Both

It is being noticed, when you were standing alone, certain that the world was spinning but you were just here for the ride -or why else would you have grown to believe with absolute certainty that you’re invisible, without a reflection or the proof of a shadow- never having been looked at or looked for, during all the looking you’ve done…during all the helping you’ve done.

It is being helped, when you’ve only ever been the helper, parentrified at a tiny age -having done a damn good job at raising all the youngers who had no one else, and the olders who let you- and you look around, exhausted, spent and no childhood to show for it (just vague memories of kittens and roller skates and scars from some stitches you needed for cuts you earned trying to lift others out) and you now need a helping, loving hand.

It is being loved, by first being shown, by One who’s perfect, that you are accepted…by One who shouts throughout the heavens and Earth your worth…by One who bursts into your aloneness, touches your scars and redeems you from that place of invisibility and arrestedness…by One who delivers you from the sins you had to commit out of survival…by One who dies for you, because if you’re to fully understand your worth and become redeemed, that’s what is needed.

It is being needed, and knowing it is OK to need -since you are actual and not invisible, human and not God- and, deciding you have arms and time and heart to give, you’ll never again be diminished or depleted, for you know now your value and limits and you’ve found one who knows theirs, and there’s the give and the take extended, intended to honor you both.

Sound Ground

Since I was seven
Or sooner
I’d the biggest biceps
The fleetest feet
See how I saved you
Before you knew to feel
Afraid

All it is now is late
Tho’ fixed more mighty than then
I’m ready to jump 
Jump
Jump
And this time 
Let you catch me

On the edge of the end
In deep need of goodness
I fastened a cape
It had to be woven in truth
This time
Lest I fall from the sky

Electric and magic
Near-reckless sensibility 
Enduring and tender
Incredulous…ridiculous

Wary yet wanting of fire
I fastened the fibers of you
Wove them all through
Set you atop my shoulders
Then flew
And did I fall

Helping Her Go (4)

“…How does one who has shared your air

Breathe again without you there?

And this is how I waste my ways

Breath seized, for fear of losing

What I will never know….”

These sheets are like quicksand sometimes. A comfortable trap. Get out of bed Cressida, she sleepily commanded herself. I sure like to call out my own name a lot, she thought, beginning to analyze what’s behind that odd habit. Our own name to our ears is beautiful and personal and intimate, Cressida remembered learning long ago. It is music. A symphony to be specific. Like his name. Victor. I’ve said it my head how many times? Not knowing why. “And not on purpose,” she lied aloud to herself. A typical name, but it reminds me of one who is up on high – which would explain the atypical light in his eyes, she reflected, thinking again of that day when she introduced herself. It seemed then as if he is someone who sees things others do not see. Or, would see if they took the time, Cressida sarcastically judged.

There’s something about him that I want to unlock but not solve. What is it? Would it help him to hear his name spoken to him by someone who wants nothing from him in return? I wish to speak it while in song. To put his name to music. So visualizing Victor, Cressida sang in her head, “I know that you don’t need me to, but Victor let me sing to you. In black and white and from on high. I don’t know the distance I’ve yet to travel, or if I’m made to get there. Though we are easy. Would you yet hear me….” “He doesn’t know I exist,” she whispers, her thoughts and song trailing off. Being damaged and all, Cressida understood it meant that she’s not really allowed to think about his light-filled eyes anyway.

Oh, go look for the Sun, something said to her. It’s almost sunrise and she’s been in love with the sunrise. Getting out of bed and falling to her window, something – someone – caught her eye. Two someones, a distance away. She watched them hold hands and walk slow, not in step, but better. Covered in the morning’s pink amber light, they were shadowless, since the sun had yet to breach the horizon. Her heart dropped at first, but, determined that ‘Happy for those who are happy’ be her mantra with these things, she decided instead to be struck by these strangers’ solace. It was poetic. Seeing the simple act of two lovers holding hands suddenly reminded her that she needs to start holding her own hand, or even better, not need to hold any hand at all. In fact, Cressida continued, I have to begin to look life in the eye again if I hope for it to hold me. And to put down the gloves if I want life to love me. Put down the gloves.

Gloves. There was never solace, just the silent fight to survive. Which, looking back, is poetic in its own way. There was the absence of seeing and the presence of fear, she thinks now. She never tries to, but too often these days, she cannot help but remember eyes full of glare. Lacking acceptance. It’s then that Cressida clung to what she knew to be the absolute truth: We are nothing but valuable in God’s eyes. “Why,” she asked herself and these hand-holders, unable to comprehend that some people cannot treasure those who they claim to love. And why, she also demanded from the air in her room, did she allow the truth of her value to be wiped out with lies? What smart woman listens to lies, knowing they’re lies, and then accepts them as fact, she accused herself with shocked disbelief, her thoughts spiraling downward now. Why all those years, was everyone else, including strangers and children, the only ones who ever complimented her, told her she’s special, cheered her efforts or reached out for her hand?

This is all too much, too early in the day. And, regardless – she thought, checking herself – do I want to live the rest of my life asking “Why?” This is now, she knew, and instead contemplated, “what legacy will I choose for myself: peace or fear?” Purposely redirecting her thoughts, she innocently contemplated how there should be more hand-holding in this world after all.

Helping Her Go (3)

“…the Sun when she came
Wore the air of her name
The scent of the rain in green eyes
Burned on my brain as I lift to her hope
Should carry her through, with a dime and her soul
Girl, we’ll meet again in the best place out there
In which lifetime, we can’t care….”

Walking to the window, Victor thought to himself: Since when? It bothered him that he’d been given to distraction at that damn window all evening. This time, of course, he saw what he was sure he’d finally see, so it didn’t surprise him. Someone’s holding her hand. “I knew it,” he blurted aloud to himself, covering a small patch of the glass pane with the steam from his words. I knew the universe wouldn’t allow someone like Cressida to walk life’s road alone.

Scanning the details of them, he saw orange energy -a blur of it. He saw loving, longing souls. It made him smile, then laugh, quietly. Cressida repeatedly reached for her companion’s hand as he launched back and forth from her side. Victor loved the expression of contentment that washed over Cressida’s face when the two joined hands again. This someone moved with a brand of fleet-footedness and boundless wonder that felt familiar to Victor. His height belies his age, Victor realized, quite certain of himself. He doesn’t yet have that awkward, growing-into-his-face look that older little kids do. He’s unabashedly silly. He’s missing a front tooth and a half. I’m sure he’s seven.

What did I do, the sad revelation washed over Victor. She’s genuinely lovely. When Cressida reached out to shake my hand hello, I should have kissed hers, he anguished briefly. Now all we have is the ghosts of each other’s fingerprints forever on our own hands. This notion comforted him. Still, Victor reflected, I should have told her I’m leaving, moving away today.

I know she’ll remember me somehow…I hope.  She’s smart – she’ll see me when she looks in the mirror…something. This streaming emotion overtook him and he noticed his hands were shaking. I know she’ll find me, he convinced himself. But I should have kissed her goodbye, Victor thought. He went back to work, lifting up his heart, scribbling down with ink all this noise, and for now, left it at that.