Saturday, June 19, 2010

Armenia 2009: "Send a Ray of Hope - for a New Way"

For the record, the summer of 2009 was the best 3 months of my entire life. .

Six huge suitcases, three carry-on bags, three purses, and a list of things I should have packed:
1. Cameron, duh
2. Socks
3. Bug spray, lots of it
4. Laptop
5. Books to read
6. Clothes that don't fit or I don't want to be given away
7. Toilet paper that won't make your ass cry
8. Rubber boots
9. Dad's old cellphone and SIM
10. A washing machine :(
11. Lambie
12. Towels
13. Hairbrush
14. Scissors
15. Salt and pepper shakers
They killed it. And I don't know if it was the way they joked about it, or the fact that it was so small, or how this whole country seems to have no conscious, but it broke my heart. "It's just a stupid rabbit" they all said, "it's no big deal." And I'm no animal rights activist. I see and feel things differently from where I stand, I've always known this, but today it's like I'm walking though fog.
My head hurts; I lay on the couch to gather my thoughts. And suddenly the ground is shaking and my head is spinning. Neighbors must be vacuuming, I think. But scattered screams tell me I'm wrong. I'm on the 12th floor and you don't vacuum hardwood floors anyway. As I say a silent prayer, I feel the earthquake weaken.
It took us three hours to get there, in which we complained the whole way. And suddenly I can't breath. Symphony of Stones is what they call it, but to me, Garden of Eden is more like it. Pictures are worthless here. Want to know what it's like? Look through a window into my heart. Absolutely breathtaking. I think of my parents: how can you leave this beauty for a place as vanilla as Dallas?
Since we are on the subject, I want you to know something. In your 18 years of life, there has been no girl that has loved you as much as I have, the way I have. I swear to God it's true. So unconditional and selfless and pure. And any girl who cares any less doesn't deserve your attention. I hope to God the next time you find a girl like that, you feel the same way for her, that you give her a chance. I hope to God you won't let her slip away.
A road built in one night. Some rich guy kicked the bucket, and they had to drive his body through a poor village. Unacceptable, right? So in one night they built an entire new road, a whole new route, just for him. Because here, money gets you everywhere. Not smarts, not looks, just money.
Tonight marks 49 days. I wake and close my eyes to paint your image in my mind. And as I bring you back to me, I smile like it's Christmas morning. To this day I'm stunned by your beauty. But this particular morning, 49 days later, I can't remember the exact curve of your jaw. And this one detail drives me crazy. I see everything but this crystal clear, yet suddenly none of it matters. I hate myself for forgetting, for letting myself forget, and the guilt is overwhelming. I let the tears come. Whoever said time makes everything better is a fool. Time is just an enemy in disguise.
We open the gates to find you both waiting with open arms. I drop my suitcase and fly to you. And in harmony we smile and laugh and cry. But when I open my eyes, I see that I am mistaken. There is no one here to greet us, to bless us and love us unconditionally. My soul is orphaned, and I feel your absence like never before.
It's our first night in the mountains and I'm knee deep in mud; it's as though I've gone back in time. Eight goddamn days since I've heard your voice. I can't sleep like this; I'm a prisoner in my own mind. No phone, no running water, no electricity. Only mice, snakes, and bees in this goddamn "village" to keep us company through the night. This can't possibly be 2009, it just can't.
It's 4am and we are at the hospital. Her eyes are purple and blue and bandages cover half her face. I am exhausted, but I couldn't sleep if my life depended on it. I admire her courage. How is it that I'm the older one, yet I'm always learning from her?
God knows when I will come back again, when I can afford to. I can't speak, I'm on the verge of crumbling. I think to myself that I need one last good look, a memory to put in a velvet box and store away in my heart. And as I turn to leave, I see her tears, her sorrow. There's no escaping it, my heart begins to ache.

originally written August 19, 2009

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