Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah?!!

[Daily Prompt]
Trick or Trick

It’s 8:45 and the bowl of candy next to the door is empty. The 30 full sized bars had been swept up much faster than I thought. How many kids are in this neighborhood? Maybe they brought friends this year and I miscalculated. I should turn out the front light so that the universal sign for “I’m done with Halloween” is recognized and there will be no further knocks at the door.
Damn it, just as I get to the switch the doorbell chimes. I can see four kids dressed up standing on my porch with the bags in hand. A ghost, SpongeBob, what I think is an attempt at a lady bug, and behind them towering over the others, The Grim Reaper.
“I’m so sorry, I ran out of candy.”
“But your lights are on, are you sure you aren’t just hiding the last for yourself?”
“Excellent question, but not this year. Maybe I can find some candy in the pantry? How do you feel about chocolate covered granola bars?”
“You’ve got to be kidding us! How about you just tell us what trick we can play and then we’ll be gone!”
I had to think that one over. I’d prefer not having something that was going to force me to clean the outside of the house or yard. Maybe I could just let them each punch me in the arm and be on their way? Too easy, and the big one might actually hurt me in the process! “Ah, you four pick a sing and I will stand out int he front yard and sing.” [not only torturing myself but my neighbors as well]
They huddle for a minute and come back to me, “we pick Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley!!!”
What the hell? How did a bunch of kids know that song? Why would you pick something like that? Maybe I thought they would go Justin Timberlake or on the other scale Justin Beiber. But that is one of the most depressing songs ever written. That’s when I notice the weird smile on the lady bug, really odd. Like Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King’s It.
“Can you pick something else, anything else?”
“No, that’s the price you pay for not having enough candy!”
So out onto the porch I amble, a crowd of people now wondering why the kids are giggling and the parents wondering what was about to happen. It takes me a little bit to remember the tune. The chorus is easy, the rest is not.

Baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor (you know)
I used to live alone before I knew you
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
and love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Each pained note straining to get out from my throat.  People just staring back at me while my heart is being ripped from my chest.  Tears streaming down my cheeks and I finally get out that last Hallelujah.  I’m shaking, the life has just been dragged out of me and I’m left an empty shell.  Alone with my thoughts as the kids slowly head down the driveway and into the darkness of the night, I shut the door behind me and collapse on the floor.

It’s then that I realize what scares me the most, me!  My broken heart.

For those who don’t know the song – www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8AWFf7EAc4

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How I learned about Loss

I am scared of the phone…

There are fewer things that can scare you than waking up to a phone call in the middle of the night, only this time it was 10 a.m. and I still lost my mind for a few minutes.  Everything had been great just the night before, today was January 1st 1988 and everything was supposed to be possible.  Over the next couple of weeks I learned that sometimes those possibilities were harsh and unforgiving, life altering and long-lasting in their ability to color my perception.  It all began with a phone call, much like the way it would end.

It’s a simple story written by hundreds over the course of a thousand years.  Boy meets girl, boy chances girl, surprisingly girl chances boy back, and finally they hold on to each other.  I was fifteen when I met Patre sitting behind me in History II, otherwise known as U.S. History post-Civil War [relegating Vietnam to a taboo subject by my teacher’s choice!]  We did the normal teenage dance around one another looking for obvious signs this might not work, but finding more that made it fun, exciting.  She was able to convince me to drag myself to school dances that used to follow football games and we would sit in the corner talking while our friends jumped around like lunatics.  The slow stuff was out time, her 5 foot 2 inch frame trying to hold onto my 6 foot 4 inch height.

It all came to head the evening of October 12, 1987 – finally admitting to one another that we should make this official and “go out”, or whatever term we used to define ourselves.  I woke up the next morning having a “girlfriend”!  Life was good.

Over the next couple of months we did all of the normal rituals.  Friday nights out with friends, Saturday nights she and I would watch a movie and have some dinner.  Usually at one of our parent’s places just so that the need for transport was limited.  I look back at it now and realize that it was the same pattern I modelled my last relationship with.  One night out and about, one night home just the two of us.

