In The Wakes of Joy

Sometimes hope appears in unexpected places at unexpected times.

What a strange day today is.
There's been some odd series of events.
They seem to only make sense in my world.

It's been... an interesting year.
It's been an interesting series of years.

Today has been a sign of silent triumphs and somber notes.
It was a story about family.
It was a story about abandonment.
It was a story about the aftermath of everything and a wake of joy.

What is a wake of joy exactly?

A wake of joy is a bittersweet dance of collaboration and unity after an ending.
It is the light at the end of a dark tunnel.
It is the first rays of sunlight and warm following the darkest part of the season.
It is a beginning after an ending.

This weekend I was drinking root beer floats with my best friend in a town a few miles outside of San Francisco. This place had given me so much refuge in ways I cannot get into right now. There was a stinging pain and joy interwoven into those final moments in the city... as were the ones that dropped in before we got to those final moments.

They were invisible triumphs. 

A few streets a year ago away I laid curled in a ball crying many nights in pain I would say I wouldn't wish upon my enemies but I know in this wake of a moment that I might not in some moments.

A year ago still felt better than the year before in some ways although covered in a cloak of darkness despite being surrounded by blinding beauty.

I fear the day that the Bay does not give me this levity. 

And in the sunshine of the not quite sunset... as we had arrived through wakes of sunset down a long and windy road that... feels it had even more meaning than the literal one in hindsight... I think about that small gesture of a frosty mug. Of a frosted mug and syrupy indulgence that was a reminder of a time and place far far far away from here.

Every year it makes a cameo. Last year it did as well but I'm not even sure if I was as conscious of it then... 

At the end of this birthday trip returning to the Bay a few days ago for my birthday, my sister made a cameo without realizing it... or perhaps maybe she did. But that's the thing about memories... sometimes they pop back up without you remembering them... until you can't re-forget.

Two years ago I was...
We were...
She was...

Everything got white for a few moments. The air was chilly. The road was quiet... but not alone then either even if it felt a bit windy too.

There would be another trip.

Another story.


And then later that year the glasses would be raised to remember. 

It probably sounds cheesy to say but there's something warm and...

Root beer will never be the same since Jess passed. It's now sips of nostalgia and...

Miles away days later I'd get a text from one of my dearest friends from high school. From the friend that made sure to come out for me and to give her regards... who always does and perhaps always will.

I had been so busy the last few days with work and projects and a trip to see things I hadn't seen in my days escaping to the Bay and a few that had been ever so enjoyed to...

And my heart dipped a bit at moments as I felt bad for enjoying myself for a moment... and smiling through tears of the good people around me now... and how my sister, the one who had been held with such high regard to our family, was not.

I stopped in my tracks as I looked at my phone after I had just walked through notes of newfound joy and scents of a rich horizon post a birthday trip that humbled me and wondered me ever so much. My eyes, that had refused to well with tears (despite what my tweets said) even a few days prior at the sight and sounds of the Royal Wedding suddenly were flooded.

She was not forgotten.
She was not forgotten.
She was not forgotten.

Two years ago I was...
We were...
She was...

She was not forgotten.
She was not forgotten.
She was not forgotten.

I came home immediately overcome with a warmth and thankfulness. Of little moments in that wake of joy. 

More warmth would pour in.

At the sunset on an unexpected but semi-planned tour on a coast lined with pebbles but... not to the tune of bagpipes.
At the turn on the windy road past the famous bridge that we were sure to hit on the way because it was on my list.

And there would be even more.

Before I'd left for the day were messages of concern and care about things with my dear little love and little bear Jonas... this dear friend of mine was there for me in ways my family wasn't... forever keeping watch over me like a living angel in many regards. As I walked to the train to get back home for lunch (and inevitably pass out of exhaustion for a few as well) I would get even more messages thinking of... me.

This weekend the trip was all about the things I'd wanted to do. I'd gotten recommendations from a couple of people and written them in a notebook to reference. The notes had so much ambition... there was so so much I wanted to do still... and my best friend who joined me on the trip (and drove at that) was open to wherever the road took us.

I returned and went to my infamous tea shop, where, days prior to that trip I'd gone in skates that I'd elected to treat myself with prior to leaving. I had been greeted with warmth by friends... another skater woman with the skates I would have gotten if they had had that color in my size, of the lawyer who sells and collects art, of the friend whom I argue with mostly jokingly frequently about all sorts of nerdery and, of the 27 year old who'd seen me days prior and possibly gotten a crush on me who hit on me profusely at the end of the night, of... someone who'd given me recommendations but become frustrated because I didn't take them.

