❤melt : i was there

Monday Heart Melt, Monday Melt

A really long time ago, I issued the first Rarasaur playtime challenge.


I asked my readers to volunteer themselves, and promised I would write a limerick about them.  I did almost all, but left one out.  That reader– Jessie, of Behind the Willows— was one of my original 100 readers.  Despite my failure to complete my own mission, she still stuck by me.

And she still volunteered for every game after.

When I used to worry to Dave, in the middle of the night– poking him awake to say, “No one is going to participate this time!  No one will even respond!”, he’d respond with a groggy mumble:

“Jessie will.”
And Jessie always did.

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When I found out I was going to jail, I told him– “Everyone is going to hate me.  Out of the woodwork, there’ll be hundred of posts about how I could have been kinder, how I should have given more, how I said that one thing that should have been said better.  Everyone is going to remember me by this really ugly thing.”

And he twisted his favorite Rarasaur-blog-reassurance and said, “Jessie won’t.”

And Jessie didn’t.

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One of the first letters I received in county jail was from Behind The Willows.  “If you were here,” she began, and I sank into the typewriter font and soothing stillness. I sank into her joy.

I don’t have the letter in front of me.  It’s bound with the dozens she sent, but I know how it started because I read it so many times.  Hundreds of times.

From my cell, I sat on her patio with her and rocked back and forth.  Watching the girls play.  Watching the condensation form on my jar of iced tea.  Watching the rain.

If I were only there, she would give me a hug.

If only.

Sometimes I read it to girls who didn’t get letters.  In my head, I told myself that I should ask her first– in case it would bother her to have her words shared with jailbirds– but that worry was quickly soothed by a follow up thought.

Someone might mind, but Jessie wouldn’t.

And she didn’t.

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From http://behindthewillows.com/2014/05/06/rawrlove-and-spring-flowers/ : #RawrLove

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Her girls wrote notes, decorated hearts in proper dino style, and kept me in good cheer for over a year.

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Her husband even wrote after news of Dave’s passing reached them.  He had never written before, but he wanted me to know that I was part of the family.  That I had somewhere to go, and something to be, and people who loved me, and people to love.

If only I was there, his letter seemed to say– I would see it.

I did see it.

Other people would tell me about the big things that happened.  About the joyful things.  I appreciated knowing about everything, of course–

But Jessie would tell me about small things.

As if I were there.  As if I were family.

It rained a bit too much today.  They had to buy better boots for the girls.  She read a great book, and then she read a horrible one.  Yesterday, she and her husband read my letter together.  On Thanksgiving, she wore a #rawrLove shirt to her family gathering.  The bees didn’t make it this season.

The apples blossomed.

The apples grew.

The apples ripened, and the girls picked them.

The leftover apples rotted, and winter came, and the animals ate them off the ground like a Christmastime delicacy.

I would have seen it all from her patio.

If I were there.

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I lived with those bees and apples for over a year.  I watched the girls grow and play in the backyard, and I basked in the harvest of their joys and stillness.

Jessie is the sister of my heart who knows what it is to be a reader.  She knew I could escape through written words, and so– though she considers herself a reader first, like myself– for me, she wrote. Regularly, often.

She kept me free.

She wished me home with her, and I came along.
Because if anyone can make a wish happen, it’s Jessie.

Because when she can…
she does.

And I can’t think of single characteristic more frightfully wondrous than that.

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When grief was strong, when the door closed too tightly, I’d go to my happy place, which was somewhere behind the willows.

When the day came where I told myself no one would notice if I just slipped away, a voice in my head came out of nowhere and said,

Jessie will.

So I woke up, and went to where she was.

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There were bees there, and three little princesses, and stacks of books, and magic pumpkins, and a handsome king, and a beautiful queen.

But also, for brief moments of time,
there was me.

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So, belatedly… though it’s hardly an equivalent gesture… three years later… this limerick is for you, Jessie:

Life writes itself: it’s a grind!
Perfect leaves, crunched Behind,
The Willows bend– not break,
The pages flip– not shake,
and forward we cog, intertwined.


And it just so happens I used all of Day 4’s Writing 201 prompts– limerick, enjambment, and “imperfect”.  I also used your picture for the Daily Post photo challenge “Happy Place“, unintentionally.

And if anyone celebrates imperfection and unintentional success as much as me, it’d be you.

So… brrrrrrp!
I love you.