and just like that: strangers

“From strangers to acquaintances to friends to lovers to trying to be friends to the in-between to strangers once more,” she said.

Her voice hollow, short, lost.

It didn’t seem fair that upon seeing him her body would shake, her mind would lose its focus, and her heart would hang there heavy. Reminded of the cruel reality this world sometimes offers as moving on.

It’s a haphazard – this thing they call a relationship.

Once she jumped in the only escape was falling and drowning. Whether it be from having to jump out or stay in. No option kept her from losing part of herself. Forever reminded of the feel of his hands upon her skin. Forever marked by his lips on hers.

Forever touched.

“Strangers,” she repeated. Hoping that if she said it one more time the truth wouldn’t hurt so much anymore, “Strangers.”

tomorrow

With heavy eyelids,
she sits and wonders about the world

The sound of music silenced by
the way her heart slowly beats

She’s done wrong,
and she’s done right

But maybe tomorrow, she’ll remember
all the things she’s forgotten

Maybe tomorrow,
she’ll wake with a smile on her heart.

writing letters to the ones i miss

Processed with VSCO with t1 presetYou’d sit cross-legged and keep your foot up like a hook. Each of us took turns sitting on your hook-held foot as you swung us back and forth, holding our hands in yours. All the while singing…

Κούνια, μπέλα, έπεσ’ η κοπέλα. Έσπασαν τα πίατα, τα ‘καναν κομάτια… (and then slowly:) ένα, δύο, τρία — 

ΌΠΑ! you’d say a little louder, as you popped your foot up and pulled us into your lap. You must’ve done this a thousand times in your lifetime. I must’ve watched you do it to my sisters and cousins too many times to count. It was a sad day when I was too big to let you rock me and then pull me up to your embrace.

Oh Pappou, it’s been a year. And somehow, I thought goodbye would be easier. Somehow I thought, that surely in a year, I would somehow not feel you still lost. I think you were this stronghold in my life that I felt would never change. You would always be home when I came to visit. Always sitting on your couch and waiting for a kiss on your cheek.

You were the only person who ever called me Christina (as a nickname) and I was okay with it because that’s how it was. I mean, I knew without a fault that when mom put you on the phone for me to say hi to, you’d ask me two things: 1) how are you, and 2) βρήκες σκορδόσπιτο? With me always answering good, then with a roll of my eyes and laugh, not yet.

Or what about that time last summer when you weren’t doing too well and I was with you? I was literally sitting in the chair right beside you and then, OUT OF NOWHERE, you stood up and rushed over to the table across from us. Apparently looking for your watch! You scared the life out of me because I was sure I wasn’t going to get you back in your chair without falling. Yet, we managed and then later, when you asked for your shaving machine… You told me in humor, “I promise I won’t get up and scare you again.”

Despite your quiet self, you knew how to get in a good tease. Oh gosh, you loved to tell your Greek jokes to visiting Americas! Bless their hearts because the jokes were never funny in English but they tried. And we all loved hearing you share them.

It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been a whole year since I’ve been able to give you a hug, kiss your cheek, sit in your living room with you.

So many things have changed.

I want to go back to December 31, 2015 when we all sat in our dark (the power was out in our neighborhood in Thessaloniki, on New Years Eve!) living room together. I think we had the fire going, maybe. As darkness filled the house and the new year approached, with many challenges in store… I don’t know, there was a peace in my heart that night. With no interruption from any sort of technology we sat in darkness and sang old hymns with you in the lead.

I can still picture your brows knitting together as you would sing. Always so concentrated. Always so faithful. Always so loving.

It may be a year and almost two days since you passed away, but… you are not forgotten. I think about you so very often. Though, I am thankful that you are no longer in pain – nor missing yiayia either. Gosh, this missing I feel for you really puts into perspective how much you must have missed her after you lost her. Thank you for being such a good pappou to your kids and grandkids.

We all miss you dearly.

you can’t keep chasing what doesn’t want to be caught

The sound of her heart pounding rang through her ears. She halted, sweaty palms resting against her knees, as she took in a few deep breaths. She’d been chasing after it for months now. An endless game of tug-a-war. If she were lucky, she’d catch the end of its heel long enough to hold it for a little while. But alas, it grew clever and slick, and slipping out of her grasp was easy. She squinted her eyes, its shadow too far to see, and she realized then: “You can’t keep chasing what doesn’t want to be caught.”

iain s. thomas and why you should be reading his book

I have a new favorite author! His name is Iain S. Thomas. Well, he’s been a new favorite of mine since early March… which is around the time I shared a quote on this blog from his book I Wrote This For You.

Goodness. I really like him because he writes stories, prose, and poetry.

All things I obviously I love.

Wow, I am using very intense language right now: really like, love…

ANYWAYS. Iain (cause obvi he and I are pals and we’re on a first-name basis!) published a book in 2015 (almost exactly two years ago!) (wow, lots of parathesis going on here…) titled: How to be Happy: Not a Self-Help Book. Seriously.

