I never knew until I was much older why we visited my grandfather so much, having no conception of obligation and little understanding of what my grandma dying meant. All I knew was that every weekend like clockwork we’d pile into the backseat of the family truck and drive from our rural valley—already becoming suburban in the early ’80s—toward Los Angeles. Speeding down the 5 freeway, we’d look for the towering smokestack with word BINGO written vertically down the side. The familiar landmark promised us that we were almost there, and closer still we would singsong the words up potato and down tomato as the truck navigated the Frisco-like slopes that led to our grandpa’s street. Resting at the end of a shady cul-de-sac was his mid-century home, with its familiar orange door, stained glass entry and brick-lined walkway. I can still hear the sound of that deep but melodic doorbell ringing.
April 11th, 2015 § 0 comments
Is six years long enough to wait? They say it takes half the time of a relationship to get over it, and yet like most things we overestimate our ability to understand and process, and perhaps it is more honest to say it takes as long as the relationship itself. I’ve often thought the luxury of having left instead of being left is that I don’t regret you nearly as much as you must regret me. I am allowed to remember what I like, to pick through my memories without bitterness, and when I do I choose to think of the youthful adolescents we were when we made the most sense. Perhaps our entire relationship was like the final scene of The Graduate. Married, escaping eagerly toward a new life, Benjamin and Elaine look at each other while doubt creeps into their eyes, and a partner in crime begins to look more and more like a stranger.
September 17th, 2014 § 0 comments
It’s been eight years since you died and I’m thirty: the Lissy you knew would have found these things unimaginable. Over drinks at a lovely rooftop bar this summer, basking in warm sunlight, I spoke of you to a good friend and ruefully smiled as I looked on bright side. “At least I don’t have to wait for my soul mate,” I said, “he died years ago.” The older I get and the more we grow up, the more I wonder who you really were. We never got a chance to find out, and I wonder constantly who you’d be now, what you’d say about the world, what kind of opinions you’d have and what you’d think of mine.
June 30th, 2014 § 0 comments
For something I dismissed, I remember it vividly. I came to dwell on it months, even years later when I realized with shocking dismay how pivotal my memory of that moment had been. It’s not too often in life that you know beyond doubt that nothing will ever be the same, that you yourself will never be as you were. We realize it later, when the future has unfolded and we can pinpoint in hindsight the moment when “everything” changed. Even so, memories are fickle and so malleable to our own desires that I’m not completely convinced of this one.
I remember that I wanted that moment to be like the scene from Almost Famous, when Zooey Deschanel’s character leaves home. The film came out in theaters when I was sixteen, two years before I moved to Chicago for college, and it made an impression. The soundtrack, the coming of age story, even if it was about a boy, resonated, and the film perfectly captured what it feels like to wait for your life to happen. I was a teenager always on the edge of my seat, hoping to force the future into existence through my own desire for it. I wish I could tell myself then to be patient, and that life, brutal and unexpected, would come.