We entered the world together, we went to school together. In fact, I never went to school alone. From pre-school to my senior year, Chara had been there all along. This wasn’t my graduation, it was ours. Like so much of my life, momentous occasions were shared with her and not by me alone.
I was so proud to have her with me. We marched onto the field and I was content to know that she was right behind me.
|Walking on the field.|
I dreamed of the moment that it would be over. I dreamed of us throwing our caps in the air and hugging one another in a joyous embrace; celebrating what we had accomplished, congratulating one another, and simply sharing the moment.
But that’s not what happened. When it was over I turned to her and she wasn’t there. She’d run off to find her stupid boyfriend.
Chara and I went to different colleges. We went to school alone for the first time. I’ll never forget when she called in the fall of 1998. She was crying on the other end, she was saying things to me that she had just realized now that we were apart. I didn’t know what to say. I hadn’t realized she didn’t know.
Later she did come to my college and we did graduate together. I do not remember when it was over. I think she was still there. I think I was afraid to look.
Chara got married that December. It was a bittersweet day for me. She joked she was giving me a brother. I feared he was taking my sister. When the ceremony was over and she walked down the aisle, she stepped out of her shoe. Three people passed it. When I walked down the aisle it was still there, waiting for me. I saw it as a gift from God. She did still need me, even if she was married. I picked it up and took it to her. When I found her, I saw him, her husband. He was crying, deep beautiful tears of joy. He loved her, he was blessed, he was happy, he knew she was a treasure. Okay, I thought, you can have her. And my heart softened.
In time, Chara became pregnant. She said she wanted me there, needed me there. It made me shy, it made me happy, it made me blessed. I saw Jonah’s little body come. I cut the cord. I suppose her momentous occasion were shared with me too.
And she asked me to be there when Caroline came, too. I cut the cord. She looked like a little red raccoon.
I moved East. I’ll never forget when we talked the fall of 2010. This time I was crying and saying things. She didn’t know what to say. Chara just sat there and loved me.
And then Sadie came. Chara waited for me. I cut the cord.
It was the fall of 2012. She called me. Happy Birthday I said. Chara was confused. I was excited. I had signed us up for the 2013 Memorial Half-Marathon. She thought I was crazy, maybe I was.
We got up early. I picked her up at 5:30 and drove downtown. It was cold. They said there were over 24,000 people. I was there with one. We ran, walked, jogged the whole race side by side. We were out of shape. We were laughing and experiencing and living together. It was a great great day.
This time, I wasn’t afraid to dream. I imagined crossing the finish line with her. Hand in hand. And so, as we got closer, I reached over and took her hand. She was there. She hadn’t run off. She didn’t pull away. We crossed the line together, hand in hand; our time was exactly the same.
|2013 Memorial Half-Marathon|
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
And I know that I am blessed.