I’ve been listening to the above song a lot lately. It transports me to my first months here in Cleveland, when I would listen to it in the dead of winter with Emelio, Rob and Mara, and sometimes a guest or two. Emelio didn’t like the harsh overhead lights in our ceiling fixtures, so I remember listening to this record in pretty much mood lighting, with our other lamps around the room lit on floors and coffee tables. I was real lonely then, they made it better, and I miss him kind of a lot right now.
I remember one time in particular, when the snow caused a blackout on our street, and somehow our house was the only one that didn’t get its power back until the next day. We had some guests over, drank some Blackout Stout (which just happened to be in the fridge), made a feast (with candle lighting a little more ‘mood’ than usual, but it fit), listened to this record, and then watched Lost with the waning power in Emelio’s computer’s battery.
Even though I’m in ‘the real world’, I still instinctively follow a semester cycle, breaking for summer, starting a new phase in the fall, and so the last couple weeks have been accompanied by a recognizable shift, with a sense of contrast between now and the last time I was here. There are a lot of dates in early September that cause me to reflect on the last year in particular, the years, more generally. Little-noticed (by me anyway), September 11th was four days ago. My birthday was a couple days ago. Sylvia shouldn’t have died a year ago today.
There’s a lot that’s changed over the last year. There are some things that haven’t; I’m still trying to negotiate how to be the kind of citizen and community member I want to be, but I also am in some ways less sure of how you do that, and then also more assured in my approach (weird huh?) I think this blog is, despite its fits and starts, a pretty solid record of those changes.
But I’m encouraged and thankful to be where I am, because of the people I’m blessed enough to count as friends and supports, whose unhesitating (and sometimes less-than-deserved) love and decency and whose strength and tenacity and humor and kindness make ridiculous any inclination I have to fall into despair. My parents and sister, Sylvia’s parents, Alex and Emelio (jesus…), my friends from the project, all my friends who have moved on from Oberlin in the last year, and who I miss dearly. Everyone, really.
So thank you.