One single day In the month of September Changed our lives in a way We will always remember, As the bright morning sun Lit Heaven's blue with grace, A mosaic of peple Hustled a Tuesday's pace. With briefcase in hand He bid us good day, He ran for the bus In his usual way, His back the last sight As he raced up the street, He had somewhere to be Someone to meet. One single day Became like no other It shook up our world Stealing my lover, Out of the blue Of the bluest of skies Four missiles plunged forth As planes, their disguise. The brave souls on board Tried to turn them around For they knew in that moment Their fate was profound. He made it so well The trains all on time He was happy, I know He was in before nine. The elevator he boarded Pushing floor ninety-seven, Tunes piped through his earbuds He went straight to heaven. He wasn't a soldier Famous scholar or king, Simply a loving family man Doing the right thing. That one single day A ceaseless search for our missing, The T.V.'s and papers Never a moment dismissing. We could not cry alone Nor could we hide, His leaving this place Was announced world-wide. The evil that took him A force misunderstood, That in spite of their efforts The result would bring good. We banded together We held our heads high, We climbed from our grief New bonds we did tie. Folks don't like to linger Dwell in pain for too long, Put them in crisis' They'll always grow strong. Each day we strive To keep things in place, We stand for our freedom We keep up the race. A brief moment in tme Brought us together to pray For healing and peach On one single day.
© Deborah Garcia 2011, all rights reserved
Images by Deborah Garcia
The 9/11 Community invites all citizens of the world to point their cameras into the September 11th sky, snap a photo and post to your social media by typing #neverforget to share in a collective remembrance of the day that changed all of our lives.
Feature Image by VOICE Center for Resilience
The pressure begins mid-July, with the surge of email, postal letters, and ramped-up 9/11 media aggrandizement. On August 1st, the tunnel of lasts and memorial making opens its dark eye, drawing me into the force that always unfurls my sons and I into the bedrock, with the others, to gather, to mourn, to embrace, to pray. It’s good not be alone.
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After two decades, I’ve had to reconcile with this darkness, my old friend, moving through the endways of an epic life like a Disney coaster through Magic Mountain —the last boat ride, the last Little League pitch, the last kiss. Though each year the course shared with fellow mourners is the same, there is a continuous progression of change in relationship to my late husband, the Fates, and the tasks that I’ve been given, shaped by time into a long poetic composition which is uniquely my own.
However, this time is different. This year flags the punctuate slash in the pre- and post- mortem continuum of mine and David’s relationship—twenty-years together, twenty-years apart. Beginning in 1988, Dave began filling my birthday cards with fractional analysis’ of the narrowing difference between our ages: “When I was 4 and you were 2, you were 2/4 (or 1/2, 50%) my age. Then when I was 8 and you were 6, you were 6/8 (or 3/4, 75%) my age. Now you’re 27/29 (.93%). “you’re catching up!” How did he know?
Because time is a relative concept invented by humans as a measure of our existence, perhaps we cling to the succession from our past experiences to cede to the present in order to move ourselves into the future. However, time is an intangible ruler of life. We can’t touch it, taste it, nor control it. It is unmalleable and irreversible. So, what is the metric of our existence? If Dave and I continued to exist together in this life, if I hadn’t chosen the second Tuesday in September to begin my new work arrangement which altered his schedule on September 11th, how long could we have continued before the figures cancelled us out?
When we met on a college campus twenty-years ago, I thought there was an infinite measure of time ahead of us to create our lives and live out our dreams together, that the hands of time were moving the union of David and Deborah forward into a future expanding toward an unseeable horizon. We hadn’t known that our clock had been wound in elapsed time, shifting the measure of our existence. In September of 1981, we had 100% of our life left together, 20/20 years. When we married in 1987, we had already lived through 30% of our history. In 1993, with the birth of our first child, 60%. In 1997, with the second birth, 80%. August 27th, 2001, on a ferry crossing the Long Island Sound returning from our Maine vacation, 99.33%, fourteen days remained.
In the mad chaos of career building, home restoration, funding IRA’s and 529’s, and piano lessons, we were unaware that we were receding toward the tolling bell, rapidly. On September 11th, 2001, we were startled awake by the morning sun blazing through the bedroom window. We thought our alarm had not gone off.
