I can see a light September rain outside my window.
And the key word in that sentence, I would say, is September.
I will not bore you by marveling at how time has grown wings and flown so fast that by Wednesday, it seems, people ask me how my weekend was and I can hardly even remember. The days between then and now have blurred them.
I have heard that it is not specific days that we remember so much; rather it is moments that we retain. I don’t remember many Tuesdays, though I have one each week, just like the rest of us. I do, however, remember vividly a Tuesday that began like a bullet exiting a gun. Abruptly, it woke me up. Literally, from sleep and figuratively, from a life that I thought I had. And then it ended me.
But, later, I found out I was a phoenix; later, I found out there is a beautiful life that comes only from death.
Like the quarry I swam in every summer while growing up. It all started with a big mistake. A spring was struck while they were digging in a rock quarry. Everything–big machinery and the whole project–was lost overnight as the hole filled with water. But then it was awesome. It was refreshing. It was new. It wasn’t terrible, after all; it was just entirely different from the original plan, guys. And then they sold memberships and hot dogs and hot, sweaty people came and were happy.
I remember it felt like a whole lifetime later when I first met TJ, and then deciding that I needed to become his friend. That was a Tuesday, too, now that I think about it. I walked into an imposing brick building that jutted out of Tribeca–making New York City’s skyline perfect and crooked at once–and nervously said hello to this guy from the radio.
“It’s pretty cool that you’re here,” he said in a tone that let me know he’s rooting for me, “This is the top morning show in the country,” he told me, smiling.
I didn’t know what to say, so I just said what first came to mind.
“I don’t listen to the radio; I’m sorry, I’ve never heard of the show.”
He just kept smiling and told me that he never really expected anyone to have heard of it (which, now I know, is hilarious. I mean, lots of people have heard of it!), but wanted me to know that it’s an exciting place for an artist to be.
After the interview, I was grateful that he took so much time with me. That he set up the mics just right and made sure everything was perfect.
“Can I give you a hug?” I asked, realizing later that it is probably very unprofessional to hug the guy from the radio who just interviewed you. I mean, this wasn’t church and it wasn’t my family reunion.
He hugged me and every time I’ve brought it up since then, he maintains that it was kind and sweet, not unprofessional. “It was genuine, Jess, and I appreciated it,” he says.
I remember this weekend, when Luna fell asleep in my arms after a day in Cape Cod. That was a Saturday, for anyone who is keeping score.
I also remember receiving a notification in the mail. A very official one from the state of Delaware, telling me something that I already knew: that a relationship I had held sacred was now over. Kaput. I don’t know what day that was, but I remember the empty feeling inside that drove me straight to the woods to cry under the cover of trees that are equally good at keeping secrets as they are lending shade.
I remember seeing my parents’ faces animated with pure pride and joy after watching me perform with the broadway touring company of A Chorus Line for the first time in Denver, Colorado.
I remember my pop letting my brother Jonathan and I stay up late into the night (which probably meant somewhere around eleven pm, let’s be real) to watch the beginning of Desert Storm on television. Something about an airstrike and the middle east and suddenly neighborhoods were getting wrapped up in yellow ribbons and it made me sad to see because I wondered if that particular soldier would come home. I hoped so.
Like I said, days come and go and I have learned that I can do nothing to either slow them down or hasten them. I cannot stop or start them. I might as well go put my hands against the ocean and try to still it’s tide.
But I can savor the moments. All of them. I can count them as the bricks they are and eventually there will be a wall that is stacked up higher than I am tall and it will be My Life and there will be so many moments and if even one of them was not there, it would not be a standing wall; it would not be My Life.
And now the rain has stopped. Traffic, however, has not, for Boston is anticipating a Tuesday start to this new week, just like every other city in the world.
It’s a good life, guys; so many moments have made it so.