To the nines

“Form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form.”

Buddhist “Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra”


Sam.

It is the year of the Monkey, the ninth of twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac cycle. And, the ninth year of living without you—and your monkey-hugs.

I had you for nine birthdays, nine years. Nine photos on a wall. And now, you’ve been gone for nine years. How can it be? That I had you for as long as I have not had you.

You would be turning eighteen! You’d be graduating in a few months; you would be driving with your brother to school each day; you’d be sitting in the fourth chair at dinnertime; you’d be laughing, flirting, texting, dating; you’d be telling stories, reenacting every hilarious detail; you would be staying up late, and Reggie, your dog, now old and gray, would be curled beside you, snoring and content; you would be….

I suppose the “would-be’s” will continue as long as I am here without you, balancing form and emptiness. And finding within me the courage, the way you did, to continue and never give up.

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