First, I want you to start this song. Get settled.
When did you realize you loved someone? Was it the moment they walked into your life or their subsequent departure. Maybe it was a moment of crisis, or a simple day together. Love can manifest itself in many moments, and like love, longing, can sit on your heart.
The Lenten season has passed and thought reflections on my family, myself, and important touch points in life, I remembered how Holy Week, was always a time of transformation for my family. My mother, a true believer, would take us to church for everything, including but not limited to the Stations of the Cross. I even had to make a station growing up, always half-assed, and always a little too many Popsicle sticks and glue for even my taste. In high school, Holy Week would oscillate between March and April break with some potential for an entire week off. During most of those Holy Week’s I would meander with my hooligan friends, get into something potentially illegal and call it a miracle that I survived. But when I turned 18, things started to change a bit. During my foray into religiosity, the traditions of Holy Thursday were the most interesting. On Holy Thursday the clergy wash the feet of the congregation, as a recreation of the Jesus’s last day before Crucifixion. The humble nature of the process, was part of the ever connecting piece of faith which my mother, the true believer, hoped to impart to me. I found it akin to my growing obsession with Bakanon (you read Cats Cradle once you you think you’re a mystic)- feet could bring you to someone and also take you away. Feet could stumble, fall, and get you up. Washing someone’s feet, caring for somethings so fragile yet to powerful, was an acknowledgement of the human truth, that underneath it all, we are all just fleshy balls one mistep away from the grave.
On my last Holy Thursday at home, I went skateboarding with someone. I had up to this point been seeing someone seriously, whom I cared deeply for, someone who truth be told I treated pretty poorly in retrospect (Did I actually say sorry? Cuz I am). I was also terribly infatuated with someone else, someone who I didn’t really know and that was fine. What’s there to know outside of my heart would thump into my ears when they were around. I could palpably taste my desire for this person and it didn’t matter who knew. We were friendly, they even drove me home the Thanksgiving weekend prior.
On the way from our friends house, where I was given keys for a space we all shared, and inducted into the fold. On the drive, we listened to Black Star, and we drove around the round-about (rotary if you’re not from Massachusetts). We laughed, and I felt free going around the circle, once, twice, a third time. I felt a strange sense of belonging to the time, and to the strange circumstances that led us there. Though a simple moment, it stuck, slid itself into my mind and wouldn’t shake itself out. We would see each other on Sundays, and I would think about that ride, the feel of my body pushed to the side of the passengers seat, my head thrown back, laughter ringing out of my mouth.
So on Holy Thursday, after washing feet and making peace with my mother, our friend called. This friend asked if I wanted to go skateboarding. I, an avid skater girl and longboard enthusiast, obliged. I could tell you in excruciating detail what transpired, but it doesn’t matter. We skated, under a bridge filled with faceless people. We rode our boards and let the momentum pull us forward, let the boards travel across our indecision, the sound of my heart in my ears, as we casually smiled and ran. Our feet pounding the concrete, feet that had be touched by holy people hours before.
Sitting on our boards, the hum of the Merrimack River in the distance, we divulged simple truths. We got back into the car and I went home. One foot folded under my leg, the other firmly on the ground.