layers of you, tiniest scribbles on paper i made, folded again and again upon itself. the days touching the memories, the things you said, the sketches of your soft face, graphite rubbing off in a blur of you. but who needs the details written with precision. i don’t. you are a wave that swallows me. at any moment there are a million places to start and trace the map of you. reminders everywhere, the hairs on my skin standing up at the comfort you find in it. the warm i never knew existed in spirit. that babies are forever babies. when they are building the world all by themselves, when they only look back a few times a year. if it comes to this, i will always be waiting behind you.
when you are four, you will jump off the crumbling roof of our house, onto the mountain. you will jump into the sky without even growing wings. you will be a huge boy but still little at night. you tell me these plans. you are all tenderness. i would turn myself into a cocoon and never speak again if you needed it. you are the beginning and end of me. four is huge but still little. four will be as safe and as brave as i can show you you are.
you ask me to wait with you in the car. when the engine stops its hum and you can be one with yours. “i’m writing a song in my mind. shhhh.” and just like that you have quieted my demons, halted my inner peace deficiency. the way you demanded it when you demanded me, tiny and howling and new.
you saw a mural in berkeley, and told me “i could cry because that could break my heart.” the beauty of it. the depth and newness of you, braided so loosely, wisps flying away. and when you draw your pictures. you are lost and found and focused like a man, on a dream of somewhere else. like me. “this is heaven. where people who are dead can go to sleep. and there are tornadoes of colors that grow to be other things…”
“i want to be everywhere,” you tell me. you are in every cell of me, of everyone who loves you, and in the stardust from whence you came. i love you so much that everyone who knows us must secretly think i am certifiable. singular devotion, you have it, from me, from your sister. crazy love. we will sing it to you everyday, forever. we will be moved, together. we will try our hardest for you. we will worry and watch and hope and let you find your way. you will sweetly demand it.
Deanna McCasland is a master storyteller who knows light and love like no one’s business.