Wednesday, February 19, 2014

a tree grows in Brooklyn

A delicate tree with strong roots..

What happens when nature rips it out of the soil and the roots become exposed? Still clinging to the life force beneath it?

There were frantic messages for a safe haven online. Being withdraw from the online world at that point and time, I saw it after help had been offered. But I kept watch. Then out of nowhere a quiet request for help with packing up belongings. leaving the adult home that had been hers since she was 18. Indefinitely.

I knew this tree, our branches crossed every so often. We met at a wedding of a mutual friend six years ago and teamed up as both our trains passed through the same entry point on the other side of the Hudson. Seeing the post I noticed that no one was offering to help. Just "good lucks" and "take care".

I raised my hand.

So last Saturday, I showed up through the slush that was slowly turning into rain. She gave me a big bear hug at the door.

"So how long do I have you for?"

" As long as you need me."

" Really?! You really are a great friend."

Waiting for her parents to arrive with the Uhaul truck, bits of pieces of what happened spilled out. Roommate situation that went bad. Could tell that by the way they blocked off half the apartment and kept themselves barricaded behind closed doors.

Over the next few hours we boxed in addition to all of the basic necessities, her necessities: every piece of artwork, canvas and sculpture she had made from pieces in that borough that has been her only home for the first half of her adult life. At some point, after running down the stairs, I came back up to find her crouched in the corner. Her face trying not to show that she was tearing apart on the inside.

" Oh my's hitting me that this space is becoming empty, it's hitting." She bowed her head and wrapped her arms around her knees. " I will not cry, will not cry, will not cry..". I leaned over and whispered to her that it was temporary. She would be back.

Rooms empty. Devoid of life and memory. Outside in the snow, she stares down at the key ring in her hand. "I have no keys...this is the first time I don't have keys to a home. This is so backward. Their home.." she gestures at her parents. " is not mine. I go to visit them. Brooklyn is my home."

" It is your home and will always be your home. Sometimes you have to take a step back to go forward. And I am pretty certain it will end up here as it always has been."

She smiled " Would you help me to unload on that trip?"


She reached down, gathered a fistful of snow and placed it in a napkin to wrap around the stem of the rose she had in her hand. And probably a bit to water her own roots until she comes home.