Wednesday, August 14, 2013

IN THE LONELY COOL BEFORE DAWN

I have stumbled across the oddest things while unpacking boxes — tidbits and trinkets from times untouched by any recent thoughts.

There: my high-school senior picture, complete with helmet hair, a leisure suit (blue with red piping) and a background of autumn leaves that looks like a wall of fire.

There: photos of me as a Young Turk reporter, as a courtroom writer, as a magazine editor.

There: a cork from a bottle of red, with a simple inked inscription: first bottle 07/11.

There: a snippet from a lovely letter left behind and forgotten.

Some things I pull out of the boxes and place on a 7-foot-tall metal bookcase. Other things — the cork, the snippet of paper — go into a new box, one I will keep safe and dry and closed in a closet.

In the hallway at work today I ran into Joyce. I follow her on Pinterest and often she pins bits of found poetry and sayings that make me misty — not sad, not exactly — because I can tell she knows what it's like to love without condition, and the dueling feelings that kind of love can create in the heart. It is impossible to hate the person you should hate the most, and nothing will ever change that truth. Days weeks months years pass and still there are no conditions, still there are sharp edges to the love, still there is the warmth and brilliance of that sunshine, cutting through time's accumulated dust. Think about it long enough and pretty soon it's 5 a.m., another night of sleep lost to wondering about the Whys. At least there are no dreams on those nights.

I step onto the balcony and bow to the east, where an edge of pink begins to brighten the sky. The air is starting to feel like autumn. Almost over is the summer spent praying in vain. I say good morning to the one who is never gone. There is sushi in the fridge and green tea steeping: breakfast.

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