heartmelt

❤melt: the simple truth

The simple truth is, I love him.

Sometimes I type his number onto my cellphone just to stare at it.  Just to remind myself to breathe.  In prison, I would sign up for a phone slot and sit in the booth for all fifteen minutes– just to stare at his number on my hand.

I don’t press the button to connect because I don’t need the button to connect.

At this point, we are connected always.

We are tied through our blogs, of course.  We started within weeks of each other and have labelled together, and warred together, and collected Stories together.

Matticus, Ra, Dave, Dani, & Deb
Matticus, Ra, Dave, Dani, & Deb

We are connected through shared memories of my husband– dining in the warm light of his kitchen, entertained by the enchanting smile of his queen, serenaded by the chuckles of his Little Prince.  We are connected through casual parties with blogging friends.

We are connected through a love of all things geek, blog, literary, and absurd.
But more than that, we are connected through 438 days of imprisonment.

He did my time with me, carrying what he could.

His idealism bled with mine when I was first cuffed.
His heart broke with mine when I was torn from each place or person where I found comfort.
His body limped with me when I injured myself.
He learned, rejoiced, and boiled with me, and when time came– when I didn’t think there was any more he could carry–

He mourned with me. He stood silently beside me and lifted bags achingly full of pain, nodding the direction forward. Mutely, numbly, I followed.

He is the reason I continued on.

He is the voice inside my head that told me to step past those gates, even if I didn’t know where I was goingYet. His simple truths corrected me at every turn:  You don’t know where you’re going yet.

From miles away, and through thousands of words, he served 438 days in a women’s prison through the eyes of someone who could not have survived it on her own.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Oops, look like Queen played a bit of an invisibility trick on us in this one.
Oops, look like Queen played a bit of an invisibility trick on us in this one.

“I love him.” I blurted to Dave– in the middle of the visiting center, seemingly completely out of context.

My husband, who never had any trouble following my mind, pinched a strawberry between his fingers and continued my thought, “I love him, too.  I didn’t want you to do your time alone, but you know that’s not the sort of thing I could carry.  It’s taking all my energy just to hold down the fort.”  With a pause, and without knowing he was giving me comfort only days before he passed away, he said, “It gives me peace to know he’s walking with you. You know?”

I knew.

I knew my husband inside and out.  I knew the weight of his blood vessels, the silence between his heartbeats, and the taste of his freckles.  I knew he couldn’t be imprisoned– not even for me, not even through me.

Just as I knew how lucky I was to have someone who could, and who would, and who did.

. . . . . . . . .

I would press my pen to paper and think:

This time, don’t drag him into the details.  This time, let him be as free as he is.

But then I’d write “Dear Matt”, and the simple truth he called for would spill forward.

. . . . . . . . .

In the 31,632 words he wrote back– by hand, in pen– he gave me the gift of simple truths, over and over again.  No matter how many times I needed to hear them,  No matter how cramped his hand must’ve been.  No matter how tired his soul must’ve felt, worn down by the baggage I kept asking him to carry.

He never stopped writing. Not once.

. . .
. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .
. . .

At the funeral, he wore blue to match my state-mandated outfit, as many did, but it was especially fitting on him.

Like me, he was a prisoner.
For me, he was doing time.

All the while, unbeknownst to me, he was keeping the light on here.  Keeping my blog warm, keeping me remembered.

. . .
. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .
. . .

He held out his hands and caught the crumbles of me, when I was ready to blow away.  He whispered to those crumbles, telling them fairy tales about shards of glass that one day became beautiful windows.  And then when I had reshaped myself into something slightly-resembling a human being, he let go, stood a careful distance away, and let me take my first stumbling steps.  All the while reassuring me with simple truths: change happens, I am possible, and everything’s gonna be okay.

. . .
. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .
. . .

I wish I had finest gifts to give him, or his family.  I wish I had the most elegant words to show you what he meant to my entrapment and what he means to my freedom.

But the truth is more simple that all that, and I hope it carries with it a weight of understanding that translates from my heart to yours.

I am hoping it is so heavy that it grounds you in hope for humanity, delight in serendipity, and pride for your fellow man.

I am hoping this true story of his strength lifts your chin, and this rambling tale of his generosity refuels your spirit.

I met him here, on WordPress.
He is not blood, but he has shed his, with me and for me.
It counts.

It counts so much that when most words have no meaning at all, my hands grab a blank sheet of paper and write “Dear Matt”.  It counts in the existence-ripping minutes I spend staring at his phone number.

It counts so much that the thousand words I wrote here seem entirely pointless because the only four that matter– the only four that can possibly sum up what I feel– are these:

I love him.
Always.

