When folding the towels, I run my hands along the patterned grid. In the transition from a quiet grey to a louder grey, there is a row of loops of thread. Big circled loops cinched above small neat lines. They look like a series of twos.
Happy birthday, baby, I say aloud, as I do every time I see 222 in the world. I didn’t call my late husband “baby” when he was alive, but I’ve found there is at least half a relationship left after death, and that half-life grows still.
Often times when people find out that Dave was only 35 when he passed away, they are filled with a sense of empathetic regret. “There was so much left to do.”
I understand this on a conceptual level, but a primary characteristic of my late husband was that Dave did what he wanted to do as often as humanly possible. He even managed to finish a years-in-progress book series a week before passing away. I’ve never met anyone with life so firmly in their hands.
But I do know there was something on his bucket list: getting to this year. Specifically, February 22nd, 2022.
He and his late mother shared a birthday. 2/22/2022 was going to be an elaborate celebration. He was going to honor her and celebrate himself, and then that was going to be it. Peak birthday achieved. No need for them going forward.
I know this sounds nonsensical, but Dave was a ridiculous man on many levels– and I loved that– and this date has been bouncing around in my head for ages, and somehow now it’s here.
February 22nd, 2022.
I took the day off work, but I’m not certain what to do with it.
Some days call out for something sacred, and I feel about sacred the way I feel about Spanish. I still understand, mostly.
I just don’t speak it anymore.
I am hoping for a slow-start day, a slow-finish day. I bought a mango that will be ripe by then, and I think I’ll eat in the sun that cascades through my new home.
I only moved a few streets away, but it’s like a whole different sun than the very loud one that would barge into my old place and fill up every corner. This one waterfalls and stays in place and hums but never sings.
I can feel all the suns I’ve ever known in every sun I meet. Stitched together like the quiet grays and the loud ones in my towels. Big loops and tidy stitches, twos in every gray, twos in every sun.
At least once a day, I run into the reminder that this universe is the same one that created my love, and let him live. For a short time at least.
I think, on 2/22/22, I’ll just thank it for that, however I can think to do so in the moment. There’s something like a big celebration to be found in small gratitudes. Something like a sacred to be discovered in grey-sun-looped thanks.
I hope it’ll do.