Beginning September 12, 2001, a clock re-wound, beginning the life of Deborah, without David, single with children, parted by death. The betrayal. The endlessness. This clock also had a specific measure of time, like lemon bars setting in a temperate oven. In 2002, we were 95% together, 5% apart. This somehow seemed like a banner of validation that the lifetime of Deborah and David was so much longer than the contrary. Together more than apart. I somehow felt deeper in the union than not, more wed than unwed. In 2011, we were 50% together and 50% apart. As of August 20th, 2021, we are .66% together, and 99.33% apart. Future and past reconciled. On this important milestone, what remains? A narrowed groove on my ring finger? A familiar wrinkle in my son’s brow? Perhaps what’s most binding is the ceaseless pulse in my core. An energy which flows through everything. A Chi.
The tenth anniversary of 9/11 marked a midpoint in this slide rule of time, which expounds the power of something intangible. Perhaps the metric is a shifting of relationship, from the ebbing of an earthbound union of physical bodies to a boundless evolution of souls. That heartbreak is a passageway to what we love and have loved. Even though I had remarried by this time, I relaxed into the solace of self-forgiveness to love and be loved in both my physical and spiritual relationships. I had become comfortable accepting that I could embody both simultaneously—the love that lived beside me and the one tucked deep inside.
Just as this year’s twentieth anniversary marks a significant time-stamp in history that has changed all of our lives over the span of a generation, it also marks the transition unfolding toward another measure of time, the beautiful cadence of David and Deborah. On September 11th, 2021, the metric of our relationship slides beyond the shrinking fraction of our tangible existence toward the inevitable expanding ratio of the intangible. Has the time we were together been cancelled out? Today, the ratio of our ages is 58/40 or 29/20, I am currently 145% of David’s age, and the dimension that divides us is expanding.
I believe that I’m not alone in defining a relationship that is no longer tangible, by articulating the essence of our loss in countable increments. It’s a normal phenomenon of mourning. I recall doing this in August of 2001, feeling a clock was unwinding in the days leading up to my 38th October birthday, the age at which my mother died from breast cancer twenty years past. After receiving a negative mammogram, I exhaled my beastly portents on a lengthened breath and celebrated in David’s arms. My life would not be cut short. I would live beyond my mother’s age!
A deceased loved one can’t be seen, nor heard, nor touched, however maybe, we can conjure a life with a measure of their essence. Assign a #hashtag as a form of user-generated cross-referencing to contextualize our existence, as a meta-expository. David and Deborah from 1981 @WTW #lovestory #911 #timeless #Chi.
© Deborah Garcia 2021, All rights reserved
[Images by Boynton, Deborah Garcia]
Hello, is it me you’re looking for
I can see it in your eyes
I can see it in your smile
You’re all I’ve ever wanted
And my arms are open wide
‘Cause you know just what to say
And you know just what to do
And I want to tell you so much
I love youLionel Richie — 1983
October 10, 1984
Hiya! How are you? I’m fine. Any new women in your life? All of a sudden, I don’t know what to say because I don’t want to get corny. I hope, I LOVE YOU does the trick. That goes for as a friend and a lover.
I thought of buying you a cheer-you-up card but I wasn’t walking in the direction of town, so I went home and made you one. Isn’t it cheery? I can understand what you’re going through. I think that for 60% of the population, it’s difficult to jump successfully into the job market and be happy too. It’s greatly a matter of time. I don’t think you should blame yourself, personally—you’re the “New World Man”!
I really felt I could talk to you as I would a good friend, on the phone Monday night. I continued to tell myself not to be jealous and to be open-minded, listening to you confide in me, as a concerned and empathetic friend, temporarily putting aside the fact that I am emotionally tied to you as a lover also.
It has made me feel good about myself, as well as our relationship, that you expressed that you really don’t need someone else to talk to, sort of as an emotional release, as I did with Mike P. when you and I were not getting along. I also, for at least the past year and a half, have not needed, nor indulged in running to a person of the opposite gender for emotional support, except for you.
