To love and Corissa

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The babes

There are people out there who say brown and black can’t mix, that silver and gold look tacky together, that a white sock simply cannot be matched with a gray and I want to say: who made all the fucking rules?! What God’s gift to humanity made all the damn lines you should not cross under any circumstances beep bo beep bo I.am.a.robot.

Today, for me, is about two things I thought would never mix: love and death. And the closer I look at love and the closer I look at death, I realize they have more in common than I thought. They aren’t two opposing forces like light and dark; male and female – they are more like roots to leaves; bone to skin, interconnected, offspring, holding hands.

Pat and I are celebrating our 11th anniversary this Friday the 13th. I was 18 years old, two weeks into college and pulled by some force of love to a skinny, hemophiliac, teen-wolf looking boy from Idaho. We’ve both said, years later, that we are NOT each other’s types – I wanted some sensitive cowboy/poet/artist or a weird hybrid and I was, well, white and skinny with no T or A to speak of, but one night we ended up at Club Nocturnal (the University’s attempt at a “safe” dance club located in the cafeteria of all places) and I kissed his neck. That was it. Marvin Gaye was singing “Let’s Get It On” of all songs; drying pieces of pasta salad were swept nonchalantly in the corner; I was trying so hard to shake my nonexistent T&A, but without him even having a say in the matter, I claimed him and fell in love. And 11 years later, I can jokingly say – hey I hope I didn’t make you rush into anything…
He and I have had one crazy love story. If you can think back when you were 18/19 and then to 29/30 recollecting all the ways you changed in the span of those years, all the things you discovered about yourself, all the heartbreak – yes, we still break each other’s hearts – all the moves, laughs, growing pains, kisses, burps, lost friends … WEDDINGS not our own, conversations about WEDDINGS not being our own. Babies, holy shit, babies are coming out of the wood works! We have chapters and chapters of life and love and we aren’t even close to being done. He is my constant. And for a crazy-ass poet with some abandonment issues, a constant is no small thing. He loves me for all that I am – my mistakes, god have I made some, my wildness, my peacefulness, my passions, my unknowns. I have never felt so wholly loved and accepted by anyone.

Going through these pictures this morning, the then and now, I’m reminded of how many people we’ve come across in our lives. Many are relationships we haven’t tended to, but nonetheless important to where we are now. Our friends in college were our world; there from the very beginning of us and so yesterday, to hear of the passing of one of them is absolutely devastating. Corissa was a woman who lived down the hall freshman year. This dirty blonde, outdoorsy, smiling, unique soul of a woman could look hot in birkenstocks and then don a cocktail dress without any question. When I started dating Pat, I spun off into a different circle, but we would see her around through mutual friends, be at the same parties, ride horses together, drink amaretto sours at the Iron Horse bar. I took her senior portraits before we graduated and as payment, she gave me a bottle of Disaronno, which to a college girl is like Dom Perignon. She was a person the world needed. She was in Vet school. She was almost finished. She was strong and healthy and vibrant. And now she’s gone and the shock of losing a face that existed in such a wonderful time in my life is heartbreaking, jarring. I can’t claim to have known and loved her as her family and close friends have, but Pat when he heard the news said “She was one of the most beautiful girls on campus” and truly she was. She was my age. She had so much still to do and at the base of it, I think, so do I. It scares me to realize that all of this could be taken away so quickly without reason or warning.

People that knew her, for any length of time, have come out in droves on her Facebook page, a page she posted on only 6 days ago. They are wishing her family well, her friends, posting pictures that display the essence of who she really was: goofy, caring, beautiful, smart. They are filling her absence with love which makes me believe that the two must be connected. In most deaths, not all, but I want to believe that in most deaths the void created when a person passes is filled with so much love it helps their soul get wherever it needs to go; an energy of some sort, a balloon, a rise of some collective force. And maybe we do these things because it helps us continue, maybe we believe in a home of souls so we don’t feel so scared that our own time is coming. But what if they can feel it? Just a small bit of it. Shouldn’t we send people off this way: enshrouded in love?

I’m wearing brown and black today; a silver necklace and a gold one. My socks don’t match, but neither does my heart or my hair or anything about me. I feel so much joy and so much sadness. But I’m tired of the rules: don’t get tattoos; don’t love that man if you’re a man or that woman if you’re a woman or that transgender if you’re whatever you are. I’m tired of people saying get married at this specific time in your life because you’re supposed to, because that’s what people do. Don’t move here. Don’t do this.

This life thing happens fast. Make it yours. I’m collecting wrinkles I can’t ever iron out, but I hope I’m lucky enough to die with a body soaked in love; to leave my life like knowing when to leave a bath, with pruning hands.

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4 Responses to To love and Corissa

  1. Gorgeous. I am so happy for your celebration and sorry for your loss.
    love,
    rebecc

    • rachvb says:

      Rebecca! Thank you so much. Friday was an exhausting day from both ends of the spectrum. I feel for her family and I’m so very grateful for the loves in my life.
      Pat has promised me an item from Anthropologie for our anniversary and maybe I can find a dress that will change the world? Anthropologie of all places would sell something like that… xoxoxo

  2. Claire says:

    Dear Rach, no one says it as you do. Here’s to you and Pat and your beautifully matched mismatches (?).

    Sorry, too, for your loss – you honour her here. xoxo

    • rachvb says:

      Thank you so much, Claire. I like that: our beautifully matched mismatches. We’ve had a great weekend so far. Baseball, drinks with friends, beer brewing and today maybe brunch. I’m still waiting for fall, though. God, do I miss it. Hope you are well, dear friend. xoxo

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