. . .
. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . .
. . .

____________________________________

There are many people I have to thank, and many hands that went into caring for me over my last year.  I will begin to do so every Monday, but of course I had to start with Matticus.   My words felt jumbled, but I hope they were clear enough where you can now understand why it was so important to start where I did.

Please visit him to get a glimpse of the family I celebrate every single day.  Be sure to say hey, and send some RawrLove his way.

http://www.thematticuskingdom.wordpress.com

93 comments

  1. Oh Rara, that was the most beautiful and heartbreaking post I’ve ever read. Your courage is astounding. You indeed have a wonderful friend in Matt. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I hadn’t hit a thousand words, there were a thousand more I could say. This doesn’t include the books, or stamps, or coffee funds, or anything… just the burden-carrying. Just that alone crumbles me when I think about it. I can’t imagine being such a good friend to anyone. Having such a good friend humbles me entirely. I have no idea what I did to be so lucky. Thank you for letting me know it translated through. I felt quite jumbled on this one! xo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. My heart loves you, and though I generally don’t speak for other people’s hearts… I know for SURE that his heart loves you, too. 😀 *hugs* Thank you for reading, dear Jaded.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I feel so humbled reading your tribute to Matt. I know that every blogger was wondering if Matt was going to share news about you today, during your time away. And when Dave passed we felt the weight that Matt carried on his shoulders, in his own humbled words after the funeral, on his blog. I’m so glad that you had a friend like him to do your time with you. May we all be so lucky to have a Matt in our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, may we all be so lucky! I haven’t really stopped leaning on him since the day I turned myself in, so much so that I wonder if he suffers some of my prison PTSD as well. He must, in small measure– I’m not exaggerating when I said he went through it all with me.

      I was lucky in all my friends… all of you who gathered ’round me here on my return and in my times of need. It just seemed fitting to Start with Matt since he was there even when I didn’t know I needed anything. 🙂 If you think that humbles you, you should feel how squished by humbleness I feel! 😀 Goodness knows I never did anything to earn a friend like that.

      Thanks for reading, Sreejit!

      Liked by 3 people

    1. The way I figure it, this was barely 2 words for every day. I’m pretty sure I still owe you my liver. 😉 I love you, and that ridiculously-beautiful woman you married who let me borrow so much of you. Thank YOU.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You can hang on to your liver… for now. I might call in that “debt” in a few years. 😉
        I meant to comment before: you counted all the words? Even the ones you couldn’t read in my scribbled writing?
        This was lovely, thank you, but unnecessary. You owe me nothing. Because love.

        Liked by 3 people

            1. Haha, nope! That would be insane. Remember I’m working part-time and don’t have the Little Prince. Which if I’m calculating correctly means I have 700 more hours than you a day. :). Though one day I might like to borrow and scan them? When I’m ready?

              Like

  3. Your beautiful tribute has done for me what you hoped. I do feel hope for humanity just reading your words. I’ve met some amazing people through blogging and even if I never get to meet most of them in “real” life, the love is real and our ability to lift each other up is real. I can’t think of a more wonderful way to honor your friend than by showing us the power of friendship. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so very warmed to hear that, Karen. The power of friendship is a fierce and fabulous thing. Anyone who says online friends aren’t as meaningful as “real life” friends… well. They need to come chat with me. 🙂 Thank you for reading. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  4. This is a beautiful tribute, Ra. And I think it helps US, too. We all leaned on DJ, too, to learn what we could about how you were doing, going in, getting out, and, of course when he had to break such painful news.

    DJ is one seriously good (dino) egg.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yep, he is a fabulously good dino egg. Haha! 🙂 I am hoping all the future tributes/odes/thankful-tirades in the following Mondays help in general. I know so many people relied on so many others, and I know there’s still a big fear/sadness about everything that has passed… I think knowing all the good there was in my last 15 months should help everyone. Most of all me. 😀

      Thank you for reading, Elyse.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This is one of the most beautiful love stories I have read. The real love, the genuine stuff, and of course the ability to see it, know it, and write it comes through you. I knew that part of your journey, being imprisoned, was going to be devastating, but I also knew you would see through and in it the way most of us should. If only we could… if only we could. Yours is a soul of extraordinary.
    P.S. I had that little dinosaur on my page until the day I read you were free. It was a ritual of release and relief.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the little dinosaur. Both for caring for her, and for setting her free. 🙂 I am thankful to have so many love stories intertangled with my one tiny drama. It makes for a better re-read, for sure. 😉

      Thank you for being a part of my journey, and for being here to be part of this next one. Even though I still have no idea where I’m going…

      yet. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rara, it’s OK, none of us have a clue where we’re going, even the ones who think they’ve sealed up some 5 or 10 year plan. LOL. You will get there, in a beautiful way….

