It begins by closing my eyes and allowing myself to wander through the hallways of collected memories. The hallways in this interior world of recall are a dreamlike and misty place. A place where doorways open into pockets of times passed. When these pockets of time first formed, when they first occurred in their present moment, there was no way of knowing that they would form rooms and doorways constructed of their images, sounds and smells. In their inception, there was no way of knowing that they would live beyond the doorways that appear in the hallways of my memories. When I lower the windows that cover my eyes, I am searching for where you live inside of me. I am searching for those pockets of time that have been etched into my soul, the place where your memory will always live and continues to move through me and my footsteps.
There is a place housed within my body and in close proximity to my heart that always begins to tremble and shake when I know I am moving in these hallways and I am approaching where you live. I always know I am getting closer when I begin to hear the echo of your laughter. I never knew that part of what I would long for and hold so dear would be the sounds your life made. Like a beautiful old vinyl record complete with the sounds of crackling and ambience created by time's passing. The passing of your days and life have left a soundtrack.
If I close my eyes and wander through the hallways of my soul there is a door which opens upon a scene from my early childhood. Did you know? Did you know that when you would disappear into your bedroom and I heard the latches on the guitar case clicking and opening that some part of me began to dance and sing inside? Did you know that when I would place myself on the floor at your feet and I would stare up at you, watching and listening to you play your guitar and sing? In those moments I was a girl, a daughter at peace. I did not have words then for what I now understand. From my spot on the floor I would look up and wonder how the fingers on your hands could work. How hands that had been marked by a life of hard work, holding tools, stained by years of grease, carved in cuts and old wounds made by the engines and parts of thousands of cars could begin to move and allow for that sound to wash over me. That thought would fade as I watched your fingers press down and glide over the strings and as the sound that you made with your hands and your voice changed your face. I knew you to be happy then. I knew some part of you opened and existed in connection to the clicking and unlatching of that guitar case.
If I close my eyes and wander through the hallways of my soul there is a door from which the sounds of waters flow. I still hear you in the movement of water. The sound a fishing pole makes as it cuts through the air and lands upon the surface of a lake. There is a connection between the image of your hands turning the steering wheel of a boat and the sound of the water parting in rhythm to the actions and choices of your hands. I can still see you standing at the window looking out over the lake. Your stillness and silence was a conversation with that body of water that was in so many ways your home. For me, you and your memory will always be tied to the song of the water. The sound of your laughter will always bounce upon ripples and waves.
As time passed and you and I both grew older the sounds that marked your place in my world began to change. The last time I made the journey home did you know? Did you know I was watching and listening to you? I watched you as you put your sandals on over your socks - no longer comfortable walking on bare feet whose bones had contorted with the passing of time, age, and a life lived. In the early morning hours I listened from my bed when you were being so careful not to wake me. I listened and memorized the shuffling cadence of your sandal covered steps. Tears would slip from my eyes. I knew then that I would not have the chance to hear you pad past my door again. If I close me eyes and wander through the hallways of my soul there is a door from which I can hear you softly humming and singing a song as the sound of your sandals shuffling past can still be heard.
You never had the chance to meet in person the man whom I would come to call my husband. The two of you would only pass each other in this world for a short time. Held within that time was a shining moment. On the day that he asked you for permission to take my hand, your daughter's hand, you spoke to him of wild horses. You spoke about how you can tame a wild horse but how you cannot ever keep it down. I wept after that phone call. Until that moment I never knew you understood this about me. I never knew that you saw and understood me to be as I knew myself to be. If I close my eyes and wander through the hallways of my soul there is a door that opens upon a field where the sound of a wild horse's running hooves are connecting with the earth. You are standing on the edges of this field and you are smiling and laughing.
If I close my eyes and wander through the hallways of my soul, there is a doorway that exists and through which I cannot clearly see. It is the doorway of my passing. The doorway which holds what will come to pass when I am no longer in or of this world. I have thought about what lies beyond this doorway and I have often wondered if I will become part of the images and colors of this world when I am gone from here. Will I become the painter of the sunrises or sunsets when I walk in the other world? Perhaps I will become the colors themselves - the vibrant green of a newly spouted seed, the magnificent cerulean blue of the water's deep.
The last time I heard the sound of your voice, the last time I spoke with you...it was not said....but we both knew...it was the last time. In what was not being spoken, everything was being said. The last words and sounds that I heard from you were, "Be good to each other. I love you." I have heard those words every day since the day you passed. I hear you in the sound of the water's movement. I listen for you in the whir of engine motors. I hear your shuffle in the passing of sandal covered feet. Your laughter lives in the jokes and stories told when family gathers together. In your passing from this world, you have become part of the beautiful rhythms and harmonies of the song and soundtrack of mine.
But perhaps where you exist most for me is in the sound of the unlatching of the guitar case that I carried home and in the sound created as I press my fingers down upon the strings. I am once again a girl, your daughter and I am at peace. This song is for you...
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