For you

I’ve been coming to the Elk since undergrad, since I was 21, and the creative writing students read at the end of the bar. Since some angry dude read his graphic piece about anal and a family complained and readings were forbidden.

He’s been a server here since before my son was born. He has the most glorious handlebar mustache.

Years ago, he asked me if the girl I was with was my partner. “I don’t mean to make you feel weird,” he said, “but I was raised by two women and I just want to tell you that your son is lucky.”

He used to come into Auntie’s when I worked there. I see him tooling around on his Vespa. Such a small town.

Tonight he called out to us as we were leaving. He was across the street, not even on shift at the restaurant.

“Ladies! Will you wait right here? Just here. I’ll only be a moment.” He ran inside and came out with a pair of bug-eyed sunglasses. Gavin promptly intercepted them and slid them onto his face. Entirely rockstar at 7 years old.

“I love these glasses!” The fellow tells us. “We kept them at the bar for a while, but no one came and then one of the guys said they belonged to those rad ladies with the little boy and I’ve been looking for you for weeks. I’ve been looking and looking. I’m so glad I could return them to you.”

He can’t know. He can’t know what such a vigil meant. To keep watch for us. An act of kindness. An act of faith. I have such fondness for him. Such love.

I’ve been afraid of the disquiet inside my head. My inability to focus. To communicate. I can’t make sentences work the way they’re supposed to. I can’t just grab people and hold them. I can’t stand at the copier and cry because I made three copies instead of two. It just isn’t cricket. It just isn’t.

Will you wait right here? Just here. I’ll only be a moment.

The task is to love one another. Just that. To love as though there is no injury. It isn’t a little thing. There are no little things. Everything matters. Everything.

I’m so glad I could return them to you.

I’ve been looking for you for weeks.

10 thoughts on “For you”

  1. Imagine being looked for, being held in presence, anticipation, in such a way that eyes scan all space and hope rests patiently in the heart. You are right Jill Malone, you are right. There are no little things and everything matters.

  2. Shelly Wilson

    I love what you held on to for the title of this. But I think you’re wrong: you can totally just grab people and hold them.

        1. It’s probably the same impulse that makes me want to reply to comments with a <3 --- unfortunately, my site refuses to make a heart.

    1. That’s the way I define grace in my head. To love as though there is no injury. And man, it’s so necessary. And so hard. And such a gift.

  3. Jill, you have such great courage to write something like this. That is why I love you. I am still uneasy making such statements out loud, or even in print, but I will get there. The remainder of humanity can keep keepin’ on with their twisted, crazy ways, but we’re out there. Just keep an eye out.

    -E

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