Proof there is god

Poetry
The tears my mother cries as she washes dishes after dinner
Vaughn Williams on the stereo
The way my brother leans all of his weight into me when we hug
The promise my father keeps, “call me if you need anything”
The wedding, the divorce, the remarried women, the man she remarried
Women who make their own birthday cakes
And every time my brother and I refuse to part without saying “I love you”
That is god

First Impressions: Capri, Italy

Personal Essay

There is no word for what it feels like to wake up on an island, but there should. I rested my head on Meg’s shoulder, mouth-breathing and warm. The ferry’s windows mocked us with their stiffness and immobility. I just wanted a breeze. I just wanted some relief from the feverish pink that doused my cheekbones like a rash.

When the ferry docked I felt Meg’s shoulder shift. I woke up and instinctively joined the stirring of eager travelers: collecting their belongings, stretching, craning their necks to see the new landscape. Meg checked our seats to make sure we didn’t leave anything behind. I like that about Meg. It reminds me of my mother. Then, like schoolgirls filing out of hot gymnasium, we walked onto the dock with our luggage thumping behind.

We paid a man to drive us to the city center of Capri. He helped pile our luggage into the back seat of a light blue convertible, the kind of vehicle I would expect to see in an old world like Cuba. The suitcases piled high. He asked for my bag but I told him I would hold it in my lap.

We drove upward. The wind flattened my bangs along my forehead and sent the rest of my hair flapping backward like a fibrous flag. Meg sat in the passenger seat. She was laughing and smiling. I felt the smile on my face too. It was like experiencing freedom for the first time. The other girls were laughing too. In all the wind and laughter and freedom, no one remembered to talk. I tilted my head back and raised my arms. The sky was blue like the terracotta statue of the Madonna and Child I had seen in Florence. The inscription read Della Robbia blue. I will never forget that blue.

Journal Entry: Four

Journal

January 16th, 2019

I slept for 2 hours last night. I am absolutely exhausted. I tried to stay up all day so maybe I could sleep well tonight. This morning Meghan and I walked to a restaurant called Pimm’s for a free breakfast sponsored by the university. I had a croissant and a cappuccino.

After breakfast, we went to an orientation presentation that lasted 2 hours. I barely stayed awake.

Anna is sleeping in Meg’s bed right now. We are going to lunch in the dining hall soon.

Journal Entry: Three

Journal

January 15th, 2019

I woke up at 4 a.m. and looked photo albums Denise left on the desk beside my bed. At 6:30, I heard Denise fumbling with the cappuccino machine in the kitchen. I ate a croissant with my coffee just like she said. At 8:00, Denise’s driver, a man of roughly forty named Antonio, picked us up and drove us to the university. Antonio and Denise talked for the entire car ride. I tried to listen for words I recognized.

Move in went smoothly. I am in my apartment now, unpacked and settled. The black, rain-proof boots my mom bought me really hurt. I’ll have to buy a new pair soon.

I just ate lunch with Deirdre in the dining hall.

Everything is so beautiful but I feel a little homesick. My other roommates haven’t arrived yet. I think I live with Meghan Fors. The name tag on the door only says Meghan, no last name.

I’m going to rest now.

It is 10:36 p.m. and Meg is here. It is Meghan Fors and we just said hello. After my nap today, I went to the grocery store called Coop across the Tiber River. I bought yogurt, granola, honey, and tangerines. Then I met up with Anna and we strolled for a bit.

Journal Entry: One

Journal

January 13th, 2019: 1: 55 p.m.

I am in the JFK airport. It is 1:55 p.m. and my flight doesn’t leave until 7:46. I started a low dose of anti-depressants this week. I just split a pill in half using the pill splitter my mom gave me. The more I remind myself of reality, the more content I feel. Maybe that’s not the right way to phrase it. I would say, the more I take responsibility for my life and walk with confidence and compassion, the more content I feel. I think it is necessary for me to be away from home for a while. I need to feel what it’s like to navigate my life on my own for once. My mother and I grew even closer over Christmas break. She is the love of my life.

I want to focus on being frugal while I am in Italy. I really want to condense my wardrobe when I come home in May. Packing for this trip showed me how much I don’t need.

For now, I am tired. I only slept for three hours last night because my dad took Kevin and I rollerskating for my final bon voyage. We stayed at the rink until midnight. Kevin and I held hands while we skated. I will miss my family incredibly.