Solstice stories: you aren't done with me yet
I've written about you before, in entries both public and private. In the years before private entries I often avoided acknowledging you by name, allowing the unaware to draw the conclusion that I must actually be speaking of the person I married.
It was not always the case.
For this installment, instead of starting with new words, I will acknowledge some old ones that were about you all along:
There is no 'me and you,' and never has been; this funny friendship has meant many things over the years, most unspoken and unacknowledged, but there for both of us. Easter brought you back to me, reminded me of why I have Life A here in Huntsville and Life B in Atlanta, reminded me of why I think the drive is worth it and why I'm unlikely ever to have a life, singular, in one place or the other.
easter(n), April 2007
He stares at me on the train, blue eyes slipping sideways, flicking toward newly-shadowed eyes and that mouth, that mouth, suddenly full and rosy against cheeks tamed by a subtle application of color. Had my mouth always been that shape? I had always imagined it a thing simply there, functional, utilitarian, not to be loved or noticed or stared at as an object of lust.
It's charming. I could choose to pretend that I don't see the motion, but secretly I like it. The lips, those lips, curled into a smile of their own accord. Yes, notice them. I don't mind.
"Well? What do you think?"
Remember to pack your lip liner, June 2004
and as close as I ever came to a public acknowledgment:
I've written emails to many people this week, emails to people whom, if I were half as reticent, would likely have been liberally sprinkled with the word [love]. I've never been able to buy into the idea of love and friendship as a mutually exclusive stair-step curve; for me, there is no magical and sudden transmutation between the two. Plotted on a graph between zero and love, my friendships trace a gently asymptotic line. Many simple, platonic friendships. Some are deeper, complicated.
Some tend far, far closer to love and complexity than they ever will to zero.
obvious in my heart, May 2005
Those were you. (Well, except 'Remember...' which was half you, and half someone else.)
The funnier thing: I was once intimidated by you. Jeff occasionally refers to hiding in plain sight, and I think he stole the idea from you. I look back now and realize that you were undoubtedly flirting with me, and flirting outrageously, from the first time we actually met, but through shyness and utter disbelief it took me years to accept you were serious.
Without forcing me, you gave me a choice: I could continue to live as outwardly shy as I inwardly wasn't, for fear of others seeing my true wants and desires, or I could learn to be brave. I could seethe inside, with my brain roiling with wanting things I was afraid to ask for, or I could poke the tiniest hole in my ironclad reserve and…ask, in the tiniest whisper of a voice.
You—outrageous, outspoken, brash—also proved to be loyal, patient, and ... kind.
("Open your eyes, Amy. If you want something, have the courage to look.")
The patience was not outside the realm of expectation, but your kindness was what left me undone. You taught me something I have since turned on others with a great deal of pleasure: "All you have to do is ask for what you want, and I'll give it to you. But you have to want it enough to ask first."
(I guarantee you there are three people who, when they read that previous sentence, all muttered 'So HE'S the jerk who taught her that trick.')
I have loved you with a mix of fierce protectiveness and sheer exasperation of someone who loves a person whose words and actions she can't predict. I have loved having a key to your house on my key ring, of knowing I was welcome any time. I have loved the changes you incited in my life, all of which probably would have happened someday but happened much sooner, thanks to you. I've loved you for turning my life upside down and helping me resettle it into a better order.
I can say this with assurance, remembrance, and laughter: no, you aren't quite done with me yet.