Friday, November 27, 2009


I'm late, I'm sorry. A quiet night after Thanksgiving is as good as any to make short amends. I'm happy to be back, but it is strange. I don't remember many movies that I'd seen before leaving, and if I do the films are static to me, as if I bought my ticket and eight or nine steps into the halls of the theatre stopped slack-jawed and stared at the movie poster, foregoing the viewing for a turn back, a start of the car, and a few seconds wait until the car heated up before the drive home. I don't remember what it was about Coca-Cola that I loved so much in Africa. I don't remember the heat on my face. I don't remember my little sister, who was replaced while I was gone with a sweet, courageous, inventive, and considerate young woman who somehow gets away with talking back to Dad (happy birthday Dad). I remember a room upstairs differently, and I remember myself standing in the same spot before leaving, and at Christmas. And the three of us are still coming to terms with the two rooms. But in the confusion there is one small thing, a journal entry from the plane in January 3rd, 2007:
We woke up at three thirty in the morning and left for the airport in the dark. We were exactly eighty pounds on our luggage, I can't believe it. Leaving is hard and although it's my first time doing so I expect it stays that way with the right people. I cried when I said goodbye to Mom, and if bad is the worst word of its kind, then I felt bad seeing her cry like that, but I'll just have to work hard and make my trip worth it. So I left them to watch me and at the security check I forgot where my toiletries were until Mom yelled out, they're on top, and I found Them and the line moved again. As the plane lifted off I figured out we'd be over Pflugerville in six to ten minutes, and after a few had passed I looked down and thought I recognized our town until I saw the Frost Bank tower and realized I was seeing Congress and the UT tower and Austin. I knew then that I'd never see Pflugerville if Austin was already so small, and for a few minutes I thought about that until I saw the sunrise to the East. I knew that by then my parents were back home, with the sun rising over our yard, and I'm so thankful to have been able to say goodbye again like that. God, it seems, is more impressive when granting condolences.
And after seeing it through for over two years, the same is true. The three of us making sense of two rooms, and the sweet condolences that follow.

P.S. (and then I'll really be done) I'm happy to buy books when they come out at Bookpeople, drink coffee and fresh orange juice that I make myself every morning, listen to NPR, go to work, visit friends and family, eat muesli with soy milk, order tacos at Mi Victoria in terrible Spanish, try salsa dancing, plan a trip to Quebec in the summer, and use oxford commas.

1 comment:

wisdom said...

finally, one of my favorite writers has returned. more please.