spread your love and peanut butter on top.