I think of the children who will never know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant’s way of making love, or what silence sounds like, or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
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Something was drastically wrong with my lungs: every night, they made sounds like a basketful of squealing kittens. I was always coughing, had pains under the sternum, and could not push a car or even run up a flight of stairs without gasping like an old melodeon full of holes.
A Crip gang member approached the woman for whom I was building a vegetable garden — an old woman on welfare, an ex-prostitute, ex-waitress, ex-chicken-butchering plant worker. He said he was tired, pimping was hard work.
Sitting has become very difficult. Each day, I can manage about three hours in a chair. Consequently, “up time” is of great value. It is cherished, planned for, and jealously guarded.
Figuring out what you really want, barely making ends meet, looking busy
It seems she was surprised to hear from me. “Marion,” she wrote back a week later, “I kinda liked you when I met you, and then I learned to love you, but now you’re just the skank that fucked my man when I was struggling to make a family.”
Early on I thought about wiping your memory. I might as well admit this to you now. I thought maybe if you stopped believing you were something else on the inside, then you wouldn’t be sad anymore. And you wouldn’t change. This was before your body really began to transform.
We develop courage by coming out of hiding, coming out of the closet, and there are thousands of closets.
You had the face of a man who couldn’t help understanding everything — all of it, the whole pathetic, tragic human thing — and that draws people in. To me you were a magnet of kindness.
You want to write back, He died. You want your hurt to be the world’s hurt. This pain is what was born tonight. It’s a palpable, physical thing, an object of infinite dimension that can be looked at from many angles, held closely or at a distance, and always there is some new aspect of the sorrow.