I’m a little bit afraid that I may lose you to a new cute, attractive woman—that possibility is always present even in marriage. But it’s heathier and more satisfying for our relationship to be open, honest and trustworthy, rather than close-minded, pessimistic, and jealous. What I said about my feelings towards other men is very true and always will be.
I’ve established, for myself, strong feelings of security, friendship and love in you. There’s never been (In the past year and a half) a thought that crossed my mind that would risk losing those qualities in our relationship. I wish we were together now so we could talk more about it.
Trust and honesty go a long way in the establishment of a truly satisfying and long-lasting friendship.
Hey, I think we’ve come a long way baby! (ha ha), and every step has been worth it, as painful as it may have been at times. The fact is, we can deal with it.
Well, I’ve already said too much.
Did I tell you I Love you yet?
I’ll be looking forward to seeing you again when, where, and however that may be.
See ya’, Deb
David and I were married July 25th, 1987. We celebrated fourteen wedding anniversaries together in life, twenty apart in afterlife. Since I wrote him a letter for his birthday in May, I decided that my gift to him, if we were slicing carrot cake together, would be a letter that I had written to him when we were the tender ages of 21 and 24.
I penned this letter October 10, 1984, tucking it inside of a homemade card, when I was a senior at SUNY, College at Cortland, where we met in 1981. Having already graduated the previous December, Dave was living in his parent’s home in Wappinger’s Falls, NY, a semi-rural hamlet in the mid-Hudson River Valley. Separated by 190 miles, we corresponded in continuous threads of hand-written letters and weekly telephone calls. At this time, Dave, having earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Math and Computer Science, was grappling with feelings of worthlessness in a ten-month post-graduate wake of continuous employment rejections, primarily due to legal blindness and his inability to drive himself to work. There was no public transportation in that area at the time. Despite his visual impairment, Dave was a motocross enthusiast and competitor. Straddling his YZ 250, we often open-throttled over green vales and along the Amtrack rails serging the Hudson, with my hands clutched around his waist, Rocker blond waves flying, racing into the wind.
© Deborah Garcia 2021, All rights reserved
Images by Deborah Garcia
Dear fairytale, dear long-lost lover, dear spaceman of the night, dear museum hologram,
ten years-after I wrote you last, I think to write you again. A house is a family, a minivan is a family, a beach blanket is a family, a storybook is a family, and the tale was you and me, and two little space cowboys. Dear steel wreckage, dear void, dear files I can’t toss, dear binders filled with love notes, dear home video tapes, dear empty calendar and therapy schedule, dear promise and impossibility.
It’s been twenty years since you blew out your fortieth candle. I was not who I am now.
Life is one thing and then another. If no floods mildew the tales, if no planes tumult to impale, the fairytale is a space odyssey; if impossibility is absolute. Dear disappeared bodies and transitions, dear catastrophe and blessings, dear verge of a tragic story. Before the wreckage, I misunderstood fulfilment.
I fulfill myself now. I coach perseverance. A young woman in a support group told
about how she was unable to converse with her father about a death. When she reaches for his support, he closes up, about the loss. It’s true that this story is tragedy, like all things that
come to life. I thought about this story, what it meant for her to live with the void left by the death of her brother, and the death of this connection with her father—and thought of all the ways she could fill the void, herself. There I was, coaching the structure of a narrative, empathetic author
of written prose and unseen letters, thinking dear brother, dear lover, dear mother,
dear son, dear father, dear stillness in the night, until there is the woman I knew as a wife, whose husband found her in a glance, loved her curves and her edges, and gave her two sons, a blanket in the sand, a home. Before he hurled into the vault, and left me at his desk—
unlike the emptiness of the young woman’s story, this one is real—
you left me full. Filled with the passion of our union, a narrative of our invisible grace that inscribes a continuous sentence of possibility.
Sometimes this man is sitting next to me, sitting here at the desk, watching pages turn as words
fill empty spaces where a family was a home in Long Island. Hoping there is a vehicle moving one way and a story moving another. How much of a word count before something manifests that feels like answers when we write them down—
Like printed scripts full of transitional phrases, inciting incidents, narrative arcs, and reckoning
climaxes, the holding space between scenes that end in joy or sorrow. You keep showing up, my dear husband, peppered and wise now, and transcendent.
