I am worried that this post is going to offend someone because I will name names and talk about people who are important to me and will forget that one special someone and will that person feel left out, ignored, unloved…fill in the blank. Please know, that if this is you then my omission was completely unintentional and I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.
In the last six months, I haven’t been the best of friends to a whole stack of people. I didn’t mean to put them on back burners or ignore them or become completely self-absorbed in my life and all the assorted projects that I have taken on. It’s remarkable how something as simple as trying to write a book can make me forget that I have people around me who care about me or would like me to be a part of their lives (wow…that sounds arrogant without me intending to sound that way). It’s just, when I’m involved with The Pear Tree House and I’m following my character, Beth, down long, well-travelled roads, I forget the real world that continues to orbit my dusty corner.
By the way, this is the house that I use as the inspiration for The Pear Tree House…just thought you might like to know that. And it’s right down the road from my friend, Lori’s, old house.
I’m not crazy. I’m forgetful.
Today, I reconnected with my older, wiser world. Today, I picked up the phone and talked with a beloved friend whose voice is usually fractured by bad cell phone reception, splintered sun beams, and the destruction of terrible fatigue. Over the course of an hour, our voices rolled through laughter, stories, and spectrums of emotions that we haven’t been able to share because life kept on getting in the way.
I know that I have said that I don’t fit. However, with her, like with so many of my other friends, all those wonky parts of who I am are suspended and I find that my feet can walk in synchronicity with someone else and I’m no longer walking like a duck (per my mother and several hundred students) but am instead just me. And it’s nice to feel that way.
I’ve known Lori for just over twenty years. We’ve travelled so many roads together, held one another’s hands through horrific events, and spent hours in one another’s houses trying to find a shred of sanity when enduring blinding grief and pain. Our worlds have collided through such weird circumstances, often unintentionally and sadly, through tragedy and catastrophe. In one weekend, we went from being almost perfect stranger to being perfect friends. We fit.
And this has how it’s been for me for the last couple of weeks as I have emerged from my happy, quiet hidey-place and stuck my head out into the world. Michelle, with whom I have been friends for twenty-five years, over half of my life, and I have reconnected over writing. Like Lori, Michelle and I have travelled through so many days and paths. Michelle knows what it’s like, though, to wake up on a German morning to the sound of church bells echoing off of mountains. She knows the quiet peace of a German Sunday afternoon when the loudest sound is the train whistle piercing the valley’s somnolence. She knows the rush of wind in the face when riding a bike pell-mell down the street without regard for other cars or pedestrians. She knows the beauty of another language. With her, my stories have antiquity and age, a sense of time that is suspended and waiting.
I worry that people are going to fret and are asking themselves, What about me? Don’t I matter? Yes, my beloved friends. Yes.
As I sit here in my bed, listening to my house creak against the wind that doesn’t bring me snow but plenty of cold, I can hear the ghosts of your heartbeats. I remember the pressure of your hands on my back when we hug. I can feel the tones of your voices in the recesses of my memories and even in my dreams.
You matter. For through you and because of you, I find a time and a place in which I fit, even if temporarily. Whether it is my former students whom I now count as friends or those who have stood by me through the annals of time and history, your songs of life contribute to my hearty voice that frequently hits the wrong note and clashes with the world’s symphony.
Don’t worry. I will tell your stories, will sing your praises. This blog is very, very young.
But my fingers are very, very nimble.