Friday, October 08, 2010

The Sixteenth Minute

October 6, 10:30pm: Jessica laid in her bed, dreading the dawn of the following day. She clutched her pistachio Petzl Tikka Plus 2 headlamp in one hand and her green faux leatherbound Walmart journal & burgundy Camp Wakonda pen in the other. Why am I dreading my birthday? she thought.

15 minutes of fame. What does the sixteenth minute hold?

One day of birthday. What does October 8 hold?

I dreaded something special because I feared what the aftermath would entail.

It reminded me of something I wrote in my journal a couple nights ago:
Why do we call friends when we know we'll have to hang up?
Why do we visit when we know we'll have to say goodbye?
Why do we make new friends when we know it leads to more farewells?
Why do we embrace when we know we'll have to let go?

Isn't it all sort of self-defeating?
Yes. Perhaps it is.

Fellow Oct 7 baby, Kesly (she's on the left)
I stumbled out of my bedroom at 6:21am and nearly squashed a neat pile of a couple cards and a granola bar. Egg and biscuit sandwiches waited tantalizingly in the cafeteria, and halfway through my biscuit, the cafeteria erupted with table banging and a loud rendition of "Happy Birthday Ms. Jessicaaaaa!!!" I subbed for the seniors' English class and listened to a lovely tag-team duet of the birthday song as interpreted by Joy and Navo. The ocean grew wider. I enjoyed a mid-morning S.S. quarterly study and snooze with SmartWools on my frigid feetsies and a blanket and purring roaring kitten on my lamp. I received an email from Dad setting up a phone date. The ocean grew wider. Lunch brought some amazing chickenless pot pie. I received a heartwarming text from a sister more than 8000 miles away. The ocean grew ever wider. Nearly the entire student population belted out an echo-y Happy Birthday in the gymnasium during PE (twice) and promptly offered a gift of leaving so we wouldn't have PE (more than twice). Senior Sabrina attempted to teach me to dance on the sidelines of the football field while 4th-grader Larissa tugged my shirt sleeve, willing me to continue our football-hiking game. I entered the cafeteria late for supper and sat down with a satisfied sigh. I sat down again, this time at my desk in my apartment. How strange that a birthday causes the ocean to swell and push home farther and farther away. I looked over inverse functions with Sabrina and reviewed Irisse's math homework. I retired to my bedroom, dialing a familiar number and hearing Dad's voice on the other end. I enjoyed a beautiful birthday chat with my favorite parents in the world. Then hung up.

Calling and hanging up, hellos and goodbyes, friends and farewells. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain [or goodbyes or hang ups or farewells]. Rev 21:4

That's a reactionless action I'm looking forward to.

Postscript: October 8 dawned bright and sunny, with a heavy downpour of blessings for Jessica Mae. The sixteenth minute is almost better than the first fifteen. Thank You, Waitress, Life Preserver, and Time Keeper.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

I'm indescribably proud to know you. Your thoughts dig down and unearth humanity and truth. Wow.