In the middle of a busy day in the city today, I notice a new text. Two simple words: Happy birthday.
For a brief instant, I wonder if there is confusion, as my birthday was two months ago. Then very soon, I shift into the possibility that there is no confusion at all and that instead, the person who sent me these wishes knows my heart so well that he took the time to get them to me, from a mostly no-phone place. This flip-flopping of my brain lasts a mere two seconds and that’s as much time as it takes for my heart to threaten to overflow out of my eyes.
Having our heart known and acknowledged. Quietly, simply. Soul to soul.
Today, my dad would have celebrated his 87th birthday. If his love/hate of cigarettes had not won over his body twenty years ago, I would have called him first thing this morning, and he would have pretended to be surprised. Maybe I would even have flown across the country to help him blow some candles. If my mom’s own love/hate of cigarettes had not taken over her body five months ago, she would have been there with her hand on his shoulder and with that look she had when her eyes landed on him.
These are the thoughts that woke me up in the middle of the night yesterday, as the calendar page silently flipped to February 27th.
My heart has been hurting fed by a sweet stew of thoughts and memories and questions never to be answered. It’s a private hurt, it’s a blessed hurt and a bathtub full of scented bubbles seems to be a kind host to it.
It is a special, just-for-me hurt which no one can take away, just as no one can know it like I do. My sister knows her own version of it, and I trust that our brother does also.
And yet, these two words on my phone, so simple, so quiet. These two words that say: I know you.
In our strengths, our quirks, our weaknesses, our joy and our pain.
What a delicious gift of being humans together.
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I write because this is the way I am able to taste life more deeply.