We have visitors. My sister, my brother-in-law, my nephew, which sounds very my-ish, though how else to say? They do not belong to me, are not mine-mine, though they are mine in heart speak, if there is such a thing, and I think that there is. It’s a quick visit, one dinner, one sleep, one breakfast. It’s good to see their faces and hear their voices and be in the same room. They are minus one, my niece, so we don’t get to enjoy all of them but most of them, secondhand stories filling in blanks.
After dinner, when it is only me and my sister, sitting on stools at the kitchen counter, she says something and I reply with tears. The tears come hard and fast and she hugs me and I feel understanding in her arms. There isn’t time to dive into the words that might accompany the tears because, all of a sudden, everyone strolls into the kitchen, the driveway basketball effort over. But that burst of tears releases something, something wound up tight now looser, her hug coiling more softly what is still there.
Before they leave, they bring me towels and bed linens and I say pile them there, just there and when it’s time for them to leave, there are hugs all around, I give at least two rounds each. Once they’ve driven away and I can see their car no longer, the kids and I come back inside, my daughter lingering in the kitchen, she and I finding our way to the kitchen stools, soaking in the good energy floating in that space, the good energy that lingers. Lingers, I like the feeling this word offers, its softness, slowness, stay-ness. The pup plops down on the pile of used towels and linens, curls herself into the folds with complete disregard for dampness from recent showers, she lingers.
If there is one word I could choose as a way to move through the world—besides love and listen—I think it might be linger. Lingering at the kitchen counter, lingering in the driveway with goodbye hugs, lingering over a poem, a cup of tea, a plate of scrambled eggs with goat cheese and avocado on the side. Lingering in softness, in slowness, in stay-ness. The pup knows there’s no hurry to put damp towels into the wash, knows that sometimes the damp and the soft are bound together, are one and the same. She lingers a while, I will try to do the same. Just there is fine, just there.
To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.
~ David Viscott ~
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