Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Parted Out

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
~Aristotle

I am a part of all that I have met...
My family.
My parents who gave me life, carried me, scared me, scarred me, loved me, ignored me, laughed with me, made sure I had piano lessons and (not always) patiently listened to me practice, and applauded with pride at my recitals even though they'd heard the songs 100 times before.
My siblings who tortured and teased me, but were fierce protectors if anyone tried to mess with me.
The grandparents who loved me, who commanded respect and taught me to show it to all my elders; my Grandpa who taught me to ride my bicycle and my Grandmothers who taught me to cook.
My Aunts and Uncles and cousins who taught me that sometimes what's on the periphery is a steady hand and a warm heart.
The the various extended relatives and old folks at the family reunions of my childhood - the ones who let me sit with them when there were no kids my age to hang with; the ones who pinched my cheeks and told me what pretty blue eyes I had; the ones who flung cards back and forth at each other, all the while making mysterious clucking noises and gasps of exasperation, as they played euchre and pinochle.

I am a part of all that I have met...
The priests, the preachers, the nuns, the zealots, the heretics, the sinners, the doubters, the scholars - all of whom taught me that searching is fine provided you don't go looking any further than your own soul for answers.

I am a part of all that I have met...
My friends throughout the years who have held my smile as surely as they've held my tears.
My friends who consistently give more than they could ever take.
My friends who graciously take, knowing that it pleases me to give.
My friends who hear the song in my heart no matter what tune I'm singing.

I am a part of all that I have met...
Bozo the Clown who made me Belinda of the Day and sealed my 15 minutes of fame when I was 6 years old.
Michael Landon who signed the crumpled rodeo ticket I held in my sweaty, grubby 8 year old hand and then winked at me as he handed it back.
Viktor Petrenko who shook my hand for an extra second and smiled so graciously when I told him what a beautiful skater he is.
Michelle Kwan who signed my program and drew a little heart next to her name.

I am a part of all that I have met...
The lovers I've had over the years, both kind and cruel.
The lovers who made my heart soar wildly when they spoke my name and my skin tingle with a single brush of their fingertips.
The lovers who left me in various ways and made me wonder what I could have done differently.

I am a part of all that I have met...
All of my Hungarian relatives who welcomed me and opened their homes and hearts and country to me.
The old gypsy woman who sat next to me outside the train station in Győr, Hungary - we couldn't speak each other's language, but her toothless smile at being offered half of my piece of meggyes rétes has never left me.
The Hungarian woman who ran up to me on a street in the village of Rabacsanak and asked me to smile because she had never seen someone with braces before.
The fish monger at the Budapest open market who chuckled when I opened my hand full of forints and fillérs and told him to take what he needed because I hadn't been there long enough to figure out the currency yet.

I am a part of all that I have met...
The elderly people for whom I've held doors open and the gentlemen who've held doors open for me.
The old man on the subway who only nodded and sighed with relief when I offered him my seat.
The kid I flipped a quarter to when he didn't have enough to get on the bus, who sheepishly muttered, "thanks" as he made his way past me down the aisle.

I am a part of all that I have met...
The store clerks, the postal workers, the restaurant servers, the overly caffeinated coffee shop vendors, the paper boys, the kids selling cookies and calendars and candies and gift wrap - the millions who have touched the money that I (and who knows how many others) have touched and, perhaps, gave back change that they (and who knows how many others) touched.
The librarian who, the summer I was 10 years old and couldn't be satiated with any amount of written word, said to me, "Boy, you sure do like to read!"

I am a part of all that I have met...
The gravely ill, whose hands I held while wishing with all my heart that my tears had magical properties to heal them.
Those whom I kissed on the forehead one last time, whispering, "It's okay to go. I love you."
The dead, the gone-too-soon, the ones who left me, heart in shards, wondering at the cruelty of the Universe while at the same time feeling thankful that I'd ever even had the opportunity to know them.

