Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Home always has a light on
Going through the ornament box sometimes takes hours...and hours
Like becoming a time traveler. Sometimes you need a box of tissues right next to you
as you unwrap and unwrap the years of your life
This ornament stopped me this year for a long pause....I was back in high school, freshman year
homeroom....A quiet, blond haired, bespectacled tall girl sat next to me. She was friendly if you talked to her, but she walked down the hallways of school alone and head facing downward. No one really noticed her..she was smart, well thought of..but no one knew her..we all thought she was a bit of a snob in a way..avoiding any real intimate conversations. I think one year she might have actually sat at my lunch table. Lets just say I liked her but thought she thought she was above us.
Well, when I moved to the suburbs in the 80'.s I saw her one day at the store, and was glad to see her..She was married now (to a wonderful I man I later found out,) her kids went to school with mine and she hadn't changed one bit..same glasses, same long hair, and same gentle and removed behavior. We became friends in a way..the only way she could become friends...She was an artist, and at the time country folk art was all the rage..and she did work for a local store.
I tried to get to know her deeper..but there was this wall,
until one day we talked about high school.
She let go suddenly and with emotion how much she hated going to our school. I was shocked.
Seems she wanted to go to another high school but her mother thought it best that she be in a religious environment at the time.
The month before the start of the school year she was in a head on car accident in Wisconsin. She was in the car with her father... and only she survived.
That's how she started high school the next month..away from her neighborhood friends...alone and suffering. We knew nothing of this.
One Christmas she painted this wooden house for me with lights in the window. Most years, I put it up and briefly think of her.
I live in a different suburb now and don't see her much. She is a wonderful artist, and a wild gardener and bird lover like me, but that wall only came down for a brief moment.
This Christmas as I pulled out the little house with the lights on in the window, I thought of the suffering girl in high school so wounded ...all alone... Would our knowing have changed anything?
Home, she said that year as she gave me the ornament, always has a light on.I put the ornament up this year, and whispered to a quiet room...Merry Christmas my friend...
Sometimes we have to be the one to put the light in the window...