There was the time Patre was able to get me to see Dirty Dancing, a movie I have never seen since.  She would come to basketball tryouts and make loud fun of my shorts.  Begging me to never wear them in public again.  I ran home and washed them just to tease her the next day before putting on different shorts.  It was fun, it was comfortable, and for the first time in my life I was understanding what it meant to be in a relationship.  Sharing silly moments, followed by serious work [at least school work in this case], and trying to make different schedules work.  Holidays spent with both families, an oddity for kids, but my parents really liked her and her parents seemed to tolerate me being around their daughter. Good life lessons.

Then we get to that early morning phone call.  The Sunday was nice, the sun was out and it was actually pleasant for that time of year.  But by midafternoon I was sitting in the I.C.U. waiting to visit.  Trying to understand the mix of emotions swirling about my mind.  What the hell was going on with her and with me?  She was tired the night before, but not enough to think she would end up here!

The setting simple, hospital gurney, tubes coming out of her arms, rhythmic beeping from the machines monitoring her every something.  All I could do was walk in and give her a kiss.  That’s when they broke the news to me, Toxic Shock.  Something was in her blood stream and attacking her.  All we talked about that afternoon was the first thing she wanted to do after getting out of the hospital was to get her driver’s license.  She had put it off long enough and with her 17th birthday approaching [yes she was a year older!] wanted to be able to go and do things without needing others help.  We talked about how she wished she had been more fun at the party the night before, not sleeping on the couch.  I didn’t know what to say, I was just happy to spend any time with her.

After an hour or so my parents pulled me out and we let her mother go back to doing those things only mothers seem to do.  It was a tough ride home, a lot of confusion on my part; how long was she going to be in there?  No sooner had dinner finished than the phone was ringing.  Patre was alone now and wanted to talk.  Her voice was so faint, like she was trying desperately to focus enough energy to keep me company.  Two hours on the phone, which now seem like a flash in my mind, went by too quickly.  Patre couldn’t fight it anymore, she needed to sleep.

It was the last time I ever heard her voice.

The next day her mother called me while I was in school to tell me about them having to put her in a medically induced coma.  I had no idea what she was talking about, I know what a coma is; but why would you chose to do something like that.  The breathing tube was the answer I was given, she would fight it the entire time.  Gasping for air when it was being pumping into her.  It was a long night, sitting there watching her, hoping that the spikes on the Heart Rate Monitor meant that she could understand what I was telling her.  That holding her hand in some way comforted her while she was like this.

The nurses told me that she seemed to respond to me, so they suggested making tapes about what went on during the day.  So those times when others couldn’t be around, she still had a connection to the outside world.  Busy work for the kid, or might they know something.  Didn’t matter, it gave me a purpose.  Running around between classes, getting others to just say anything into my tape recorder; it filled the days.

For two weeks I watched this go on.  12 days to be exact and there are twelve of the longest days I can remember.  The first time I ever was on the receiving end of those phone calls we all dread was January 12th, 1988.  It was a Tuesday and the weather outside was getting to be nasty.  They were calling for big snow that night, so I had to get to the hospital sooner rather than later.

That’s when they told me she had a stroke and was brain-dead.  The doctors and nurse, our combined parents had never lied to me about what was going on.  When she started to have organ failure, they told me what it all led to.  When she had the stroke, they walked me through how it happened and answered the limited questions I could muster.  They were preparing me the best they knew how for what would happen next.

It was the last time I would see her before her funeral.

I was home alone.  The snow had cancelled school and I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I wanted to be at the hospital, but because of how far it was in the weather it just wasn’t possible.  My father was travelling for work, my mother has somehow made it to her own office, my little brother off with friends.  Then the phone rings.  1:30 p.m. on a snowy Wednesday afternoon.  “Patre had to be taken off life support, we’re so sorry Lary.  We wanted you to be there, but we knew we just couldn’t wait any longer.”  Those words are some of the most meaningful in my life.

Deep panic set in.  I didn’t know how to process what I had just heard.  I even called her mother back to ask her to repeat what she had just told me.  Shock has started to take hold.  I called my father on his trip, tried to get them to page him.  Track him down.  I must have called my mother’s office a dozen times, but only got her voicemail.  I asked her to call me as soon as she was free.  Twenty minutes later the garage goes up, she must have gotten her own call from Kathy.

