I believe that friendships run on time that obeys no tick-tock clock. Something beautiful can flower in half an hour or take a lifetime to unfurl.
I smile a lot. I talk with flying hands and light eyes. I’m easy company. I sometimes stretch to charming. If we met you might just like me. I find friends like daisies in the grass, little blooms I give my heart to. I am known for the candy-colour chaos that swirls through everything I do.Yet I am still humbled by the generosity of the blue, warmth breeze-breaths where I expect brusk winds. I’ve found welcomes under tarpaulin, crowded round coffee cups, split in finger balls of rice, curved into thousand-mile smiles.
I’ve made friends in queues, buses, toilet stalls. I’ve opened my heart in unexpected places and let strangers in without tickets or question. Then I leave. That is often what I do. But I carry mementoes with me like long-loved peddles I turn in my hands. Faces, gestures, conversations are treasures I paper-pack for keeping safe.
We may not talk, we may not write but there are no forgottens. I hold hearts in my heart.
And so after these years when I wander, my love spreads over continents like flight trails criss-crossing the pages of an in-flight magazine.
Outposts of affection make hard watching news . Lately I have watched a place well known drift, dip and sink into something worse than terrible. Each day I look online and see something an inch closer to a civil war without the justification of a courteous name.
I have friends in cities whose names now preface death tolls and yet I have said nothing. I have not called, or written. I have thought of them daily, felt for them, feared for them, sent strength to them long distance, but said nothing.
I am ashamed of myself. I have a lot of words, a lot of heart but sometimes I still find myself short, failing in the delivery.
I have remembered my anger at the awkward silences that soft stepped around my loss, the friends who said nothing. But I told myself that it was different, that was personal, this political.
And I have wondered what to say, what could be said. Hallmark does not do a ‘sorry your country is going to hell in a handcart’ card. What is happening there felt so far from my own experience that I am lost, tongue tied, dumbstruck. So I have said nothing.
I worried over words that might break like waves of trouble, over depths of difference, sides which might have been picked. Of course it is all just air and bluff, meaningless stuff to make me feel there is a reason to say nothing.
Then you reminded me. Thank you.
Whatever will be, I would have you in it with me, so I will be in it with you. When I can do nothing, I can do this: speak, start, let you know you’re in my heart. So I wrote, found a few poor words to string in a row and let them go out on a string.
Words came back quick fire from a place peeled off – ”Wow, good to hear from you. Things are bad, getting serious. Hard time but until now we’re all fine. Today is a big day. They’re killing people a lot from morning until this hour. They killed so many it’s not believable…we miss you, really we do. I have to go – need to go to work now…”
Relief, rage, tears, love, I don’t know how to greet the sentence, the sentiments or the dot dot dot that follows. It is better and worse than I hoped and feared, but horrors are horrors after all. It is crazy, insane and yet at the same time oddly mundane – life is life.
There is no hierarchy, there are no categories in loss. There are no exceptions, no excuses. It is far too easy to say nothing. Say it. Say something.