One Hundred to One


In the quick of a bright eye, you were stuck on the lips of a warm, early May night, like a blueberry pie sitting on the kitchen windowsill to cool. A building swallowed up the sunset, but it was still as golden as your hair, the way I remember it on days like today. I went everywhere alone, and everywhere with you, and never even noticed how close you were…till much later, after the big dipper had scooped up the night, and I had started to write it down.

You don’t come easier or more often than you do on days that are too spectacular to even see its blinding, undefeatable goodness.

Hot, dry, greener than anything on this earth, blooming, blue, breezy and a Sunday!, is there anything else you would like?

Um, no. I think that just about covers it.

I know you’re out there, picking flowers in your bare feet, woven satchel over your bare brown shoulders, your hands always busy with the earth, and yet never dirty, sullied, gnarled, but always beautifully you. You were too good for this world, like this day was too good to actually be seen by my eyes alone. I would have had to have borrowed yours as well.

I try not to miss the beauty with you so long gone, over ten years now. It’s hard. Mostly, I fail. But I keep trying anyway. Better to fail one hundred times and succeed once, than to never have even tried. Funny, too, how it can change so quickly when you keep trying. Like today started out with closed curtains and disappointments giving nothing but backtalk all afternoon. Suddenly, somewhere, somehow, beauty took over, kicked my whining ass down in the dirt, and that majestic feeling that can never be bought, sold, owned, named, or commanded, rose up out of nowhere, and said, Look!

Just look at this world your soul has made with its eyes only.

That’s when I guessed, without tearing the fine membrane of the moment open by naming it, that you were somewhere behind my eyes, behind this sudden eruption of beauty so bright I can barely see.

It used to have a name, your name, a face, your face. Now it’s everywhere—too big and bright to see.

I read everything, and anything that has something to say about the human spirit in its highest and lowest moments. I even read the Bible more than some Christians I know. In the New Testament, there is a line from Psalms, “Be still and know that I am God.”

It’s like that, if God was a friend, like the best friend you could ever have, like a friend you never really even deserved and yet…

There she was…and is.

After all the agitation and turmoil of the day, the week, suddenly it stops, and there you are, this beauty, this friend, this flower, this sky…

Everything she touches, she touches everything, you used to sing out in your gardens, picking whatever wanted and needed to be gathered  up that day…barefoot, your woven straw satchel over your bare brown shoulders, wearing a smile bigger than a waning moon sneaking up in the sky at three a.m.

It comes down to that one thing I can believe in absolutely—a love, her love, freely given that I never deserved or earned, and how that has taken root in everything on days like today, when the beauty, her beauty, her face is everywhere, and it’s too much, almost crushing me. Until I become small, real small. And still. And I know her. And I know how I am in her and she is in me.

And the one hundred times I failed don’t matter.


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