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At Your Place

A Letter to a Loved One

Some loved ones . . .

Dear Loved One,

I wish I could see you at your place. I wish I could sit at your kitchen table and talk to you while you do things at the counter. I know I would probably watch you when you weren’t looking. But I wouldn’t be rude about it. I wouldn’t be disrespectful when I watched you. I would just think how wonderful you were, because you are wonderful. I can’t lie to you – I’ve watched you before so I know you are wonderful.

I would talk to you while you make a sandwich or do the dishes. If you were doing dishes, I would help you by drying them or, by washing them if you would rather dry them, because I can do both. I would rather wash, actually, but I am slow at it so, I sometimes feel self-conscious about washing. I wonder if you would be distracted with me sitting there in your kitchen. I wonder if you would have to stop what you were doing every once in awhile to turn and face me and to use your hands while you explained something. I wonder if you would be dramatic and act out what it was that you were talking about. I think you would be. I would be sorry if I distracted you but I would be excited and entertained by your drama as you talked to me using your hands and making the faces that make you famous to me.

I think you would be tall in your kitchen. You seem to fill up the rooms you are in, especially rooms you are comfortable in, so I think you would be tall in your kitchen. I would watch 'tall you' as you zoomed around from place to place in your kitchen. You might decide to dance once in awhile. You might sing a song or two. I would wish for that. You would have to go into the next room to do something and I would miss you while you were away unless you kept talking, which you probably would. You talk a lot when you get on a roll, but, that’s alright with me because you have a nice voice so I like to listen when you talk. But if you didn’t talk then I would miss you while you were gone. I would love it when you came back though and I reckon I might get up and give you a big smile and say, “Welcome back!” or something along that line.

After you were finished making your sandwich or doing dishes or putting stuff away, you might come over and sit at your table with me. I would look at your eyes first and try to remember the color they are. I always say I will remember what color your eyes are but I never do. Next time I will. I think I would remember what color your eyes were if I saw them while I was sitting at your kitchen table across from you because I would look at them first and then I would look at them again and again just to refresh my memory on that. They would be their true color because you would be at home in your space and that’s where they would get to be themselves.

I had a friend one time, in Grade eight, named Nolan who was a very bad student but I always remember one very good thing he told me. He said that I would never know what he was really like – the color of his eyes, the shape of his face, the tone of his voice, the smell of his hair, the feelings and thoughts that he had – unless I sat at his table with him at his place. So, I went to his place to see him, to sit at his table with him. I was nervous but I wanted to see if I could get to know him. There were lots of people there - big scary adult people, sleeping and passed out on the floor in the kitchen. Some were snoring. Some didn’t seem alive. The air in the house smelled sweet and sour at the same time like the rubbing alcohol we used on the pigs and like when somebody pees in his bed. There were empty whiskey bottles on the floor too. Nolan was hiding in the cellar. He was shivering and he told me to go, and not to look at him. The table was broken in half and lying in pieces on the kitchen floor with all the people. I couldn’t sit at his table with him so I left. I didn’t get to know him very well. I’m sorry for that.

I would like to sit at your kitchen table, with you, at your place. Maybe we would play cards. I know a good card game for two people. I would teach you the card game for two people and you would ask questions as I was explaining the rules. When you ask me questions you make me feel important, like I actually know something you don’t. I would like to share all the things I know with you but only if you asked me questions. I wouldn’t want to tell you all the stuff I know without you asking because that would be rude. I wouldn’t want to be rude around you – especially at your place. After we had played cards for five or six games, I would be tired of losing so we would have to stop. I’m not a good card player. I wish I was. I like to play cards though, because you get to talk to the person you are playing with, about something you both have in common at that moment. Maybe that’s why I’m not good at cards – because I talk too much. I would watch you put the cards away and then you would sit down again. I might be a little nervous then about what to say next. You would probably notice I was nervous and you wouldn’t ask me any more questions. You would just talk because you wouldn’t want to make me more nervous. I would secretly thank you for caring about how I feel. You are a good host. Maybe another time.

If it was still light out, I would ask if you wanted to go for a walk to the lake. You could tell me a story if you liked. I always want to hear your stories. The walk would go by way too fast though because the story would take me away to another place and I wouldn’t notice that I was walking. I would just hear your voice and see your face and your hands moving. Before I knew it, the story would be over and we would be there. I wouldn’t want to turn around right away and go back. I would ask if you would like to sit and watch the water for awhile.

I like knowing you and being in your life, and I would tell you that as we walked back. I would like you to tell me another story or, maybe I would tell a story this time or, I could tell you the joke I know about God and St. Peter. It is a clean joke so it wouldn’t offend you. I never want to offend you.

When we get back to your place, I would walk with you to your door and I would give you a big hug and I might hold you longer than usual, just because, well, just because I want to let you know that I care about you and that I’m happy we live at the same time and place on the earth. I would tell you that I feel lucky to be there with you. You would need to think about that when you went back inside to your place. It is nice to think of you at your place but it has to be your place. It has to be your space. Your space where you can go and be you. Where you can go and be tall and be you with your stuff around you. I would like to sit in your kitchen with you but only until you needed to have your place to yourself again. Then I would go, and as I was walking out you would say, “Sometime I’ll come over and see you at your place.”

Yours truly,

Just me

extended family
John Oliver Smith
John Oliver Smith
Read next: Understanding the Effects of Addiction on the Family
John Oliver Smith

Son, baby, brother, child, student, player, collector, student, farmer, photographer, player, coach, husband, student, writer, teacher, father, science guy, fan, coach, stand-up comedian, traveler, chef, story-teller, driver, regular guy!!

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