The last quarter of her junior year, and a pre-dawn drop off at the airport for an early Easter morning flight to her home 2000 miles away. A long, curbside hug goodbye after an extended visit home – three weeks instead of two. Tender admonitions, mid-embrace:
“Take care of yourself; I love you.”
“I will. I love you too.”
“Take care of yourself – mind, body, and spirit.”
“I will. I love you too.”
“Bye-bye. I love you.”
“Bye. I love you too.”
An hour later, cresting the hill overlooking town, I see evidence of the sun creeping its way up the Eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, preparing to spill over. A text message alerts me to her seat assignment. I pull into the vista spot sitting directly in the path of the sun’s journey.
I queue up Nina Simone’s “Here Comes the Sun” on Spotify. I press “play.” I wait a few seconds more, to when the golden smudge deepens its hue and then sharpens into bright light. I pick up my phone to capture it. I press “record” and I watch and I listen.
Here comes the sun little darlin’
…It’s all right…it’s all right….here comes the sun little darlin’…here comes the sun…
It’s all right…it’s all right…
Little darlin’…It seems like years since you’ve been here.
Little darlin’…It’s been a long, cold and lonely winter…
And then my brain presses “cry.” But Nina’s voice is there, reminding me.
Mmmm…here comes the sun…here comes the sun…
Little darlin’, the smiles are returning to the faces now…
It’s all right now…You can come on out now…you can come on out now…
Every time she’s home I see evidence – shifting, healing, growing, moving into her self.
I think of my self at 20, trying to shed my skin while adding new layers, searching, searching, searching, for what I did not know. Maturing is both an additive and reductive process, but I was ignorant of the latter — I forgot to leave so much behind, and perhaps that’s because I was moving in a circle. But I see a purpose — one direction — in her searching and stretching that I do not recall in mine.
The sun is coming, and you can come on out now, it’s all right, you can come on out now…
I send the video and the song to her, and I drive home and I write this, the song on repeat until I finish.
And I’m so grateful that she was born. That she is in this world with me. But I’m not living through her, I’m living because of her.
Looking at the clock, I realize she’s already almost halfway home — to her home. I’m reminded of what I said a few years ago when someone asked me, “How do you handle such a long distance?”
I replied, “The distance is only ‘long’ if I measure from point ‘me’ to point ‘her.’ So I measure from point ‘her’ to point ‘where she belongs.’
And her sun comes up in Chicago.