This week, the women at the Caritas shelter wrote so deeply about themselves and their lives I swear you could hear fireworks exploding in the room around us. I almost forgot I had a soft side, one of the women said. I almost forgot. On the way out another woman stopped in the door and turned to looks at me. Thank you for seeing the secret thing inside of me, she said.

The secret thing inside of me.

Intimacy. A mystery easily solved by animals and children. Complex and enigmatic for the rest of us.

This week a friend told me it sounded like I was speaking through plexiglass smeared with vaseline. An old wound had been triggered and my guard was up. The words I spoke did not match the emotion that carried them.

This week I learned I’d hurt a friend I care about deeply, and when I closed my eyes I saw swaths of barbed wire and how deeply hurting someone else can cut.

This week I sat in my car in the Sugar Shack parking lot with an old friend I thought I’d lost and as we told the story of what happened between us all the love we’d ever shared opened like a flood and we held hands and wept and were washed clean together.

Yesterday when my husband drove me to the airport at 4 in the morning when everything around was silent and black we didn’t have to say anything to transmit what it would feel like while I was gone and until I came back.

Valley HaggardComment