"You don't listen."
"Excuse me?"
"I gave you recommendations. You didn't follow them. I give other people recommendations and they do but you didn't."
"I don't answer to you. I said thank you for your recommendations several times but you didn't own that trip nor me and I don't answer to you. Stop."
"That's a problem. You should answer to me. I know better. And so do others. You should be answering to others."

I hadn't realized it that night but the echoes of those words were like heavy balled weights hitting a hollow drum inside. They were full and booming... and violent. I would have none of it. I stood firm.

"I've asked you politely to step off. Now I'm going to tell you to fuck off. You need to have a seat and reel it in. You're out of line. I don't owe you anything and you weren't on that trip. It didn't belong to you. You have a lot of gaul telling me how and what I should be doing on a trip I went on that you weren't even on and which my best friend who went and I had a damn good time on. I have thanked you for your recommendations and I will not tolerate this behavior. It is uncalled for. I implore you to stop and reconsider your words but I accept that you likely will not. Do as you will as will I... which is pretty much the point."
"I'm not going to give you recommendations anymore."
"Great. That's your choice. I'm sure I'll have a good time anyway next time and I appreciated your recommendations but I can choose when and if I use them. It's a bummer that you don't understand but that's for you."

He continued to yammer on a bit more but I continued to stay firm. Ultimately it got to be too much so I was more succinct.

"I cannot with this right now. Just stop. I'm not tolerating this. I'm going to sit down somewhere else. This is beyond immature of you. Grow the fuck up. You should be old enough to know better by now."

And I sat down. I took a breath. I said nothing about how similar this was to all the abuses that I think my sister and I both had encountered from men in our lives... from, perhaps, the one who ended up murdering her two years ago on the date of this drafting.

I'm sitting down listening to the mixtape made for my sister posthumously by my brother. On the playlist are songs that glamorize abuse. It is a tinge of irony that I'm unsure if my brother was even aware of... or even is even two years later.

Sadness is stacked in layers...
perhaps also like a wake of joy.

Two years ago I was in an office on this day completely unaware of what was happening in a room across the country where my sister was breathing her last breaths before being thrown away in a plastic bag and shoved into a box.

Two years after the fact I am not on speaking terms with any of my immediate family having been abandoned and also thrown away for not rubber stamping the lies that everything was and is as glittery as they would like to believe the memories are in the aftermath of the blast.

As I walked to the train, however, I was yet again met with kindness and compassion. 
It was the little things. 
It is the little things. 

It's the tiny things like asking if I wanted the last cheese curd when we sipped those glasses of root beer days prior with my best friend...

or of the friend messaging me who'd brought flowers to my sister's grave who'd mailed me a physical clipping of an article of a root beer stand ever so dear because of...

or of the friend who had experienced a tremendous medical emergency but made sure to message me on my birthday because it & I was important to her...


And there it was again as I boarded the train home... a place where I have partially because of those connections and friendships that have surpassed what family has ever sadly done in kindness and compassion aside from my grandparents on my father's side...

They were texts about loose leaf tea.

It was something ever so simplistic and warm and...

I am ever so humbled for the connections in the wake of everything.

I cried again on the train as I sifted through images of different specialty teas in Washington. I missed a friend who lives up there currently whom I might have to message at some point as well about things if these teas are anything like what they might be when they arrive next week when the person who sent me the pictures asking me if I'd wanted anything returns back with my new teas.

I came home and went to lay in bed with a heavy heavy heart.
A heavy full heart.
A heart that feels never full enough of thankfulness.

I returned home and saw an article about a man whom I nearly met around New Years. He is doing very successful. I am happy for him despite not being able to meet due to circumstances.

I have been messaging with a few potentials lately as well.

I am...

I think about how a year ago I was getting a call yelling at me about my sister's death. About how I will be remembering the day twice within a week... on the date she actually passed and her found date. I think about how a year ago I was doing great financially for the first time in awhile having been "freed" in some ways that...

But that's more sadness and...

I think about how many things have overlapped to get to these moments.

About the connections to the Bay Area... with my ex husband coming here to chase job prospects for the wife he'd cheated on me to be with and later cheated on her to be with someone else...

About the yelling I would get as I held my hands in front of my face curled in a ball miles away from where this other person could not push me as I cried and couldn't sleep...


A phone call.

Flowers on an important date.

A clipping from a newspaper.

The last bite of a shared treat.

Little things.

Big things.

Things that mean the world that make for a wake of joy which I never feel that I'm thankful enough for every single day.