The young man who lives above the organ rents his room for ten dollars a day. It’s a good deal for a student in the city, especially for one who’s rarely home and doesn’t mind choir practice on Monday and Thursday afternoons and during Sunday services. He’s rarely home on Sundays, anyway, spending those moments instead doing rounds at a community clinic. Though his mother raised him Catholic, he doesn’t spend much time in the sanctuary. He sees God in the world, in the face of the sick, the poor, the forsaken. Being a Christian, he thinks, means that you are a servant as Christ was. To be a Christian, one with absolute faith, your life is in service of love, no matter how painful that love often is.
It’s been such a long time since I saw you on stage, honey dripping from your hair in the spotlight as you transformed from one of those caged birds into a wild falcon. You were all motion and music. And as your violin cried out its sequacious notes, I sat in that uncomfortable auditorium chair with stemmed roses and baby’s breath digging into my forearm. Lateness forced me into the back of the room due to lateness, but you reached me from your perch a dozen yards away, standing before the conductor, swaying in time to his baton.
Madelyn finishes The Plain Dealer’s daily crossword puzzle in thirty minutes flat. She gets up from the kitchen table for a second cup of coffee and stirs in three spoonfuls of sugar. Metal on ceramic echoes through the kitchen. When she sits back down, she takes out today’s bundle of mail and removes its rubber band, bounty unfurled.
Writing in the middle of a pandemic is hard. Everything is hard. But I assure you that I am working, or at least trying to work. This is by no means a complete piece, or even good, but it is work. And it is me.
My father always told me to look to the stars to find my way home. That was true a long time ago, when he was younger, before the universe started fraying at the edges. The stars haven’t shined brightly in decades. Even if they did, I’m not sure I would know the way home, especially all the way up here. But it’s easy to pretend that I can pinpoint where Earth is out this little window, despite the fact that there is nothing but blackness and the occasional moon or bulbous orange planet that doesn’t remind me of our galaxy at all. We’re far from where we started.