Shower of Dimensions and Generations

Saturday afternoon, we pull into the driveway, park the car. The front of the house looks the same. The same family lives there, but it has become a favorite place for the grandchildren in the past few years.

The old elementary school next to the house hasn’t moved, hasn’t really changed. A few more portable classrooms, maybe a new sign, ramps for wheelchairs. Fifth grade seems so long ago. Twenty-five years equals one-fourth of a century, yet I can’t believe that I’ve known these people for that long; I’ve been on this earth for eleven years beyond that.

Time is linear, they say. Life is planar, with individual experience along the y-axis as a function of time. Varied and numerous interactions yield points on this graph, too, on as many axes as people a person can know. The cosmos of human life holds a volume of countless dimensions and tells volumes of stories that connect us to both ends of eternity.

My mom and I walk inside the house, and most of what we see hasn’t really changed. Piano room, dining room, kitchen, family room. The new sun room is gorgeous. Dark wicker furniture with red cushions. It used to be a simple concrete patio, where I used to play games and have relay races with other friends and the girl who used to live there but now lives in a nice subdivision in Jacksonville proper with her children and husband.

Twenty-five years.

A few ladies I immediately recognize are already sitting and chatting. Shortly, the family room fills with my past. Mothers of friends I met in the late ‘80s, friends from elementary school, teachers from church. It’s been years since I have seen some of them.

We chat and eat. The company and conversation are delightful.

My selves at 10, 12, 15, and 17 years – and 35 years – look at each other with deep nostalgia and wonder. Worlds fold and intertwine.

The women surrounding me helped raise me. They taught by example, they molded strong minds and distinct personalities that became the even more awesome adult versions of my childhood friends. I’m grateful not only to know these friends but to have kept in touch with most of them. My mother’s wisdom encouraged their influence.

Only goodness abides here. As I sit with these friends in this circle of couches and chairs in the family room, as I tell the story of how Reilly and I met, as I cry telling the story our engagement, as they beam with pride and mutual adoration, as we laugh at and admire the lingerie and talk of sex, affection, and nakedness and the protection and happiness Reilly and I provide for each other, I realize that nothing else is quite like the safety and familiarity in this kind of feminine bond.

A single point of love within me contains the love of those who have and will always love me.

The line is a circle. The circle is a sphere; my life, a Borgesian aleph.

A formidable and unforgettable village raised this child, wandering, curious, confident, loved. I pray to keep honoring them.

Leaving for Florida

On a jet plane.

I leave this week, and the barrage of emotions have pushed me to numbness. Happy? Sad? Excited? Anxious? This love has taken its toll on me.

Two bridal showers, and one to go in Florida. We’ve been especially fortunate, because friends and family have been incredibly generous. A friend will not say never, because the welcome will not end. It’s cool to love your family.

The wedding is on june 1. We thought the temple would be busier on a Saturday, and I don’t know about you, but I like having Saturdays free. Gotta get down on Friday.

Plans are well underway. invitations. Thank-yous. Photographer, dress, suit; reception, food, cake. I wonder what’s in a day.

Honeymoon’s going to be a roadtrip down Florida. Memories of my childhood in the car with my future, my now sitting beside me. The summer comes marching in with heavy boots on, kicking along the blacktop, sidewalks of A1A.

I remember how angry I was two years ago, having broken up with New York, moving to Provo in the dead of winter, having no desire to socialize, to make a lot of friends.

Is love alive?

That’s why I’m going to Florida.

My relationships have saved me. The reassurance, the encouragement; knowing when to leave me alone has confirmed that loneliness was never a problem. Happiness was never a problem. I learned early how to starve the emptiness and feed the hunger.

Living the spring of May. Loving it all.

I know when I’ll be back again.

Songs quoted:

John Denver, “Leaving on a Jet Plane”
Maroon 5, “This Love”
Michael W. Smith, “Friends”
Feist, “It’s Cool to Love Your Family”
Rebecca Black, “Friday”
Tori Amos, “Baker, Baker”
Patty Griffin, “Florida”
Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles, “Winter Song”
Indigo Girls, “Watershed”

Of Course You Have to Brag at the Beginning

Because, what if we suddenly suck as the season progresses?

I joined an intramural kickball team, and tonight was our first game.

The rules allow everyone to play an equal amount of time. And I think everyone had a chance to score at least once.

We had fun. So there’s that.

And we quickly determined the “weak spot” in the outfield, but I never kicked the ball that far. We do have strong guys who can blast them into the upper troposphere (I said I’d brag, not grossly exaggerate), and we have a girl who’s played soccer and another girl who plays hockey. Lots of strong legs.

My strategy from now on is just to get on base, because my legs cannot do what theirs can.

Also, I played catcher. And my team fielded really well. They knew where and how to move the ball; everyone knew how to throw people out.

The teams switched leads throughout the game, but we got to kick at the bottom of the last inning, where a team member coached at third base. We confirmed our legitimacy with that. We needed two runs to win, and I had pop-flied out, but the rest of the lineup delivered. And when we scored the winning run, the game ended. We high-fived and cheered the losing team; and we almost got away with sneaking the game ball — the victory ball — off the field, mostly because the next two teams were praying with the referees to begin the next game.

Prayer will get you every time.

That’s why I don’t close my eyes when I pray.

We like each other quite a bit, and I’m actually not surprised by that. There was constructive coaching and serious fun. I’m honored to be playing with my team.

We’re actually a good team.

So maybe I’ll just keep bragging.

Which will mean even more once we figure out a name for ourselves.