“Aside from velcro, time is the most
mysterious substance in the universe.”
Day 29 (380) Time is Fleeting!
Whenever I hear the Youngblood’s Get Together, I am transported to 1969 Honolulu, cruising down the Like Like (pronounced Leaky Leaky) Highway on a balmy July night, windows down, my hair blowing in the Polynesian breeze in my dad’s monster Pontiac Executive. That moment encapsulates a sense of joyful abandon (and tearful abandonment), adventure and sadness (life is messy).
I was sixteen. The memory of that moment is as vivid as if it were yesterday. I don’t feel too different from that girl: full of passionate dreams, insecurities, heartache, longing and hope. Older, certainly. Wiser, absolutely. Yet…
Last week was my sister’s birthday. Laurie’s small cherubic face of 50 some-odd years ago is as clear to me as if she had just blown through what was left of my weekly $5.00 allowance at the Alhambra Cinema’s snack bar.
I treated her to a Saturday matinée every weekend to get her out of our mother’s hair so she could clean the house unencumbered from my pestering baby sister. Laurie extorted quarters from me to buy more (and more) candy as, quite literally, “hush” money—otherwise she threatened to scream during each of the double features. What made me want to annihilate her back then, now makes me smile. I’d give anything to share a tub of popcorn on a lazy Saturday afternoon, ignoring my own housework. I haven’t seen my sister since our Aunt Frances’s funeral nearly ten years ago—and the time before that was at Mom’s funeral (hey little Sis, we need to find a better way to get together).
The following day was the 12th anniversary of our mother’s passing. And the last words Mom and I spoke were on the morning of Laurie’s birthday, the day after Easter 2006 as I told her about the job interview I had just come from. A day like any other. A conversation like any other. Then, two days later came the phone call from my sister that Mom was gone. This voice that had cheered, conspired, chided and nagged me through five decades was simply gone.
A few weeks ago my daughter and I had the worst fight in our 27 years together. We didn’t speak for two weeks. We are “okay,” but have shelved the real healing until June when she and I are taking a road trip to Seattle for her cousin’s wedding. I hope the open road and some much-needed open communication can take us back to a time before the words that gut-punched me through five tearful phone calls, over two awful days, causing a fissure in the one relationship I thought was built on the Rock of Gibraltar.
With only 16 days (gulp) before I turn 65, and Time marching on so frightfully, I have been doing a lot of time travel (past/present/future) as I try to unravel a life in which I sometimes feel more like a passenger relegated to the backseat rather than a keen-eyed driver on my way to a sure destination.
The strong-minded (and -willed) women that have strengthened my backbone throughout the years and brought me countless joys—and a few too many sorrows, are all far away (or gone) and I miss their faces, their voices, their touch, their laughter. I miss a simpler time when what held us together seemed definite and indestructible.
Life is so very fragile. Lately I feel like Emily Webb in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, imploring her family from the grave to realize how precious every moment and everything and everyone is:
“It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another.
I didn’t realize. All that was going on in life and we never noticed…
Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.
Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?”
For now, I will have to content myself with the memories that comprise my life until we can all get together in this world (or the next). Know this: I treasure each and every one of you.
A song for today: Get Together | The Youngbloods (released in 1967)