Felicia Luna Lemus
Issue No. 19 • Spring 2018
Today is the longest day. Sun blazing, heavy thick solid air—purple mountains disappeared, downtown skyscrapers muted twinkle, Observatory a dull smudge out west.
I drive the long drive to the little house near the shore—our home-not-home, your new (temporary, I pray) residence, the place where you can breathe, literally. I fold the hanging towels, mop the bathroom floor, rinse the tub, square the corners of every bottle and tube on the counters, gather empty dry-cleaners-wire-hangers and throw them in the blue bin. I don’t know if this town recycles like at home, our real home, home-home. Everything in its place [you are not].
The clouds never look like anything there. I look and look and try to find something in them, but there is nothing. Just clouds.
Ruth 1:16-17. Our anniversary, I unearth the embroidered wedding gift I had made for you, packed away these seven years. I hang it in the little house kitchen. And then I drive back home.
El ala: wing, as in that which propels the flight of a hummingbird from this world to the other.
La ola: wave, as in the ones we watch at the shore on our daily walk—searching for a sign, advice, assurance that this will get better, for a reminder of something larger than ourselves.
O Allah. From your lips to God’s ears.
Half past midnight, I see the flames. I gather what matters. Dog crate in car, leash, wallet, keys at the door. Our computers. The photo my dad took of little kid me standing on the roof, his hat shading my eyes, smart little smile, swag to my stance, that easy joy and confidence I’m always trying to find again. Three wooden urns in a duffle (the irony of packing ashes not lost on me). Your little kid album, red. My baby album, floral blue. Our courting correspondences you printed out and gave me on our first, paper, anniversary. Our wedding album.
And Ruth said, Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge [I cannot].