An Open Letter to Whimsy

on 25 August 2009

Dear Whimsy:

My thumb hurts. I was nervous about the somewhat social event last Thursday and I was chewing on the skin around the nail, you know how I do, and I peeled it back too far. Well, and then, I can't stop doing everything that I have to do just because I have an open wound, so it got infected. On Friday and Saturday I would pull the swollen, red and scabby flesh back from the nail and pour peroxide into it, it would sting and burn and then foam, but after that it started to heal. I was laying in Bed Sweet Bed on Saturday night and it was throbbing and I would periodically get these shooting pains from the knuckled down to the tip of my thumb. Sunday night I realized that that's what the corner of my heart occupied by you feels like right now. I miss you horribly. And in thinking of you, I get these sharp, stabbing pains that shoot from that corner of my heart out into my chest and stomach.

I've already told you this, but I know that I should call. I want to call. But then, what I really want is to have you in my living room, or to be in yours. To crack open a diet coke and slouch at your dining room table and chat. Or to lay my head down and have a good cry while you play with my hair. There's really not much to talk about, I just miss you. I miss having a friend that I feel comfortable with--enough to be goofy and odd with. I miss laughing the way that we do until our bellies hurt. I miss being understood without having to explain myself constantly.

So, in this state, I have pulled down Sight Hound to read. Remember you gave it to me for my birthday a couple of years ago? I couldn't read it then (Chris forbid it) because I knew it would make me want a dog so much that I would do something rash, like actually GET a dog. Anyway, I pulled it down Sunday night. I reread the inscription from you--I love how hard you press on the paper when you write, so that the back sides of everything (letters, postcards, lists) have ridges--it's like Whimsy-Braille--and I started the book.

It's lovely.

Remember how I told you that when I read Harry Potter now, I hear it in my head in Chris' voice? Because he's read them aloud to me so often--on trips from Athens to Savannah, from Durham to Savannah, at home in Bed Sweet Bed. But when I read this book, I hear it in your voice. It's like a conversation with you that I can hold in my hands. And that is a wonderful gift.

And this: "It's funny how love is both harder, and easier, without language."

You wrote it about our friendship, and yet. I read it and I started to think about you and Alice. About me and the Boy. About Samwise and the soon to be Girl. About my sweet sister and her children. About so many lovely women I know and their children. About all the mothers and their children. About how hard it is to love them when they can't communicate with us what they want and need. About how hard it is to love them when they can communicate and we cannot possibly live up to what they want and need from us.

I started to think strange things about how maybe this is one of those burdens of humanity--our blessing and our curse, if you will--I was again amazed that we, as a species, have survived for as long as we have. That we continue to carry on. I was thinking how all of these burdens seem to imbue our life, and our choices with so much more meaning that we think when we're making those choices.

Thank you. Thank you for the book. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for accepting me flaws and all. Thank you for loving me even when I feel like the strangest girl on earth. Thank you for creeping into my heart and my mind and shining light, and enlightenment, into the dark and dusty corners. And thank you for this book. I'm sorry if I've been weird lately. I'm sorry for not keeping in touch as I should. I love you whole and to pieces.


Sibley Saga .... said...

Wow. I miss you both. You seem to communicate what my pregnany-hormone-addled brain never could.

Whimsy said...

Thank you so much, my dear sweet finger-chewing friend. (STOP TOUCHING IT - IT'LL GET **INFECTED**!-- name that movie.)

I'm so glad you're reading the Houston. You will love it. It is sweet and longing and the comfort of a well-worn friend all rolled into one.

I'm reading The Solace of Leaving Early right now, thinking of you the entire time. Funny how we do that, isn't it?

Don't worry about the radio silence. All is well, as it will always be.

Love you, dear one.


Rae said...

Lovely post, friend.

Mostly, I wanted to squee about your signature and the loveliness and the bumblebee. Squee!