I hope y’all had a great Labor Day weekend, and got to see your family, because I sure did!
I love those people.
But tonight, I’m remembering.
There have been several times in my teenage life that I have wanted to move out of my house.
But not for the reasons you think. Yes, Madre and I fight and the kids and I don’t always get along, but I could endure it. I wanted to move out to live with my grandparents.
The first time was when my grandfather–Cap, the most awesome man I have ever met, and I miss him terribly–moved from being able to get around semi-easily to being confined in a hospital bed. Y’all, I know he had to be miserable. This man LIVED outside. He was my buddy, we would go sit in the ditch by the road and talk while he whittled. Cap was wise, he was like my own personal dictionary, we wrote poems and he let me cover him in stuffed animals and pretend to take pictures. He taught me my multiplication tables through twelve when I was getting ready for second or third grade, even though I only needed to know them through five. I thank him often for that one. Anyway, I wanted to be a help. My grandmother, MaeMae, was four-foot-nine, helping take care of her six-foot-something husband. I knew they both only cared about taking care of the other; they were selfless. I wanted to be there to help sit with Cap and talk to him so MaeMae could sleep without stressing. But I never offered–I was scared.
I regret this SO much. I told myself that if they didn’t let Mama stay one night, they weren’t going to let me stay long term. And in some ways, I would be right. They valued my education probably more than I did. I still wonder, however, if I had offered to stay over a few times a week, if they would have let me–my relationship with them was different than Mama’s, as it should be.
The next time was after Cap died.
This is one of the tied-for-first saddest moments in my life. We stayed a few nights with MaeMae to make sure she had company and to make sure she ate. She had just lost her best friend. He passed away the week before Thanksgiving, and the night before Thanksgiving, I stayed with MaeMae to help her get things ready and to driver her over to our house. Neither of us slept. That is one of the good points of my ex–the Redneck. He was visiting family out of state, and stayed up texting me while I couldn’t sleep. I watched the entire first season of Monk over and over that night. It seemed I would fall asleep, and MaeMae would wake up, and then vice versa. We were a mess, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. We were both lost, I had lost the first real father figure in my life, and she had lost her best friend and lifelong partner far too soon. I worried about her being by herself, but thankfully, her church went above-and-beyond to make sure she was talking to people and getting out of the house.
The last time I wanted to move in with her was not so long ago. Not even a year ago, I found out I was going to graduate early. MaeMae was the one who ultimately made the final decision, Mama had left the room to call PSJ, my AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL admissions rep here at Wesleyan (who I will always consider one of my closest friends), and I looked at MaeMae and said, “Do you really think I can do this? I mean, I know it’s Mama’s job to tell me I can do it, but will you be honest?”
She looked at me, and I will never forget it, “Auboo, you are ready to leave high school, it has nothing left for you.”
I love her.
After this, we started our Friday lunch routine. I would drive over after getting allergy shots, and then we would go pick up food (I still can’t look at Captain D’s coupons without tearing up), and then we would eat and play board games until I had to leave for my guitar lesson. One day, she mentioned she might eventually move in with my family. I have to admit, I was pretty thrilled at that possibility. I looked at her and said that maybe I would move in with her and commute to school.
She said, “Come on, baby, you know you are always welcome.”
So tonight, as I sit in my dorm room, I’m remembering. Remembering and dreaming of the life I could have had living with one of my best friends. I had the strongest urge to call them tonight, just to talk and get their perspective on some things. We were all very family-oriented people, and they could be honest with me like nobody else could.
Unfortunately, there are no phones across the veil. There aren’t Facebook pages either–I mean seriously, I could settle for that. So I will have to settle for these thin moments, where the veil between life and afterlife becomes almost nonexistent, and they feel close.
Wishing you thin places,