04 April 2014

her words unlocked both of them

text and photography: katie beth

Another slow morning. Woke up in pain but comforted. Up quietly and breakfast, morning prayer to fence us round, and out to walk and gaze and see and feel. I see our success in the sketch of the old bridge on my journal page where the perspective is crooked and changing, morphing as we moved past it--each angle is captured inside it.

And now I have seen the statue of liberty through thick glass, right there but no touching it. Familiar and strange all at once. The story of the ship and the fog and the morning my grandfather passed lady liberty in the harbor. Watching them smile and laugh, the light bouncing off of their faces onto the glass. Beautiful. Neither will admit it.

There on the other side the sun came down on our shoulders, soaking in and loosening the muscles in our necks. There in the harbor there was no salty brine in the air, no sharp scent of life. I wanted to dip my fingers in the water to feel for salt drying on the pads of my hands, but we couldn't get close enough. We walked to the edge of the land and settled down on wood to look and gaze and write, the city stretched out around the very edges of our sight-line.

I remember very little but I remember being together. I remember the knowing that we were all still, alone in our own pages but together in the scratching of our pens (or paintbrushes), each of us picking up memories and images between our finger and thumb and dropping them into the leaves of our journals to sort through later. No pressure to make it acceptable to others, just ourselves.

I remember the woman's pockmarked face and the depth of her words--far back in her throat--as she spoke to us. I remember the faces the little french boy made as he clowned for the camera and I remember understanding the father's excitement, translated through his voice not his words.

We watched the ferries make their way back and forth as we sat in the sun unconcerned--one thirty, two, two thirty, three. Feeling feverish from the sun or the sickness, the ache in my feet and the glow of my tired legs. We sat again in the green plastic chairs, molded to fit everyone and no one, balancing our heads on our necks and preparing for New Hampshire. 

We grabbed a quick dinner and found ourselves in Bruce, quiet and listening more than talking with music to keep us in the car and not ten feet above it watching. Twisting through the dark roads and following headlights, I wondered what would meet us tomorrow. That night there would be sleeping and the morning would bring food but the unknown memories sitting on the ground of that place, washing through the air--unknown, but I knew I would be holding them all in my arms the next evening.

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