what hope looks like (and probably smells like)
It is the word that keeps me going.
Since this journey began nearly six months ago, Rico has always said, "When I am better, when this part is over, we will go back to the ocean. We will just be us."
There are so many reasons that it has to be the ocean. For me, a California kid, it feels like home -safe and warm and rhythmic. The gulf coast is the place where we held hands, rescuing conches and watching dolphins jump in the surf, the place where we rung in our first new year's together, the place where he and Punk first bonded over body surfing, where he and Yoda built bug houses and found huge starfish, where he and Kooka spent hours trying to master tandem "surfing". And of course, it is the last place that he really seemed like himself - where he got excited about fresh oranges, had a smart ass remark for anyone who gave him grief (just ask the lady who stole all of the sunbrellas), where we watched him drop into the drink fifty times trying to master the stand up paddle board.
When he is better we will go to the ocean. We will just hold hands and listen to the waves and everything will feel right again.
Because right now nothing feels right.
But it's funny how full of love this world is. It's funny how some people seem to know just what you need exactly when you need it.
My very best friend all throughout school was Jodi. She's funny, talented and smart, (like she's Hermione and I'm the Ron Weasley - not an exaggeration. Hell I might have even been the house elf, I don't even know. Suffice it to say, she's an all-around good chick). My school year scrapbooks are filled with notes in her familiar loopy handwriting, folded up into tiny origami triangles, boxes or fortune teller shapes.
So when I saw that same handwriting on a package from the Texas coast, I had no doubt who it was from, but I couldn't imagine the why, or how it would make me feel.
It was a box full of beach.
When I opened it, the whole house burst into sunshine, sand and salt and I burst into tears.
Maybe it was the smell of the homemade soaps. Maybe it was the poem her sister Wendy wrote, the starfish pottery ornament J made, the dragonfly charm, the coloring books for Yoda, the dance quote (which is likely how she recalls my sweet dance moves), the little glass beach sandal or all of the handwritten notes explaining the meaning behind each gift. The entire box felt like hope.
It felt like WHEN.
I took the little flip-flop and strung it on a chain. It is glass - negligible grains of sand held together by the test of fire. It is fragile, it is beautiful, and most important, it is real. So for now, I am wearing hope on a string. It is real, it is beautiful and it is always calling out to me . . .
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