Story Submission: ‘I pray your last name is not weird’

by Toni Vivares

To the one I owe many explanations,

You better be living your life well, ‘cause I am short tempered and I do not want to listen to boring stories. I hope you aren’t wasting your time breaking that heart that is meant to be mine. I pray your last name is not weird.

Forgive me. Most days, I sound uninterested in what this life means to you.

I know. I should have been there.

When a day is particularly tiring and nobody asks you.

When your will is too strong but nobody cheers for you.

When you wake up convincing yourself that this morning is something different but nothing surprises you.

When you do not want to fix your bed.

When you need someone to make you a cup of coffee.

Instead, I wander. I stay up too late to write, to stay up too late in bed, to not know what’s going on your day, or days.

I do not want to listen to what this life has for you by far. I do not want to hear how lonely you’d been, or are. I do not want to laugh at what you find.

I do not want to see your cape when you proudly tell me you will save me. I do not want to admire you when you write in my sky.

I do not want to be there when you’re boasting about things you can do. When you’re learning how to live a life less messy, and keep failing. I should have been there laughing at how you fold your shirts, and sweep the floors.

Instead I am spending many times counting my sunsets. I am wasting my nights waiting for the stars to fall. You would rather have run when it rains, but I prefer to be here, to stay and bask at the beauty of coldness. Outdoors. Without you.

I can hear you praying “I will find my way to you,” but I prefer walking along many beaches, where I would see dolphins and starfish. I choose to watch angry waves finding their way to calmness.

I should have been there listening to your stories of new office mates, and of how you amazingly weave basketball team and heartbreak in the same story. Instead, I listen to my heart beats at night, fighting myself for the beginnings of my poetry when we should be fighting for our many endings.

I should be holding your hand, but I would rather find them on the back of my brother, trying to memorize ways to massage him best. I should be sitting next to you. Instead, I lie beside my father bearing his silence over evening news.

You should be the reason of my smiles. Instead, I am chasing for butterflies, and though I know they will not live long, I prefer looking at them than you.

You see, I had my heart arrested, and the only bail is grace. My license to love is yet to be renewed. Promises become fairy tales and bed night stories. You become Aladdin or someone not real. I need time to grow up or be a child again.

You see, in this time of waiting, I am not making a list of what you should be. I am not pondering how I wanted you to love me. I am not painting an ideal you in my mind. I am learning to love you best, by being satisfied with His love that is best. I am learning to accept you for who you are, humbly admitting that like you, I will never be perfect, and we cannot change that.

I am testing the seasons, tasting flavors, teaching my heart to love when it’s easy and not. I am exchanging my heart to His who shapes you so there is no way to give up loving you. You see, I am learning how silent I could be, how patient, so when the time comes for me to listen, I will truly hear you.

Truly hear what this life means to you. When a day is particularly tiring. when your will is too strong. When there are so many things to do tomorrow and you stay up too late for your music. When you cannot hear me. When you don’t want to talk.

I will listen to your weird stories when nobody else wanted to listen but me. I will hear you ranting beside my romantic movies, and that is the only time I will not care.

When you lose your job at 32, I will surprise you with many sunsets. I will bring you where you could see it best. So you will know how beautiful life could be when it’s getting dark. I will remind you how all days end magically when nothing seems right, when you cannot forgive.

When you are 35, short tempered, and crying while changing diapers of my child, I will take you out at night. I will award you all these stars for trying every day, when you find yourself at places you never thought you would be.

When you’re 40 and choosing a car, I will force you to come with me under the rain. To remind you that all things are free. And the best roads are those that give us freedom to run.

I will go back to my ocean. When you become mad because, at 55, I still spill my coffee. When you have endured my cooking for far way too many years. When after all this time, it still is difficult for us to understand one another. When you say things that hurt me. I will once more watch how these waves gather all its strength and fight its way to calmness the way you always do. Then I know I will always find myself coming back to you.

To listen to your stories not anymore of promotions, but of your wisdom, of basketball and heartbreak weaved into one. To massage you the way I have memorized the relief of my brother. Sit beside you the way I have endured the silence of my father.

And listen still. When at 91, all you can ask when we wake up is who I am. When senses and strength are gone in time. And if you have brought me to the scariest place where you wouldn’t even say goodbye, I will be there.

When you leave me at the time I do not know when, I will say hi to every butterfly. And then I will ask you to forgive me again, if I am not there, if time once more keeps us apart. ☁



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