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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Playing Guitar

Every time Liz goes to a bass lesson, I feel guilty for not playing around with my guitar more often. So yesterday I played around. The result was this song fragment. I doubt it will make any sense, because I edited out all the lyrics that give it meaning and just left the backing vocals. Trust me when I say it was epic and full of bittersweet sentiment about how hard it is to be a divorced single father and see your child breakdown emotionally each time she has to go back to her mother. I have zero reason to write such a song... which is probably why I deleted all the lyrics. Also, I'm still apparently unable to muster up the effort to create a "real" song with verses and a chorus and a bridge and stuff.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Magic Ring Part 1

The day I left Mexico, about to fly back to Seattle, my mother pulled me aside. Pressing a small wine-colored box into my hands, she said she had an important mission for me. Inside the box was a diamond ring, a family heirloom. Known as an owl-cut diamond, the gemstone was somewhat rare now. This shape, designed to evoke an owl's eye, had fallen out of style. A simple and elegant gold band showcased the stone's luster. I understood the faith she was putting in me and tucked the jewelry box into my carry-on.

The ring needed to belong to my older sister. Amy grew up with a powerful attachment to that ring and to our grandmother. My matriarchal grandmother Patricia (or Nana as we knew her) had slipped the ring onto Amy's fingers dozens of times and beamed her impossible smile and sparkled her impossible eyes. Nana told her the ring would be hers someday and that no other girl would ever have it. My grandmother felt the need to make all of us grandchildren feel special. She took each of us aside at various times and told us that we were destined for special things, that we came from special stock, and that she loved us best of all. Her words had a tendency to pit us all against each other at times, but it was her way.

When my grandmother died about ten years ago her estate was left to my mother and my aunt. The pair had a mixed relationship... and unsurprisingly, they weren't very amicable about this. Perhaps my grandmother's words had sewn some discontent between the two of them as well. Since my aunt lived in the same house as my grandmother, most of the heirlooms remained with her. Some of the jewelry, reportedly, had trickled down to my aunt's oldest daughter. But my sister heard nothing about the ring. And my mother had given up advocating for her.

Many years passed and my sister lost hope that she would ever wear the ring again or remember that feeling of being Nana's oldest and most treasured grandchild. The family seemed so fractured since Nana's passing... There was no talk of reunions and it seemed there never would be. The settling of the estate played a small but palpable role in that schism.

Things evolved however. I knew nothing of this, but apparently my aunt decided to give a number of treasures to my mother... with an understanding that the ring be given to Amy. So when I visited my folks last January my mother entrusted me with the job of putting this ring into my dear sister's hands. I knew little of this history at the time. I did not know about my aunt's change of heart, or of my grandmother's tender promises so many years hence.

When I arrived in Seattle I left the ring, safe in its box, on my bookshelf. I knew I would have occasion to deliver it before long. I was in no great hurry.