That night I went to a school thing for my brother, or should I say a parent meeting for my brother.  Lots of adult who knew me but didn’t know what they would read in the paper the next morning.  It probably filled them in on why I was there in the first place.  The rest of my night was spent calling those few people who I desperately didn’t want to learn of her passing in the news.  Wanted them to have a chance to deal with things before entering school the next day.  Full blown adult mode was achieved that evening.

Those next days were just a mess.  Calling friends who might be willing to be pallbearers at the service.  Having to explain what was needed from them and would they be there.  Friday night spent in my basement playing Jeopardy with a dear friend who nominated herself to be my designated shoulder.  She knew she couldn’t be there for the service, but knew she could be there for me that night.  Thanks Jill!

This was the first time I had actively participated in a funeral service.  Relatives had died before, but someone else was there to take care of the daily grind.  This time I was standing there receiving condolences like any other member of her family.  As many people walking up and asking if I’m alright as those asking her parents and younger brother.

They had left a section for the friends to sit and stare into the distance.  I recall one guy who just couldn’t stop crying.  So much crying that I needed to take him outside and ask him to walk for a minute.  His grief was so palpable that I could feel its grips clawing into me.  The service I don’t remember.  I’m sure it was just like any Catholic funeral anyone has ever attended.  I just kept watching the casket.

When we drove out to the cemetery it was sunny and warm.  I remember just wearing my suit and no overcoat.  I can see the hill where we are driving up as clearly as the hill in my own back yard.  The homes in the distance that make you wonder why someone would choose to live across the street.  The sound of all those friends just holding onto each other as we carried the casket to the gravesite.  Every step a little harder than the last.  Making sure that I hold onto her with every last ounce of strength I could manage.

When I was 15 I lost someone a cared about.  It haunted me for years.  Knowing that she made me think about my place in the world, not only through her death but also how she wanted to live.  Every January 13th I light a candle for a short time to remember her.

I have only ever felt that panic twice since – the phone call I received saying Whitney was in the hospital having her appendix out [ https://509majesty.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/looking-back-to-how-it-began/ ] and the day I was told my daughter had died.  But it all stems back to this time in my life, the helplessness of being 15 trying to understand love, loss, growing up without being able to grow old.  I’ve lost friends, family over the years; none as painful as these losses.

We are all a collection of memories, some much better than others.  I just wish I didn’t have these.

How My Horoscope Almost Killed Me!

[Daily Prompt]

In Retrospect

As the Fall approaches more than just the leaves will wither and fall away.  Your heart will shrink and life will become harder.  The life you once knew will change forever, you will find yourself drowning in emotions you can’t control and others don’t understand.  Where you once found solace, you will now only find pain.

Last month was a roller coaster of emotions, this month you will experience that and physical trauma as well.  The promises made by your doctor are going to come to a head and require you removing yourself from society by the end of October so that you can fix yourself internally.  Beware shaking hands hold knives…

Reach out, let someone know you are low.  Hopefully they will be there to help.  If not, while no man is an island, he can be set adrift on a life-raft.

[I looked up my actual horoscope for October 1, 2014 and unsurprisingly this is what I found –

Technical, domestic and medical problems move to the front seat today. Issues of creative nature, love dramas and children’s upbringing troubles may also join them. Some circumstances may be of urgent nature for Pisces.

Given my daughter’s passing, the end of my relationship and now being told it’s surgery time, I might have to follow what these people write more closely!]

I am the God of Hellfire…

Daily Prompt
Custom Zodiac

Okay, maybe a little dramatic in titling this; but I was thinking that people under my sign would be best represented by fire.  Not just a little flame, a bonfire lighting up the night.  Equal parts life affirming and completely destructive.

Fire allows us to prepare our food, to manufacture tools to help us; in that way fire is a nurturing creature of sorts.  We grow strength by its glow, find warmth in its embrace and when under control fire keeps us safe from harm.  Provides a beacon for others seeking shelter.  A loving and gentle person.

When left unattended, it grows angry and spreads.  It lashes out.  There is little anyone can do to control fire, only appease it until it has finished its path of destruction.  And just when you think it has been extinguished, you find it popping up somewhere you might not have been looking.

Sounds a little dark, but lately it has been a life lived on two separate planes.  One where I get through the day, head down and just doing the best I can.  The other times a whirling inferno not knowing where my emotions are going to lead me.  So those people who are best described as human would best fit in my zodiac symbol.

You Don’t Know Me!

