I got an envelope from my friend Maria on Friday. Thick. Marked "do not bend" in 5 places. Intriguing.
I sat down in my chair and opened it.
A third of a lifetime's worth of love spilled across my lap.
She had sent me- oh, what had she done? She lay across my legs in bits and pieces, images and lambent colors. In letters and words, in pictures and colors, in snippets of sheet music, in pieces of story and song and poem, she had sent me herself.
And she had sent me myself too- images of how she saw me, words of affirmation from her to me, flashing beauty culled from the apple of her eye, poetry and prose that pulled responses I had forgotten I owned from deep within my psyche.
On printer paper, on greeting cards, on thin exquisite Florentine stationery, on glossy cardboard, in laser print, in black ink she sent me
the gibbous moon. And
happiness in watercolored Spanish. And
fragile hand-thrown ceramic shells. And
postage stamps from
stooping death in a laborer's hat. And
a flawless silver-red heart. And
ecstatic song from sense-steeped poets. And
childishly absurd visual jokes. And
immaculate heartsblood-crimson blooms. And
petal-perfect flowering golden rings.
And the silver sun and golden stars.
I have received many gifts in my life; have been, often and again, one of the luckiest people I know.
Never have I received so much love- so much everything- in so small a compass.
Never, in fact, have I been given a gift so magnificent.
It is, as I said, more than a third of our lifetimes' worth of thought, of caring, of ideas and visions and work and secrets and dreams. I don't know how long she has been gathering these things- for me and for her. But this is no afternoon's work, no pile of a day's thought. This is months, perhaps years, of her thinking of me, setting aside things to send me, to show me, to write to me.
This is her seeing all that is weak in me and all that is best, and giving me everything she found within herself and the beauty around her to remind me of the latter and shore up the former.
She has given me- totality. The ideal of every object I could have desired. Of things I didn't know I needed. Of things I didn't until now know enough to crave and require.
Ah, Muina Colinda. I see, and will keep striving to experience, to understand, to know, to accept, to become.
I love you, Maria. I love you too.