Updated: Jan 23
He must have suffered from whiplash, for when I saw him, he was so tired. With his eyes a little less green and his hug a little less structured, I sighed. The last time I saw him, he was bright and wore purple; he brewed me coffee and bought me ice cream.
Now, he dressed in black and brown. He was dull and made out of clay.
We drove through Boston to reach the Krishna Consciousness temple. And on a rainy night, the reflections off of the wet ground, allowed us to focus on the passing streetlights. Their stagnancy, and the lack of our own, served as reason to be alive.
Though he rested in wallow, Sean presented in humbleness. He carried an umbrella over my head as he led me to the entrance— the rain intruding his soft woolen hat. He guided me towards a room.
“Oh Sean!... how are you?... oh, the kids!... I haven’t seen you in years… we’ve missed you… welcome.”
Words bounced across the wood floor, white wall, Krishna tapestries, and faithful bodies, to meet my wide eyes. I looked to his; I decided they were hazel once again.
I hugged people I didn’t know while he explained to me stories, gossip, and meaning.
“What a beautiful religion,” I thought, “what a special man.”
I carried burdens in my shoulders while Sean carried them in his heart. We danced and sang, to chant to, and praise, a god, I didn’t know I believed in.
A vinyasa flow of mantra and movement, I learned sacred footsteps, and lost myself in them. I laughed to release, at least the slightest bit, the pain we held.
The night concluded with a free meal where we sat on the floor and held our plates in hand. They encouraged us to reflect— to pause— and simplicity was the fresh air. of the evening
Sean asked of my thougths, and I told him brightly, “Liberation.”
He smiled in return. I didn't know he noticed me then.
He drove Bella and I back to our apartment and closed our doors. My heart hurt again as we left him alone (as if this dancing meant nothing), and I felt him sink into a return of grey. There were no lights from which the rain could reflect.
He returned to a home absent of family. Heartbroken, his wife had just left for a country that promised her safety and comfort. But his hands cracked from the construction work he toiled to warm her home and feed her children. He was lost without this end of a purpose and he told us how his soul craved change.
It is what I wanted for him.
But his change came, months later, in the form of death. Unexpected, his heart had given out on him— too much to carry— and it wasn’t what I meant.
And in dancing those steps and saying those prayers, I sat outside, feet in grass, to write him a poem.
At a picnic table, I jotted my last word as a cardinal landed just to the edge of where I sat. Startled, I quickly held my breath. But I released it once realizing that the bird was here to stay. Knowing that it had to be Sean who sat in front of me, I read my work aloud.
And the cardinal stared back, lingering for a couple seconds after finishing. It seemed to take a moment, perhaps to digest the words I had said, and then, he flew away. I watched him go with confirmation in his hazel eyes.
They were never grey.