Like the northeastern sandbar, shorelines breached.
© Deborah Garcia 2021 All rights reserved
Images by Deborah Garcia
First recorded before 900. From Old English modor (to take care of); Dutch “dregs” (sediment, remains that settle at the bottom); German (swampy land); is prevalent in many cultures. Sense of that which has given birth to anything.
1. a female parent, as: a) one’s female role-model, such as: a parent, adoptive mother, foster mother, stepmother, mother-in-law, aunt, female teacher, big sister, neighbor who holds sacred space for your coming, leaves a door open in her heart even if you’ve forgotten to bathe, and simmers lentils when part of you has died. Mother regarded, as: b) having the status, function, or authority of a female parent. A woman exercising control over what nourishes bodies, influences your identity, provides you with place and a sense of belonging; an authority who echoes wisdom, ethos, and pathos that undulates through the liquid ocean of your expanse.
2. to care for or protect like a mother, performing the tasks or duties of a female, sometimes in an excessive (obsessive) way as; It’s in her nature to love and mother those around her. Icing bruised knees, scrubbing vomit from carpeting, duct-taping broken windows. Rising into the continuous discontinuity of ruinous days to fill her son’s bowls with milk and honeyed Oh’s, washing stains from uniforms, tuning instruments, and applauding achievements. Holding her mask up with the right hand while steering with the left, never ceding hope she could sell them the world, even though she knows she is shading a darkness they’d have to uncover themselves.
3. a woman who originates or creates something, as: a) the invention of; manatee tails on Halloween costumes, tennis courts made of lemon cake, and sore throats cured with chicken soup. b) To be the mother of, as; sons without fathers, daughters of other mothers, wives of sons, cats with mice dismembered, a dog who never tires—of you.
4. native, derived from as if from one’s mother, as; a) granddaughter of Anna who left her mother country to birth a daughter into a world that drops A-bombs on a country where another mother takes a granddaughter on a train to take refuge in a mountain—who in a half-century, become mothers of possibility when a son makes a daughter a mother, bearing new hope. And; b) when the daydreams become nightmares, you become your mother, raging at a cloudless sky, weeping under a supermoon, falling to your knees, and righting yourself, again.
5. the qualities characteristic of maternal affection, as; making a home for them to return to when the world has become too heavy to shoulder, serving a warm plate of brownies when their hearts are broken, and choosing them over all others, even if that means you will be alone when they leave again.
6. to acknowledge oneself as author of; a) because motherhood has no perfect analytics, and you love them when they hurt you, taking them into your arms again and again, feeding them the stories of all the mothers who carried forth the seeds to create the miracle of them, us. b) to assume as one’s own; when the world intercedes in your perfect moment in time, your love may not be enough to fix what cannot be unbroken. His hope will wither in the void you cannot see but can taste the bitterness of on your mother tongue, and in times when he shines his beautiful smile, you will forget that he was broken and you’ll believe that your love could heal a wound deeper than your motherly-instincts could have conceived. You will survive to write this story and you will be heartbroken.
Variance: Motherhood: having or relating to an inherent worthiness, justness, or goodness that is obvious or unarguable: origination pushed through on a motherhood basis.
Synonyms: Mom, mommy, mama, parent, ancestor, creator, origin, source, child-bearer, forebearer, procreator, bad person, author, foster, engender, care for, native, Earth, figure, mother tongue, Mother Nature, Mother-of-pearl.
© Deborah Garcia 2021, All Rights Reserved
Images by Deborah Garcia
glides between barrier islands
and mountain flows
the slender keel
carving delicate wakes
gloam-blue and pine-green,
the summer blue
the saffron glow of
and ruddy glow
of red nylon,
Boston, Ravel, Monk,
through your tranquil chamber
floating at the edge
the vibrant hint of something
into the pale haze of night,
all that you’ve hoped for,
until twilight comes
and the paddles lap
in the deep night
and dip beneath Aries,
drifts beyond the composition.