Doppelgänger Alert

I’m standing in the mirror of my own life. Rooms filled with things but do they hold the same feelings for me as they do my host? Are they nothing more than trinkets from vacations, the random picture of family sitting on an end table? Just because they have been able to buy the stuff in my life, do they know what means something to me?

Why id there a Dream Theater poster sitting in the corner from a concert years ago?  Were you there and remember the crowd, the smell of the venue, what about the people standing in front of me? How about what happened that night of the concert?

I’m walking into the kitchen and see the pretzel pan leaning against the pantry wall. Why do I need this? Do you know if I’ve used it. What my favorite type of pretzel would be?

My collection of Star Wars Lego sets sitting on a shelf rather than in a box like so many toys from my youth. Collecting dust, waiting for a new generation to play with them. Why these sets, rather than others?

Do you know why the closet sits half empty, the drawers the same? Why a stuffed Winnie the Pooh, long past its years as a child’s toy, wears a Red Sox shirt?  How about the sweater I wear a little too often to be close to someone?

What is the story behind the sonogram in a frame, yet no other pictures of a child? Do you feel my grief, my pain, my loss?  The stack of unused Daddy Projects that haven’t been opened in months, calling to me.

To someone they might just be their way of being a part of my life, but it’s about the emotions and experiences that give meaning to those things. So while they might have my refrigerator, do they know who picked it out?  Why it was important to get something someone else could use?

You can clone a sheep, but it’s not the same. Life is different for everyone, every moment comprised of tiny variations in how we see something.  It’s color how we feel about a subject.  It changes our attitudes over time regarding so many topics.

You may have my stuff, but you don’t know me.

My Descent into Hell

It’s been a month since they let me out of the hospital.  Why would I want to memorialize that?  Simple, if I let someone know how it felt maybe they will get the help they need.  Or maybe by telling someone I am taking yet another step in trying to get the help I need.

It was a crappy, rainy Thursday morning.  Four days had passed since receiving that text message telling me to no longer contact her.  Four days since her mother looked me in the face and told me it was all my fault, everything that had gone wrong in life was a result of me.  I couldn’t even ask what she meant by that statement.  How could I be responsible for losing a child?  I know I am at fault for not paying back a debt to her family.  I know I am at fault for the arguments about needing her when she couldn’t be there.  I know I wanted a life with this wonderful woman, but I always was battling her mother for time.  But I had dedicated the last year to doing everything Whitney asked.  Everything she requested, even when it was the wrong thing for me, set me back a little; I did I because she simply asked.  I’m responsible for many things, but to be told I am to blame for everything, from someone [her mother] who I loved even though we were in disagreement, stung.

I had been sitting in my office, talking with some people on a video conference.  Nothing unusual about that, but a private message comes across my screen asking me to hang out afterwards.  My boss had a question that wasn’t relevant to this topic.  “Why did you come into work today if you are taking some NyQuil?  You could have handled this from home and stayed in bed!”

“I’m not on Nyquil, but I just don’t feel so great today.”

“That’s obvious.  I sent you a phone number of someone I want you to call while we’re still on the line.”

Curious since it was a local number, but wondering who was going to answer.  The local hospital was the answer to that.  Specifically the people tasked with mental health issues.  As my boss listened in to me talking about my feelings, I never saw the message flash on the screen that said “Get some rest.  Call me when you can.”

I’m in the car heading to the emergency room.  How long it took I couldn’t really tell you, from this point forward time sort of losses all meaning.  I do know that I had to be walked down the hallway by the voice in my ear.  Made me wonder if they had me on camera and knew my progress.  The waiting room is empty, unlike when I had been there 10 days before.  Only concerned how to help this beautiful woman who was in such pain.  I somehow find a corner where no one notices a 6’4″ guy hunched over, grasping his backpack.

There are a lot of things I don’t remember about what came next.  The ringing in my ears I recall, the feeling of pins and needles in my hands and arms vivid, the absolute feeling of terror rushing through me is about it.  Who talked to me, how I got into the gown, why there was a bandage on my arm were all things that even a month later I can’t piece together.  For me that is almost as bad as the pain, what did I do?

Laying on the gurney, waiting upon my final destination to be readied; a cold room with nothing but a bed and television secured to the wall behind plexiglass.  There is a camera mounted in the corner to watch me, making sure I don’t start to do something the hospital can’t easily undo.  It’s cold, I’m shivering in my skin, shaking from the stresses tearing me apart.

