this is her story, my memories of her, of course, but it’s more than that – it’s mine, as well. or perhaps i’ve gotten that all wrong – maybe it’s mine, really, because it’s told from my perspective, wrapped up in my schema and delivered on the ribbons of my words, laced with my emotions and incapable of separation from my subjectivity. what a tricky thing, this memory, with her slippery sides and blurred contours, light-footed and fleeting as a dragonfly flitting in and out of your periphery. you’ve got her, almost; she lands daintily, carefully on your thinner skin when you least expect it, and you’re elated; but with your slightest breath you’ve sent her wind-born again, and you strain to catch any little glimpses of her as she teases you and threatens to leave you behind, wondering what was real and what you imagined as your last glance leaves you shudder-struck with the transparency of her wings. you never imagined you could lose this one…it was so real, once…
wasn’t it?
it’s too much to remember…too much, or perhaps not enough. (is anything ever enough, when marred from the very beginning by the gray inevitability of impermanence? perhaps as humans we can never fully understand the word “enough”!) yet we choose to think not of these things, the dark undercurrents that send our blood to boiling and patch blue-black stains beneath sleepless eyes; we launch our chins skyward and vow to stand out in the crowds, to BE someone, anyone, in a world where everyone wants to be anyone else. we’d rather purse our lips than speak of endings, for we are children of the Age of Indestructibility, where greener grass is never green enough and glass ceilings exist solely for us to skyrocket through, even if it means launching ourselves off the shoulders of the person to our right. we remember ourselves as we want others to remember us, and we remember them as we want to remember them.
she was someone. she was more than most someones.
i remember her. God, how i remember her – and funny thing is, she’s the same in every memory. i’m not sure there’s anyone else about which i can claim that statement true. she sparkled like June and bubbled like sunlight, laughter glittering everywhere in the air around her, a ticker-tape parade she couldn’t contain within. i see her there, at her djembe, eyes closed as she quietly thumped a beat; or there, playing her guitar and singing sweetly at her sister’s high school graduation, a song she’d written especially for the occasion. she was beside me when we bolted at full-speed from the old man’s antique store parking lot where he thought we were trying to steal his car and charged at us with a wooden baseball bat, swearing and sputtering to high Heavens, “don’t you think I won’t hit a girl!!”
the way she loved batman, and would defend him relentlessly against anyone who dared suggest he might have even the semblance of a rival in the world of superhero fame…
her love for Jesus, and how she’d encourage me to let Him pursue me the way He so desperately desired to pursue all his princesses…she got that. she understood that better than anyone, and loved Him back more passionately than most human hearts could comprehend…
so much to love, in her. so, so much. so much to laugh about, with her, when we dance in Heaven. so many things to fill each other in on…although it’s funny to think that after only corresponding through emails and phone calls the past few years, she can now actually see me live my life out here on earth, sharing my joys and tears and silliness…
i’ll have to wait a while, God willing, before i can reciprocate.
but knowing she’s there, singing and dancing and laughing the way she always did, now even more freely, more joyously…
that alone will help make eternity worth my wait.

in loving memory of abby cortese

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