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Swimming   —   Family

Maybe I didn't know you until that moment. I've spent my whole life trying to, pillaging your jewelry box and dresser drawers, trying on your shoes, studying your method of applying lipstick and brushing your hair. I can hear your voice, clear and crisp as autumn air, even when your lips are pressed together, silent, twelve hundred miles away. I know your scent, I try to replicate it now that I'm older, mixing perfume oils and incense like I'm a scientist in a lab, but I still haven't gotten it right. I know your past, where you've come from, who you used to be and who you are now. I've watched you grow old and wrinkle, lose your mind, a husband, a home, and regain it all back again. I've tasted your tears on my cheek, listened to your heart beat, felt your skin, always so smooth, I don't know how you do it. Food tastes better when you cook it, soda sweeter when it's from your glass, it's just a fact, ask my father. I know what songs will make you dance, how when you sing along to a song on the radio you sing off key, but really, you've got the sweetest voice. I know that you chew with your mouth open and it still bugs me as much as it did fifteen years ago. I know how sensitive you are, being so beautiful yet still so insecure, it's a quality I've inherited to one degree or another. You never think your smart enough and it shows when you frown, yet you're the one I call whenever I have a question. I've spent a lifetime with you, my lifetime, and I've spent years running away from you and then years after that running towards you. But maybe I didn't know you until that moment.

It was the end of September and we were swimming. It really wasn't warm enough to swim but it was our last day together, our last day in that place, and we just had to do it, we just had to swim. The sun had gone past its peak for the day and it was now slowly making its way down, still bright however and still willing to give us a little more time, a little more of its warmth, of its sparkle. We waded out far from shore, but it was okay because it was the dunes and when you're at the dunes it seems like you can wade out for miles, and maybe you can but we didn't do it that day. Instead we played. We spent hours chasing waves and riding them in. We went for the big ones, waited until they crested and then offered our bodies to their power and their path. We were tossed around like rag dolls, water crashing into us and over us, pushing us down and pushing us forward. The water was warm and sweet, Lake Michigan always is until it snows, and the sand beneath our feet was soft and free from rocks. The sun kept dropping a little more with each wave and soon it was close to us, lighting up the whole lake and making you glow. I remember how you kept laughing even as the waves took you down and when you'd regain your footing you came up laughing still. You said, "I could stay out here forever", and I believed you. I looked at you once while my eyes were fogged from water and the sun so bright that we were both squinting and you were eighteen years old again. You were smiling and laughing and your eyes sparkled with euphoria, your hair hung dripping around your shoulders and your skin was gold. I've never seen you so happy and I suspect I never will again. I think I saw you for the first time in that moment, like I was holding your beating heart in my hand, your life force bleeding into my own. In that moment you were young again, happy, timeless, and free. I don't know that I've ever had a moment so defining in all my life. I thought to myself, "This is my mother's spirit, I can see it." I saw the air around you breath and pulse as though it existed only to surround you. And then you leaned forward and kissed my cheek, told me you loved me, and dove into another wave.

Posted 10.23.2006 3:40:54 PM

Dad wrote:
This is the most beautiful thing you have ever written, I am so proud of you.
Always Dad
Posted 10/23/2006 9:57:58 PM
organgrinder wrote:
Your Dad is right Doll. You have an amazing ability to paint emotional pictures with your words. I love these posts from you. It makes me feel really happy to read this one in particular. . . wish I could write something likes this about my Mom. . .
Posted 10/31/2006 2:09:04 PM
Julia wrote:
That was beautiful.
Posted 4/3/2007 3:35:14 PM
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