The nurse comes in and scans my wristband, asks if I need something to drink, and asks if I want her to call my emergency person.  That last one sends me over the edge.  “No you can’t!  Please, please don’t call her.  She won’t answer, she can’t be here, She won’t be here.  I need you to just leave it be.”  These statements cause her to retreat from the room quickly, not from fear but from not knowing what to say.  She was just the girl gathering information, not prepared for that outburst.

Now the duty nurse is asking all sorts of questions.  “Did I take something that I was coming down from?”  I wish!  But most importantly “Do you want to take something to help calm you?”  Well yes, but no.  I can’t let my mind be any more clouded than it already is.  I couldn’t stop feeling.

One thing you can’t do when being help for a mental health evaluation is try to bargain your way out.  There is no leaving once you tell someone you don’t feel good about yourself and have had thoughts of hurting yourself.  The more you fight, the more the system works to keep you there.  And boy did I fight.  “What paperwork did you file to hold me here?  This form is blank where the name is!  You’re holding me against my will!”  A particularly amusing statement since I drove myself and asked them for help.

Who were they going to call if not Whitney?  For years she was the person they should have called, would have called; but now that just wasn’t an option.  My mother was nominated for that job now.  This is the middle of the afternoon and she wouldn’t be allowed to see me for several hours, I needed to calm down and that was only going to ramp up my emotional response.

The next couple of hours are filled with pills for the infection I was fighting, newly aggressive from my not eating much and sleep hadn’t been an option for days.  This only added to their desire to keep me there.  If I wasn’t able to manage this, it would be just as harmful as the ideas ruminating in my brain.  Kidney infections are nothing to screw around with.

Why no doctor?  Why the constant need to ask if I would take something to help me sleep.  It didn’t make a whole lot of sense until later.  You’re going to be here for some time, it might be better if you got some real rest.  Tomorrow is going to be tougher than today.  Little did anyone know that my parents were yet to arrive with their own set of concerns, questions.

I know they arrived at 10 pm, and only because the nurse made sure I was awake and moving when then came into the ward.  A collection of 10 private rooms spread about a common area where we could watch each other.  Nominate someone for the Loon of the Day trophy.  I had wrangled a chair from the opposing room so that my mother had a place to sit, my father opting to stand guard at the door.  “They’re going to keep me here for some time.  I don’t know how long, but I do know I don’t feel safe.”  Words you don’t tell your mother, it only sets her off.  There’s no yelling, nothing like that, but you can tell she doesn’t want to hear what comes next.  “Right now this is the best place for me.  I can’t be out there.  Hoping someone is going to knock on the door and try to save me.  It’s not going to happen.  There is no hero coming out to rescue me, no friend who I will magically get to notice that I am circling the worst moments of my life.”  My parents leave a couple of minutes after that.  Some because I couldn’t talk to them anymore about this topic, but more because I couldn’t get through.

This time I take them up on the offer of something to get me through the night.  Somehow the lights went out, but it was still me, a blanket and my pain.  It was fitful, restless sleep.  My body getting woken up to take more antibiotics and for them to take my vitals.  The next thing I know my mother is back in the morning, this time cut short by my first appointment with the psychiatrist assigned to pick me apart and potentially try to build me back up.

She’s a short woman named Maria who comes up to my chest.  There’s a little apprehension on her face since she isn’t completely sure if I may be a physical danger to her.  I sit back on the bed while she takes up a space on the chair my mother had recently vacated.

“Why did you want us to not call your emergency contact person?  Last night you were combative about wanting to leave, but always polite.  Yet we couldn’t make a phone call without you absolutely going manic about it.  Do you feel in danger from someone?”

All interesting points, but she must have known what I said.  All I could do is repeat that I didn’t think she would be helpful and that she might not be able to reach out to someone who could.  I spoke about the loss of our child, the loss of our relationship, just a long list of things I felt I had lost this year.

“That’s enough to make anyone feel out of place.  What do you want to do when you leave here?”

Take a shower, maybe drink something that doesn’t taste like pure sugar.

“No I mean, how do you plan on creating an environment where you feel safe?”

