The Unforgettable Man
He was a cheapskate. That I know. He bought things on discount and in bulk. His family turned badly printed napkins inside out; they split one can of orange juice between 9 kids. They wore hand-me-downs clothes and cheap shoes.
He was a plant-person. He saw a plant, and he bought it. He stuck it randomly in the yard. He planted hundreds of pine trees and other evergreens.
He was intrigued by new inventions. He bought a portable telephone and kept in his car. But, to make sure nothing would happen to it, and because it cost money to make or receive a call, it was never ever used.
He loved words, but couldn't say them right. He used a hard 'g' in the word "gee" rather than a soft 'g'. And only stopped when his wife pointed out that "gee whiz" wasn't said with hard 'g'.
He loved to argue. He could drag out an argument for hours...and hours...and hours.
He loved to read aloud. His kids heard many, many stories from him, and then read them to their own children.
And then, he died of cancer. Leaving 9 kids between the ages of 19 and 2, and his wife behind him.
Yes, I know many, many things odd things about him, but much about his everyday life. I've imprinted everything I know about him in my memory, so that someday when we meet in heaven, I'll recognize him. I'll fling my arms around him, and tell him who I am.
Who was he?
And I never met him.
He waits for me to understand
He is what always was,
and that's most of what I know.
Not only beautiful, but Beauty itself.
He's not only good...He is Goodness.
Some argue that truth is relative...
That what's true to me needn't be true to you.
Him you met, you'd know that's false.
He is the Truth.
And He is Love, and Unity, and the giver of life...
My Hero, my Savior...
My Lord and my God...
A servant, and yet, a King!
I love Him and I long for Him...
But so much moreso He loves me,
and so much moreso He longs for me,
and with that same endless passion He feels for you,
and loves you and longs for you to turn to Him.
And He would do anything to have you.
Anything to have me.
He would suffer, or struggle, or sacrifice, to save.
And He did.
If that's not Love,
July 5th, 2015
There used to be a young man who would sit in the pew ahead of me in the church. He didn't say much. I think he just smiled a lot. I can't remember ever speaking a word to him, but I'd see him most Sundays, dark black hair, a handsome suit, quiet and focused and different, different because he was good, and not many young men are good anymore. Sometimes he'd serve at Mass even when he lost his arm to the cancer that was rapidly destroying his body. I thought that after the amputation he would get better just like that.
He died seven years ago today. I don't suppose many people remember him. He was just so quiet. Humble men keep to themselves because they don't need validation or awards. I would like to have the copy of the letter he wrote, addressed to every member of the church; I was nine years old last I read it. But every year I remember the day he died. I remember the pride I felt to sit in the pew behind him. And I hope that I will have some of that goodness one day, the goodness that strikes a little girl, even from a distance, so that she can never forget the beauty of being different.
to be (un)forgotten
I think part of you wanted to be forgotten.
Not completely, not forever, but there was something about the way that you held yourself: like you could disappear instead of being present. Like you would prefer no one see you at all.
And not in a shy way. You were never shy. In a way that meant you didn't give a damn. About class, about teachers, about what was 'in' and what wasn't.
It surprised me when I heard you were so good at debating. At first. But you're good at arguing, which is why we got along. Because I'm not.
You always had your head bent over your notebook, entirely and completely absorbed. The world didn't exist, and for that I was jealous. That you could block it all out.
My favorite part, often my absolute favorite part of my entire day, was to tell you something cheery. In a class that would've otherwise been unbearable, wasn't it beautiful to share some sarcastic joy with you?
And you would scoff and groan and complain, and I knew you hated that class, and you pretended to hate me too sometimes, but that only made me like you more. Your pessimism only made me more optimistic, because it was endlessly amusing to annoy you.
But I knew you liked it.
One time Mrs. A caught you eating in class, right there in the seat next to me. And I laughed at you, behind her back, while I continued eating goldfish out of my pencil pouch. You pretended to be angry, of course. But it was hilarious, we have to admit, that I could never get in trouble and you always could.
Sometimes being around you hurt, which isn't surprising, from the way we talked to each other. In jousts and opposites and barbed wire. You called me Rudolph, once, when I had a pimple on my nose. And then I was self-conscious about it the rest of the day.
Sometimes being around you hurt for other reasons, silly things that seemed more important back then. You know your old best friend, the one that became mine, wanted to go to prom with you? But you didn't take her, and you didn't take me either.
Did you know I sometimes almost forget all this? It was all so long ago. But the memory of your face, and your teasing, and your laugh: those remain. Forever, most likely.
I'm not sure I'd have thought of you again, for quite some time, if I hadn't stumbled across an old note of mine. It was meaningless, on one hand, and on the other, I remembered again why I miss you.
A memory, simple, of the two of us pretending to pray, kneeling next to each other in that suffocating little chapel. We must've been handed rosaries to pray, because Lord knows neither of us would've willingly decided to pray one. Or pray at all.
"I dropped Jesus," you'd whispered. The plastic crucifix-Jesus stared up at us from the floor, and the beads in your hands ended with a loose thread. And I know I had laughed, and you had too, as silently as we could so we didn't get in trouble. And what a welcome relief. In a place like that.
There are words that I never said, and some that I'm glad I didn't. Maybe parts of you wanted to be forgotten, but parts of me did too. We didn't know then, but I think that's what made us fit.