Friday, April 29, 2011
Today is the day my babiest sister graduates from college. I don't know how that could have happened, not that it is strange that she has accomplished something like that, but that she could be old enough to do so. Isn't she a tiny girl, rollerskating around the house? Isn't she a little thing, packing a plastic suit case and declaring that she's off to Meximo City? Isn't she our baby girl? Isn't she our girl? I will not cry. (The tears are already in my eyes.) I've been crying for a week straight.
As the storms that swept through the south were just starting to kick up wisps of leaves and hints of what was to be such total devastation, I started to feel off. Irritable, ornery, sassy. I wanted to pick fights, I felt like I hated everyone who walked through the door at my work. I said mean things. I had to mentally restrain myself from dashing full plates to the floor and smashing water glasses. My arms longed to knock something over. Preferably something big that would make a very loud bang and would break in an irreparable way. Then came the tears.
I cried because people were leaving at work and I had to replace them and it was too hard. I cried because not only are they leaving, but they are going off to better and brighter things, and I stay here and what to them was a job to get them through school and supply them mad money for nights of vodka luge, new panties, and marijuana, appears to be my career. I cried because my man is so far away and loves his job so much. I cried because I'm getting old. I cried because my legs hurt so much. I cried because I have a cat and I do not pet her enough. (Seriously, just looking at her little face was enough to set me off.) I cried because I do not have a baby. I cried because I was on my period and oh the storm was building and my sister, my baby tiny little sunshine girl is leaving.
A couple of nights ago after she played at the restaurant, one of my co-workers said, "May, I think I have a crush on your sister." He said it real plain and earnest, and not teasing in any way. "Yes," I said, "She's a good one to have a crush on." and then we talked about how fine she is. Which is one of my favorite things to do.
Many years ago I started waxing poetic about her at a party in St. Augustine. I had had several glasses of wine at that point and I remember gesturing with both hands and saying how beautiful she was and how talented and how marvelous. My then boyfriend leaned over to me and whispered that no one cared, that I was embarrassing myself. I sank back into the couch exhausted and said, "I just love her so much." The funny thing about that is the people I was talking to, the people hosting the party, are the people who my sister now calls her Fairy Godparents and who love her almost as much as I do. Ha! Suck it, ex-boyfriend! It's not overly effusive if you have to be in order to be completely honest. Kiss my ass, I just love her so much.
My sister Jessie is very tall, and very talented, and very smart, and very beautiful. That's all true, but it's not enough. She has an angel's face, a perfect oval, with big blue eyes and a mouth that could have been painted in the Renaissance. She is Aphrodite, she is Diana, she is the Virgin Mary, she is one better, she is herself. Her fingers are delicate and tapered and I like to take her hand when I talk to her and hold it, and bring it up to my lips to kiss because even just that hand is so precious to me. When she is playing mandolin her face smooths and her body relaxes and it is like watching something intimate and magical and completely natural taking place, like the unfolding of a flower or a sunrise, so languid, so.... yes... sexy and yet not so, and then she smiles and the clouds you didn't know were there part and the sun bursts through. She shines so brightly sometimes I have to look away.
Her grace is something that is not just held in her body but also in the way she moves through life. She is graceful with people, she is graceful in situations that most would find difficult or uncomfortable. Children and animals follow her with blind love. She is the kind of girl you want near, just because her presence makes the air feel better. When she is around I know that everything will be okay, not because I need her to take care of things (though she does) but because when I look at her face I am soothed. She is balm, that girl.
Which is why it is so right that she is graduating from nursing school. I can't think of anyone I would rather have by my side if I was in pain, or afraid, or having a baby. She will be using those lovely hands to provide succor to those lucky enough to find themselves in her care. I almost envy their broken bones, I almost envy their labor pains. It is right, it is good, so is she.
She is in love. If I thought she was beautiful before (and she was and I did) now she is even more so and grows more lovely everyday. Could she be any more beautiful? She is so beautiful that only she could be a thing more beautiful than she is now, so I suppose that is possible. Maybe when she herself has a baby, as our sister Lily has and who has herself grown more astonishingly gorgeous since.
I am so glad that she is in love, and that she is doing exactly what she needs to do for herself and her life. They will be moving in together, in another town, in another state. They will make a home. They will nest. They will sleep well together. As I told her not too long ago, there is nothing that makes my heart happier or more at peace than knowing that her heart is taken care of. I believe this man will look after her heart. I believe he may love her enough to keep loving her and to love her more.
Now I am crying again because this is so big to me- this girl, her love, her accomplishments, my love for her. I am not heart broken that she is leaving, I am heart-mended, and I am finding that a full to bursting, happy heart can be just as painful as a broken one. I am so glad for her that I cannot stop weeping.
Jessie Girl- you are leaving but you are not leaving us. We travel in you as you ride in our hearts and minds, and it will always be that way. There is nothing you could ever do that would lessen my love for you and your absence will not cause your face to fade in my mind. You are imprinted in me, you are the wallpaper in my heart. I am so proud of you. I just love you so much. Now go be free, you sweet little thing.