on being a person
Today I feel like a person.
We are in the Rock House with black newspaper ink on our hands unwrapping all the old glass and books I love.
I served lunch yesterday to my grandparents on the red rose luncheon plates I thought I would never use. We had chicken salad sandwiches, and my Papaw loved me so much he couldn’t talk. His eyes turned red, and he pat hard at my knee. I love those plates. I can’t wait to use them again.
It’s all turning out. Melody, my sweet girlfriend, is living with us for a while, and I can walk over to her and say things like, “Mel, look at the amazing glossary in this book.” Today she asked if she could make cookies and then went on to baking in my new old kitchen, which is the blue of an old, used apron – one meant to show off the waist. It’s the color on the wallpaper we found behind many layers in the bedroom. Melody is one of the college girls who meets with me once a week. She has dark Italian skin and a french mother. She’s had her nose in Ivanhoe for two days now. She looks like a picture you cut out and save in a scrapbook of what you want to be like when you grow up – and she isn’t all the way grown. I love her.
I spent a week in Alabama, and Alabama is home but not like the home Seth had waiting for me when I returned. My sons are the sixth generation to live in this house. It smells like musky basement, a catty attic, and painted sawdust, and I can breathe now for the first time in a while. My books make my nose run, and I am so happy to breathe them.
So many of these books I’ve never read, and they excite me, and I remember who recomended them. My collection is good and interesting, and to beat it all, I go to the bookstore this morning and buy another one before I even unpack the ones I already have. Madeleine L’Egle’s Walking on Water is the book people have repeatedly told me to read.
I read for three minutes today, and in the rarity and on page 2, L’Engle writes of just being. I read it, my mind rolled in it, and then I ate a chicken nugget. The minivan rocked a little in yesterday’s leftover wind. I’m so glad to be home, and I feel like I’m in a strange place in time.
God invented our personalities. I feel it today as I listen to the folk music I haven’t turned on in so long, as I stop a minite to sit down a read, and as I taste the gooey middle of a home-made cookie. Behind my Papaw’s eyes was awareness of blessing, his great-grandchildren smearing chocolate on the tablecloth. I watch Melody care for my little boys, and I know God invented her, that He’s etching at her, and at me, just as the He etches at all His art.