PERFECT MIRACLE

You told me that you still think I am wonderful that last day you ever saw me.

I am pretty sure I will think about that for the rest of my life.

THERE IS NO HOME

It was you.

It was the time we spent dancing slowly to christmas music in front of the fake fire on the TV.

It was you.

When we whispered to one another in the moonlight fingers entwined.

I pretended I was strong though I was broken. You told me that you would take care of me. That there would be struggles but none that I would have to handle alone. But I have learned the hard way that when I am hurting that no one is coming to save me. No matter how many times they say that they can and will.

It was your house, not mine. I only had a small duffel bag. But you made it feel as though we had lived there for years. You sat on the roof to eat grapes with me even though you were scared. We stayed up all night talking. Didn’t even realize until the sunlight began to come in through the blinds. It was your apartment.

But with you I was home.

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I WANT TO GO HOME

I moved again. I dragged my mattress to the curb. I swept the floors. I scrubbed any trace of myself from the bathtub and the sinks. I walked back into my empty room. My footsteps were the only sound. The house is not mine. The house never was mine. I sat on the wooden floor and watched the sun go down outside. The light faded like any remnants of memories I had made here. I waited to feel some nostalgia, warm feelings for this clean quiet apartment. But it just felt like any other place I had been. And I was sitting alone on the floor of an empty house. It was time to go.

I left my key in the mailbox on the way out.

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BABY

When you are a teen they tell you that you are too young to know love. They say the first relationships do not count. How could you possibly know true emotion when you yourself are so tempestuous and yet so naive. But as you grow older you become marred by unrequited feelings and messy ends to messy affairs. Relationships become more hesitant and less hopeful. One does not want to give it labels. The other does not want to open up for fear of being vulnerable to yet another who will run away in the end. Grandiose gestures and all night phone calls of youth turn into quiet comfortable dinners and a movie. Perhaps coffee. It is all smiles and saying the right thing at the right moment. Both parties know the rhythm of what they should do and what is expected. It seems all right. It could be secure.

But in all the polite text messages sent soon enough to show interest but not so soon as to exude desperation, the thrill of young love is lost. Both will forever wonder if they had just met that first love a little later. Maybe if they were not so young and foolish. Could it possibly have blossomed? These pressing thoughts leave a distance between the new couple. Because it is impossible to know how you would interact with the same people if you were different.

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WHISPERS

The night always brought nightmares with it. It was as sure to me as that the one word contained the other. They went together. My eyelids would grow heavy, and the midnight monsters would begin to rear their ugly heads, though I was not quite asleep. I always have had dreams of being stabbed through the back in the gloom. I am never quite able to see the assailant. But in that darkness as sleep approaches, I can feel him.

Lurking.

Ready.

A habit I picked up as a child was to shake myself loose from the dreams.I would force myself to stand, wrap my blanket around my shoulders, and pad to the window. I find the gathering dawn to be comforting. The even light sopping up the deep shadows. The habit progressed in my teen years, I would leave my house, closing the door softly behind me. Then, barefoot, I would walk through the silent neighborhood alone. The delicate dew and empty streets in the blue dawn would remind me that there is no one lying in wait to hurt us. I would venture to the top of a hill, knowing nothing hid behind the trees. There, with grass under my feet, I would greet the sunrise and watch the world wake.

I liked that the darkness faded into normality.

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IDENTITY

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There is never much to say by this point. I think there is beauty in brevity. I find myself at a loss wondering if there is a simple way to take art from an abstract vision to a realized piece to a number in a bank account that lets it become my day job. Maybe it is getting it in front of eyes and off my hard drive.

LIFE

All we are given is time. The amount is indefinite but finite. All the afternoons we choose to lie in bed are us spending the limited currency of existence on something unexciting and forgettable. Nothing gained. I wonder when the signs of aging catch up and we become discontent with just being. I do not want to be complacent. Right now is all we have.

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BEFORE WE WERE STRANGERS

We had a fight in the car as it wound on the back roads through the mountains. You yelled, and I turned away to look out of the window sullenly as the trees flicked past and blurred into one another. We pulled into a dirt lot bristling from the exchange. Took turns apologizing despite how sorry we actually were. Neither of us slammed the door. Neither spoke either. Side by side we walked up the trail, silently but not uncomfortably.

By the end of the hike we were laughing and holding hands once more. The earlier disagreement forgotten. We took silly photos and picked wildflowers to put in a vase on our kitchen table. On the ride back I drifted off as I happily gazed at the same trees as before. I remember thinking in the fringes right before sleep that I could gladly spend forever next to you.

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SMOTHER

When I was a little girl she took me aside and told me that no one would ever love me. She said I would crush all of those that I knew. She said it was a flaw to be kind when it was to the point that you suffocated those who were subjected to the kindness. It was obvious that my affection should be more delicate. When someone picks up a leaf they must grasp it tightly enough that it does not fly away with the wind. But they also must hold it loosely enough that it is not crumbled in their clenched fist.

To this day she has proven to be correct over and over. I give too much of myself. I love too fiercely. And so when I open my hand there are just pieces.

I am sorry if I smothered you.

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GOOD THINGS TO COME

I always talk about running away. I always want to escape. Talk about the greener pastures, the places to see. I still want all of that too, I am sure. But finally I have a way out and I have reasons to stay. You need to realize, I guess that it is the people in our lives who are the best thing to see.

Hold them close while you have them.

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HOMEWARD

He said "Nostalgia is a dirty liar that insists that things were better than they seemed."

And he was right.

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I WAS IN LOVE WITH THE PLACE

Briefly, I journeyed back home. A place I had been so desperate to leave all of those years ago. I had felt trapped and bored. There was nothing for me there. I felt like Alice when she ate that piece of cake. Too big for the place. A leg up the chimney and an arm out the door. 

But when I returned it was pleasant and familiar. Everything seemed soft and warm. It seemed such a shame to leave.

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To Run Away

Get up as early as you can. Travel as far away. See as much as you possibly can manage. Do not go to bed without trying to view the stars. See the world before it gets dark.

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YOU WILL NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN

Take photos of everyone in your life. Do it as often as you can. Every day even. Capture the funny way they close their eyes when they smile and how they shake their head when they make jokes. Take photos. Take videos too. Record happy little conversations about nothing. You will want to look at these memories later. No matter how many you take you will always kick yourself for not having enough. One day these easy moments will be gone and so will the people you shared them with. 

Over time the details fade. You can only remember the feelings you shared with the old friends. The way their voice sounds gets muddled and lost. It hurts to lose this. Do everything you can so that you do not.

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