        Like

  6. I don’t know you well Rara, but you seem like a good person who’s gotten a terrible deal. Somehow, I don’t think that bad deal is going to keep you down.

    As for Matt… I do know Matt. Can see him in his writing, what he goes for, how far he goes. I like to study his words, because he weaves them so well. He is a good man. Of that I’m sure. Your post reinforces that. I’m glad there are people like him out there… Matt, if you’re reading, don’t let it go to your head. Not that it ever would.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Haha, nope, it never ever would. He’s not made of narcissism like I am. 😀 But he’s a swell guy anyway. 😉 And, as you pointed out, a fantastic writer. One day, when we have time, I’ll go through his letters with him and give him back some of his words so he can share them with y’all. There’s some real gems in these letters. 🙂

      Thank you for reading, Trent. I hope you’re right about me not being kept down. We shall see how this story unfolds…

      Like

  7. RaRa,

    The possible friendship…there are shards of them everywhere. It is really great how your bond with Matt has formed. To be honest, sometimes I think you’re over the top…can someone really exude so much? Then I read your comments and they are infectious. This loving circle you have is genuine and Matt’s preservation of you shows it in spades.

    Nice going to both of you. 🙂

    Love,
    Mark

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, RR. I’m afraid I am a consummate exuder. 🙂 And it’s all genuine. Silly, perhaps, nonsensical, often, but authentic through and through. I’m glad you can feel it. And I’m glad you’re here to read, and be a part of this infectiously-happy community of commentors and readers and writers. xo! – RaRa 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow! Great writing as usual. Well said , Matt is truly a one of a kind individual. We are all lucky to have him as a part of our lives! 🙂 I have missed your writing my friend, you have and always have had the ability to take your feelings and emotions and pour them onto a page and create a vision that can be understood and experienced by those simply reading your words. It is funny that I have never met or spoken to either of you in my life, but I feel I know you and value you both so much and am a better person for it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Jon, I know that you’ve been a HUGE part of my blogging journey, and my blog has been a huge part of my life journey, so you’re all tangled up in the most important pieces of me. And it’s a tangle I’m grateful for.

      Thank you. For everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. When we’re lucky, people come into our lives when we need them most. When we’re blessed, they stay long after.
    You are blessed, Rara — and I’m so very happy to hear that. What a beautiful tribute to a blessing.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. A measure of a true friend is one that is there with you during times that you do not want to be with you. Your sweet post reminds me of those that showed up for me way beyond any expectations, loving me so much more than I could love myself, when life was so dark that it was blinding.

    The tribe I have cultivated here on WP is incredibly divine and it is beautiful that you and Matt met here. I experience such
    divine communion with so many here, despite the constraints of time or space. Does that make sense?

    Your writing is a lullaby that soothes me soul and nurtures my heart.

    I love you too ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I have a big feeling that this sweet tribute is the single best gift you could present to Matt, the man you met here on WordPress who stepped up for you every day since. Beautiful, Rara.

    Thank you, Matticus, again, from me, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Every. Day. Since. It boggles me just to think on it. Of course, many of you stepped up to help carry too– it reminds me of the story of the great big giant turnip. (The old man pulls the turnip, but the old lady pulls the old man, and the son pulls the old lady, etc etc.) There’ll be posts for a long time coming on these Mondays going forward. 🙂 Thank you, Mark. xo!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s a rare treasure to have such friendship. Both of you are very deserving of it. I couldn’t write to you (someday I will email you why) but I looked for any news of you every day from Matt. He never let us down just as he never let you down. His wife must be just as wonderful as he is. May you both flourish and keep spreading the love you show everyone else as this world needs all it can get. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could do a whole dedication to the patient spouses of WordPress… And I just might. I really can’t wrap my mind around my luck most days, but I am grateful.

      (As to no writing, no worries. Matticus always reminded me you were here waiting in support. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Many stand with you when you in good times, few stand up for you when you are in bad times. Inspiring story, and always reassuring to know there is still some humanity left on this planet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True. I thought often of Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s poem– Solitude– though it wasn’t my experience at all:

      Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
      Weep, and you weep alone;
      For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
      But has trouble enough of its own.
      Sing, and the hills will answer;
      Sigh, it is lost on the air;
      The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
      But shrink from voicing care.

      Rejoice, and men will seek you;
      Grieve, and they turn and go;
      They want full measure of all your pleasure,
      But they do not need your woe.
      Be glad, and your friends are many;
      Be sad, and you lose them all,—
      There are none to decline your nectared wine,
      But alone you must drink life’s gall.

