9 Years: The Anatomy of Fear

September 17th, 2015 § 0 comments

Lying in bed, restlessly sleeping beside an unfamiliar form, through the open window and into the quiet darkness of the early AM hours in Queens, gunshots rang out. No shouts or scuffle followed the cracking sound that reverberated like echoes, sending waves anxiety and terror shooting through my body. By the time sirens could be heard they were distant and far away. Fear, that emotion we can’t control any more than love, longing and grief, has defined a certain part of my year since I last wrote. I hated playing what if games as a child, a pointless and speculative exercise, and yet this type of thinking has come to define too many of my decisions.

The weather over the last week has turned predictably cool. It’s fall, and as usual, I miss you. Another breakup, another loss, the lingering sense of loneness and that overwhelming desire to talk to you make it undeniably September. Understanding, I sometimes think, died with you, and if I am feeling particularly childish and romantic, as I rarely am these days, I wonder if you can feel the cool, exciting wind of fall, if you can remember me, if you know how much joy you gave in such a short period of time. It’s been a long while, Jon, since I knew belonging, understanding and innocence. I can remember with sharp detail the aspirations of the childish girl who loved you, and yet a friend of mine said recently, “I have seen changes in you, but somehow they seemed part of the maturing process, under it all you were still there. Now I am reassessing.”

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A Singular Presence

August 8th, 2015 § 0 comments

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.

grandpa3.jpg

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8 Years: The Right to be Forgotten

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.

The Veiling

The Veiling

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Two Memories

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.

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On Aunts & Impending Aunthood

December 9th, 2013 § 0 comments

At a recent gallery opening a friend and I were discussing our impending entry into aunthood as both our brother’s wives are pregnant this winter, and I exclaimed half joking, “it’s a lot of pressure!” Obviously being an aunt is like being a babysitter compared to the pressures and weight of motherhood, and yet what lead me to the thought is how much I remember of my own aunts. My mom is the middle of three sisters, and while my aunts weren’t around as much as I hope to be for my already adored niece, I still have vivid memories of them reaching back as far as I can remember. Though they didn’t loom as large in my life as my grandfather or great grandmother, who together filled the void of having one grandpa and no grandmothers, my sporadic memories of them range from the silly to the profound. Anyone you remember like that, who is a permanent if inconsistent fixture throughout your life, has played a role in shaping who you are, and the idea of being the shaper rather than the shaped is a daunting one. Thinking about what my niece might remember about me made me rethink what I remember of them.

grandpas house

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