November 21, 2012

Grateful

Eight years ago I lived in many winter nights that felt like this: quiet, full of pasta and easy sauces, slippers, the hum of heat through the vents, not somber but alone. I had a little apartment in a small town I'd moved to because it had given me my first real job. I knew so few people, was familiar only with the handful of roads I traveled for work or food or home home. I was thankful, so thankful, that I'd been given the chance to do what I loved, but it was strange, being an adult, more serious than I'd anticipated, and I spent long minutes--sometimes hours--curled up in blankets, my curtains open, gazing out at the shadowed hill that rose up to meet the western sky.

That is, until a phone call.

George lived in California. He'd moved there for adventure, for music, and his winter nights sounded like this: colorful, full of fish tacos and frozen yogurt, running shoes, the jostle of multi-lingual neighbors laughing out his window, far away and fast. He lived in Venice, one block from the ocean. He biked to work along the boardwalk where he waited tables with new friends, went out after work to shoot pool, sometimes took air-mattresses to the surf under starlight. Everyone he knew was from some place else. And he was thankful, fully thankful, for all the things he was learning about himself. But it was strange, he said, living on your own far from home home, more tiring than he anticipated, and he spent long minutes--some times hours--plucking out melodies on his guitar, thinking back toward the Midwest.

Until a phone call. Until a voice made a night more warm, more easy, simply because of love.

I am thinking about this now because I woke today to a thin coat of snow, and the evening's darkness comes on so early, and I am alone tonight, at least for another few hours, and I am struck, so tenderly, by how young I was at twenty-two, how open were the windows and doors that led all directions, and how right I was in choosing the path that led me here. It isn't that I lack regrets. It's that somehow, from this place, they don't matter.

We talked on the phone for the rest of that year. And then he returned home home. And then we married. And there are still nights like this one when we are in our own worlds, parted by a black sky and cold air and other commitments. Where I make pasta with easy sauces, and I'm sure if he could, he'd choose fish tacos instead. Where we stare out of separate windows and think thoughts that we will not share, because we're separate people, our own.

Until the lock turns, until the door opens. Until he is home home, and I am home home. Until he puts his backpack down and I help him with his coat and right before we kiss we look around us at this life we've created--simple, a few walls, music and books, lighted lamps, a child--and find ourselves anywhere and everywhere together.

24 comments:

  1. Emily, you continue to impress me with these poetry stories you share, these verses which spring from your heart. Such love, such joy, such depth.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your love and your child.

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    1. Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to you, too, Audrey. So much to be thankful for this year!

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  2. Oh, Emily, this is a beautiful slice of gratitude.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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    1. To you as well! Grateful to have you reading!

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  3. Absolutely wonderful!

    One becomes two, two becomes three, and three become one.

    And the soft warm aura of autumn that that illuminates this spring of your life, radiates from your beautiful words, and lights a Thanksgiving Day candle in our hearts.

    For this, we are indeed grateful.

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    1. I was thinking today about how truly happy-inducing it is to be thankful, how gratitude inspires even more joy. If this post spread a little more of that sentiment, I'm thankful for that, too. Hope you and yours are well down in Florida, Phil!

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  4. Emily:

    Although I only know you through our blogs, I am happy to observe your growing love and deepening devotion; for each other. Wait until your baby comes... multiply these feelings a hundredfold.

    Thanks for the beautiful prose.

    Richard

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    1. Isn't it funny how that happens: words do link many of us, despite our living miles and "real lives" apart. I appreciate your support tremendously, Richard. I feel it! Hope you enjoyed a blessed Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

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  5. Beautifully written. It's so important to remember where we've been and where we are with gratefulness.

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    1. Agreed. The photo is from Point Dume in California. Seeing it helps me remember those very things.

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  6. Grateful indeed. And when we are lucky enough to find love it is an event so unusual we should remember it whenever we can. You are indeed very fortunate to have found love and created a life.

    Beautifully written, heart felt and languid. An easy pace for all of us who want this to last.

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    1. Thanks, Bill. This post is because... I couldn't help myself. :)

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  7. Lovely way to describe starting a new life, a family.

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    1. I've always loved looking back at the ripples. "What was it exactly that led me here," you know? This time of year, I find, presents me with many opportunities to consider such things, and I find contentment in the answers.

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  8. Such a sweet story, Emily. You've warmed my spirit this morning.

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  9. I love how you captured your nights in Minnesota and George's in Venice. Your words created not only a visual representation, but an emotional one too. What a great love story!

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    1. I tend to like it. :) Those times in our lives of heightened emotion... for me, at least, they are full of the most vivid images. Thanks for reading, SPT!

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  10. Such a tender, gentle post, and how that repeated phrase - home home - resonates. The search for home, the longing for a true home home, is so deeply embedded in our hearts. In her last days, my mother said, "I want to go home", clearly longing for what you have - love, security, and support. When any of us find that, we're blessed, indeed. And how beautifully you count your blessings!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. HOME home has been on my mind a lot recently: where it is for me, what it feels like, how it comes to be what it is. I've moved a good bit in my thirty years, so it's been comforting (and wonderful) to realize it doesn't really matter where specifically I am anymore, as long as I have this dear man beside me. Mushy, but true. :)

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  11. your writing is so beautiful! it was so lovely to read this.

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  12. "It isn't that I lack regrets. It's that somehow, from this place, they don't matter."
    Yes. Exactly.
    Such a beautiful piece, Emily.

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