Posts filed under fluttering pulses

on ice water and wedding tears.

I could already feel the tears forming when my dad led me out into the warm July sun, the double garage doors waiting to be raised before my grand entrance.

"Elora. Quick. Drink this ice water. You can't cry when you're drinking ice water." 

I blinked and turned toward the voice, wondering how she got back here when so many people were blocked at the gate. What else was I supposed to do? I reached for the plastic cup and downed the ice water, grimacing at the way the cold bit my throat on the way down. I offered a small smile. 

"Thanks." 

She leaned forward and kissed me on the neck and then giggled, wiping away her lipstick mark on my skin. I tried not to wrinkle my nose.

"Love you, punkin." 

I looked at my dad, still latched on to my arm. His eyes wrinkled around the edges when he smiled at me. I looked away quickly, knowing that within seconds, he would be crying as well.

All morning long, I'd been breathing. 
All morning long, I'd been laughing and calm and easy and anticipatory.

Now, the tears were lodging themselves in my throat as we took one step—two—three toward those glass doors. 

I'm going to cry. I'm going to cry. I'm a bride and I'm going to cry. 

"I love you," my dad whispered as we began our walk down the aisle.

My breath caught.

"I love you too." I whispered, blinking fast to keep the tears from ruining the make-up I applied a few hours before.

The doors crashed open and slid against metal, and the ethereal voice of our friend filled the auditorium. 

Be thou my vision
Oh Lord of my heart...

The tears started flowing and a small smile played on my lips. 

I didn't look at my groom the entire walk down the aisle. 

I was thinking of ice water glasses and the way we can be snapped from reality. I was thinking of the feel of my dad's arms wrapped securely around my own. I was thinking of this student who showed up and that one who sat next to her. I was thinking of the cookies that guest used to bake for me on high school road trips because she knew I loved them.

I was thinking of the way that videographer assistant tried to break up my marriage weeks before we even said I do.

I was thinking of how my finger had already formed itself around this ring I wore for the past two years.

I was thinking of love and how it overwhelms you—completely saturates your being. 

But as many thoughts as were rolling through my mind, I couldn't help but try and step a little faster down that aisle. Because more than anything, more than disappointments and setbacks and expectations, I knew these tears were coming from the realization of dreams. 

Sometimes, beauty can fill us to the brim in such a way that we can't help but bubble over—sometimes through laughter, sometimes through singing. And sometimes, through tears, rolling down our cheeks as if the condensation from our restoration is spilling over into our lives. 

No ice water can quench that.

Posted on July 2, 2014 and filed under fluttering pulses.

in the middle.

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Five minutes from my house, stars replace city lights.

Last night we escaped. We're good about that - good about falling away if just for a little bit. When I breathed in and I could smell the soil, the sun-kissed wheat fields, the distant farms, my heart slowed down. The anxiety from the day was still there. Our problems still sat dormant back home. But in those stolen moments - we were free.

I'd lean into his back and wrap my arms around his waist, feeling the wind blow through my hair. We passed through a few small towns and at one point, when the green light led us through another, I thought to myself let's just keep on going forever.

He watched me as we shared a sundae and fries. Held my hand and wiped a stray eyelash from my cheek. Whispered, "are you okay?" even though he knew the answer - whispered because he wanted me to know he was there. So I leaned forward and shook my head and reminded him that even though I'm not okay today - I know I will be at one point. And he smiled and rubbed his thumb across my fingers.

On the way home, when I felt the joy bubbling just beneath the surface I understood what my friend meant when she told me last week, "Elora, you are going to experience joy in the middle of all this - and it's not going to make sense - but it's His grace. It's how we get through it."

I remembered this as we turned the corner and the sweet scent of soil turned into a bitter taste of asphalt and tar. Reality does this to us. Allows us joy in the midst of pain. A flower in the midst of concrete.

A spring in the midst of winter.

And it doesn't make sense - this laughing in the middle of tears. But it's grace, and I don't think we're ever supposed to truly define the one thing that holds us close to His embrace.

Posted on October 3, 2012 and filed under fluttering pulses.

hints of change.

2012-08-17 18.12.18 we fled the scene on friday afternoon.

wednesday night, i researched local escapes. it was a lesson (challenge? test? practice?) in following my intuition. i just couldn't shake our need to leave everything behind and just be - no schedule, no stress, no deadlines.

i reserved the room on thursday and we left town friday - the air already giving hints of a change of season.

when we got to the hotel, our standard room with no view was mysteriously bumped to a suite with a balcony. i stood in the middle of our room, turning circles and shaking my head. everything - and i do mean everything - seems to glow with a hint of His hand. even hotel reservations.

it was His whisper, you know, that compelled me to even do this.

so we turned in toward each other for a few days, talking and laughing and driving and exploring. it was saturday afternoon, cuddled together on the too-big-for-us-king-size, when i looked at him and muttered, "russ. this could be our last weekend away with just us." my hands started gripping his shoulders a little tighter. my heart started beating a little faster.

he grew quiet and looked me in the eyes, "i'm okay with that..." he said softly.

we soaked up the rest of our time away - driving slow down roads and stopping on a hillside just to get a shot of the rolling green in the distance. we held hands and walked down the gravel mixed with grass as cars sped by, in a hurry for the next appointment, and for just a few moments i felt suspended in time - just me and him, floating. this is where i realized how much i love being on this adventure of life with him. he's the only person who can get me to stop and smell the roses (or in this case, breathe deep the hill-country air and take a picture of the beauty).

