I finish schoolwork and take a break outside. I have no shoes on and it is dark, but there are lamps shining from my neighbor's window. Here in the south, as the weather gets warmer and the fireflies swim in the dark of the night, there is always a lamp somewhere in a window.
Whenever I have some free time, I find myself making mental lists, attempting to find the source of all my mistakes. This is a bad habit I've acquired lately after so much introspection: Thinking I will find the source of all my mistakes. Could it have been when I was fifteen and my father announced at the dinner table that we were officially broke? Could it have been after the fifth time we had to move in three years? Could it have been that year mom was in the hospital getting chemotherapy, when my insomnia started so early in life? Was it all the different colleges I attended, my lack of adaptation? Could it have been that harsh separation between my sisters and I? Could it be my relationship to this language, the brokenness of my tongue? The list gets broader as I play a pointless connect the dots game with myself until I realize that getting over my past might be the best way to stop making lists.
But then, there is also a side of me that wants to write so badly. And to write I need all of this, all of my past. I sent a letter to you tonight, begging you to help me write again. I already know what your response will be. "You cannot get rid of your past if you want to write, you need to keep diving into the wreck to keep writing." But I may be able to separate things now that I am wiser. I now believe what you said to me: that the difference between missing and losing is that the former has a presence, while the latter is an absence.
That to miss carries forth a feeling, of feeling at least something.
To miss is still to feel, to miss is less than numb, is more than nothing, much more than losing everything. That to miss caries with it a weight of memory waiting to be redeemed. I'm supposed to let go of everything, to detach if I want to stop surviving and start living, but I need at least something. Some things, no matter the God, can never come to pass. If prayer is where nothing happens, then what is writing?
I no longer will tell anyone the story of the wreck. To mention the thing itself is more than enough, but I have no use for its symbolic dimension anymore. I will have loss no longer. I am a thief and refuse to lose. Most of these sentences, for example, have been stolen from you, and I will not give them back, they are also a part of my past.