Monday, August 8, 2011

The bubble in my hand

More often than not, as a writer, I inhabit quiet, unspoken moments. Somehow, many words may never make it out of my mouth in conversation, but they find their voice in written form. Within these moments are those rarer, held in my hand with wonder and care like a translucent bubble. To speak, I feel, may pop it, as if this were a common moment inserted into passing conversation, easily blown upon and replaced with another moment. To write it, however, may preserve it, prolong enjoyment, even honor its memory when it has passed.

As I write today, I feel I hold one of those bubbles in my hand, peer through, yearn to merge with its beauty. Memories of the past few days with family not my own, but somehow, still family.

In the kitchen, where life and love and conversation mingle, I stand with Pancho, Ricardo's dad. Conversing in Spanish, in gestures, and then, in a language of the heart, passing from one to the next with surprising ease. Pancho is talking about how much he loves his family, how close they are, and because of that, how much he misses Ricardo. He pauses, head cocking to the side and tilting upward, eyes closed, waiting as the tears suppress the words.

My own tongue chokes on my words, but I touch his shoulders, look him in the eyes, and the words eventually tumble out, "Yo entiendo, Pancho. Extrano mucho mi Papa, tambien." I understand, Pancho. I miss my Papa, too. Now I'm the one who looks away, wondering why I'm crying with this man, this father I barely know, and then I feel his arms wrapping around me and our tears on each other's cheeks. And I bury my face in his shoulder, savoring for this moment the embrace of a father once more, and the sharing of our hearts without words.

We stand back and smile, then laughter spills out as a joke passes between us. He grabs his glass of beer and I grab my wine and he says, "Salud!" And no more words are needed. I hold the bubble and see through; this moment received, an iridescent gift of love. Though my heart speaks volumes, I dare not clutter the air.

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