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Hidden Drawer

Standing on that chilly balcony watching the sun slowly fade over the Italian country side. It isn't summer, it is winter. It isn't lush with growth, it is dead and brown. It is chilly, it is cold. Watching the lights slowly flick on across the hills. A town over there, a town over here. The stars slowly start to reveal themselves. Some hours later the moon is obvious and the beautifully haunting ancient landscape is awash with moonlight. In the distance the headlights of a car rush back and forth, back and forth. Tornante.

Years ago, when my wife and I found out she was pregnant with our first, we were in Italy. The dead end of winter always reminds me of that year. The way the sun hangs in the sky, the way the cold feels, The way the anticipation of spring and new life waits. I remember where we were staying so well. I remember the bathroom, the kitchen, the bedrooms, the one grocery store in the small town. I remember taking the bus to Bologna, back and forth. I remember so well so many of the feelings we felt. We were a bit different then.

That period when you learn that you are going to be a father, yet you aren't one yet - it is special. I wish I could go back and feel all those feelings again. Those 9 months waiting for your first are special. You don't know anything, you don't know what to expect, everything is fresh and new. You are on a plane flying to a new country. You are excited but you have never been there before. You have seen pictures and heard all about it, but you haven't been there yourself. You are on the plane, you are over the ocean, there is no going back. You will land eventually. It is an incredible feeling. There are lots of sides to it, these are complex emotions. I wish I could feel it again.

I love remembering those memories there. I love that we were somewhere else, hidden away in this old ancient place when we found out our lives were going to change. Sometimes you want to be alone to think. You can't think or really feel when you are surrounded by everyone you know. There was something special about being somewhere else alone together, somewhere far away. It feels like it took that time and memory and put it in its own little drawer where nothing else goes. It protects the memory in a way. It makes it more distinct and potent. It doesn't suffer from any other memories working their way in there and replacing some of what was originally alone. It is like a safety deposit box hidden and closed.

We traveled so much before we had children, that we were "somewhere else" when we found out has always felt poetically appropriate. It's the strangest thing, it was just us two there, yet it wasn't. Our first was with us in the smallest, earliest form. It was three of us. And it feels like it was, it feels like he was there, and present. When I think about those memories, it isn't only us two I think about. There is the little sense of our first that is there as well. He, in this impossibly hard to describe way, experienced it with us. There is a depth to memory and souls that goes beyond our comprehension. Unexplainable. That time, that place, our first - they are the bridge from our lives before to our lives today. This time of the year is an awfully gloomy time, dreadfully depressing. Yet the warmest, deepest memory at the pivot of our lives comes rushing out of that hidden drawer, in all its depth and potency in all its beauty.

Memory, lightness, brightness, story, life, living, growth, nostalgia, youth

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