Just now, Lydia, we were sitting together in the living room, and we were listening to "Skinny Love." I was letting the lyrics seep into me, I was letting them create a warm space inside of me--a space where the past is beautiful and the future most definitely will be and I am not grasping for either of them, because I am happy and safe right now. The future will come, and it will become the present, and we will both be happy and safe.
Just a few minutes ago, we were listening to "Skinny Love" together, and you were singing along. I don't tell you enough that I love your voice. When I do tell you, it is usually because you have been working on a new song, and you come up to me and say, "Does this sound alright?" and usually I sound annoyed when I reply, so you don't believe me. I love your voice, Lydia. I love it even though it is only a piece of the bright and brilliant sprit that you possess. I love it in the same way that your children will love it on stagnant and moonless nights when they cry because they don't believe that the sun will ever warm them again. You will hold them in your arms, and you will sing "Landslide" or "I Want to Hold Your Hand" or "Skinny Love," and your voice will create warm spaces inside of them where nothing exists and everything fills its absence.
Seventeen years ago, we were born into this world together.
I wrote a poem last year, about our life inside of the womb. I wrote it for a poetry class taught by a poetry teacher who wanted my poems to be stranger, to make less sense. So I tried to make the poem mysterious. I tried to make it sound like one that she would write. And in all of this trying, I failed to really convey the truth--of what it might have been like for us, together there in the safety of the darkness, in the warm space where we grew.
There is one stanza of that poem that I like, so I will post it here:
Our metronome hearts birth metrical ticks
in accord, a reminder
we were born to never be alone."
And we will never be alone, Lydia. Happy seventeenth birthday, my love. Blow out the candles. Make a wish. Believe in the warmth inside of yourself.
Love, your sister
(Photo taken by Uncle Dave, Christmas 2010.)