Nov 17, 2012

My little corner of Galway

This afternoon is a remembering afternoon.

Everyone was always after you to exercise.  It hurts your knees, I know, but we just want you healthy, and some exercise is better than none at all, right?  You must know this.  But I'll bet you never knew that some of my favorite - yes, favorite - summer afternoons were spent walking with you in front of the house.

On the flip side, Commercial Street is plenty exciting.  I'm pretty sure that whoever came up with the phrase "thrill of the hunt" did it after a day of shopping on Commercial Street.  After years of exploring, I still don't know every little alleyway and shop - that's A.  (I never told you this - or her, for that matter - but I've always thought about saving her name for one of my children, if I have daughters.)

Speaking of A, that's another way I could easily spend an afternoon: at her place.  Between visiting V and her baby next door, going through her endless stacks of magazines, pretending to help her at the shop, and horsing around with the puppies, I could easily while away the hours at that house.

But I'm not kidding.  Shuffling back and forth, back and forth, back and forth...from one end of the road to the other and back in a nightgown, Rosary in your wasn't the most exciting way to spend my time, no.  But it was always enough for me.  Could you feel the protectiveness rising in me as we walked together?  Can you feel it now?

I was sometimes maddened by how slowly we had to move, because I wanted you to be able to run.  This frustration was a lesson in patience.  I learned patience as we linked arms at the elbows and you laid one delicate hand in both of mine.  I tasted stillness whenever I drew hearts in the dirt with my toe as you caught your breath.  Sometimes we chatted about my dreams looming large...and at other times, just the minutiae of the day.  But it was always contentment, always peace.

We'd count laps as if it were a pool.  I always wanted to ask you to try for one or two more, but my fear of pushing you past your limits always prevailed.  And that's why whenever you insisted that you'd had enough, I didn't protest.

This afternoon, I finally protest.  I protest!  I am so very angry that you're gone and now I'm left labeling these snapshots "memories".

So in my anger, I took a walk of my own.  It was nowhere special, really - just around the apartment complex where I've been living here.  Want to see my little corner of Galway?

Remember these pants?  I lost count of how many different kinds I bought...

And now I'm back, curled up with my tea and some Alison Krauss.  They're both old favorites, these songs.  The first is just so you can hear her talent - it's a pretty tune in my book, but hardly as relevant as the second one is.

When I'm home, maybe I'll grab R's guitar and play you some of these songs.  Do you remember the evening I decided I wanted to take the guitar back to New York with me?  It was a wild idea, checking in my carry-on so I could protect this instrument by bringing it aboard the planes.  (To this day, it never travels in car trunks - ask my friends.  I usually keep it in my lap, unless I'm the one driving.)

I felt a pull to bring music from this old shard of family tragedy.  I was also bored of just writing for piano and vocals.

You sat in your Waiting Chair, watching quietly as I made my case before your son and his wife, two parents grieving anew in the wake of my request.  When I was little, their son once hoisted me onto the stone wall in the church courtyard - the church where Mum got married - and taught me a simple song as he strummed.  I was sold.

Years later, I was bold enough to ask these parents: please let your son's guitar go home with me.  I promised them that I'd never let it gather dust.  You heard me promise, too, to use it to write their son a song one day.  And yes, I am dredging all of this up for a reason: now that you and he are both in Heaven, would you let him know that I haven't forgotten my promises?

It's a little insane, really.  I feel a little crazy, watching myself tap out such stories as if summers will be the same.

I miss you.  It's simple, and it's not - I miss you.

I'll go back to studying soon - really, I will.  For now, though, I need to let myself cry.  It will be harder later, my friends say, if I don't let myself feel it now...because this afternoon?

Well, it's
 a remembering afternoon.

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