Sunday, August 07, 2011

To Catherine, New.

Dear Catherine,

I know it's been some time since we've written. I like to imagine that you didn't respond to my last letter because you were caught up in an intriguing, mystifying romance. I see you, arm in arm with a smiling stranger- laughing, and I see myself- always looking for you in others, always looking for you in myself. The world spins around the drab and the common. We wake. We eat. We sleep. And I still try to search for beauty in the crisp winds and cloudless skies, in the flow of traffic and the beating pulse of a vibrant city. Since our last communication I have moved around a bit, traveled here and there. I have seen the lands beyond and for all their glory, the ways in which everything is the same baffles me more than the ways in which it's different. I live on the ocean now, again, pacing the sand and thinking old thoughts, thinking of when they were so new and glowing, pulsing beneath my skin, weaving in and out of all that I was. I wrote then, of then; I reminded you of the hesitant glances and and the sudden, unexpected physical contact, your hand on my knee, the other hand covering your mouth as you laughed.

This ocean is colder and there's never a time when it's hot enough to race into the water or slap sand on each others backs. There aren't fireflies here or thunderstorms and I miss warm rain at night with flashes of bright white in the sky more than I miss most things. The city sleeps earlier than I'd like it to as well. But, Miguel and my nieces are only a short drive away and feeling a connection to something whole and dynamic outside of myself is really all I have ever wanted. I often wonder, as my brother's daughters cling to my leg if I am missing out on some important, necessary experience by not wanting to be a parent. But, when they fall down and cry or ask questions I'm not sure how to answer, I look helplessly toward their parents- the desire or ability to nurture vacant and confused inside me. It is often in these same moments that I think of you so tenderly, the babe I held against my chest and soothed to sleep, perhaps the last time I felt truly and wholly this love that I can't shed. I want to give it to someone, to pawn it off a while- relax and let someone else carry its burden. But, they balk, as you did at its weight, its size, the delicate need of its tendril-like arms, reaching out to you and practically begging for absolution.

What am I ever asking for, Catherine, that is so hard for anyone to give? Devotion to the written word? Dedication to the knowledge and uncovering of hidden truths? A headstrong development of educated opinions? A love of tiny things, observing the things that go left unnoticed. I found all of these things once, in you, freckled as you were with an irresistible innocence of ill-experience. Before your brother fell sick the world truly did smile upon you, cradled you in its arms like I once did. And I wonder, now that you've lived more years, if you still have that quiet gaze that never accuses but yet always asks. Are you everything to some brilliant man who knows how lucky he is and who gently brushes back behind your ear that little hair that always strays? Does he hold you in his sleep and touch you lightly, your spine tingling up your neck?

I hope you are surrounded by all the happiness and the beauty that we once knew and I hope you'll tell me what does surround you and what you gaze upon with your contented smile, palms pressed up against your lips, fingers cupping your cheek.

Yours again,