You might not remember my goodbye, but there were white walls. Around 9pm, a handful of other people, and the beating of a silent angel’s wing.
You might not know this, but that wasn’t a goodbye. It was too rushed, too ******, not enough space for letters to form, full of run-ons, no commas, no semi-colons, very messy, no— that was the goodbye in my head, but what I actually managed to whisper was full of commas, full of semi-colons, had too much pauses. But no stops. No periods. My goodbye was unfinished.
It went something like,
“I love you… I won’t let anything happen to the place you love most…. I will write about you, about your family; I won’t let them forget about—”
See? My goodbye was an outline. With Roman numeral number one being "I love you..." so,
I. I love you
A. I love you; what more is there to say?
B. Here it is: I love you
C. And I will continue to love you
1. long after my tongue forgets how to say your name because I know I won’t be saying it out loud anymore
2. long after your bed exhales the engraving of your body on its sheets and I forget what sleeping beside you feels like
3. long after the sound of sirens and wars and famines and earthquakes try to push the sound of your radio out of my mind (I will miss that radio)
II. I won’t let anything happen to the place you love most
A. where is the place you love most?
1. I hope the place you love most is within reach and not somewhere I can't go to
2. or maybe it’s the place you call home, or maybe it’s who you call home
3. I hope the place you love most is somewhere where I’m next to you
B. I hope I can keep this promise
III. I will write about you
A. how you
1. once ate tortang talong everyday for two years — simply because you loved it
2. keep everything — that eleven year old bar of Safeguard you once showed me, the children’s picture book Bible you’ve had since you were nine, and my letters you never replied to… I remember always writing apologies for snapping at you, now I’m writing eulogies and I don’t know how to stop
B. how you love
1. not with your words — maybe words tired you because people don’t always remember words exactly as they were, but they do remember the way they were looked at, and when you’d look at me like that, I was suddenly fine with the way you kept your I love yous to yourself; they spill from your eyes anyway
2. with your hands — you liked to fix my messes: from algebra equations to broken picture frames; you liked to answer my questions: where is north? who were the other men on the moon? what did you say when you had to say goodbye? I never asked you that last question, but maybe I should have so that I would have been more prepared for this moment and not would not have to have said goodbye to you in the form of an outline
C. about your family
1. I will start writing about them once I’ve figured out how to stop writing about you
2. so I guess I might never be able to write about them
IV. I won’t let them forget about
And here ends my goodbye because I decided that I would be undecided about what I won’t let people forget. Let me remind them freely, without a guide to follow, just things about you I only realize later on actually meant something. And now I realize that that goodbye holds a lot of promises, and I need to tell you honestly… these days… I don’t write about you and I don’t think about you and I don’t see you everywhere anymore. And sometimes I don’t miss you. And I don’t know if that is a sign that I have healed, or if I’ve just simply chosen to ignore the symptoms of something much worse. But these days I swear I’ve been trying. Trying to let you in my dreams again. Trying to write more fragments and phrases and outlines and fulfilled promises. Trying to let you make your way into my words again, until my goodbye becomes a see you later. Until I someday write you back.
I've always regretted not writing about my grandmother more. So here's me trying to write about her again.