Fireflies, Cactus Flowers, and Apologies

April 30

Dear Les,

I’ve had words jumbled in my head and buzzing electric like fireflies in a jar the last couple of weeks. In the beginning, I just didn’t feel like writing you. To be honest, my words weren’t really flitting in your general direction. Then, I guess, the moon waned. I needed light to see. I needed some fireflies to escape. I’ve had lots of different things to write about but just thought them. I didn’t tell you about being homecoming queen in high school or how I’m in a constant state of grief even when I marvel at how in love with the world I am. There is so much to love. Grief and love aren’t opposites though, of course.

I didn’t write you. Sometimes we don’t get our words down. Bugs buzz and bounce around off windows and lightbulbs and we know they will die—or they make it through a door and disappear from us, maybe forever. Who knows where those bugs go. Who knows where the words go.

I’ll write about my grief another night. I’m not sure it’ll make sense to you, if you read it. I’m not mourning a person or relationship or single event. I have no personal issue I’m in despair over. You have no reason to worry for me. You wouldn’t anyway, Les. We are beautiful strangers. Wherever you are, I hope it’s filled with peace and hope and joy. Fresh air. Soil filled with life.

FKS sent me a message on Facebook this afternoon. I can tell you that. I saw the message request tonight—we were never Facebook friends so I didn’t get a regular notification; I only saw the request because I had to open my FB inbox to send a whale watching trip link to a friend (we’re going!!). After finishing my phone call with my pal, I read FKS’s message.

It was short. A well-written, thoughtful apology. The first words I saw in the preview during my phone conversation were: “Emily, I want to apologize for the way…”. After the whale call I read all of that first sentence: “I want to apologize for the way I decided to handle the intimacy we shared.”

The message jarred me a bit. D called a short while later when I was still texting my sister, and I was distracted on the phone. Distracted because of my already present fireflies and that message. She noticed, I offered an apology and explanation, and we hung up. I’m grateful for FKS’s note, Les. She hurt me. It sounds so strange to say that, but I was hurt when she ghosted. It was a sharp, disorienting pain and a confusing, unnecessary way to end things and part ways.

I’ll thank FKS for her message tomorrow. What I did tonight was reply to an apology another person messaged me two and a half years ago—a year after we had parted ways at the end of our semester in Arizona. I appreciated her message but couldn’t bring myself to respond at the time. I finally replied tonight and thanked this classmate. Even though I haven’t messaged FKS yet, it feels like things have already begun to come full circle. I had felt bad for letting that apology hang between that peer and me. FKS inspired multiple responses tonight.

Les, somewhere in Arizona, lots of somewheres, there are cacti blooming right now. I know some prickly greens are blossoming in the Grand Canyon out along paths or tucked away. It doesn’t matter if there aren’t fireflies by the canyon. Even a sliver of moon and milky way will provide light to see a flower. Just see its shape. It doesn’t matter if I can’t always make sentences or light from the words in my head.

There are cacti blooming in deserts right now. That’s enough for me.

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