I chose to believe in God the night my best friend and I fell out of Love’s gloved hand at the very same time.
We ran off to her dance studio with candles & love notes & tissues in tow, turned off all the nights, and just laid in the center of the floor for a very long time.
I remember a lot of silence. The kind of silence that hung her pain on coat hangers in the hallway.
And then the sniffles.
The occasional reading of an old love note or two.
The “Why is it like this?” and other questions we couldn’t answer.
And hot tears.
Hot tears that made no noise but still took every bone inside of you not to plug your ears and belt out Mariah Carey just to make it all feel more normal. Not so crazy. Not so miserable.
So this was it… the ending to a dizzying several years packed crater-full with First Kisses & sweaty palms at homecoming dances. Nights of no sleep, wrapped tight in the squiggles of telephone cords during the times when phones still stayed attached to the wall. Secrets sneaking into the crooks of 1:02am. Giggles piggy backing the 3am hour. The first I. Love. You—said in a hurry—until you realized you could say it again & again & again. Without ever stopping. No one would make you stop.
I chose to believe in God that night as our hearts sizzled side by side like bacon strips basking in the heat of the pan. Cracking in a way that made you say, “I won’t have words for this thing for a very long time.” Your daddy couldn’t prep you for it. It carried no resemblance to the ice cream falling off the cone.
And she and I– we lay there– Crying. & Unashamed. Because it hurt. & when you were a little girl you let the tears roll in when something hurt you. & we prayed to be little girls once again when all there was to cripple your spirit was Sticks & Stones & Words, but never boys with sweatshirts cloaked in cologne as they pulled you in by the waist before geography class.
I chose to believe in God that night even though just days before I had told my mama I thought maybe we were all just particles. Particles without purpose. Formulated from the sea the way the science books illustrate. Evolution without a God. Bodies just crashing into one another with no real beginning or end. And we’d go to the ground without angels.
She ignored me. Ignored me as if to say, just wait… just wait for the day when you are sitting Indian-style on the floor of a Brooklyn apartment, tasting the sweet butter stirred deep in the take out clam chowder while she sits in the chair before you and reads poetry off pages because it is the only way she knows to cry out to you. You’ll feel God and the might of His peppermint breath as it blows in the sacred pockets of that time when you are sharing pain like playing cards with someone who just wants to disappear for a while.
Just wait to realize that God is everywhere in those Kinds of Moments that carry no nobility or pay stub for your listening, where you don’t have the right words and your arms are so tired. And your heart is chipped. And the Pain has Pummeled the Parts & Particles of You.
Just wait for when the world gets Too Heavy and your heart gets Too Broken and you’ve got to believe in something above roofs & ceilings. Skylights & Billboards. Something more than particles rising up from the foam of the sea.
Particles. They ain’t the kind to get up in the morning to the sound of church bells & sip mimosas & share croissants with strangers as some kind of strange communion for the humanity we lost in our iPhones.
Particles. They’re not the type to still believe in music even when the tuba player has headed off for the circus and the pianist ran off with the drummer.
Particles. They wouldn’t have reason to yearn to be a Part of this. To give Parts of themselves. To never want to be Apart. But to want to do their Part. And Sometimes on Some Days, still, fall Apart on dance room floors with broken hearts strewn beside old love notes and tissues, crying upward to a God who never believed in Ceilings or Skylights or Limits anyway.