Jessica Latshaw

musician. writer. dancer.

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the stone in my pocket.

Posted By on October 4, 2012 in I Lift My Eyes Up, Loved Ones, Thoughts and Feelings | 19 comments

I once read a poem in which a man compares his love to a stone he carries around in his pocket. He touches the stone often, feeling the weight of it, feeling its comfort, too.

That image comes into my mind often. It is so poignant. I imagine the smooth, cool surface of the rock easily. I like the physicality of it; how tangible it is. There are no guessing games when it comes to a rock. It’s either there or not; you can hold it, or you can’t. Simple and plain.

I’ve heard that parents who’ve lost a child tend to their living children with a sort of paranoia and vigilance that keeps them checking on them at all hours of the night. Desperately feeling their small, thin chests for the sounds of a beating heart. Holding their hands extra tight during a walk across the street. It’s the kind of fierce protectiveness that makes sense, given the history. We understand the threat of loss greater when we’ve lost something. We also understand our inability to make things happen–to prevent the worst–because we’ve stood there, watching a nightmare unfold, cursing our hands that can do nothing to stop it.

And maybe you’d think we’d stop caring or trying after that.

But we don’t.

We’re the children who think we can beat the surf, while playing on the edge of the ocean. We build our castles at low tide, never realizing that high tide comes to everyone who’s lucky enough to live that long. Some high tides are worse than others, yes; but the ocean plays no favorites and, if you’re standing there, you’ll feel it, too.

I once built a castle on the sand. It was exactly what I wanted. It wasn’t very big, but it only needed to house two of us–plus a couple of kittens, which we added later. I painted each wall of the castle, too. Orange and yellow and red and green; I wanted what I saw around me to reflect the vivaciousness of what I felt inside, you see. I thought about how forever didn’t feel long enough for the life we planned. I thought about how heaven seemed strange and far away; I didn’t want to be there if it meant I couldn’t be with him

It’s an old story, really. And when the tide came in, I thought it’d last forever. Pieces of the life I’d built with him floated away on the same water that carried the trash and refuse, like there was no difference between the two at all. That hurt. Pretty soon, I couldn’t tell the difference either, and that hurt like hell.

By the time he called me to tell me that he was dating someone, I was numb.

“It doesn’t hurt you to hear this?” he asked, incredulous.

“It hurt to find out you were dating someone else while we were together,” I explained, “This is nothing compared to that.”

“Well…no offense to you, but the new girl I’m dating is 5’1,” he said, leaving me to ponder that perhaps he was trying to let me know that, at 5’8, I was simply too tall to stay with.

And I laughed at that. Because, how absurd.

But the really nice part was that it didn’t hurt me. Not now. I stayed away from the shore for a while. God knows, I didn’t try to build a sandcastle again–wasn’t even positive that I ever would, really–but the dream remained.

It’s a relentless one, the dream of love with one other person.

And I find myself, without even totally realizing it in the beginning, starting to build again. I find myself carrying around a stone in my pocket, feeling its smooth, cool weight again and again, with the kind of fervor reserved for the very religious or very paranoid.

And to my great joy and surprise, the stone remains.

I know about the tide now. I could show you pictures of it, even. But here I am, building a castle, anyway. I guess you could say I’m crazy. I guess you could say I’m healed. I guess you could say I’m hopeful.

I guess you could say I’m falling in love. 

19 Comments

  1. jason October 4, 2012

    ANY sentence that starts with “No offense” or ends with “Just saying” should NOT be said!

    I for one AM offended that some random girl is 5’1”. This outrage cannot be tolerated!

    Congrats on falling in love…

    • jessica October 4, 2012

      I TOTALLY agree with the policy of if you have to start a sentence with anything like “no offense,” or “don’t take this the wrong way,” etc., THEN JUST DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL.

      And yes, it is highly offensive that anyone is that height! haha ridiculous.

  2. Robert October 4, 2012

    Well, that’s just beautiful Jessica. I hope your new Castle is Bigger, Stronger and More Incredible than anything you could ever have possibly imagined! You have a nice new beach, and all the sand you need…build to your hearts content! :)

    and lol at you ex….really?

