On the plane home from Dallas I read a magazine cover to cover, an issue devoted to creativity and creative partnerships. I dog-eared all the pages and then went back and started again from the beginning. I already missed him terribly, my grandfather, like an unbearable burn in the center of my chest.
As the plane began its descent, I glanced towards the nearest window and an old woman sat silhouetted in its frame, her plump, wrinkled face punctuated by the tubes that hooked beneath her nose and the oxygen tank that sat heavily between her legs. The end-of-day sunlight flooded in around her, gauzy and white and undeniably Los Angeles. Home, I thought, without even trying.
And again, home, as I felt that same pain of longing strike hard against my chest.
I waited three years and three hours to see him again. Three years of life and a final, comical three hours delay at the airport, waiting for my plane to take off from LA.
From the airport and through 5pm Friday traffic, to the hotel and then bounced immediately back out in suit and tie and dress and heels to dinner somewhere in another part of town. The restaurant was loud and packed, celebrations of every sort. Parties, families, lovers, dates, friends. Ridiculous looking women with platinum hair and cartoon bodies. Conservative, sweet-looking girls with straight hair and pearls. Men in starched white shirts and big gold watches leaning in over steaks and wine. And us. Jet-lagged, travel-worn. A dress I’d worn a few days before for a friend’s wedding, freshly cleaned and barely creased from travel. Him, across from me, in the kind of spotless, elegant suit I’ve known him for my whole life. The monogrammed shirt sleeve and cuff links. The tiny speck of a scar on his forehead (shrapnel, he told me once when I finally thought to ask where it came from).
I felt drunk immediately from the sensory chaos of the restaurant, and stayed in that state, blissfully suspended, for days. Menus and wine and plates too hot to touch. An entire symphony of smells and tastes, the whole day spent eating and drinking, restaurant, hotel, restaurant again. Heady days of tactile, sensory pleasures. The tastes and smells of dining, the silk of my dresses, cabs through the evening rain, the heavy hang of water in the air, thick lung-fulls of it as we sat waiting for a cab after dinner. One morning I woke at dawn as the light broke into my room, inching first across the floor and then crawling up across the bed, waking me, gently, then more aggressively, brighter, warmer, wake up. I sat in the silence of my room watching my shadow grow tall on the wall beside me.
Someday I’ll write everything he’s meant to me, everything he’s given me, everything he’s done for me, how much of my life he is, and me his, how intertwined it’s all been, and how much I’m the lucky one, to have known this particular kind of love and family and friendship and affection. But not now…not yet.
How perfect that it was these photos–and only these photos–of D racing into the ocean at sunset, moments after we finally landed in Moloka’i, that became exposed to a blissed-out, end-of-the-roll light leak.
In the midst of packing, unpacking, moving, ending one job, starting another and even mildly trying to keep up with writing and emails, I finally got back all my film from last month’s travels–over a dozen rolls and an absolute embarrassment of riches.
On an equally benevolent note, I’m writing this from the backyard of my new house, surrounded by lime trees and the sounds of the neighbor’s trumpet lessons. Life is changing faster than I can keep up but it is very, very good.
A few shots of Moloka’i with my Mamiya C330 // June and July 2014