Posts Tagged ‘homecoming’

Too Busy Being Present

January 13, 2014

To think about myself.

That is until I was falling asleep in a metal folding chair snug between my mom and my sister.

Whoa.

I really almost did nod off there, losing complete track of what was being said or where I was, except, there, in between the two of them, no need to be anywhere else, no need to go anywhere, be anything, aside from present and accounted for.

Which I managed, somehow, despite the long delay at the gate in SFO.

Despite the seating I was in, smack dab in the middle of the row just in front of the emergency exit, ie, according to the stewardess who I flagged down passing like a ghost ship in the night, lights just so dim on the plane.

“Oh, no, those seats don’t recline,” she said in a whisper, “exit aisle.”

Oof.

And new babies.

Poor little babies who don’t know how to pop their own little ears when the plane descends from above the sky to circle down to the landing.

One little girl, couldn’t have been more than three weeks, maybe four, and the wailing so piercing.

But I did drift off, in and out, absurdly grateful for my little velvet neck pillow wrapped around my neck, giving me something to snuggle into and fall into sleep with.

Why have I gone so long without?

Never again.

That freaking pillow is coming on all planes, trains, and automobile that I happen to travel in.

I was able to sleep, despite the non-reclining seat and the howling missives of babies, hungry or tired or overwhelmed by the turbulence.

I nodded off.

Until I was awaken again.

This time with the announcement, “is there a doctor on the plane, is there a doctor, please raise your hand now, your assistance is needed,” urgent and disembodied from the flight deck over the speakers.

Did I just hear that?

“Is there anyone with medical expertise on the plane, any doctor, nurse, EMT, please raise your hand, there is a medical emergency on the plane that needs addressing,” the voice continued in a more urgent manner.

We are all going to die.

The pilot is ill.

The plane is going down.

And I thought, you know, I can accept that.

I’m cool.

Just a little tired, don’t mind me.  Can I take a little disco nap before we descend into the inferno?

Then, we were really descending, but in actuality, and the sun was pushing in under the window shades, a bright, limnal light that shaved away at the sleep in my brain and woke me up enough to deplane, groggy and needing the bathroom in the terminal.

Bypass that first bathroom always flocked with the newly de-planned, please, folks, don’t you know to go to the next bathroom in the next terminal, no lines.

I took care of a full bladder, washed up, straightened up myself and went out to forage in the land of food that is not the best for me to eat, but since I have to be here for another two hours, I better get some sustenance.

One Naked juice later, a banana, and some cashews and a large coffee, I was ready to sit and attend to my morning routine.

It may not have felt like a real night of sleep, but it was morning and in the morning I write.

I felt a bit anachronistic sitting there with my Claire Fontaine notebook and my ink pen, scribbling away while surrounded by the Iphones, Ipads, Ipods, smart phones, androids, tablets, cords and chargers and other effluvia of the technological set sitting out the delayed flight connection as well.

But I did it anyway.

Then I opened up my own laptop, pulled out the charger and check my schedule on-line, noting that it still said  I was on my way to Orlando and in fact, was just about to land.

Uh no.

But I did get there and I did sit in the back of the car, warm, with the windows rolled down, grateful to be moving in another plane of motion other than up into the sky, rolling down the Florida parkway, hitting the tolls, heading North ward, avoiding that great suck of a black hole, Disney World, by a few miles and exits, until we hit Leedsburg and I saw my sister.

Pretty good that.

“You’re so little!” She said to me engulfing me in a hug.

“I don’t remember you being this small,” she said with a smile.

Hahahahaha.

REALLY.

I am the shortest in the family and no one, no one believes that.

Here, home, with family, the only family I feel comfortable wearing platform shoes in, because I still won’t be the tallest.

Mom and sis and her husband and youngest daughter, my mom’s partner, and I, a friend of mom’s and the smallest little dog I have ever seen, really when did mom get into tea-cup dogs? Pile into two cars and I really am not the tallest and it’s pretty funny.

Well, ok, my eleven year old niece is not taller than me, but you know what, she’s going to be.

My other niece, who is 21.

21!

“Can you believe she’s twenty-one,” my sister said, showing me a recent photograph.

“Yes,” I said, but honestly, it feels like yesterday she was this high and we were going for a ride on the carousel at Ella’s Deli on East Washington and eating ice cream Sundays in the main parlour, sitting perched on the old-fashioned chairs, watching the marionettes float over the tightrope wire that raveled just under the ceiling.

That niece.

That niece is 6’2″.

I really am the shortest.

But we all fit.

All together now, like a pair of gloves you think you’ve lost that suddenly, magically appear out of now where in oddest place, the bottom of an old utility drawer and you take them out and they fit, molded to your palm, a forgotten friend.

Maybe they are a little dusty, a little frayed, but they fit, soft, smooth, and perfect on your cold tired hands.

Her hand, in mine, in the dark, we both sat in the back seat of the car returning from an evening with fellows celebrating anniversaries.