Today, April 8, 2021, is my Son’s 28th Birthday. It is the first birthday his brother and I are observing in his absence. The images and poem came to me as a reflection of Davin’s true spirit in the natural world; his beloved kayak, a rod and reel, the tunes that shaped his life, and the lifetime of scores that he composed. If he were here on this beautiful day, I believe this is how he would choose to celebrate his life. — Davin, my son, I love you forever…
© Deborah Garcia 2021, All rights reserved
Images by Deborah Garcia
Éire go Bráth
What’s the craic behind Saint Patrick’s Day? I’ve never felt akin to what has always presented to me as an Irish Heritage Day. With all the reveling, parades, and green ale, bar-hopping debauchery, it’s no wonder that visions of leprechauns chasing rainbows, arising from pots of gold coins, headline modern-day digital images on the seventeenth of March.
My father always told me that we were hardly more than a “smidgen” of Irish, and there were no known Irish relatives in either my own generation, nor his. My mother was 100% Magyar. The only Irish folk known to me in close circles, were the Irish kin (by marriage) through my cousins. Before the age of home sputum kits painted molecular chains of relational codes, many foreign transplants of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries melded into the golden pot of American soil, banking on the promise of good work, sustainable family life, and prosperity. But as the generations outstretched the unyielding time-line of presence, lineages became intertwined. While strands of DNA plaited into new complex identities, ancestral ties faded into the distant threads of those who brought us here.
Two-years ago, I learned that I am 9% Irish. The expression of surprise on my father’s face, when he learned his green Éire pedigree comprised 40% of his plasma, was priceless. For all of his eighty years, he has identified himself as mostly German, English and a little Welsh, which still remains true, but pales in comparison to his chromosome markers highlighting the Emerald Isle. More specifically, the village of Schull, in the county Cork, part of the Munster region of Ireland, and eight other administraive counties. This lineage stems from the paternal line he never knew, as his parents separated during WWII, when he was a young boy.
St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious observance in 1631, when the Catholic church established a feast day to honor the fifth century missionary, Patricius. Lore accounts that “Patrick” is the young man who drove the Pagans, metaphorically the snakes, out of Ireland and was lauded for converting the formally Roman, druid-ruled Isle to Christianity. Because “Feast Day” fell during lent each year, people through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries began to heighten it as an excuse to take a break from the ritual abstinence of their pleasures between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
As the Irish population flowed into the United States, the “holiday” took on the more modern, secular conventions that we observe today. What was once a somber mass up to the mid-20th Century in Dublin, was transformed into the spectacle of parties and parades, which began in Boston on March 17, 1737, when a group of elite, Presbyterian, Irishmen came together to celebrate “The great Irish saint” in the name of Irish Nationalism, over a New England Boiled dinner, (The Irish-American thanksgiving of corned beef and cabbage). With the wide-spread arrival of television, displaying all the fun to be had in American streets and pubs, kelly-green shamrocks were imprinted into the commercialized American calendar, along with orange Halloween pumpkins (another holiday of Irish Pagan origin), and red Valentine’s Day hearts , (yet, another Roman holiday celebrataing a saint, theorized to have been merged with the “Christianized” Pagan fertility festival of Lupercalia).
Before the Irish rebellion of 1798 against British rule, the color most associated with St. Patrick’s Day was blue. But during the uprising, Irish rebels wore green in opposition to the red of the British army. Ever since, green has become the emblematic color of Irish solidarity and pride.
Green Beer was first made by a Bronx, New York Doctor in 1914 with a ferrocyanide powder used to whiten clothing, a blue iron salt. If this sounds too risky, play it safe and throw back a Guinness, a shot of the Jameson, or enjoy a slice of soda bread with a dáileog of Irish cream in your brew.
To all the Farrels, Pflums, McAuliffe’s, Twohigs, Rooneys and Donovan’s, whose steadfast courage, high spirits, and genomes persist through centuries, to keep the lot going, I raise a tumbler in the name of St. Patty and good health —
Sláinte and Éire go Bráth!
