We drove over the two bridges that connected the city I was a child in and the city that I am becoming an adult in. From downtown Long Beach the idealization of young enthusiasm was exhaled from the young adults having brunch and creating stories and plans. As they exhaled their inner selves, they became part of the outer world.
This thought of exhaling ourselves into the universe, I stole from a speech I heard from Forest Whitaker. He introduced the Dalai Lama at an event that was flooded with the wealthy optimistic, dressed in flowing colors. He spoke of purpose and intention.
The Vincent Thomas Bridge was accosting with the sun reaching for us between the tall green beams. It’s arms entangled us and I was certain we would soon fly towards the light as though we were moths hypnotized in our final glorious moments of living. She sat in the passenger seat, picking the music for these final moments of our short but beautiful lives.
We escaped the siren qualities of the sun and ended up at my home. My German Shepherd mix got to know my friend through smells and tail wags. She giggled a giggle I recognized as slightly uncomfortable. Neighbors arrived and family did too. A cousin from Italy. My grandma, the matriarch of the family. She is blunt in her old age. You need to laugh at her remarks, sometimes, to chase away that feeling of discomposure in the back of your throat. She has lived 70 more years than I. There is respect that floods the room around her and her quiet nature with good intention.
It was a night of mixing a recent past with an old past. My father cried as he hugged her. He had hugged me earlier after allowing the pride to well into tears. It was recognition that she has become somebody irreplaceable.
We listened to a song by Beyonce on our way back to my house. It was not “Irreplaceable”, but “XO.” The song gave me chills reminding me of a past that felt far away, but was not. We laid in my bed watching a movie as our comfort was palpable. It would always feel this way. Time was not relevant.
The next morning we had brunch with a man who has become something in my life. However, this something is indescribable. I am in the midst of the feelings without any distance. They are a face very close to my own, blurry, but the features are lovely even if they are not distinct.
She gave me her opinion. It made my feelings more confident in this man with dimples and kind eyes.
We drove across the desert the next day. We listened to a podcast and then another podcast. They became catalysts for new stories of our lives that we had forgotten to say. It was my turn to be hugged by tearful parents. Her mother kissed me on the neck and told me she loved me. She gave a lecture about living life and making decisions that make you happy. Her eyes were light with passion under her dark eyebrows. I loved her, but when I told her this it did not sound nearly genuine enough.
I hugged this friend that was clearly a soul mate. My mind wanders sometimes trapping me into terrible thoughts of loss. She is my family. I know this by the way these thoughts make me feel. She kissed me on the neck as her mother did and I understood that she loved me dearly. We say these words often, but goodbyes seem to be the times they resonate.
I drove back across the desert to my house in Long Beach. Time painted the sky different colors and I watched. Content.