Just as I’d updated the detail-less Great Autumn Clusterfuck of 2010 2.0 to its latest upgrade, Clusterfuck2.6.1, Sweetness and Light fluttered in on Delta flight number 2025 from Baltimore, gate B-21.
You remember Margot, yes? Because you’ve stalked my archives and read all of my 26 posts to date. Right? Right.
(If you missed my last Margot post but don’t want to raise your hand in class, quit being a tool and read this.)
Margot. As you will no doubt recall, Margot is one of few who’ve come into my life and refused to play anything but a leading role. After she moved to Israel years back, I have seen her on every trip she’s taken stateside, conveniently living near other good friends, family or her work obligations, from Atlanta to DC to Silver Spring to L.A.
This time, though, she had no reason to be in Atlanta at all. Except, of course, for me.
And because she is so wonderful, and because I am so wonderful, and because even though I had spoken with Tamar the Amazing Girlfriend approximately eight mazillion times over some electronic and/or digital format before now, I still had not met her in person, Margot booked their flights through Atlanta, rather than flying directly to her mama in South Florida, and I got two perfect hours with these beautiful ladies.
If, of course, we ignore the fact that Houlihan’s had a very hard time with three simple martini orders and took the entire two hours to deliver them, correct them, remake them and redeliver.
That’s what gives the visit charm, right? Right.
And so there was an embarrassment of lovey riches, full of meaningful glances, entertainingly raised eyebrows, almost-to-tears gushing of sweetness, two salads, one diet coke, three pretty awful martinis, seven dollars in airport parking, one order of chicken fingers, four glasses and one nalgene of water – it’s important to stay hydrated – one untouched ramekin of sauce (special ordered), two matching backpacks (god, they’re adorable), six cheeks achy from smiling, two strategic bathroom visits to allow the others to chat behind backs, one Israeli folk cd, twenty minutes of impatient waiting while Margot and Tamar trekked across the ridiculong Atlanta airport, sixty-six roundtrip miles well worth the effort and gas, one pouty face over not being allowed to pay the check, one chance to wear my fancy new pretty shirt, skinny jeans and ballet flats, and something I could never quantify:
A chance to breathe amidst all the crazy.
I love you, Margot, and oh, my sweet Tamar.
I sat down to write funny today, since tomorrow is one of those important days, where I should, at least, keep irreverence to a middle and respect my elders. Or something like that.
And since it’s my first opportunity for, like, some sort of discipline, I figure I should so write something new. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise anyone discipline and self control aren’t, uh, well, strong suits of mine.
But I started to write, oh, eightish times today?
(If I had been counting, we’d have specificity. Counting is also one of those ‘weaknesses,’ we could say, of mine.)
And each time, I’ve been drawn back, every moment, to a letter I wrote weeks ago – it was, indeed, the moment I realized I’d missed all of this, the writing, the community, the connections.
(Yes, I’ll stop being trite soon, I promise.)
I hope she doesn’t mind I’m sharing this with the world – and I know she knows every word is true.
For Margot, on her birthday.
As you read this and the many other wonderful sentiments that I know have come to you today, I hope — as I always have — you feel — as I know you do — from your toes to your eyelashes, from your knees to your teeth, how much love you inspire in this world.
We’ve had this conversation before, about each other, about who we are individually and to the other, about what we want, where we wish to be and it always seems the answer is love. Not a surprise, really, since we’ve each devoted so much of our lives to love: successfully, sadly, sacrificially, sweetly — with music or baking or stripy socks.
I’ve had a lot of time to think recently, you know. I could make a career out of the time I’ve spent trying to figure out what I want, who I am, who I want, what I am — and how others, and love, fit into those equations.
I’ve felt for a little while now, at least a month or two, that I have been on the brink of figuring ‘it’ out. I’ve captured and rejoiced in decisions that feel more solid, right and true in the last six months than ever before in my life.
But I knew I was on the edge of something more – something that would complete at least a very small corner of the puzzle, something to weigh it down, hold it tight, anchor my love, my plans, my dreams.
I knew it was coming, but I had no clue what it would be. A Grand Idea, perhaps? A Blueprint For The Future?
It would be something that required extraneous capitalization, something that called out for emphasis.
It dawned on me that these decisions I’ve made have been, at least in part, decisions I’d considered in my past but never acknowledged or allowed to be thought fully into fruition. The kind of person I want to be, the kind of person I want with me, a bed & breakfast, a career ‘hostess’ — these are notions I’ve held in the past. I simply never knew they could be real, and mine.
And so I realized, too, that this Big Something that loomed before me, just out of sight, would no doubt be one of the many thoughts or whims or fancies I passed by, let slip away.
I was wrong. In part, anyway. It’s a notion I’ve always known. It’s something we grow up with, hope to create on our own, live in or seeking – but I never let it leave. I just wasn’t looking in the right place.
So here comes your birthday.
I think of you, of how to celebrate you.
I run you over my mind, like a pencil on my fingers, a cat weaving in and out of my legs, a brook running over pebbles and sand.
I think of how tiny your mouth is, how strong your hands are, how quickly your mind moves.
I think of the pressure of your hug, the flutter of your eyelashes as you wink, the way you quickly run your hands back and forth through your hair when it’s wet.
I think of the excitement in your voice when you speak, the disorganized way you pack your suitcases, every time, the leftward direction in which your eyes move when you’re trying not to roll them.
And it hits me.
You feel like home.
Divorce and crazy and moving and Judaism and schools and college and all of the ridiculous factors that tear us away from the notion of ‘home’ — it’s as though they’re all books on a shelf, obscuring those behind them. And all I need to do is pick them up and move them.
But nothing stands before you in my head or my heart.
I need not move a thing to feel you, love you, know that you are my home.
I know the way that you smell, from the different products you use to that smell that is you.
I can close my eyes and see the way you hold a pencil or wear a flower behind your ear.
I can hear the thud of a bag you’ve picked up and thrown over your shoulder, the ubiquitous luggage.
I can taste your scones, your breakfasts, that ridiculous dairy-free whipped cream.
I can hear giggles over fruit choices in grocery stores and feel calluses that crack on fingers.
I know in you the orange of a band uniform, the purple of sumac, the blue of a swimming pool.
I feel you in the sun on my face at a wine-filled picnic and in the cool marble under my hands, leaning against the stairs at a national gallery.
I can see the lines around the corners of your mouth as it opens, wide, to smile.
I feel the weight of your sigh as it leaves your chest and the flood of your laughter as it washes over me.
I feel you and I feel home. Distance is but a measure.
And that’s science.
We all know how I feel about science.
And so you guide my life. You guide my home. I will live my life in search of the other corners, the other pieces.
I will create home.
I will write home.
I will sing home.
I will love home.
That’s my Something Grand. It’s my Framework For Life, my Blueprint For The Future. Home. And you will always be a part of it, a vital part of it, for you are the spark that makes my home.
Happy birthday, Ladygirl. I love you.