light prevails.

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“It’s amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.”
― John Guare

I’m sitting in a diner, the light brown wood of the tabletop familiar under the standard placemat of bright squares advertising local businesses. No overwhelming feeling of hunger has gripped me, no feeling of anticipation of my order’s arrival has slipped into the corners of my mind. I sit, contentedly, taking in the slight hustle and bustle around me.

I glance to my right, and tilt my head, confused. A familiar face I was not expecting to see meets my gaze steadily, with a smile. I smile back uncertainly.

“Hey,” he says.
“Hey,” I respond hesitantly. “Is it, ah, is it okay for you to be here? Can you be here right now?”
“Yeah don’t worry, I can be here. How are you?”
I relax a little. “I’m great,” I say happily. “How are you?”
“Really good, I’m doing great,” he says, a tone of sincerity backing his words.

This response fills me with joy. We fall into the happy, comfortable conversation of two people with no walls between them. I couldn’t say if it lasted for minutes or for hours. If you ask me what we talked about, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.

Something gently warns me our conversation is coming to an end. I look into his eyes, mine suddenly welling with tears. I’m not sure why I’ve just been so overtaken with emotion.

To my surprise, I say, “I’m so scared I won’t remember this. I’m so scared I won’t remember that I talked to you.”

“Don’t worry,” he assures me. “I’ll make sure. I’ll make sure you remember.”
His words comfort me. Everything seems a little fuzzy.

Blackness. I realize my eyes are closed, slowly become aware that I’m laying in my bed, the darkness of night still covering my side of the Earth. I roll over, confused. I realize I’m crying.

It’s been almost five years since I’ve spoken to Chris, five years since any of us have. And yet, I feel it hasn’t even been five minutes. Maybe it hasn’t.

I think about the dream and am overwhelmed with a sense of calm, of comfort. I’ve spent the last five years like my entire family has- keeping my cousin alive in my heart, in my memories. Carrying around the medal of St. Christopher as a token of love, of luck, of protection, of whatever I needed it to be.

Who can say for sure what dreams are? Imaginations run wild? Doors to another reality? Neither of those? Both of them?

I am not sure what I believe about most dreams, but I believe that Chris is doing great. I don’t know why he chose me to share that with, and I don’t know what I think happens to our souls after we leave this world. I don’t think we spend eternity in diners where we never eat, but I’ve come to believe we can meet our friends and family there and tell them how we’re doing.

And although I’m unsure where or when or how or who I’ll be after I die, I very much believe Chris will be there to greet me.

That alone makes me unafraid. That alone makes me hopeful. That alone is enough.

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To The One Who Loved Me More

To The One Who Loved Me More:
I am truly sorry for
The pain I put you through-
But, my dear, I knew
It was cruel to pretend.
And so I brought the end
Of you and me,
But I paid dearly
For the pain I brought you.
Because then I fell into…

The One Who Loved Me Less-
Who, I confess
R i p p e d    me right apart,
Properly abused my heart.
Thought love was a fun play
Until the curtain fell away-
And it all became much too real,
So he shut off how to feel
And no one ever knew
The loneliness he put me through.

But, to More and Less:
I wish you the best,
I hope that life is kind
And that one day you both find
The One You Love the Same-
It is an exit to the game.
Joy comes with loving equally,
I have finally come to see
And found myself, and so I pray
You will find your Same someday
It is an end you both have earned:
To be loved the way that your love burned

inventory.

here I sit,
taking inventory of

THE WALLET:
thirty-six dollars,
a card that gives me license
to drink and to drive
(but not together),
another that gives me credit,
pictures of her,
and tickets to a show
that won’t go on.

THE HEAD:
countless passwords,
a bachelor’s degree-worth
of knowledge I rarely use,
friends’ birthdays,
how to drive a car,
and memories of what
life used to be.

THE HEART:
the most beautiful little girl,
the kind of friends
you only hear about,
a family that dulls others
by comparison-

and a stubborn refusal to give up
on the idea that
love
will always win.

maybe (adv.) – the cruelest word

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“Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets” -Arthur Miller

There are a lot of powerful words in the English language, but I can think of few as two-faced and devastating as “maybe.”

Maybe fills you with hope and leads you on like the cruelest of flirters.

Maybe he’ll call. Maybe she’ll pull through. Maybe next year will be better.

It strings you along innocently enough until it dumps you unceremoniously on the floor as it flutters away.

It’s the unknown that keeps us up at night, flicking through the possibilities that stretch between us and the rest of our lives.

We’re in overwhelming awe of all the things that could happen: Our dream job could open up, we might win the lottery, some day we really will go on that trip – maybe.

And then (how easily it changes) we’re in paralyzing fear of all the things that could happen: We could get in a car accident, we might lose our job, some day our vices really will catch up with us – maybe.

Maybe is a trap that makes us run around in circles, lifting us with hope and throwing us down with worry; enabling us with motivation and paralyzing us with doubt.

The truth is, we will never know which course of action would have been better, which words would have been the best to say, which moments would have been better off going differently.

Yes- Maybe he will call. Then again, maybe you’ll get hit by a bus tomorrow. But life’s too short to live stuck in what may be.

Maybe it’s time to start living definitively.