A book I am currently reading for the second time… Yes, it’s that good.

Let me explain:

Back in March, I was sad… a lot. And often. It was kind of a problem because I really didn’t want to be sad. I would actually get really mad at times that I was sad but being mad only made me sadder. Mostly because it was the kind of sad you can’t really tell yourself not to feel, right? You just feel it every day, until there comes a day when it for some reason decides to leave you.

That’s just how it goes. I think.

All to say, my sadness and desire not to be sad led me to Iain. Well, to his book.

At the time, I was stuck in an airport terminal with six hours to kill and iBooks only gives you limited pages of a book to sample before it hooks you in for the purchase. Needless to say, it’s safe for you to assume that I most definitely bought Iain’s book on my laptop and finished it in one sitting!

I bring this up because Iain writes this book with great self-awareness. Honestly, I think I could quote his whole damn book because it’s amazing and you should go read it right now… Even if you aren’t struggling with sadness.

But, if you are sad right now… Consider this, as Iain so beautifully poses:

“I think sadness is there to make us avoid the things that are bad for us.

Sadness is a way for the person deep down inside you to take care of you, the person desperately trying to keep you alive despite everything. They reach out from the dark inside you and pinch your heart between their fingers so that you’ll stop whatever you’re doing and look around you, and wonder why your heart feels so very, very sore.”

I mean, how beautiful is that?

Your own self, looking out for your own self… Yes, perhaps this process hurts, but (as Iain shares earlier in his book) we wouldn’t really know what being happy means… if we didn’t know sadness.

(Wow, kind of sounding like the movie Inside Out, now.)

Ok, but really… Perhaps, if you are feeling sad… its actually there to help you and somehow, pave the way back to joy.

Idk, just think about it.

trying to be the millennial I am

I decided to sign up for a social dating app today. Just try it out. Cause why not?

Surprises:
It’s weird having a random person I don’t know like my picture
All prospects recommended either got an ugh or no response from me, instantly
I got overwhelmed super fast
I don’t get why people share pictures with other random people in them
Someone actually liked my photo… now I either like one of theirs or start a chat?
…feels weird.
Apparently, my social anxiety levels are HIGH

Uhm pretty sure this will not end with a date anytime soon. Cool.

as the song goes: would you lie with me and just forget the world? (maybe this post is all over the place but it’s kay)

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetMom and I traveled down to Athens this week to stay with my great aunt for a few days. She’s 84 and life isn’t really too kind to those whose age is a high number.

Three days, no wifi. Ooph, it was hard! My millennial self struggled. I can’t say I was missed but being online is a daily routine my habitual self didn’t know how to live without. I mean, obviously, I cheated a couple times! I went to a nearby coffee shop to check my social media and put in a couple job applications. Satisfying that compulsion to feel connected through the interwebs.

I discovered there are benefits to this disconnect though…

My great aunt, Irene, reminds me of my grandma. They’re sisters (after all), three years apart, both relatively short women who married tall men. They share a similar spunkiness, a tendency to keep their fridges full, and both very kind hearted. Their commonalities are strong, and sometimes I wonder if when I get older people will say the same for me and my sisters.

But, grandma passed away 10 years ago… and aunt Irene has been not a substitute but a nice reminder of her sister.

Anyways, yesterday, as aunt Irene woke up from her nap, I ended up getting in bed with her to snuggle. It was an action that ended up surprising us both. We enjoyed it a lot and each time I got up for a moment, she’d call for me to come back. We spent a good hour and half laying there as she shared stories about when she was my age, about her sister, and about her late husband, Harris.

It was so neat to feel the world drift away and hear her talk. She told me about Harris and how he wanted to marry her from the moment he set his eyes on her. She lost him over 20 years ago and her heart still aches for him.

Love is this wild thing that I don’t know much about it. At least, not the “in love” part. I know about loving people and I try very hard to love people well, even if I don’t always succeed. But lately, I’ve thought about love a lot and about loving someone deeply and losing that person… and then what’s left?

A heart that’s broken, lost, and confused?

How do you ever move forward

How do you let go

The Christian answer in my head is: God will heal those wounds. And the thing is, he does… sure, but sometimes, I don’t think the whole pain ever leaves. Not really. It’s a thorn that remains in your heart, right? Or so it feels. A thorn that stabs you every day, even if its hollow and faint.

I just don’t think such a pain can ever truly, completely stop.

Perhaps because hearts are made to break. They are fragile and marked by their ability to feel – everything. So, sometimes, when they are shattered… those pieces can only attempt to recreate what they once were. It’s like when you break your ribs, right? Those bones can never heal as they were before but mend within their brokenness. They will create something new of which you are forever reminded that they were once deformed and now changed.

I don’t know, loving is hard but as I laid there listening to my aunt tell me story after story and share her hurt, here’s one thing I know: I’d lay on a damn bed any day with a person I care for and love, just to spend a few moments forgetting about the world.

Maybe that’s selfish, but maybe it’s not… Yet, maybe it’s just savoring those quiet moments that tend to be far and wide apart.