the shape of memories

mom-and-dad

She scratched her left ankle with her right shoe.  She couldn’t stop moving.  Her skin felt so itchy.  She knew it was because she was nervous, her stomach was upset too. If he wasn’t there as well, she would have died.  She didn’t understand what was happening, why they had to leave and no one had explained it to them.  It was all rather hush hush.   Now here they were at the airport and she had to hold this strangers hand.

Her beautiful dark eyes darted all around, taking in the very busy terminal.  Everyone coming and going, so quickly.  Children holding their mother’s hands, while the adults talked to each other, feeding, bestowing kisses and generally fussing over their babies.  She tilted her head slightly to the left, quizzically marveling at the relationships she knew nothing about.  She scratched her head absentmindedly, now absorbed by the stranger speaking to her brother who looked just as dazed and confused as she felt, but was trying to play the adult, like he absolutely knew what was going on.  She knew better, she knew her brother.  He was her everything, the one sure thing in her life, the one person she could depend on. 

A woman’s voice boomed largely over the terminal. The stranger picked up their bags and tugged their hands to follow him quickly.  They walked out onto the runaway and boarded the plane to the United States. The next time her feet touched the ground they would be in America, land of the free, home of the brave. 

He watched her, peering over his desk to hers.  She was so beautiful, but there was something tragic in her eyes.  He wanted to know what It was, so he could hold her in the darkness until the demons retreated.  He did this every day.  It was impossible to ignore her.  Her long dark hair swaying when she’d walk by, her scent wafting over him, pulling him closer.

It wasn’t a long courtship; he had already met her daughter and she his mother. It was a done deal.  They moved in together and a family was made.  They were married 3 years later and had their love child 7 years later.  Now they had their grandbabies, the years has been kind to them and although they had had to face many obstacles and setbacks, they had made it.

The two little boys were proof of everything good that had happened.  They served as a constant reminder that theirs was a relationship built on love that had weathered the storms.  Maybe it was no longer the white-hot fire it had once been but now a time sculptured testimony to the kids they had once been.  I want the, he says.  Beans with no liquid, she automatically continues.  Finishing each other’s sentences, an unspoken give and take while they ate, walked and generally communicated.  Words seemed to get in the way, disrupting their natural flow. 

I know their stories, I understand them, and still when around them, I, partly revert to a child again, wanting the pretty people to pay attention to me, they are STILL wrapped up in each other, except when they are around their grandsons.   I’m just grateful to know I had a front row seat for this love story spanning five decades. I saw it all firsthand. She had traveled far geographically to him, and he traveled emotionally deep for her. 

They are still ‘kids’ to me, I see them as they are now, but when I look at them through the lens of love, I see his beard and bellbottoms, her go-go boots and big glasses (circa Cher in the 70’s).  They are still kids to me, and I still hold them in protective little bubbles around my heart. 

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