Did you grandma ever do that thing?
Whenever there was an article or a story or a street with your name she would rip it out or take a photo and mail it to you? Buy a keychain or a mini-liscense plate at the tourist shop on her travels?
I had grandmas like this. One would clip out articles about symbolic birthrights such as roses or sheep (the Hebrew meaning for Rachel is "ewe"). The other found a myriad of other clippings that shared our humor. Marmaduke and Garfield.
I do this now, though I had forgotten the origins. I find a little something with a friend's name, a dedication page or a subway station. I rip
it out or take a picture. I send it along.
This instinct is so funny. Maybe a way of strengthening our identity in the world. Grounding our existence here, proving our place, making us valid.
I had this crisis that streets in Paris near cemeteries were named after me.
Though this only happened twice, isn't that enough for a conspiracy?
Tonight, I'm reading The Complete Saki, a book I checked out of the library seeking the quote, "find yourself a cup of tea; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things."
There is a chapter, "Esmé," which thrills me and I'm embarrassed by the feeling that I can't wait to share this with my friend of the same name. I laugh at myself, "why? Where does this desire root from?" Why does it matter? Why do I care?"
I'm beginning to articulate these instincts as love. And I realize, in my own extension of these desires, how much I was loved by those women, my grandmas.
In those little scraps and moments they found me, some greater proof of my me. Something to support my position on this earth.
It's silly and absurd and darling and amazing. It's a small afterthought of a gift that means everything.
"I'm thinking of you. You are in my thoughts. I love you."