Two weeks before his daughter died
they went to the movies. She wanted
to see a love story; he, a thriller. They
slouched in different theaters alone. It’s
been the one regret holding all his grief.
And just when he couldn’t imagine crying
anymore, when the night was feeling like a
clear wall he couldn’t move through, she
held his face in a dream and there they
were: sitting in the dark watching the
same movie, only this time it was their
story and he put his arm around her
and woke holding his pillow.
Twenty years after her aunt died—the
one who saw her before she saw herself,
the one she could confide in and only be
loved more—after all those years, it was a
hug from a friend. He held her gently then
squeezed her for that extra second, in that
familiar way. It was that hug that called her
aunt from so far away. That night, Aunt Kate
sat in the corner of her dream. Her mother
was there too. She brought the old sisters to-
gether and all three hugged gently, tightly,
holding for that extra second. A measure
of completeness relaxed their hearts.
When they paused to breathe, Aunt
Kate was gone.
And just one month after Nur died,
she appeared to me, her broken body
held together by light. She took my
hands and wanted me to come with
her. My heart began to rip. It wasn’t
my time. As she let me go, her hands
turned to pools in which I washed
my face and I was returned.
And there’s your Uncle Billy who died
in ’86. He kisses your forehead while
you sleep and in the seconds of that
kiss, the tangle of life loosens and the
web of life strengthens and you wake
assuming your full stature.
What is going on here? Is it now or
then? Are we remembering? Are they
visiting? Are they dead or still alive? We
make too much of putting things in this
basket or that. It’s enough to know
that love arcs its lightning through
any rim we put on the world.