It is blue hour now, the sky tinged with violet hues that ache with soft pink and washed-out yellow.
I stopped listening to Of Monsters and Men for several months last semester. In the midst of grief, of lamenting the necessity of goodbyes and see-you-laters, the melodies were too jarring. They made me cry. They reminded me of what I thought were better times, reminded me of what I now lacked.
Now, the sense of loss is so strong that I feel forced to remember it wasn’t always like this. We weren’t always so isolated, in our own separate spaces, unable to embody the very gifts of vulnerability and physicality so essential to building friendship. So, I’m listening to OMAM again, hoping the music can return me to an easier time but it can’t.
Texts are awkward. Phone calls feel forced. I slept through a FaceTime reunion.
Which of these friendships have a strong enough foundation to last through an indefinite period of separation?
A gray tabby cat with four white socks leaps to catch the first butterfly of spring. But the butterfly is elusive, its fast-beating wings anxious to live. And so the tabby can run but not as fast as the insect can fly.
I find pieces of my dearest friends in the books I read. They stare at me from the pages and say, “Remember me?” I stare back and smile and say, “Yes.”
How could I forget? The picnics, the late night drives, the coffee shop chats and study sessions, the reading together, 3am delirium, checking CPO, tea, singing in attics and parked cars, the ambling conversations about everything, the partaking of communion, the hugs after reconciliation. But also the tears, the wrapping in blankets, the bringing of tissues, tense silence, awkward silence, desperate prayers, heartbreak, dehydration.
It’s all a part of this thing called souls meeting souls, reaching out to souls, hurting souls, encouraging souls. And of all the souls in this world I am thankful I have had the immense honor of meeting these. And we will meet again.
Bright yellow buds cling to the trees outside like raindrops on a window screen. They refract, reflect the light. They point to a beauty greater than their own.
These days I am the only human subject I can photograph. The taking of a self-portrait is scary. The editing of a self-portrait is even scarier. The process means getting too comfortable with one’s flaws, wondering if this is what everyone has to put up with on a daily basis. What do you see? Do you see what I see? The drooping and puffy right side of my face, the awkward dimples that trip over themselves when my mouth laughs, the one eye that’s bigger than the other, the painful acne peppering my hairline, the crooked glasses, the flat nose, the lips stuck in a pout, the clenched jaw, the furrows between my brows, the smattering of freckles on my cheekbones?
But the human form is the imago Dei. And so, somehow, I will learn to see in myself what I spend so much time trying to see in others. Because self-pity is another form of pride.
The eight-year-old girl next door was a baby when we first moved in. Now she’s playing soccer in the backyard, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and pants with patterns on them, and she reminds me of myself.