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.”

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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.”

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.

growing up

She wasn’t ready for time to pass by so quickly.

It leaves a wake trailing behind even as the dust settles underneath her toes. Glancing down she notices new scabs and bruises coloring her pale skin.

Hadn’t she just cleaned them yesterday?

Or was that the day before yesterday…

She blocks the sun from her eyes and takes one step forward. Sometimes, growing up means walking even when it hurts.

tomorrow said hello to sally

It’s easy for her to rush forward.  To try and solve it all before it happens.  She thinks she’s doing herself a favor, but she’s not.

She needs to take a step back.

Watch the ripples of water fall down the facet or see as the rays of sun rise from the earth.  Take in the little pausing moments of the days.  Notice how his smile twitches or how she says thank you.  Hold the little baby close and feel the beating heart of another soul.

Or even, stop and listen to her own breathing.  Feel the soft tempo of her being – set aside her thoughts that are too deep, full of worry beyond her strength.

Emerge life into her unyielding mind.  Remind it how when she was little she could sit for hours and talk to her imaginary friends:  Sally, Missy and Lilly.  It was fun then to just play.  Sit on her bottom and drink fake tea or wear her mommy’s clothing and shoes.

She didn’t perform then, not for anyone expect herself and it was fun.

She laughed at her own jokes even if they weren’t funny.

She didn’t think about tomorrow and perhaps, that’s when the rush began.  When tomorrow popped in and said hello to Sally.

Then without asking her, Sally began to believe tomorrow and tell her to think about it.

Did she know where she was going and what she was doing and what she would be wearing??

So many questions she didn’t know how to answer Sally…

Slowly, Sally, Missy and Lilly no longer asked her anymore questions because tomorrow took them away.  They where enslaved by their curiosity of what could come later.  What if they could do something to make tomorrow better?  Today, was not enough and so, tomorrow needed to be perfect.

Tomorrow is now her king and I just pray — YES, I pray, she remembers the little quiet things.

If she does, the rushing will stop.

She will come back.  She will find her rest and sit down and play.  She will no longer play with Sally, Missy and Lilly because she has grown up.

But also, she will have found herself again.