Light the Fire
I heard something different in your voice, yet I didn’t get my hopes up.
You said that I was the only person who could help you.
I sat down. I saw. I gasped and wanted to make sure that you had everything that you needed and that you were given the best care. I wanted to hold you and tell you that it would be okay. At the same time, I was scared. I wanted to punch that two-wheeled speedster that tore your skin.
Your head is spinning and you’re not making much sense. I gently put you to bed. We swap sides of the bed so your wounds are protected. I kiss you and I return to my work.
Two hours have passed. I walk to the bedroom and you are restless. I make sure that you are awake and ask you elementary questions. A concussion indeed. I set my alarm for two hours from now and crawl into bed beside you.
My heart aches for you. I know that you are strong, yet to see you so broken, so humble and hurt, makes me love you even more.
The alarm, in its annoying fashion, sounds. I shut it off, but I have yet to sleep as I listen to you sleep; listen to your wounds weep in pain. I gently nudge you. You are awake and I ask you more questions.
The alarm is now set for two hours from now. I will continue to wake you every two hours throughout the night. I don’t sleep.
Morning arrives and your body aches and your wounds are still extremely fresh. I remove the linens from the bed as they are stained with blood and puss. After a few strokes of stain stick, the linens are washing.
I get ready for work. You are staying home for the day. As I’m leaving, you kiss me and you ask what time I plan to return. I tell you 2 p.m. and ask you not to do anything around the house, that I would take care of everything when I return.
I return to take care of you at 2 p.m. as promised. You’re so independent even when you’re in so much pain. We sit together and watch a movie. We chat and we laugh. I am right there by your side. I work on my laptop and you admire my skill and fineness on the keyboard. It is not often that you compliment me.
Your perfect body wrought with pain. Your road rash still wet with blood and puss. Yet you make me a drink and then make me dinner. I love to watch you work in the kitchen.
After dinner, we draw you a bath. Epsom salts are in order this evening. I help you into the tub and it hits—salt in a wound. So begins the healing. I am cleaning up the kitchen and I hear you moan in pain as you soak in the tub. Healing.
I am fascinated by the inner workings of the human body. I want to inspect the wounds closely. Up and down your right side there is missing skin. You sleep better this night. Your head is still in a state of haze, but you’re functioning almost at normal.
You thank me profusely for caring for you. I tell you that it’s what friends do for one another. You insist that you treat me to a fancy dinner for my attention. I give in.
We’ve talked about my unhappiness at my job. You tell me to play the game. That is not authentic, I say to you. I am authentic. I’ve all but cried to you about the hurt, anger, and frustration of the situation.
I tell you that I am walking away from my job. The same job that you know I love. I am walking away with nothing waiting for me. I tell you before I tell anyone else—you are important to me.
Everything is set. I’ve made my demands and now I walk out. I leave the job and the place I love. Where are you? Not a phone call to check on me. Not a kind word, or any word for that matter. Not a strong shoulder to lean on or even an “I told you so.” I ache deep inside and yearn for you to reach out your hand and tell me that it is going to be okay. I wait.
Friends take care of one another. I learn that we are lovers no more and that we were never friends.
My soul aches and my heart cries while my head tries to forget.
Always the Bridesmaid
Yesterday I celebrated the union of one of my best friends. It was a wonderfully sweet wedding and I could not be happier for Cicily.
Cicily, like many of my other friends, has had her share of bad relationships, men not deserving of her big heart and men who took her for granted. I hope James Byrd III knows how lucky he really is to marry a woman who is so beautiful, warm, caring, intelligent, funny and loyal.
We met at UVa. She tells some over dramatic story about me being smug when we first met. Those details aren’t important, but what is important is that we’ve been friends for more than 10 years.
Caught by the paparazzi.
We’ve had some pretty entertaining times in college and stories that are legendary. We’ve laughed together, cried together and been there for each other through life’s ups and downs. She’s even flown out to Chicago to help me drive back to Virginia when I left Northwestern in 2003. I helped her study for an accounting exam (she has her MBA) on the drive back. I sat on her mother’s front porch holding her hand after her father’s death. She’s talked me off the ledge (and James) when I was having relationship problems. I’ve given her the kick in the butt when she needed it and she’s yelled at me as well. Well, she doesn’t yell, but you know when she’s disappointed in you. She’s the kind of friend that knows how I take my coffee, but more important, knows when I need liquor in my coffee. I would go to the moon and back for her.
To see Cicily so happy yesterday and so peaceful made my heart cry with joy. I am thrilled that she has found someone who loves her more than anything and I know James will take the very best care of her.
Mrs. Cicily & Mr. James Byrd III
This time I wasn’t a bridesmaid as she didn’t want my work to interfere with the wedding. She understands that I have no work/life balance, so I was involved in the ceremony another way. When we first talked about this, I was employed and football would be right around the corner. As I look back, I honestly don’t know if I would have been at yesterday’s ceremony—a week before camp begins. Everything happens for a reason.
I was honored to share in their special day as I read e.e cumming’s I carry your heart with me.
We’re down to the final two single members of Itappa Kegga. I conveniently ducked out of the wedding before the bridal bouquet was tossed. We could spend hours reading into that…
I love you, Mrs. Byrd and elated for your new life.