Monday, September 12, 2011

A little ways after departure

"The Reasons I Miss You."

That might be a good blog post title, I think to myself as I turn into my driveway. I'm not going to buy a cupcake in Newburyport, or walk along the dock with the pups wriggling in delight. I'm not going to watch a glass of water sweat condensation onto the top of your magazines, or look anxiously around the small apartment hoping beyond hope that you aren't about to tell me the thing I just told myself, inside my heart - hoping you won't say, "Yes, Hil, you have to do that hard thing." I pull the car into the driveway and sing a little Ingrid Michaelson as the sun (it's shining so bright, you wouldn't believe it) twinkles over the heads of the sunflowers.

I soak in the moment: I'm eating a scone and sitting in the sun with the big black dog at my feet, drinking in the warmth of September. I think about how much has changed, how you and I live in these different worlds: one is full of humid rain and sweet tea and verandas and azaleas and one is full of sunflowers and pumpkin spice lattes and breezes off the Atlantic. How did we get here, I wonder, and I want to ask you, not about this, exactly, but about why there are seasons and why things change.

And last night I went out for dessert, praline ice cream and peach tart tatin spread around the plate with my spoon, and I remembered how many questions you asked without asking. How by the end of the spring of the third year of meetings, I could start talking, talking, talking, and end in the quiet place, even with only an occasional question spoken out loud. How did you do that, I want to ask you. How did you see through all of that organized, competent, driven, achiever exterior and see just me, the girl with the red hair who trips over her own two feet and who doesn't know, in the end, where she's going? Who holds more questions than answers and whose head and heart sometimes fight and sometimes harmonize?

I wrote when your departure was near that I needed to become brave. And I'm trying, in the midst of all this busyness, all this chaos, to find a bit of storm. I still don't move through this like an ocean liner, but I do move more slowly. I am savoring things, resting a bit here and there, journaling, a few poems scattered throughout my day. I'm straining to see Him and to trust it, whether or not it's obvious.

But the reasons I miss you are small and everyday:

tea, and the grey clouds outside your office window
your hugs
the small apartment, and the house, and caffé disienna the first time
telling you about italy
telling you about dc
listening to you tell me to become humble
the way you ask, "what's with that face?" and already know the answer
cupcakes (preferably, of course, without anything too lemon-y)
your love of yellow tulips
your insistence on obedience
the finishing school
the icon
the prayers you taught me
your laughing at me

I wanted to write them down somewhere, because I do miss you, and because missing someone is like recognizing that your heart lives somewhere outside your self. I wanted to say hello to the piece of me you're carrying. I wanted to say thank you, for carrying it with you. I imagine you reading this, wherever you are, and smiling. And I'm smiling back.
(photo: jessica fairchild, jessica fairchild photography)



  1. This is gorgeous. I may have cried a little.

  2. Hil, all our time together helped me to become a better version of myself. I miss what you brought out in me as much as you may miss what i brought out in you. It was/is an emerging dance of a friendship - it definitely took/takes two fully engaged participants. Saving a comfy seat for you in my room - complete with tea, cupcakes, pups, knowing looks, laughter and quiet. This post is a beautiful gift - a grace to me. Miss you too.


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