I didn’t know how to answer that without sounding scared.  I went ahead anyway.  I didn’t feel safe in a place where I still feel Whitney’s presence everywhere.  The closet and drawers that are empty so that she knew she always had a place to be.  Food purchased just days before that only she ate.  I didn’t know how to feel safe when I had walked into the hospital wearing a sweater she had given me.  I wanted to run away, I wanted to be so far away from here that I didn’t know if I could ever stop running.  My location could change, but she was such a part of me that I didn’t know how to live anymore without her.  I really didn’t want a life where she wasn’t a part of it.  So no, I don’t know how to create a safe place.

I’d spent so long trying to make her safe, trying to do my best to protect her from the bumps in the road; I no longer knew how to focus that inward.

“We’ll talk later, I can see you getting upset right now.  I don’t think you are ready yet to leave.”

Damn it, I brought myself here, why can’t I decide when I get to go?!!

A list of therapist who specialize is family counselling appears and I’m asked to contact a few and see if there might be someone I would be interested in talking to.  Well how about the guy I’m already seeing?  Apparently decided that maybe I should talk to someone new, not giving up on me; but maybe a different perspective was now in order.

Someone around my age? Check

Someone with a family? Check, Check

Those were my only thoughts.  Someone who might get some of my references and someone who may have dealt with some of the issues I now face.  Simple enough, I made an appointment for the following Tuesday with a lovely woman who sounded nice.  This was apparently my first step towards getting out.  A few more steps included not crying while talking, eating the horrible food [no one bothered to ask why I didn’t want the meatloaf, I don’t eat red meat!!  Offer me a peanut butter sandwich and I might have inhaled it after 24 hours of sugar water!]

Eventually my mother was contacted later in the day and told that if she was willing to take responsibility for my safety, I could go home with her.  I was told without getting more and better help I was going to find myself back in this room and maybe having harmed myself in some way.  Prescriptions for anti-depressants, a new and better antibiotic and a promise to call someone if I needed to talk and felt I couldn’t.  Not sure how that last part works, too tied up to talk yet aware enough to call someone to talk.

I got home.  Let my dog know I was safely home and took a shower, ate some peanut butter and crackers.  Sat down on the couch and just stared at my email.

In the month since this, I carry the hospital band in my pocket everywhere I go.  The doctor has told me she’s not sure what to make if that besides my desire to remember how bad it could get again, should I let it.

Every day is a constant battle of wills.  The one driving me to reach out to Whitney and ask her if we ever will be able to find common ground and work towards what we both said we wanted only weeks ago, before the silence.  And the one making sure not to call her work or go there since she should feel safe there, free from my ability to randomly pop in.  Not having to explain to anyone why she gets upset when I walk in.

The other is the guy who is so lonely I have taken to sleeping with a bear from my youth wrapped in a tshirt of hers.  It”s not been washed and will eventually smell more of me than of her, but it is the closeness I need.  It’s not about sleeping, that still is a battle I’m not winning.  The panic attacks still happen and I can’t predict.  Crying bouts in the kitchen when I see a set of headights approaching around the time she would have come home.

I still haven’t talked to a single person around me about anything that has transpired.  They know nothing about how I am doing.  I’m not sure I have the strength to hear that they might not care.  And then the shaking begins,,,

My descent is currently in a holding pattern.  My brain trapped in the idea of what I could do, what I might be able to do to help.  I may never know, I may never know…

The Dream of My Daughter’s Eyes

Local Color

There are many pictures I have of who my daughter might have been. Would she be tall like me? Is it possible she would be a copy of her mother, not an athletic bone in her body but a spirit that made the world within her grasp? Could she have been the best of both of us, leaving out the things that made us scared? But the one thing you can never truly picture of a child who was lost before she had a chance of being born is what she would look like as she grew.

I have this notion that she would have gotten her mother’s green eyes. This color that you see when you look out your window watching the leaves turn. This reflection of light refracted by a soft moisture as my daughter is running through a fleshly raked pile of leaves, set out just for her to bound through. The sight of that is something I long for. As she aged everything about her would have changed, her hair, her height, her personality as she figured out who she wanted to be. It would be the color I see as she waited for her first day of school, her first date, the day she graduated, and hopefully the day she had a child of her own.

IF there were any object whose color I would want etched into the memory of my world, it would be the color of my daughter’s eyes.