I am a part of all that I have met...
My beloved, who changes the way my world spins with a single smile and whose heart breaks whenever I cry about anything.
My beloved, who gives me space to be who I need to be.
My beloved, who supports me, loves me beyond the galaxies and back again, whose touch, as the song says, "sends me".
My beloved, whose deep baritone voice sounds like music even when he's talking about fishing and motors.
My beloved, whose skin is so familiar to me that it's almost as if I've known it all my life, whose scent, by turns, both excites me and makes me feel cozy and sleepy.
My beloved, whose big, rugged hands that are capable of doing so many things amaze me.
My beloved, whose humor leaves me breathless with laughter, and whose intelligence so often leaves me in stunned silence.

I am a part of all that I have met...
The children I've cared for, whose wide-eyed enthusiasm for life taught (and still teach me) that life is to be lived out loud.
The children who've taught me that life is much more interesting if you can imagine a magenta colored sky and green cows and flying cups of cocoa, all the while making up words that Lewis Carroll would delight in.

I am a part of all that I have met...
The teachers who opened wide the halls of knowledge, who took interest in my voracious thirst to learn, and who, as they handed back a paper with an uncharacteristic B grade, were stern enough to say, "Quit screwing around, you're so much smarter than this."
My piano teacher who never gave up on a song, who challenged me with harder music rather than giving me songs she knew I'd be comfortable with, and who, when I choked and forgot where I was in the song I had memorized for the recital, patiently whispered, "Just take a deep breath. Good. Now play. You know this." She had tears in her eyes when I finished and clapped louder than anyone else there, even louder than my parents.

I am a part of all that I have met...
The bosses and co-workers and clients who have, by varying degrees, frustrated me, pissed me off, wore me out, delighted me, made my day easier, made me laugh, and, on occasion, "got" my rather sardonic sense of humor. Especially the ones who have kept in touch and that I now count among my friends.

I am a part of all that I have met...
The doctors and nurses who have seen to my care when necessary.
The doctor who figured out that my appendix had ruptured when I was just a baby, thereby keeping me from death.
The doctor who finally figured out what was wrong with my crappy leg, thereby keeping me from amputation.
The nurse who kept me company at 3 AM when I couldn't sleep, told me funny hospital horror stories, and gave me pizza. That was good medicine.

I am a part of all that I have met...
The fellow up on Mt. Rainier who took my picture.
The lady on the subway who, without asking what was wrong, gave me a tissue when I started crying.
The guy who helped me off the ground outside the grocery store when I tripped over my own stupid feet.
The gent who gave me a winning smile at 6 AM, told me I had a nice truck and left me grinning the rest of the day
The old man who told me one of the best jokes I've ever heard back when I was a bored receptionist
The guy at the ice cream store who nearly made me swoon when he sang Level 42's Something About You and then bowed when I applauded.
The kid who thought I was the funniest grown up he'd ever seen when he caught me dancing in circles in the rain.
The crack whore who played scrabble with me
The musicians, actors, writers, and artists who buoy my own creativity.

Oh, the myriad fantastical, wonderful, amazingly beautiful, crazily lovely, funny, flamboyant, sad, interesting, blessedly weird, annoying, ubiquitous, vivacious, intelligent, mercurial gathering of souls. Oh, this gloriously unwashed crowd. Oh, this ineffably rich gallimaufry of people I have had the unmitigated, immutable, ineffable pleasure to meet.

I am a part of all that I have met, and all that I have met are part of me.

We are not alone. We are never alone.

6 comments:

  1. This was in my opinion your best yet!!
    Because, finally, hiding nothing , you are vulnerable.
    Your prose is poetic and takes me completely away from my surroundings as I am reading. That is the mark of some finely tuned wordsmithing.
    I just loved it.Parts of it still painfully gritty but appropriately so.
    WOW!!!

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  2. I love what you did with this prompt. :)

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    Replies
    1. I loved, LOVED this prompt! Thank you.

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  3. There is a part of us I'd like to send to you.
    10 pages.sylviasusanault@ymail.com

    GREAT POEM!

    ReplyDelete