I had all the celebration my over-tired self could handle.

And it was there.

Just there.

In the palm of her sweet hand in mine.

Nice to see you again.

And though I may be shorter.

You still are my little sister.

You always will be.

Love you.

Always will.

Never stopped.

Now What?

November 29, 2013

So, this whole “holding space” thing is starting to make me wonder, what for?

What am I holding space for, or whom?

I turned down a nanny gig for tomorrow.

I turned down a house sitting gig for this weekend.

I don’t have plans people.

I have three days off, three days into the six-day staycation.

I have a lot of “selfie” photographs from the beach.

I have slept well.

I have cried a little and drank a lot of coffee.

A lot.

I am like a recreational coffee drinker.

Sure, I’ll have a cup.

In fact, I had two tonight after the six o’clock point, which is so rare as to be a phenomenon of sorts for me.  I might be up to go clubbing, hit me if you want to go dancing, I am jacked up.

Unlike the fellow comatose friends who I just recently left.

I just got in from Marin.

From a house full of people I did not know.

But with a standing offer to come back anytime.

I think I got along well.

No doubt that my friend’s friends were going to be good people.

And they were and it was really nice to be a part of a gathering, to help out here and there, to chase the two-year old around the living room and snuggle with the dog.  To talk with the mom who is expecting and the dad who had the worst best holiday sweater that promptly came out once the dessert was being served.  To help wash dishes and to smell the smells of Thanksgiving.

And actually watch some football.

“Why are you crying?” My friend Wilmein asked me last year in my French class in Paris.

I was looking out the plate-glass windows at the mottled dark sky leaking rain, the inside of the windows starting to steam from the bodies in the class room, and the various voices, German, Japanese, South African, South American, and me the American, practicing our “futbal” excercise.

I had been struck by the worst homesickness I have ever had on Thanksgiving last year in Paris.  I had just been in the class room a couple of weeks and had already been making friends and Wilmein was such a pumpkin.

“It’s Thanksgiving,” I whispered under my breath, “I, I am supposed to be home watching football and eating too much pie.”

Although I had done neither of those things in years, that was what I was supposed to be doing, not studying a soccer composition for a rhetoric lesson in French.

“What is Thanksgiving?” Wilmein asked.

Jesus.

Of course, like they celebrate an American holiday in South Africa.

I told her.

“Oh!  You’re homesick!”  She said it sweetly and patted my arm.

Indeed.

I was.

I was not tonight.

I was a little uncomfortable every now and again, but for the most part, I felt quite warmly welcomed and it was nice to be in a group of people celebrating their friendships and connections, listening to stories, though not mine, still stories, of home, and I like me a good story.

I like to tell myself some “good” stories too.

That I am alone or unwanted or not loved.

Such bullshit.

I am loved.

I love, there for I am loved.

I had wonderful texts and messages and phone calls all day today.

I got to talk with my mom for a little while, I sent my little sister a message, my grandmother, my aunts, I got phone calls from dear friends, and I got to spend some time down at the beach walking in the tides.

The waves so mighty and gigantic, I saw very few surfers and it was wild.

The sun was warm and I felt really blessed to be down walking the shore and listening to the lull of the waves.

My brain said I was alone.

But my heart said, no, you are confusing “alone” with “lonely”.

Yes, you are alone, but you are not lonely.

I had the song of the sea and the memories of past Thanksgivings keeping me company on the shore.  I had the love of friends old and new reminding me that I was thought of and often.  I had my own good company and that of the wind and the ravens on wing in the warm air.

I didn’t really feel alone.

And I didn’t feel homesick.

I felt at home.

I can be an isolated person and I work at rectifying that, but sometimes the deep serenity of being on the beach is a kind of company that I have only experienced by myself.

Sure.

When I saw couples walking on the beach holding hands I wanted that too, still do.

It is a bonfire scented night, the skies are clear, I have the next three days off, I want to walk on the beach and hold someones hand and be kissed under the stars.

I am a romantic at heart, in nature, and that is a want.

But it is not a requirement to having a deep and meaningful relationship with my community, my fellows, my friends, and frankly, with myself, or my home.

Or my city.

Seeing San Francisco lit up like a Christmas ornament tossed down from the heavens as we crossed back from Marin through the Golden Gates, I was so enthralled with her beauty and so grateful that I was home, again, here, now, not saying good-bye, but rather a new hello, a new experience, a new kind of life here in this city which I continue to get to live in, be captivated by, and romanced.

I was deeply thankful.

I am grateful for many things.

Not the least of all the time that I have over the next few days to continue my homecoming.

That’s what this Thanksgiving feels like to me, a homecoming.

I am home.

This is it.

From one side of the city with the Embarcadero One light up with Christmas lights to Ocean Beach with Orion rising over the black waters, shimmering luminous above me.

This is where I am meant to be and this is where I shall stay.

I have meaning.

Here, most of all.

I belong.


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