Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Slipping away

Seen a shooting star tonight
Slip away
Tomorrow will be another day
Guess it's too late to say the things to you
That you needed to hear me say
Seen a shooting star tonight
Slip away.
--Bob Dylan

I thought it was a helicopter, flying unusually low, but suddenly it burst and then was gone. I remembered then a night when I was six. My family had just moved into a new home in Texas and our furniture hadn't made it. We didn't have the utilities set up so we slept in sleeping bags in the back yard. A shooting star soared through the sky and my mom, sensing my restlessness, said we should go find it. 
It had to have fallen in the next street over. If we were fast, we'd see it burning its final embers in one of our neighbor's lawns. Armed with flashlights, my mom and I ran through our new neighborhood, laughing and beaming our lights across our neighbor's grassy lawns.

It came back in an instant, something I had nearly forgotten, as vivid as the falling star itself. For a moment I felt mesmerized, and hoped it was an infatuation with the organic beauty of the burning star. No sooner had I given in to the romanticism of it all than it dawned on me, that what I actually found so captivating is for the first time in a long time, I could think of something not tied to you. Recall a memory you aren't a part of.
How long had it been?

I've been looking at the sky a lot lately. 

In July, on a beach in San Juan, I thought of you as I trudged through the sand. It was sunset and in my mind were flashing memories of you and I--just further down on the beach--rum drunk and holding each other in the sand. That memory was my safe harbor and I would think of how, for a moment, I sat up and you woke up--afraid that I'd left you on the beach--and pulled me back onto the sand with you. Sometimes, I would close my eyes and remember 
the jagged rocks on the shore
the way the clouds moved slowly, like they were being dragged, across the starry sky
the way my cheek felt, pressed against your cold dress shirt. 

And walking down the beach in July, I felt broken knowing I was going to give this memory away to the moon. With sea salt and tequila and a page from my journal and fire. I surrendered you, and my heart ache, and the memories I desperately held onto--all of it, to the moon. 

Grandmother moon, I can't carry these things anymore.
Grandmother moon, they're so heavy and they hurt so much.

And then I gave her my blood.
And I carved her likeness into my ribs as a reminder--these things are too heavy for me. 

In my bed, long after my gifts to the moon, moments after the shooting star, I cried. 
Swept up in the visions of my childhood, I forgot to make a wish. 
And maybe it was my offerings to the moon--my blood, sea salt, tequila, my writing--that kept me from making a request of the falling star that I would have made before. 
In all obviousness, before, I would have wished for you--for you to think of me again, to love me again.

That night, you'd been so far from my mind. 
You're slipping further and further into the recesses of my distant memory. 
I thought, someday I'll walk past railroad nail and it'll bring back the memory of the time I was inconsolably and inconveniently in love, only I would have nearly forgotten; like the night I ran with flashlights with my mother. 
What did she say then? While we were running?
"If we find it, we can still make a wish--a big one!"
I sat up in bed and put on my sandals. Outside, I felt around in the dark, damp grass--hoping maybe I'd feel the warmth of last burning embers on my palms.  
This time, I wouldn't wish for you, but I'd wish to relive that time where you were my safe place; the time of blues in the bath tub, and coffee houses. The time of love poems and cigarettes.
And if I could go back, I'd do things differently--I wouldn't love you so proudly, but with the desperation of someone who knows they are going to embark upon a grave loss. Not in the hopes that I could change our story, not in the hopes that we'd still be, but to relive some things, to hold on to some things a little longer. To hang on just a moment longer.
On that night, I couldn't bear the realization of all I'd given over to the moon. 

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