Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

I’ve been moving around a lot this summer. Now I’ve said goodbye. I’m settling. I moved in last week, someplace drowned in light, but it still feels strange to come home somewhere where I can’t remember footsteps other than mine.

I can never think of the places I have lived without picturing the people I love. I have carefully traced their shadows onto every wall. Love bleeds out of the chalk outlines like fullness after a warm meal. The way they put my clothes in closets and throw clean bed sheets on the mattress on moving days. They show me love as easy as fingers spread wide open, love as easy and as serious as staying. Love that reaches for me even in sleep.

This new place does feel like a place I’ve been living in, sitting on the floorboards and listening to myself pace and listening to the air settle at night when I’m falling asleep. My feet guess at the stairs in the early morning. But it feels like it exists outside of all that love I’ve knit around myself, like the threads have barely made it in, dragging and catching on doorjambs.

I’m meeting these brand new people who are heavy with their own circumstantial loneliness and their dancing around it, their need for distance and their desire for closeness. They want good company, someone whose stories echo right off their own. Long days feel like strangers holding the fabric of me between their fingers, touching and rubbing and letting it fall back into place. I want to go home early and scrub away the ruthlessness of being seen.

Some spaces loneliness easily spreads into, a small puddle of rainwater you struggle to dry. Sometimes when I’m turning the key and pushing the door open I can hear it fall onto me. I’ll make dinner and call a friend and listen to their voice and fall asleep, and I’ll forget. When loneliness wraps itself around my chest I know it’s always loose. I carry a love heavy as that bucket of water you’ve walked through the desert for, love that has heard the well and the rope and the bucket sing for it as it went all the way up towards the light. Sometimes I feel very far away but I can hear that desert song, the creaking and the ringing and the rippling of it. Sometimes when I press my thumb right in the middle of my chest I hear it breathing with me. When poured out it dances like sunlight spilling on bare skin, warm because of the laughs and eyes and smiles and hands caught into it, warm because it feels endless in a way summer doesn’t.

This place will be home the moment I break off a piece of bread for someone I love in here. I need to remember to keep knitting it all together, to braid the threads back together. Every morning the earth rises like leavened dough. Every morning I work at making this love good, knitting good work into good love, making good love into good work, busy honeybee work in a garden of flower-souls, green thread and green leaves and earth and rainwater gathering in the same overflowing bucket.

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