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Archive for July, 2012

Laughter

“Don’t you ever start laughing for no reason and you just can’t stop?”Image

My sister said this to me the night before we crashed in Mexico. The night before she died. That was four years ago today and we were dressed in heels and black dresses and we were stopped on the stairs before the dinning room. The carpet was some kind of black background with little bright spots and I remember staring at her and staring at the carpet and asking what she was doing. I remember I was a little annoyed. I was a little annoyed because I was hungry and I was in heels that were tight and wobbly and I looked at her and she was so happy. She was so happy and she wasn’t afraid to be happy and I was…not. I remember that I wish I could hold her hand and laugh with her and be five again so that we could jump down the stairs and climb back up to the top and not wear heels or red lipstick.

Of course I wish I could do that now, too. I don’t usually wear heels anymore, and I only wear red lipstick because I like the way it makes my lips look and the wee person thinks it’s funny. The difference is, even though I always have a sadness that has settled somewhere deep and in my hips and back and sometimes spreads up to my heart and brain at night, I am happy. For the four years that I haven’t had my sister, I have had my Jude for three.

Maybe it’s him, and the way that I can be young and silly and talk to him like a baby adult and he can give me answers like a baby adult. Or maybe it’s the fact that I had a reason to run away and abandon who I was and become someone new and adult like. Or maybe that now I understand what it means to love and to hold on and to have an expiration date on the hugs and the kisses and the smell of people’s hair.

Maybe it’s all of that.

I don’t think that I have laughed and laughed and laughed for no reason like we used to. The kind where we looked at each other and the laughs wouldn’t stop and we had to go out of the room and cry and laugh and sit with our knees tucked up. I don’t think I’ve done that. But I have had something start in me that was something like a giggle, and that grew into a laugh that crinkled my eyes and came out in short little breaths.

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I have been crocheting a lot lately. And by a lot I mean obsessively, unceasingly, up all night with balls of yarn and crochet hooks inhabiting the space of my bed that used to hold my body. I recently created a little dress whose skirt was comprised entirely of the Solomon’s knot. As I was looping and yarning over and double crocheting and half double crocheting my way through the skirt of this dress the words on the website that taught me how to complete this dress continuously flashed over my brain. “Sometimes call the lover’s knot”. The lover’s knot. It seemed appropriate, the way that the yarn moved and curved and knotted in and out and over my fingers and lay in a heap in my lap. But then, as the wee hours of morning approached, I thought about how nearly every aspect of the crochet world seems like lover’s knots; from the half double crochet to the simple slip stitch, which pulls a single loop up and through your stitch to bring together your two sides. it seemed to me that secretly, and not so secretly, all of us crocheters are whispering and crying and pulling tight our skeens of yarn as we live out our fantasies through spider web afghans and tiny whimsical hats. Or maybe that’s just me.

I spent last week co-teaching a writing workshop for teens at UCF. I’ll be honest when I say that I was scared senseless going into that classroom. I’ll be honest when I say I crocheted an entire dress and a tiny headband the night before. I’ll be honest when I say it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in a long time. Whenever I’m around amazing and talented young people I try to think of what I was like at that age. There was no way that I was so confident, so talented, so…mature? Is mature the right word? They said things like, “I used to be mean, judgmental, afraid, afraid to love who I wanted to love”, and all I could think was, “Did I even realize I was those things at thirteen? Did I ever want anything more than to just be liked by someone? Anyone?”. It amazed me. It amazed me more when they said, “I don’t want to be like that anymore. I’m not going to be like that anymore.”

Young people are awesome.

In other news, I’m in Tennessee in a cabin right now. The cicadas, or some other chirpy melodic bug, are deafening when I step out onto the balcony, which looks out over the mountains. I have seen three bears, one eating trash and close enough to make me uncomfortable, many grazing deer, and many turkeys. I have hiked to a waterfall. I have taken the wee person to throw rocks into a stream. I have seen a salamander. I leave tomorrow and I feel like I’m walking away from home.

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