    • jessica October 4, 2012

      Thank you, Robert; it’s really nice to read such kind words. I will try my best with this castle. I suppose that’s all any of us can do.! And yes, I KNOW. That was a very strange thing for him to say! :/

  3. Sare October 4, 2012

    Jess..this is so beautiful. I am so happy for you. you are so strong and brave. love and miss you so much!!!

    • jessica October 4, 2012

      LOVE AND MISS YOU SO MUCH, TOOOOOO!

      No, really, I do.

      A lot.

      Can’t wait to catch up sometime (hopefully) soon, my dear friend.

  4. Peter October 5, 2012

    Jessica, while reading this my first thought was of the rock I keep in my winter coat. I picked it up on the Isle of Skye during my first trip to Scotland back in the early 1990s. I carry it with me still. I have added to it a small piece of the Great Wall.

    As I continued to read, I considered that as you were writing this you had the parable of the man who built a house on sand, and another man who built his house on a rock, and a storm came and the rain fell, etc.

    And yet, as I continued to read, I thought you might be drawing upon Miss Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” “Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains?”

    Whatever the source of your inspiration may be, I wish you peace and good wishes as you continue in love.

    • jessica October 8, 2012

      Hi Peter!

      Well, those are all very lovely comparisons–so thank you for that:) I appreciate you reading and commenting so much–and I also appreciate the wishes of peace. THAT’S lovely:)

  5. Meghann October 5, 2012

    Yay!! (It’s early and that’s all I can really formulate right now)

    • jessica October 8, 2012

      haha sometimes a YAY! is all that’s needed:)

      thank you for yay-ing on my account!

  6. Projess October 5, 2012

    Ah, me. What a fool that man is. It makes me sad.

    • jessica October 8, 2012

      yes, well–hopefully, he’s doing better now.

  7. Paige October 6, 2012

    Love this. I’m glad that though he broke a great many things; he could not break love.. Bless your hands as they tend and build. (I’m 5’2… It’s a ridiculous height… 5’8 sounds just about perfect. ;)

    • jessica October 8, 2012

      aww, my mom is 5’2 (or around there, at least) and there is NOTHING ridiculous about that height! I mean, you can wear the tallest heels you can find and still NOT tower over the world–that’s gotta be nice! And yes, I feel so grateful that, since no human created love to begin with, no human is given enough power to break love. VERY grateful, indeed. :)

  8. Rob the first October 8, 2012

    What a beautiful way to announce that you’re in love. You give me hope. I want that feeling. And I’d like that feeling to be mutual for a change. I’m really happy for you, Jess. You deserve all of the great things life has to offer, not the least of which is someone to love and who will always love you. I always told you that this day would come. I think I deserve a cookie. Chocolate chip, if you don’t mind.

    Also, there are SO many reasons why your ex is an idiot, but that comment certainly ranks pretty high.

    • jessica October 8, 2012

      Oh, Rob. I am glad this gives you hope. I have hope for you. Continue to follow your heart and I do believe that you will end up where love is nurtured and grows and you will share it with a special someone else.

      And haha you really want to ask for something ELSE from me when it took me a ridiculously LONG time to get the tee to you? Just imagine how moldy that cookie would be by the time it finally reached your doorstep! :)

      • Rob the first October 8, 2012

        That is an excellent, unappetizing point. Good call. And thank you for the encouragement; I hope you’re right.

        • jessica October 9, 2012

          I hope I’m right, too; and I can’t WAIT to say I told you so.

          Also–sorry to be the one to make excellent, UNappetizing points! :(

  9. Mandy October 16, 2012

    Um, the 5’1″ thing? WHITE HOT RAGE. Only you could write a post with something beautiful trumping that. Cause you KNOW I’m 5’8″ too and Jack has WAY better reasons to leave me. But he doesn’t, not for my height and not for anything else. Sheesh. Like he didn’t know how tall you were before he married you? Sheesh.

    ANWYWAY, I love the rest of this post. Lots and lots and I love you and I love that you love him and I love love. There. I have counteracted the WHITE HOT RAGE from earlier in my comment.

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