Another year has come and gone. Another stretch of moments packaged to be remembered are waiting to be forgotten.
That’s how I used to look at the passing of one year and the birth of another. It’s different this time around.
This January is not like Januarys of the past. Things are different.
For one thing, Tom Kimura is in heaven and I am here but I have his forgiveness and the poem he wrote for me.
For another, Mercy’s diary is less a reminder of every mistake I’ve made and more a tutor on hope. Having it locked up in my safe all these years, afraid to look at it, was like keeping a diamond buried in a vat of mud. I had mistakenly assumed it had no ability to dazzle me. I saw only the mud.
And lastly, I am not alone. At least not on Sunday afternoons and Thursday nights. Lauren comes to visit me then and she often brings Clarissa with her. We share a meal and talk about books and life and love. And yes, it’s true. I have invited them to come live with me. I’d forgotten what it was like to care about people. I am well aware that caring about people lays you bare before a buffet of risks, but there are risks to every undertaking. Even being alone. We all have to choose which risks are worth taking. They are hesitant, the girls. Lauren tells me Clarissa wants to add a third girl to the mix to even things out, meaning, I think, that Clarissa feels Lauren is too much like me.
I don’t know whether to laugh or weep.
I am fine with a third girl coming if Lauren is okay with it.
Graham pretends that he thinks it’s a great idea. I can tell he does not. He thinks the girls will somehow take advantage of me. He might think this because until recently that was his sole pursuit, even on days when he wanted to be doing something else. He might also think I am only doing it to keep him out of the house and in that little condo I bought for him. It wouldn’t be appropriate for Graham to be living in this house with three single college-aged women.
Esperanza says it’s my house so I can use it however I wish. But the girls will be in her kitchen. She knows it and I know it. Esperanza has had that monstrosity of a kitchen all to herself for decades. Besides, she likes it when Lauren hovers in the kitchen to watch her cook. And I am quite certain Clarissa would benefit from a few cooking lessons. The girl eats ramen noodles raw for heaven's sake.
They will let me know next week what they have decided. I will be quite all right if they choose to stay on campus. I am an old woman and I live in an old house. Besides, change is never easy for anyone who has seen eight decades of it. But I’d be lying if I said I do not hope they say yes. And the house seems to echo my longing. If I sit still and silence even my breathing, I can hear the house sighing in anticipation.
Will they come?