I sat alone at a new little place I found for lunch the other day and I had a flash of you sitting there across the table – laughing, eating, leaning back and talking with your hands, a chip righteously pointed heavenward in one of them – because that’s what you would have done, driven all the way out to have a quick lunch with me just because I told you I liked the place and you’d want to try them tamales and see me for fifteen minutes. For no reason. And you were so proud of me and happy for me. For the changes I’ve made in my life.
I blinked the tears away and the chills rattled down my body, suddenly seeing the empty chair again. But I asked you if that tingle really was you, and if it was, to make it obvious to me. In just a few moments the song playing overhead ended and “Superstitious” came on, that song from the seventies by our Stevie Wonder that you loved and that probably wasn’t even that popular, but we put it as the first song on the cds we handed out at your funeral, and I knew this little hole in the wall cafe would never purposefully have this song on.
You loved music, in a way I’m only beginning to understand. Because you’d listen with your head tilted to one side, obviously hearing something other than the beat or the lyrics. I have been playing mostly seventies stations, the stuff you raised me on, because that’s where you are, in between the music, the space where love is held. That’s you.
I’ve tried to write about you, and the only thing that comes to mind are all the cliches about life and death and love, but you’re not a cliche mom. You were real, the most real part of myself. I’m beginning to think cliches are repeated avidly because of the truth within them.
Thanks for having lunch with me mom. I’ve been missing you something fierce. These last six months have been the wildest ride of my life; the joy and the grief in this messy, miraculous ball of heat in my chest that pulsates and radiates through my being. Because I can’t think of you and remember anything other than the love and happiness, and that, that, makes it hurt even more.