It’s nearly 1 am, and it’s the quietest it’s ever been in Oakland. All I can hear is the light sounds of my cat Stella Bean crunching on kibble, the metallic sound as the remnants drop back into her food dish.
I’m thinking about the big knot in my stomach that is both butterflies and a tornado.
How nearly 14 years ago, I was a sad kid listening to Fallen for the first time and I felt like every song was written for me; how I spent the subsequent summer smudging black eyeliner from my mom’s Clinique free gift bag under my eyes and wearing all black clothes that didn’t even fit right at summer camp, and about how this weekend I’m performing on stage alongside Amy Lee at one of the biggest venues in San Francisco.
I haven’t seen my dad in almost one year, and I accidentally took a screenshot while on FaceTime with my mom this afternoon and I noticed all of the new wrinkles in her sweet face that weren’t there the last time I hugged her goodbye and got in a cab. I’ve never been inside my brother’s apartment, and I have never seen my aunt’s grave.
Ryan is far away in a hotel lobby, the weight of the world on his shoulders as he deals with a sick parent who isn’t getting better, a job that sucks out his soul, and fires that threaten to consume his childhood home and seemingly the last bits of his innocence.
But, I am still hopeful. I make the Christmas cookies and ornaments by myself, and count down the days until I can get on a plane and see snow, curl up by the fire with my family, and sit in the very room that was my hiding place from a world that didn’t understand weird girls with brown hair and smudged eyeliner who played classical music and didn’t know how to pluck their Arab eyebrows.
Stella is fed, and very soon the love of my life will return home to me, and I will be able to be the place for his weary heart to rest for a while, but where do I rest my weary heart in the meantime?