© 2021 by Deborah A Garcia
Image by Deborah Garcia
Memory is not just a when, recalled in the now. The past is never just the then, a form, an event, a life, that had an essence in a span of something before. Memory is a pulse, coursing through all dimensions of life, like an echo hidden deep inside a mountain, it returns again, and again, as long as there is a resonant body to contain it. The past never leaves this place, where stories are etched into stone, inked onto pulp, intoned into minds, an energy passing through bodies that create substance from visions, sounds, throats, lips, hands. Memories are the lingering traces of sensational vibrations that tremor through bodies, canyons, and cathedrals, unbound by time.
I never expected to find a mountain when I got dressed this morning. I was hoping to find a comfortable underlayment I could wear braless, dressed-up with a cardigan from a drawer I hadn’t opened since the thermometer dipped below 30º F. Opening the cedar chest, hoping for a cover that wouldn’t show my nakedness, I discovered, instead, the story of my life, woven in Ts.
- There’s the blue and pink tie-dye “Cherry Garcia” T – from the time I took the boys to the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory in Waterbury, VT. We were spending the summer at my fiancé’s Vermont home. We were ordered to leave the house when he had child visitation.
- The black “Feel the Music” T – I purchased to support the New York City artists who provided a creative space for healing through music for families affected by 9/11. They gave instrument lessons to my boys from 2003-2008, friendships and connections that continue today.
- The white “USTA Vermont Tennis 2013 State Champions” T – Dylan wore in the Summer Team tennis program in 10th-grade.
- The plum “Mohonk Mountain House” T – from the first, and last child-free October birthday weekend Dave and I had in 1999, for my 36th birthday.
- The pink “Bear Spring Camps” T – from the last summer (2016) we had on the Maine lake together as a family of five, before the blended family disbanded.
- The violet “New York University Mom” T – bought at the University gift shop during Dylan’s student orientation, in 2015.
- The tangerine “Dog Days of Summer T – from the event to support local dog parks, July 2012. Joni won her first distance disc-dog event.
- The white “Jones Beach” T – I purchased at the Field 4 Bath house in 2002. The boys were 5 and 9.
- The white “Whistle Stop” T – from a friend’s shop in Delaware, where I visited after dropping Davin off at JFK for his Mexican detox rehab treatment, en route to visit my sister in Maryland, September, 2018.
- The “2011 Taco Bell” tennis tournament T – the year Davin won doubles 18’s.
- The navy and gold “Essex High School Band” T – Davin wore for high school pep band at football games.
- The orange and royal blue “Mets” T – Davin wore in his final year of little league in 2005. He was 12. On the back, our name is printed above his favorite number “12”.
- The grey and orange “Mets 2015 National League Championship” T – Davin and I watched all the season games together. He got tickets to a World Series game for himself and his brother. His racing demeanor, and lateness to the gate, punctuated his mental health spiral. I recall feeling happy that the boys were doing something fun together, then sad when Dylan reported the reality of the day.
- The black “Training for Warriors” T – I earned in 2017, The spring I decided to get in shape near the end of my crumbling marriage, Davin returned home besieged by addictions, and my sister with three kids took a nine-month refuge in the virulent sanctum.
- The teal “Ski Big Sky, MT” T – from the February, 2013 break trip I took Richard, Dylan and I to ski, and snowmobile through Yellowstone.
- The midnight blue “Le Massif” T – from our 2011 Quebec ski trip. We stood atop a Northern Hemisphere peak and took our photo upon a trail that tumbled down into the sea at the icy mouth of the St. Lawrence River. I remember the feeling of being on top of the world. We also visited the Ice Hotel and swam in a rooftop pool under a crescent moon in Quebec City.
- The navy “US OPEN 2004” T – Davin got when Daniel Burgess took a group of Freeport Indoor Tennis kids to the US Open Kids Day, at the National Tennis Center in Queens, NY.
- The navy T – with the American flag-impression peace sign on the chest I purchased, with four other T’s, for our new blended family of five to wear on the 4th of July, 2003, weekend at the Mount Washington Hotel. We spread out on a blanket under the spray of cannon fire and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Davin’s favorite orchestral symphony.
- The hot pink “Vail” T – from the week-long ski vacation with Davin and cousins in Colorado, in Feb 2016.
