“What I really want to write…” always helps me write down the bones, go for the jugular, calls out my BS and cuts all the fluff.
What I really want to write is about when I get back from a trip I don’t want to take a shower because I don’t want to wash the magic off. I went to Guatemala and I hadn’t slept in two days, I walked through the streets with a heavy backpack, sweat on my knees, a loaf of banana bread pinned against my belly. I stayed in a French family’s loft and most nights I was afraid but there were fireflies on my rain coat and they cradled me like a mother. It was so dark in that room, a waning moon tried to reflect off the lake, and every night I saw ghosts. I barely slept but my chest caved as I learned that the ghosts were all mine. I couldn’t close my eyes. One ghost took the form of a child, a boy, my jaw is clenching as I write this, he has loose blonde curls. Eyes like brackish water. His face is so sweet, it looks perpetually stuck in that moment right before someone surrenders to a smile. He sits on a foot stool and his legs, his converse sneakers, kick and swing inches above the hardwood. Hand me down t-shirt that he wishes felt more like his own. I think about him every day but I only see him when I’m away, when I’ve been far from home, long enough to wipe the mud from the underbelly and look into its guts. He’s very much alive, he’s stubborn but not angry, more forgiving than I’ll ever be. I was told this morning that I have to earn the right to use words like those, adjectives are a privilege. Guilty, again. But he doesn’t know about guilt, none of them do, he just wants to be remembered, he just wants to hold space, and all I can hope is that it’s enough.