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Tuesday Slice of Life : July 12, 2016.


As I write this Tuesday Slice of Life, I find that sentences don’t work. And feelings overpower words. My best is a rough draft. I doubt I will ever revise or edit it. In this moment, it is raw, like my heart.

We gather
And stand around
Saying things that don’t really matter
Knowing the time is near

Dusk drops slowly over
Their game of freeze tag
But the kids don’t want to stop
The air is warm
But I feel a chill
Mosquitoes bite
And I slap
But I really don’t care

We gather
In a circle
Holding hands
Bowing heads
Offering thanksgiving
For our time together

Six weeks
Every day planned
Every minute packed
Making up for the year behind
Storing up for the year ahead
Swimming, playing, laughing
Arguing, fighting, getting over it
Eating favorite foods
Watching movies
A trip to the zoo
A week at the beach
Baseball games
All the while
Knowing this evening would come

Twenty-four of us
In a circle
Holding hands
Bowing heads
Asking God for protection
As they travel

Fourteen hours by air
Four more by car
Across the continent
Then on to another
Below the equator
They travel home
They return
To their city ripped apart
To a life turned inside out
By a 7.8 earthquake

Our hugs squeeze and hang on
Sobbing tears mingle
Lumps push up and choke out words
We continue to stand
Not wanting to leave
The spot where our yards meet
Where we’ve barbecued
Celebrated birthdays
Sat around the fire pit
Watched fireworks
And in the evenings
Until nine
Played wiffle baseball

But the time has come
Slowly we separate
Walk to our back porches
I notice
Our lights shine as beacons
Across our yards
Pushing against the night

They arise before the sun
Before a new day begins
Standing in the brightness
Of headlights I wave
I cannot see

My old kitchen clock ticks
Dawn has come
But our houses are quiet
Our yards are empty
The clock keeps ticking
I do a bit of work
The sun is filtering
Through gray clouds

My phone rings
They’re on the tarmac
First leg of the journey is over
Their location isn’t abstract
Somewhere in the skies
For a moment
As we talk
It seems my arms stretch out
I feel theirs reach back
Our fingers barely touch

But they must go
I love you

And I must let go
I love you


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