What I Did for Summer Vacation, Part II

Continued from Tuesday, September 7 post.

This has been a summer of reconnection.

Journal

The weekend after we returned from our family vacation, Ms. Lisa Seepaul slipped into town to take care of some business. We met over a decade ago in the lobby of the South Broadway Cultural Center at Albuquerque’s first-ever production of The Vagina Monologues and developed a deep and honest friendship over shared work and free-writing sessions with our querida Ann Caton. I don’t know who first said, “We should get together and write.” It was probably Lisa, so deliberate is she in word and action. The three of us would meet in coffee shops, on living room floors, or around a kitchen table, start with a simple prompt, often inspired by a snippet of conversation or an object in the room (today is her birthday, a slow-burning flame) and not lift the pen for five or eight or ten minutes. We would end each round by reading out loud. No feedback. No critique. Just a space to hear each other’s voices and to write and read, knowing our words would be received in respect and love.

Michelle y Ani

Lisa and Ani have accompanied me through a car accident, the writing of Malinche’s Daughter, big and little heartbreaks, the fire. Until Lisa moved from Albuquerque to Spain (which has her speaking fluent Spanish with a lisp that makes me giggle), her couch was my favorite napping spot. Her visit was a long and close hug. She met Henry and Andréa the Chicken. Henry, Lisa, and I stayed up late into the night and kicked off our Sunday with breakfast at Los Compadres. And too soon, it was time to take her to the airport.

She still lives too far from me. Ani también. I am reminded here of a quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first given to me by a college friend as I was preparing to graduate and leave the country for a stint as a Jesuit Volunteer in Belize.

“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone who thinks and feels with us, and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”

Belize 1996

The Belize women came to New Mexico. We spent four days together in Jemez Springs, looking at old photos, soaking at Giggling Springs, eating dinners at Los Ojos Bar & Restaurant, and talking talking talking in the car, in the Sunflower and Angler rooms at the Jemez Inn, over baked oatmeal (yes, baked oatmeal—yum!) and tea at Highway 4 Coffee. We drove along the Valles Caldera through Los Alamos and into Santa Fe for the International Folk Art Market. We ate ice cream and drank agua de jamaica and soaked up the love and trust we share. There have been changes—new children and partners, new jobs and degrees, old hurts outside our circle acknowledged and reconciled. We still laugh together, still bring out the best in one another. I will know these women the rest of my life.

Santa Fe, 2010

Read Part III Tuesday, September 14.

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Published in: on September 9, 2010 at 11:45 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I don’t think there’s any greater richness in life than long, trustworthy friendship. You’re a wealthy woman!

    • This summer reminded me how rich I am.

  2. Yes, we will know each other for the rest of our lives! I am so grateful for my time with my dear friends. Thank you for your words, Karen! Love, Avi

  3. […] What I Did for Summer Vacation, Part III Continued from Thursday, September 9 post. […]


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