Monday, August 17, 2015

operation aborted - or, a eulogy

-for B.

I do not often find myself for lack of words. But perhaps because this experience has cut so deep, I bled them all out. Now bare, I place myself upon the page – as rain in Addis, or the eastern heat. 

My heart, made tender by the kindness and caring of colleagues, strangers on streets or in souks, caf├ęs, taxis… old family and new love… my heart is hurting saying goodbye... Again.

Another summer wanes, turns to dog days again – returns to red brick, fall leaves turning. Still, I am learning to love and leave, love to let love be, love by letting go.

And summer unearthed desires I did not know I bear within me: I will hold on to this place, I want to cultivate my desire in this place, within me; now it grows within me,

my body, overgrown, leeched and weeded, growing, still. I should be explicit:

Everything, the summer has been everything.
Everywhere, the field of my education has grown wild everywhere (the minibus, the market…).
Everyone, reflecting in my heart is the face of everyone.

The young women, the babies on their backs or running about with bare butts, and the boys and young men, too, we will all pass away. I will forget their names before being forgotten into the folds of life’s begetting myself. 

But, having received one another as we have, we have been reconceived of our worlds... When parting to wander our separate ways, a lover once said to me: “The bond is gone.” Still, he has remained my first love.

There is no cutting this cord. My love may change its shape and form, and the way it feels at dawn may be not be the same come dusk. Little in life happens as I plan. Certainly, I did not expect summer to flow and end thus.

It is unlike anything - it is everything, nothing now, before, or after. I’m sorry, it cannot fit in print, resists being cast into writing. To place it here would remove the bones from my body, the fireflies from those summer nights in Wisconsin, that spectacle of stars and river rocks from younger, older memories. It is a part of me now. And that was a question at the outset.

I was a question at the outset. But reflection has been like life here, immediate, honest. But it is different here, the pace, peoples’ ways. Perhaps more has lurked beneath, but I have been happy not to prod, not to work myself into a frenzied analysis. I have been happy to just let life unfold, and to settle into its charms.

For a summer in Addis Ababa, I have been ensconced in a world where I have found myself in good company and learned the spaciousness of friendship; where I have learned to accept generosity, and what it means to act genuinely; where my beauty is delighted in and reflected all around me. For this and more I am eternally grateful: there is a wizened woman waiting in my skin, and her head is thrown back in laughter.

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