. . . what it means to be human.
Is it feeling this hard bench--that I have been sitting on for too many hours--beneath me? Or is it the fact that time can pass, and I will still be here?
Is it knowing that tomorrow I have hours and hours of expectations to live up to and no preparation to match it? Is it being able to glance around the room I am sitting in and notice the paintings, plants, curtains, and the cell phone, sitting on its side, next to the box of gardening stakes that I haven't yet opened? Is it being able to make sense of what those details mean?
Is being human listening to music in order to match my mood to its? Is it the ability to pull out phrases that connect to me and leave the rest, untouched and un-thought-about, in the song?
Is it the throb of feeling that pumps through my system even when I tell it to stop? Is that what makes me human? Unwanted feeling?
Or is it being vulnerable? And fragile? And entirely disoriented?
Sometimes, I wish that I could call out to the ancestor that I am named for. I would say, "Olive, what made you human, but in such a beautiful and strong way?" I think that Olive would remember the suffering she endured before her life ended too soon, and the pain of leaving four children orphaned, but would she remember what it was that made her soar? And is she soaring now?
I hope so.
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