And you wonder . . .
You wonder who will be there when it all goes down.
When everything falls apart, you wonder who
will be there to help pick up the fallen pieces.
You wonder who will help fix the shattered pieces
of your broken heart—or who will show up
without so much as a hint or even a phone call
because this is what real friends do . . .
The people I have met, whether they are good or bad,
or whether our interaction is long-lasting or short-lived
have come into my life for a reason.
Every memorable conversation or moment I hold
comes with a tag, which I store away in my mental archives.
I keep them to remember the good times as well as the bad.
I hold them like lessons I should never forget.
Once, in a life long ago while lost in a struggle with my own
awkwardness, I have a memory of an overnight stay
on the east end of Long Island.
And though the crowd I was with was wrong for me,
And though the night ended poorly;
there was a tooth print in my right knuckle
and my jaw was sore from a punch I never saw coming,
I still recall the sunrise that came the next morning.
I remember the beach and the dunes behind me.
I remember the sky and the different colors along the horizon.
All the world was softly sleeping
all was quiet and my life of havoc
was momentarily suspended in a place of peaceful thought.
I hold this memory with the sole purpose
to remind myself that even amidst the turmoil,
there will always be beauty. Always . . .
I just need to know how to look for it
Although I may change or evolve,
and though certain personalities may
no longer coexist with my own
and even if I have transformed from who I was
into who I am now,
the memories I keep will never change.
The other morning, I drove down East Meadow Avenue.
I made a left on Front Street
then I turned right on Merrick Avenue.
When I passed the fifth house on the right,
I noticed the changes.
See, this was my house.
I grew up in the upstairs bedroom to the left of the steps.
The current owners removed the Maple tree The Old Man and I
planted on the front lawn.
The siding is still the same, but the front porch is different.
The garage door needs to be changed
but the black lamppost is still standing at the front of the driveway.
There have been slight changes to the landscaping,
but otherwise, the house looks the same.
I remember the very last time I closed my bedroom door
before leaving the house.
The room was emptied of all my belongings.
All the secrets I kept hidden in secret stashing places
were covered by sheetrock and wood paneling.
the secrets of my youth are all hidden there. . .
like a time capsule, unknown to anyone else but me.
The hardwood flooring was covered with carpeting
to hide the stains and sins of a life less responsible.
The dreams I had in that room and the nightmares
have all been redecorated to another homeowner’s taste.
But I still dream of this room sometimes.
Actually, I dream of it often.
With all my belongings boxed and all of my shelving emptied
I looked at the room I grew up in.
I looked at the walls and I looked at the closet.
I closed my eyes and tried to remember the way my room
looked through the different phases of my
pre-teen and teenage years.
I looked once more
because I wanted to always remember this room
exactly as it was. And I do remember.
23 years later, I still remember it perfectly.
And when I closed the door to my old bedroom,
it was as though I closed a chapter in my life.
It was enough to make me cry.
It was enough to make me think of all the years
I spent in that room, and it was the sort of memory
that I will always hold on to.
It seems we are this way too.
Of course, this is a metaphor . . .
We evolve and we grow.
Then we come to a point when we move on to different chapters.
We close the door, so to speak, and we go our own way
to make our own stories.
I cannot explain why our lives intersect or overlap.
I cannot explain why our lives split in different ways
or why we lose contact.
I can only say I am grateful.
I am grateful for the friends I have made
and I am grateful for the friends I have lost.
I am grateful for my mistakes and I am grateful
for the sight those mistakes have given me.
At the end of my day, I return here—
I sit down and dig into the quiet of a room I call my own.
I listen to the sound of my fish tank,
which stands behind me.
I lean my chair back and I lift my feet.
I play something quiet—maybe something soothing,
like a soft instrumental,
and then I let my fingers dig into a keyboard
as I type my way to the next chapter.
It’s not always an easy thing . . . to close a chapter, I mean.
. . . . . it’s enough to make me cry