      ___________

      There is a brilliant quantity of compassion in this world, and I had more than my fair measure over the last year. I suppose it’s time to pay it forward! 😀 Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t wait to write little love notes to all the others. It’s silly how excited I am, haha! 😀 And, thank you. ❤ I knew YOU wouldn't forget me. Being as how I'm an honorary eejit, and all. 😀 (But seriously, it blows my mind. I left for 15 months… and yet it's like I wasn't gone at all!)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. There should be a better word for Friends like these. Friends with a capital “F” and a 1,000 word doesn’t begin to cover it. And I feel obligated to comment on how lucky the both of you are, but I know you both already know. So just virtual *hugs* is all I’ve got then.

    Like

    1. What’s the point in blogging if you don’t give someone gas, that’s what I always say. 🙂 Also, I totally know that when you say “I ate buffalo chicken”, what you’re really saying is, “I love you both to the moon and back.” And we love you too. *smooch!*

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This officially made me cry, though that is not a difficult thing to accomplish these days. The love you two share is a beautiful and inspiring thing, a thing some people never know in their lives. Don’t ever let it go.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Matt has carried so much. I am unbelievably thrilled that he mailed that many letters. It makes me want to hug him and say thank you: Thank you for doing what I couldn’t, didn’t. Thank you for sending her all of those letters. Never ever should she ever have gone a day (metaphorically speaking) without a letter, and I failed to do that, but you didn’t. You didn’t, and you carried the love forward and sent it to Rara.

    As much as he’s carried you, he’s carried many of us too. I don’t know about anyone else, but he was my connection to you. Like as long as he was still there, still writing his Kingdom, still working with the STMND team, that the thread of connection to you was still there, and tangible. Not that I talked to him anymore than I talked to you, because I’m not really a talker, but it meant so much to me that he was around, like it meant you were around. I had no idea of the depth of connection between you. I guess I just felt it. Tell him I say thanks. 🙂

    Like

  17. I remember hearing from your dear, dear Jester how he didn’t think he was capable – how he couldn’t do it, and how badly he felt that he had let you down. This shows him how right we all were, who heard him and told him he was doing awesomely, perfectly, beyond all everything, that he got it RIGHT, and did just wonderfully. I’m so glad you honoured him in this way. Of *course* you would. And rightly so.

    He is legend. And you, Sparkly One, are light.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember the one you’re speaking of, Lizzi dearest. That was “Blocked Sun” over at Stories That Must Not Die. ❤️ You were all so loving & supportive to Matticus that day.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. We both felt very similarly that day. I remember the post of Rara’s he was speaking of. You all helped lift him up, though. I know this for sure. You guys really helped ease the pain. That is why we love the STMND community so much. You are all so caring and nurturing to the storytellers, even (especially) when the storytellers are us.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. You are certainly a large part of it! The kind words you & others leave help patch and/or heal wounds. You are all little love wizards spreading some sort of heart glitter. 🙂 Your magic is contagious.

              Rara, you see this? I told you way back Stories has become something amazing… 😀 Healing hearts. ❤ Still overwhelmingly happy you're now here to share it with us.

              Liked by 1 person

  18. You do have the finest gifts to give him Rara. You have always had the finest gifts. Yourself. Your love. Your friendship. It feels so good to know there are people like you and Matt in this world. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Don’t worry, Ra. We took care of Matt too. 😉 He is amazing. There’s nothing I can say that I haven’t said already.

    He has that Oprah effect on you too, huh? “I’m not gonna say anything too personal…
    *Matt says “What’s wrong?”*
    “Omghere’smylifestoryplusfiftyninemorestories!”

    As for/to Matt,
    I told you, it counts.
    😉

    Liked by 1 person

  20. They let me into your blog. You are no longer blocked in Turkey!
    What a beautiful tribute Ra. This ‘rambling tale of his generosity’ very eloquently gets the message across. I think he is your guardian angel. What a blessing for you both. I’m so happy to think there was someone there for you in the way he was/is.
    ❤ ❤ ❤
    Alison

    Like

  21. I want to leave a comment, because this is such a gorgeous tribute to Matticus. I just don’t know what to write.

    You both know how much I love you. That’s all.

    Like

  22. I read this post on my phone right after you wrote it. I was so moved by the things Matt did for you and by your tribute to him. As I was catching up on your blog just now, I saw this post again, seeing it this time with all of the pictures. I really appreciated being able to see pictures of Matt and Dave. And in reading the comments, I’m struck again about what a loving community you have around you. You deserve it!

    Like

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