The Day In Between

Posted in Monthly at 12:23 pm by Pasha

By Pasha Holiday

When allotted only moments of reflection in life and of the year gone by, my moment is chosen in the relative quiet of wherever I happen to be. One Christmas it was in Spain, another in my in-laws basement, but most years I reflect at my childhood home in Fredonia, New York. This year my reflection comes from my own home, in Chicago. And in the quiet of December 26th, a day sandwiched between the birth of Jesus and of my mother and I, I think about 2009 and all the meaning it will forever have in my soul.

This summer I vowed to be faithful and loving to Matthew forever. When I held his hands on August 15 and said those words to him, to our families, to the great expanse of water outside the window, and to God, it was solidified that we are each others family now. That one day when we are old and our children are grown, we will still be taking care of one another and our own family. I truly believe we will make it through the compromise of marriage and will be rocking side by side and still laughing when our hair is much more gray and we are far wiser than we are now.

Soon after we married, we bought a house in Chicago. It all came on the whirlwind of fall. In less than two months we gutted four rooms, we totally rebuilt one, and had to secure several bricks of our marriage along with the walls of tile. Those months were hard, torn and severed by endless nights of work, backbreaking hours with fault and mistakes, one too many arguments and two too many times of quitting. The days were also dotted with perseverance, by a sense of being in it together, by times of belly-aching laughter, and by nights of falling together into bed knowing that we made it happen. And that like our relationship, the house will always have flaws. We know that, like our love, the house will only become grand by working together, by endlessly being together and by never, ever giving up on one another.

The house and my body fought an awful war these past few months. While the part of my brain that thrives on routine was ripped to shreds, I nervously awaited the getting fat part of not working out daily. But it (thankfully) never came. My biceps stayed firm under the weight of Sheetrock and my triceps still flicker thanks to the hammer. Even though my meals have gone in the way of Taco Bell, the scale stayed steady under the time constraints for eating. While it somehow evened out this year, I can’t wait until spring breaks in a few months and my body, mind and soul can be released to the wind. I can almost feel my rubber soles hitting the pavement in the perfect rhythm, my mind traveling, my thoughts turning to prayers; the time that is truly just mine.

This year also marked one of my saddest. I still cry when I think about Rafa being gone. When I go to call him and the line has been turned off, my heart skips and drops. I cry when I think of his mother and his family and the void that can never be filled. Yesterday, when we were getting ready to leave for Christmas dinner, I wanted to wear sweatpants (fashionable but still stretchy.) When I walked into the bathroom and saw that the shower curtain was pulled off the bar, I knew Rafa was telling me he wanted to see me dressed up. So I pulled on a pair of Sevens and wiped makeup onto my clean skin. It was the only way he would have wanted it. And I wonder, how will I ever make it through this next year without him?

In this moment, the few hours I have before I go to work, I think about what this next year will bring. My heart is highly anticipating a trip home in the next couple of weeks to celebrate my sister becoming a mother. I look forward to kissing everyone who I missed so sorely this year. I am hopeful that sometime next year our middle bedroom will be filled with the joy of new life. I am eager to know if I will survive as a nine to fiver. I cannot wait to celebrate our first year of marriage and the sixth year of being together. And more than ever, I want to see our hearts heal and true goodness come from tragedy. I want to honor wonderful people when they are alive and never lose them after they have gone.