❤melt : everything’s gonna be okay

Monday Heart Melt, Monday Melt

Mail is late and we’ve already been locked in for the night.
A letter is kicked under the cell door.

“Just one today,” the officer ponders, “Maybe they all stopped loving you.”

I laugh, a low peal of chuckles– revealing as much about my comfortable relationship with him as my confidence in my world. His booming male-guffaw follows him down the hall.

I pick the letter up off the floor, noticing that my tiles are a little dusty. In a minute, I’ll take out a maxipad and wipe it down by hand. Tomorrow supplies will be restocked, so it should be okay to use one.

But for now, I tear open the seal of the letter with my thumb.
It’s a series of notes.

One from each member of the family.
My family.

Just one I haven’t really met yet.

= + = + = + = + = + =

It’s the funeral service and they’re waiting outside.

Deborah isn’t pregnant anymore, of course. The last time I saw her, the small human in her arms was inside her belly.

It’s been that long.

I want to say things to her. I want to tell her how meaningful it is to see swirly handwriting in a pink pen when everything around is tiled and grey. I want her to know how I know she knows what it is to love your life. And thus, what I must be feeling to have lost it all.

But he’s here.

His eyes are watching me even though he’s acting like he’s not. He watches me hug my sister and Matticus– and I see a thousand questions in his eyes, so I crouch down.

“Hey, you must be D.” I say, holding out my hand. He takes mine as if to shake it, but just holds it.

His parents don’t interfere in the way so many do. They don’t tell him what to say, or nudge him in a certain place. This is between me and my 5-year-old pen-pal, face to face for the first time, at my husband’s funeral.

“Thank you for writing me.” I tell him.

“It’s okay,” he says, and I get the feeling he’s reassuring himself, and the situation, and me.

It works.

For a moment,
it’s all okay.

= + = + = + = + = + =

We didn’t plan this out. All of us, walking together, through the city streets of Long Beach.

Some guy just shook money at Deborah.

D is running so fast and far that if a portal opened up in front of him, he’d be gone before we could blink.

I whisper to Little J, as he rides on Anthony’s back. “I think they’d get it, if I told them I was worrying about portals.”

He lets out a squeal of laughter and reaches out his sardine-covered hand to pet my hair. D runs into me at ramming speed and I tumble a few feet backwards.

“Oh my gosh,” Deborah exclaims, rushing over with an apologetic smile, “Rethinking this, yet?”

“Only the heels,” I rejoin, pressing a kiss to D’s little face. I am laughing, genuinely happy to feel so at home in a place I just met.

D asks me to run with him, and as we’re discussing the possibilities of that, we catch up to Anthony.

“Rethinking the shoes?” he asks.

“Of course not,” I say.

D looks at me knowingly. I look back and wiggle my eyebrows.
We giggle and race ahead.

I’d call this one, “Regrets: Runneth Over.”
Someone in this family would appreciate it.

= + = + = + = + = + =

The sofa is soft and sinks around me. We’re watching Farscape, and periodically children go racing by.

Two live here.
Two, or half a dozen– sometimes I lose track.

The dog sniffs my purse, and then me, and I move a stack of books over to the side.

“When I was in prison and got close to the gate– incarcerated-speak for when I was almost home– people loved to ask what I’d do when I got out. And I pretty much described this. Farscape. Sofa. Books. Pets. Children. Friends.” I look up and smile. “The only thing missing is pizza!”

We put down our technology and look away from the TV for a minute– basking in the humanity of the moment.

D walks in and asks, “Can I show Rara how I can burp in J’s face?”

I laugh.
Anthony covers his face.

“Oh my gosh.” Deborah moans.
One hour later, there is pizza.

= + = + = + = + = + =

We’re at the Aquarium of the Pacific, sitting on the bench, feeding the child.

“That’s how purpose is forged, Radhika. Raw material is held in the fire, then hammered and hammered– beaten and twisted– into whatever shape it needs to be. The shape of you changed. Of course it did. The purpose of you enhanced. Of course it did. That’s a scary thing, not a bad thing. But you are still you. Raw. Ra.”

I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m so lost. I can’t write the story people need to hear because it tears my heart and comes out twisted. I’m grieving in the wrong way. I’m too far behind and too far ahead.

I don’t know if I want to be a tool of purpose. The scrap pile looks pretty good to me.

I can survive, but I don’t know the point.
At the same time, I need to do this. I know I do.

I’m chewing on worries, and I don’t even remember which ones I spit up all over him.

 I’m worse than the little J.

Anthony looks at me and smiles, “I’m not worried about you at all. Not one little bit.”

Little J sees a man in a penguin suit and screams.

“It’s okay,” Anthony soothes, in the same voice he just used with me. “It’s okay.”

And, for a moment,
it is.

= + = + = + = + = + =

I came home to a whole new world. 

Some things have been easier than can be reasonably expected. Some things are incredibly, life-suckingly hard.

I have always carried with me a piggybank of “Everything is Going To be Okay”, but lately I take more out of that jar than I can replenish.

Meanwhile, this family has refueled me with faith and belief, love and laughter.
This family has welcomed me into their family.

They’ve driven me when I needed a ride, and walked with me when I needed to count my steps, and challenged me to run when fear of unknown portals held me still.

We take it moment by moment, not because they are catering to me, but because they live like this all the time.

Each moment is something they carefully design or devour, or both.
Each moment is something they celebrate.

And when something doesn’t go quite right–
when you’re terrified of people being something they’re not,
or when you’re burning in the process of being forged,
or when you have a big blank spot where words should be,

they’ll remind you:
It’s okay.

And, for a moment,
it is.

= + = + = + = + = + =

Deb, Anthony, D, & Little J — I love you.

= + = + = + = + = + =

You know the drill. Take this bucketful of RawrLove that these kind folk have kept full for me– and spread it like glitter-confetti-silly-string back their way, all over their blogs:

Happy Monday, Best Beloveds. How is your day going?