never mine to keep

She spoke quietly:

“I miss laying my head upon your chest, as I feel it

rise and fall; your breath steady but sometimes not.

Our legs intertwined, your arm around mine, your fingers gently brushing by.

You were warm, you were safe, but I suppose never mine to keep.”

 

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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.”

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.

goodbye january 2017, hello february 2017

Oh January. You have been a month full of loss, hurt, and pain.

You’ve been hard.

Harder than I predicted. You’ve been hard on the world too.

2017 you did not start with a shiny new beginning. Instead, you followed closely in the footsteps of 2016. Not surprising since we put way too much pressure on you.

I won’t lie – part of me wishes for a do-over; rewind time and maybe get it better the second time around.

But.

Maybe February 1st can serve as a do-over. It’s tomorrow after all. New month, new day, new 28 days to live. New prospect that maybe this whole month will be easier and lighter and freer.

Tonight January ends and tomorrow February begins.

May it be good.