She was 8 and here. Always in between the line of life and death but with enough presence to make you forget her status. One day, she crossed the line while no one watched.
New York City is not a decent consoler. Despite the pangs of pain that bombarded my chest and the knot that would not let go of my throat, the city threw memories of her at me. They clung on to my open wounds and burned into them like salt. NYC continued with its obnoxious volume, its heavy odor and its MTA hierarchy. All around, skyscrapers battled to reach the sky. The city does not respect nature, neither does it feelings. My place of birth was not the place to mourn.
Galicia, Spain. I was driven to A Insua upon arrival. The constellations of stars were the only sources of light. They provided just enough to sketch out the thousands of Eucalyptus trees that guarded the sky. While I slept under layers of wool blankets, the Sun rose and fell many times. Sometimes I would get up only to feel the coolness of the tiles at the bottom of my feet. Other times, to cover the cracks of light that made it through the stone walls. On my fourth day, I stepped out into the patio, much bigger than the cottage. The light brought groups of emotionless tears down my cheeks. At the highest point in the sky was the Sun. I laid down on the grass and closed my eyes. The rays of light slept on my skin. Warmth from the soil evaporated into my back. Behind my eyelids, yellow, red, and orange figures danced furiously, and then they came together into one single image. Her. From what I gather now, I got up, walked outside, closed my eyes and watched for over a week. On my 10th day, the ritual would not stick. The screen behind my eyes only reflected figures; it would not give me the image of her. On the grass and under the Sun, I wailed. Echoes of cries were sent back to me by the trees. The vibration of my pain went up my head and down to my toes. In about ten days, the Galician Sun had given her back and took her away. I opened my eyes, ready to confront the sky, to demand it not play with humans in that way. Four mountains stood within the same range without compromising the other. The Sun was gloriously in its place, but it did not opaque. It’s light allowed the beauty of its surroundings to be seen. The clouds stood purposely in their space. It hit me then, that I was in the middle of a beautiful place allowing grief to overpower the current opportunity. I saw that the light had been trying to tell me something from the moment I stepped into the cottage, but I continued to dodge its message. My little sister is everywhere because we are all everything. I can’t see her anymore, but in the quietest of places, when the beauty in nature is so much that it hurts, she’s there. Even complicated grief cannot stop that from happening.
That is how Galicia inspired me to live. That Summer I traveled down Spain and into Morocco solo but not lonely.
About the Author: Lorraine Avila: A 22 year old Bronx bred girl, who reads for fun, writes to think, travels to learn and recently graduated college…most importantly, she teaches a group of four year old geniuses!
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