 

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and it was here i fell in love with him all over again, because while we both covet time alone with the other, we know in our bones the time for sharing has come. we don't know when, we don't know how. but just like the cooler breeze brushing against our cheeks and arms on the drives in the hill country hint at a change in temperature, there is movement in and around us. hints of change. color deepening and wave calming - it's the only way i know to describe it.

so for now, we can't look the other one in the eyes without that knowledge forming like a secret between us. a chain rustling and pulling taught, keeping us joined. one day, our two will become three. until then, we wait - eyes on each other, whispered secrets in the dark.

Posted on August 21, 2012 and filed under fluttering pulses.

ghosts of hemingway and stein

russ we sat at the small two-person table, a tiny candle and flower in the corner as decoration. looking around, something inside me stirred. the residual paint left behind from previous owners, chipped and piled on top of each other, captured my attention on the frame of the dining room. the door in the middle of the wall - chained shut, the curtain to the kitchen - blowing with the wind of the chef and other workers getting dinner ready. it was a discordant type of symphony. an opera of antique measures.

he looked at me and smiled, "are you just taking everything in?" his thumb caressed my hand - one of his tells.

he must be relaxed, i thought.

i turned and looked at him, grateful for how well he knows me. "yes. i just...this place. it's amazing. i want to know this home's story."

he chuckled and raised an eyebrow, "well...her name was jill."

my breath caught and he leaned back. "oh. you want me to continue?"

"yes, please."

"she was born in 1947."

i smiled, glancing again at the wood paneling.

"really? she looks old for 1947"

"she was born on the east side."

we both laughed then - hidden understanding of our city's prejudices.

the story stalled when people started showing up - the hostess directing them to their seats. our companions were a woman from iran, a houston convert with a penchant for nyc food, a man who had his jaw wired shut after being punched in a bar-room brawl, and friends of the owner - quiet people with a certain knowledge of good beer.

i grabbed russ' phone and punched in a message on his note pad i feel like i'm suddenly in the middle of a scene. 

he read it, nodded and looked me in the eyes. "it's cause you are, elora."

photo

i spoke with the iranian woman about my book, her interest sparked because of a good friend who married a columbian man. "she's in columbia a lot so she knows of this...she sees it often. i would like to read your book then pass it on to her."

i swallowed the pesky introvert poking me in the ribs and promised her silence and reflection in the morning. looking at the woman i smiled, "i would love that. really."

i could hear her throughout the night - come alive. elora ramirez. whispering under her breath, intent on remembering.

dinner

later, waiting for the sixth of seven courses, i looked at russ and whispered "i really need a camera. a real one." my hands went wide. "how do you capture this? the lights - the atmosphere - the guy playing radiohead on a piano...."

"i see it."

my breath calmed and only then did i realize how heavy it had become.

he shook his head, "it's like you quit your job and this artistic side of you just blows up...it's amazing."

and suddenly i felt seen. splayed open.

i smiled - the smile only he knows - and turned my attention to the strawberry/watermelon flavored caviar sitting in a carved out cucumber. i knew then this is what it must have been like, so long ago. when those writers were young and fresh and undaunted by life - eating with strangers and hearing stories and finding yourself inspired for the simple reason of beauty overcoming your senses. i closed my eyes for a brief second, letting myself listen to the french jazz coming from the pianist, the quiet roar of the conversation, the flicker of candlelight against the bar.

and then i opened my eyes, breathed in deep the knowledge of how a muse overwhelms you, feeling very much like i'd been visited by the ghosts of hemingway and stein.

Posted on August 14, 2012 and filed under fluttering pulses.

hearing him breathe

in the early morning hours, i can hear his breathing from down the hall. i'm usually curled up on a couch, reading and drinking coffee, starting my day before anyone in the house. his breath is slow. methodical. i could plan a rhythm around it if i wanted to - a song of pulses.

and even though i'm tired, even though my eyelids droop and the words on the page are taking their sweet time in sinking deep, his presence brings life to the blood in my veins. his pulse may be steady, a sleeping exhale, but mine turns erratic - the sharp intake of breath from a love realized.

our lives are crazy now. meetings and dreams and dinners and community fill up our evenings. they'll only get crazier, i know. soon, tiny limbs and tiny fingers will fight for their place in between our bodies, tangled in bed on or on the couch. most likely we'll welcome the intrusion.

for now, i'll cling to the familiar.

counting gifts -

0061 :: feeling the wind rush past me and holding tight to his frame 0062 :: watching {and feeling} his father heart bloom 0063 :: the way our feet find each other right before we fall asleep 0064 :: hearing him laugh 0065 :: ten years of our hands reaching for the other during prayer 0066 :: embracing the feeling of wanting to crawl back in bed and into his embrace 0067 :: the way he slowly wakes up, inch by inch, stretching and yawning 0068 :: date nights and netflix binges 0069 :: missing a camping trip so he can camp out with me for work under the stadium lights, which means no sleep and many middle school girls asking questions and giggling throughout the night 0070 :: his constant belief in me

tell me...what are you thankful for today? 

Posted on April 1, 2012 and filed under fluttering pulses.