Missing

I have a dad who writes in all caps lock, all the time. He likes lined paper, and pens. Black or blue.

These words are his: to-do, god damn it, and hello. (HELLO, bellowed into the home phone.) Also: Hannie. Hey, Hannie.

I have a mom who paints. She likes reds and oranges, yellows and greens. Pinks and purples.

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She likes great big swirls of them, splashed all over the page. (Off the page — that’s what she really likes.)

These words are hers: honey, home.

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I have brothers, too. Three of them, all older. Old, now. We’re all old.

One of them gives a top-notch twirl-around hug. Makes a mean lasagna. He has curly hair like me, and he would want me to add to that list: cheesecakes, steaks, stews, lattes.

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The other two are blond. Fair-skinned. One is my best friend; one I’m just getting to know. One is easy to talk to; the other is easy to write to.

Between them there are too many words to list. 90% of them are designed to make me laugh.

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I like my list. The little list I’ve made. But it doesn’t feel done. It feels like an almost! But not quite.

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Patience.

It’s hard to practice patience. Even on a good day, I think. But it’s particularly hard when your world feels fundamentally tilted on its axis, and you feel like you know just what would help right things. Or rather: just who. In the abstract sense of the word.

Who’s missing? As stupid as it sounds: the man I want to tack on at the end of that list. (To start.) The man I’d shuffle up, slowly — or, better yet: the man who would just work his way up, without my ever really realizing it. Until one day, he’d be at the tippy, tippy top, whenever someone asked me to tell them about my family.

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“I’m trying to make it charming because when it’s not, no one will hold my hand. So what if I’m hurting too? All you know is everything is sweet and funny here and I will work to keep it that way. Everything is aching from the effort of keeping myself upright. I’m tired but no one wants to rub my back so I pick a floral skirt from my closet and pull my hair back from my face. There is perfume behind my ears and it smells like apples. I wish you would kiss me first thing in the morning when I don’t taste like mint. I wish you would walk next to me even if I can’t tell you where you’re going.” -Fortesa Latif

“You can look at a scar and see hurt, or you can look at a scar and see healing.” -Sheri Reynolds

“The sun said goodnight to me, but kept the mountains awake with a few more stories to read.” -Unknown

“In the beginning of their relationship, both proceeded as if they had entered a very dark room and were sliding their hands hesitantly up and down all the walls, feeling for a light switch while at the same time afraid that they might touch something sharp or dangerous. But from the minute they met, there was absolutely no game playing between them. They had had enough of that in their lives. They were eager to get to the point where sharing silence was just as good as sharing their life stories.” -Jonathan Carroll

“Love is patient, and that is the hardest part of love.” -T.B. LaBerge

“When your heart first lights for someone, you cover its mouth. You hush it and tell it to be cool. Please be cool. You wait for it to grow until it warms your whole body and then you can feel it in your teeth every time you’re together. You can hear those words rattling inside every ‘goodnight’. You’re waiting for the right time, or to work up the courage, or for it to get so big it leaks out when you’re falling asleep and your guard’s down. When it’s out, it hangs in the air like smoke. You wait to see if there’s fire in your partner’s heart too.” -Rebeka Anne

“Say too much. Show too much. Love too much. Perfect is the enemy of good.” -Unknown

“People seem to think embracing life means to jump off cliffs and kiss strangers. Maybe it’s just slowly learning to love yourself.” -Unknown

“My life, which seems so simple and monotonous, is really a complicated affair of cafés where they like me and cafés where they don’t, streets that are friendly, streets that aren’t, rooms where I might be happy, rooms where I shall never be, looking-glasses I look nice in, looking-glasses I don’t, dresses that will be lucky, dresses that won’t, and so on.” -Jean Rhys

“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.” -Leo Tolstoy

“Life was always easier when you were carrying a large Tupperware full of cakes. Everyone was happy to see you then.” -Jenny Colgan

“If you treat your passion like a side project, your audience will too.” -Ryan Carl

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” -W.B Yeats

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