- The purple “Yale University” T – from a three-day weekend in New Haven, CT, May 2012. Davin was in a wildcard draw for the US Open. His personal coach, Raul, was there, coaching and feeding practice balls. It was a nice weekend for us. I remember we found a great little Japanese restaurant and had the best chirashi, loaded with pickled vegetables. Davin won the first two rounds, lost in the third. On the last night, a social worker called to inform me that my sister, L., had a public mental health crisis, and was taken to a psychiatric hospital by police. After returning home from Yale, I drove 370 miles to Long Island to attend a 10 AM patient intake meeting.
- There’s the lemon cream “Alaska” T – with tiny flowers embroidered across the chest, from our wonderous adventure cruise through Alaska, and a day-long train ride on the Alaska Railroad to Whistler. We helicoptered to a glacier, filled 10-year-old Dylan’s pockets with rocks so he could zipline along the Bering Sea, boated into the bay with Orca’s, and white water rafted in Denali. In Whistler BC, we scaled wooden catwalks in a temperate rainforest through miles of ziplines through the canopy, took a private jeep tour up the Coast Mountains to observe bear families, and licked fresh gelato for days.
- The “Beltran Mets” T – I wore to Puerto Rico for Davin and Shina’s high school graduation trip. The hotel staff cheered for the Commonwealth icon ironed on my back. We hiked the El Yunque National Rain Forest, kayaked in a phosphorescent lagoon and ate alcapurría on a street in Fajardo. From a private charter, we reeled in mahi-mahi and yellowfin, and dove into the Caribbean Sea, finishing the evening dining on sushi I sliced in our cliff house kitchen, to the call of the coqui.
- The sky-blue “CUBA” T – from the magical Afro-Latin Jazz Band bus tour Rich and I joined with family friends in the band, in December, 2016. The trip Rich said he always dreamt of taking. The trip where an iron curtain ran the length of the Queen bed at the Melia Habana. Davin took the trip in December, 2012.
- The Navy “International Women’s Writer’s Guild” T – from the first summer conference I attended, in July 2019. A turning point in my life, where I met a new tribe of supportive women writers, encouraging me to write my stories, weeks after my divorce.
- The grey “Urbanfetch” T – my late husband, Dave, got for being a frequent customer of the pre-Instacart dot.com start-up that delivered food and sundries, to Manhattan boomers, c.1999. I recall him raving about the new service that ran his errands and delivered fresh chocolate chip cookies to his office on the 97th floor of One World Trade Center.
- The white “Microsoft” T – Dave got on the last professional conference he attended in May 2001. It was the first trip he took solo, in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” He pedaled a rented bike for twenty miles to rent a jet ski before taxiing to the airport, on the final day. He (being legally blind) had a difficult time navigating in a remote location without the ability to drive, nor access to public transportation. He said he’d never travel alone again. The boys and I greeted him in the airport baggage claim. We were so excited to bring him home.
- The slate grey “Daniel Burgess Turkey Trot tennis T – worn to hit balls on the November day of his 66th birthday, sixty days after he out-breathed into his eternal sleep. Davin composed a ballad to compliment the video tribute I created on Oct, 26th, 120-hours before narcotizing his own breath.
Ts cover my skin in close-fitting threads, interwoven fibers opening to hug my curves and edges, relics where extremities intersect spine, I validate myself into a future where I’ll no longer exist. I’ve worn the souvenirs like badges stitched on a Girl Scout sash, draped over my torso, shoulder to waist, decorating the space within two planes diverging from a common seam.
But it’s not the collected souvenirs folded into the drawer that I wanted all those years, but validation. Because the relics extended me into the evolution of something worthy of remembering and therefore seen. It was that very ceaselessness that I wanted to return to, belong to, again and again.
It’s no accident that the “T” resembles a beam. That angle of supporting strength that holds up bodies across an expanse too wide to bear the load. We’re all inside this house, saying with our angled, load-bearing selves, more, more, more.
I want to insist that our being alive is impressive enough to be worthy of continuation. And so-what, if all I accomplished in my life was providing supportive strength to hold up more bodies.
© Deborah Garcia 2021
Image by Deboerah Garcia